Pets for studWanted petsBreeders

Accessories & services

Knowledge hub


Support & safety portal
Pets for saleAll Pets for sale
Sea Water is Poisonous to Dogs

Sea Water is Poisonous to Dogs

Health & Safety

There's nothing nicer than enjoying a great day out on a beach with a four-legged friend and now the warmer weather is here, lots of people head off to the coast for an adventure which their pooches really enjoy. Seeing your dog careering along a stretch of sand chasing seagulls, or cavorting in the waves is a lot of fun. Some dogs adore swimming in the ocean and enjoy plunging into the waves to retrieve a favourite beach toy. However, you need to be a little careful that your pet doesn't try to drink or swallow too much sea water and if they do, to recognise the clinical signs there may be something wrong.

The signs that your dog may have ingested too much sea water include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Unstable on feet, appearing drunk
  • An abnormal amount of fluid building up in their body
  • Excessive thirst and/or urination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

A dog that has swallowed too much salt water could also suffer serious kidney damage and if left untreated they will dehydrate rapidly which could prove fatal. If you notice anything wrong or your dog starts behaving weirdly, you need to get them to the vet as soon as you.

How to Prevent Salt Water Poisoning

When you take your dog for an adventure day at the beach, it's really important that you take plenty of fresh water with you. If you don't want to carry a water bowl you can use their Frisbee instead. The chances are your dog will be extremely excited because being on a beach is a thrilling experience with lots of new and intriguing smells to check out – some of which are not that pleasant to humans! However, dogs love them and as such all the running about is going to make them pant excessively and use up loads of energy which in turn means your pet will lose a lot of body water – and then extreme thirst kicks in.

This raises a problem because when thirsty, a dog will happily drink sea water if they can't find a fresh water source around and because dogs are totally unaware of how dangerous this is for them, they will drink a lot if they are allowed to. Sea water contains an extremely high concentration of sodium and the result of dogs drinking excessive amounts of it sees salt levels in their bodies shoot up which is a condition known as hypernatremia. This in turn sees an increase in osmolality of the blood.

As soon as a dog does get access to fresh water, they will drink buckets full as a way to counteract the high levels of sodium in their bodies. Unfortunately, this excessive drinking of fresh water can result in their brain's swelling due to the rapid changes in fluids.

Treatment for Salt Water Poisoning

Dogs suffering from salt water poisoning must be given lots of IV fluids and have their electrolytes constantly monitored. They would also need to be given the right veterinary treatment to counteract any dehydration and swelling of the brain. There's a tremendous amount of supportive after-care that a dog would also need if they are to make a full recovery from sea water poisoning. As with all emergency treatments, the sooner a dog is taken to the vet and treated, the better their chances are of making a recovery.

Prevention is Crucial

The only way to prevent your dog from ingesting too much sea water when they are enjoying a day out at the beach with you, is to keep a close eye on them and to always carry a bottle or two of fresh water. Frisbees make great emergency water bowls so you don't have to carry a bowl with you when out for a walk. Dogs love cavorting in the water and the sand, they are going to lose a lot of water through any intense exercise they get and if you notice they are panting a lot, it's time to offer them some fresh water ensuring they drink enough to quench their thirst.


You should never be put off taking your dog for a day out at the beach because you're scared they might ingest too much sea water. It's something our canine friends really enjoy and there's nothing nicer than playing fetch"" with them on a stretch of sand. Beaches are great for letting dogs off their leads so they can really let off steam. You just need to be very careful and keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't start lapping at the waves because they are thirsty If they do, you should immediately offer them some fresh clean water which you should always carry with you on a day out at the beach with your beloved pooch.