While some breeds of dogs are natural-born swimmers, there’s a very real danger in ocean water for dogs that pet owners might not be aware of. One man’s tragic story is a cautionary tale for other pet owners, so take note. When Florida resident Chris Taylor took his black Labrador Retriever O.G. to the beach recently, the six-year-old dog became quite ill.
He’s now warning others about saltwater poisoning, as O.G. started showing symptoms of dehydration, including unsteadiness and diarrhea, after swimming at a Tampa Bay beach.
Chris wasn’t too concerned initially, believing that O.G. was probably just tired from the activity. The dog later appeared to feel better, but two days later, the pooch stopped eating. When Chris took O.G. to the vet, he was told the dog’s brain was swelling and that he wouldn’t survive the illness.
Chris told Fox 13 how shocking this unexpected loss was, saying: “It still feels surreal. It doesn’t feel like reality. I [have] to get a grip on that and realize that it is real and he’s gone.’
Further, veterinarian Melissa Webster told Fox 13 that dogs will sometimes ingest ocean water believing it to be fresh water. This can have deadly consequences because their bodies can’t handle the salt content.
Dr. Webster noted: “When I brought my puppy to the beach for the first time, I was literally there for only 10 minutes. He was drinking it like it was water in the pool. So for him, 10 minutes was more than enough.”
She further explained that providing enough fresh water to dogs while at the beach can curb their desire to drink the ocean water.
For Chris, he is, naturally, heartbroken over the devastating loss of his four-legged friend, saying, “If there was a tennis ball and a stick in a big body of water that’s what he would love to do most.”
While many of the people weighing in with comments on the Daily Mail’s coverage of this story remarked with worry about exposing their dogs to salt water, one person noted that it’s still safe to take your dog to the beach. They wrote: “If fresh water is available, dogs will not do this. This is avoidable… take your dog to the beach, bring plenty of water for them to drink and have a good time. This poor thing drank saltwater as a last resort and probably held out trying to avoid it.”
Others shared their condolences for Chris’ loss, with one commenter writing: “Oh my! I’m so sorry! Losing a dog for many of us is like losing a family member. O.G.’s owner must be heartbroken. I thank him for warning us dog owners of this. I had no idea but will keep a close eye on my dog when we go down to the doggy beach. Please know you may talk to others who have lost a pet and they will acknowledge and honor your grief.”
Another commenter, shared: “I can understand how easy it would be for a dog to ingest too much salt water. My heart breaks for this poor man. He has lost his best friend and is trying to make sure his dog did not die in vain. Hopefully his warning will save some lives.”