Lack of knowledge results in tragedy thousands of times yearly. What’s killing all these dogs?   Hyponatremia, commonly called ‘water intoxication.’

Let’s begin with a true story!

Jen Walsh, her husband, children, and their two-year-old Schnauzer, named Hanz, were enjoying a family day at the lake.  As always, the dog joined in the fun.

Hanz loved a good retrieval game, but his favorite was when they played it at the lake.  He loved rushing into the water to retrieve a stick or ball.  This was when Hanz was at his happiest, excited, and a bundle of energy.  Each time he came back, he made it clear he wanted more.  Jen kept playing the game with him.

Over an hour and a half, Jen and Hanz repeated the retrieval process more than twenty times.  Hanz seemed so happy, but he was in danger, and neither Jen nor her husband knew.

Hanz was a healthy young dog, but the last time he came out of the water, Jen noticed he didn’t shake the water off as he usually did.  Instead, he slumped to the ground looking completely worn out.

Jen noticed Hanz’s condition was quickly worsening, and the family decided he needed a vet.  He continued to worsen as they rushed to the vet.  Jen was afraid they wouldn’t make it in time.  They finally arrived at the vet’s and carried Hanz in.

Tragically, it was too late.  Hanz died of hyponatremia (water intoxication).

Every Year Thousands of Dogs Die From It

A dog’s body loses sodium when it has an excessive intake of fluid.  His cells then fill with water and swell.  If the cells in the brain swell, in turn affecting the central nervous system, it can be fatal.

Water intoxication can occur in a swimming pool, lake, river, or ocean.

Lack of Knowledge Results In Tragedy
Lack of Knowledge Results In Tragedy

Dogs don’t know when they need to stop drinking, so it can even happen when they are drinking from a water hose.

Symptoms to Watch For —


Widened pupils and a glazed look



Loss of Appetite

Excessive Licking



Stomach Bloating

In Severe Instances –


Loss of Consciousness

Difficulty Breathing

Small dogs are at the greatest risk.  They are generally high energy and love the water.  In relation to their size, they can absorb a lot of water.  If a dog of any size loves to totally submerge himself or if he loves to throw himself into waves, he is also at high risk.  A dog who loves to snap at or catch spraying water from a hose or lawn sprinkler, is also at high risk.

If you even suspect your dog may be suffering from water intoxication, get to a vet quickly.  Better yet, be careful and don’t let this happen to your dog.

Everyone with a dog needs to know this information. 



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