The weather is warming up! This might mean more fun in the sun with your canine best friend. If these outings include the beach or being around a lake or river, it’s important to keep drinking water safety in mind. It’s natural for dogs to want to lap up that cool water, but these natural water sources can pose some serious dangers. Pet parents should be aware of the following risks:
Bacteria: Human and animal waste can contaminate natural water sources with bacteria. Threats include salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Leptospira, all of which can cause serious infection.
Leptospira is especially alarming because it can cause serious liver damage, kidney damage, and even death. Leptospira is most commonly found in marshy water where raccoons, skunks, rodents, and other wildlife frequent.
Parasites: Giardia and cryptosporidium are both risks in outdoor water sources. If diarrhea is present within a day of water exposure, a parasite could be to blame.
Salt: Obviously, ocean water contains salt, which can lead to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration if consumed. Dogs may experience diarrhea after drinking salt water.
Chemicals: Runoff from land can send pesticides into outdoor bodies of water. Gas and oil are also risks due to boat activity.
To protect your dog, be sure to pack a portable bowl and plenty of fresh water when going on outdoor adventures. If a body of water looks especially dirty, keep your canine companion on shore. If you ever notice stomach upset, lethargy, or other signs that something is off after a trip to the lake or beach, contact a veterinarian.