Dog dies suddenly after playing at the lake
A few weeks ago, Jennifer Walsh spent a day at the lake with her family. Their two-year-old schnauzer Hanz also came along. To keep the agile pooch busy, they kept throwing a stick into the water for Hanz to fetch. However, they were not to know that this innocent game would spell the end for the poor animal.
For an hour-and-a-half, Hanz ran into the lake more than 20 times to retrieve balls and sticks. At this point, no one could have suspected the danger the dog was in. It was only a little while later that the family noticed that there was something wrong with Hanz. When he came out of the water, he didn't shake himself off like he usually would. Shortly after, he started urinating uncontrollably and became lethargic.
As the animal's health quickly deteriorated, the family decided to take him to the vet. On the journey there, Hanz was in such a bad state that the Walshes had to do everything they could to keep him alive. Upon arrival at the clinic, the vet started treating Hanz straightaway — though sadly without any success. The little schnauzer had already passed away.
The Walshes only found out what had happened to their dog after he had died: Hanz had suffered from water intoxication, an illness that kills around 200,000 dogs every year.
Water intoxication is a result of ingesting too many fluids, which lowers the amount of sodium in the dog's body to dangerous levels. This is critical because the animal's kidneys require sodium to filter out water. When too much water has been ingested, the dog is susceptible to edemas, cramps and losing consciousness. As in Hanz's case, the condition can even result in death.
The first symptoms of water intoxication can be a loss of balance, nausea, vomiting or a loss of appetite. If you suspect your dog has ingested too much water, it's advised to give the animal some salt so that its body can filter out water again.
Smaller, energetic dogs that play in water are most at risk, as it takes less time for excessive amounts of water to build up in their bodies. However, this doesn't mean that larger dogs aren't susceptible to suffering from water intoxication.
Dog owners should ensure that their pets don't spend too much time in the water. This isn't just limited to retrieving objects from a lake — simply playing with water from the garden house and drinking from lawn sprinklers can also be dangers.
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The Walsh family weren't aware that dogs can ingest too much water and will always regret what happened to their beloved Hanz. "If we had known about water intoxication, maybe there would have been something more we could have done to save him," Jennifer said.
The family now wants spare other dogs from a similar fate by sharing Hanz's story on Facebook. The post has been shared over 80,000 and will hopefully save many dogs' lives from this illness.