The Dog Days of Summer
Just like people, our canine four-legged friends enjoy a good dip in the pool during these hot summer days. And also just like people, some of that water is going to be ingested. But likely to a much larger extent! But what if you have a salt pool, can your dogs swim in salt water pools?
Most of us are pretty aware that drinking salt water is a no go, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and even death. The same holds true in our canine companions. (Interestingly enough, cats have amazing kidneys and can drink seawater! But for the rest of us, it is dangerous and can be deadly.) Most salt pools have about 1/10th the salinity of seawater. That being said, seeing fatal salt poisoning in dogs is likely to stem from a stint playing in the ocean over the local community or backyard salt pool. But that does not erase the danger. Even at a tenth of the salinity, if saltwater pool water is the only access to water your dog has there is still a very real danger of dehydration. Too much salt in the body disrupts the fluid balance by drawing water from the blood into the intestines. If left untreated, this loss of water in the system can lead to seizures, kidney damage/failure, and death. If you have a dog who has heart disease, kidney disease, or salt restricted diets, they should only be allowed in non-salt pools and freshwater bodies.
On a non lethal note, furry friends can have more sensitive skin than us as they have their protective sheath of shedding material that keeps their skin protected. Water in general can strip their skin and fur of oils and moisture, salt water even more so. Make sure to give your pal a good hose off after playing in salt water.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; whenever allowing your pooch into salt water, always ensure that they always have access to a good supply of fresh water. Limit their access time to 15-minute increments, making sure that they drink some fresh water and enjoy some shade in between. Pay attention to their behavior, a noticeable sign of too much salt is odd behavior or confusion. And if your pal exhibits the signs of salt poisoning, seek medical attention right away!
Enjoy these summer days lazing in the pool with your best friend and remember for the both of you, drink plenty of fresh water!
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