It's summer and who doesn’t love to take their dog fishing or just hanging out by the lake? A dog beach is wonderful too but watch your dog carefully so he doesn't lap up the water in the lake or drink a huge gulp of salt water from the ocean.
You have to be so careful because lakes and waterways contain organisms and chemicals that can be harmful to your dog, some of which can put you at risk for zoonotic disease as well. A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. Zoonotic diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
Salmonella can be spread through water as well. Water that’s contaminated with animal or human waste can contain microscopic bacteria, including species of salmonella, campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Leptospira . If it’s not good enough for you to drink it’s not good enough for your dog.
If it doesn’t hit your dog too hard the bacterial infection at its lowest point would create diarrhea. You can imagine what a full blown effect would be like. Some of these infections can be in the stools and then if you pick it up and don’t wash your hands it can be transmitted to you.
Leptospira is not something that you want to mess around with. It thrives in areas like muddy marsh waters or stagnant waters. It can be very hazardous to your dog and create an infection, which can can result in liver or kidney damage and death. There is a vaccine for Leptospira. Ask your vet about it.
Watch for algae -- the blue-green kind. It forms blooms on top of the water and dogs consume the blooms, some of which produce toxins, such as microcystins, which can lead to liver failure, and anatoxins, which typically affect the nervous system. Signs can begin soon after ingestion and may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, collapse and death. Get your dog to the vet at once if this happens.
If your dog is swimming in the lake drinking the water, you can be sure it is drinking chemicals. Think of all the gas from boats as well as other streams that run off into the lake that have pesticides in them and herbicides.
Ocean water is full of salt and while a little won’t hurt if they consume to much they will get diarrhea and it will mess with their electrolytes.
So what can you do if you are out and about with your pup and it's thirsty? Bring plenty of water for your dog in a backpack. Bring a bowl and when you see your dog is thirsty push him to your bowl of water. He can swim and play -- just don’t let him drink the water.