It was a tragic accident that didn’t need to happen.

Ben Carthy and his wife Lucy were devastated after their dog Max died after playing in a lake. Their beloved springer spaniel, Max, died from swallowing too much water.

Ben shared:

“We are so unbelievably devastated that a simple game of fetch in the water, something we had done a hundred times before, resulted in such a perfect day turning into our worst nightmare.

“Water intoxication was something we knew nothing about. At this time of year, so much awareness is spread about not leaving dogs in hot cars but no one ever mentions the hazardous effects of your dog ingesting too much water while playing.”

iNews UK

Water intoxication results in deadly LOW levels of sodium.

What happens when a dog takes in too much water?

When your dog takes in more water than his body can process, the excess water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance.

When sodium levels fall, cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells — including those in the brain — to swell.

The ultimate results can be lethal.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication

Lethargy might be the first sign a pet parent sees. After a good play session, dogs are usually tired but happy.

A dog with water intoxication will be tired to the point of collapse. Neurologic signs are probably already occurring, so look for a “spacey” appearance to the eyes.

Vomiting water and excess drooling are also key first signs. Seizures can occur if neurologic signs continue to progress.

Look for:

  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Coordination loss
  • Excessive salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Glazed eyes
  • Pale gums

Although it’s not common for Morkies to play in the water for long periods of time, it is worth knowing about Water Intoxication and its potential effects.

RECAP – Water intoxication

  • Water intoxication is a rare but often fatal condition in dogs. Dogs that love being in the water and playing with sprinklers or hoses are at the highest risk.
  • Water intoxication causes hyponatremia, a condition in which sodium levels drops to dangerously low levels.
  • Symptoms of water intoxication include staggering, vomiting, pale gums, and dilated pupils; severe cases can cause loss of consciousness and death.
  • Water intoxication is a medical emergency, and even with aggressive veterinary care, many dogs do not survive.

It’s actually possible for your Morkie to ingest too much water, and each year a small percentage of water-loving dogs get dangerously drunk on their favorite beverage.

Water intoxication can result in a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia, which is an excessively low blood sodium level. Dogs that play in the water for long periods of time are at highest risk, as are dogs that ingest water from a lawn sprinkler or hose.

Reduce the risk of your dog taking in too much water

  • Reduce the time your dog spends in the swimming pool.  He is probably drinking all the water that comes into his mouth.
  • Make sure your dog does not play with water sprinkles or a running hose.
  • Always provide a sufficient amount of water on your pet´s bowl.