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Unclean Beaches: How Are They Hazardous to Dogs?

Unclean Beaches

Unclean Beaches: We all love to take a nice walk on the beach now and then. For some people, it’s even a common morning ritual where they often take their pet along, thinking it may be a good way to help them rejuvenate. Unfortunately, the beach is not as safe and friendly of a place for dogs as it may have been a few decades ago, and it’s all thanks to the unclean environment.

We’re often led on by the notion that dogs can survive in most conditions, but it couldn’t have been more wrong. Dogs are also susceptible to catching life-threatening diseases, and unclean water is a major source of them. Here are all the diseases your dog can contract through contaminated seawater.

Blue-Green Algae

The blue-green algae have killed many dogs over the years. While a major source of the algae is seawater itself, dogs have also died after ingesting fish that contained the blue-green algae. Internal bleeding and liver damage are some of the most deadly consequences of the algae, often requiring a blood transfusion to prevent clotting.

Red Tide

If you’re not aware of the deadly phenomenon by now, this is the same disease that killed millions of fish, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles on Florida’s east and west coast back in 2018.

Therefore, you ought to have a good reason to believe that it can also harm your pets. The way it kills sea creatures is that it affects their nervous system by releasing toxins. Larger mammals often contract it after eating smaller infected fish. Moreover, the effects aren’t limited to sea animals only. Being in their close proximity can cause sneezing and coughing in humans, and if they end up swimming in the same water, they can also end up with irritated eyes.

Most dogs lick themselves when they get wet, and that’s how red tide gets into their systems. Therefore, if you suspect the presence of red tide in the water, wash your pet right away and always be on the lookout for symptoms.

Vibrio Vulnificus

The bacteria often develop naturally in warm climates and salty seawater. The way it enters the body is usually through abrasion or cut. Eating uncooked seafood such as oysters from contaminated seawater is also a source of this infection.

Sargassum Seaweed

This type of seaweed can contain heavy metals, and if it starts rotting, it can also release hydrogen sulfide excessively. If you’re unaware, inhaling hydrogen sulfide can cause throat, nose, and eye irritation among humans and animals alike.

If the chemical is inhaled at large levels, it may also cause balance problems, tiredness, poor memory, and headaches. However, the good news is that it doesn’t cause any life-threatening conditions. At most, your dog may end up getting blisters and rashes, but they may also experience severe irritation and discomfort.

Drinking Sea Water

Even if your dog drinks excessive water from a clean ocean, it can still have an impact on their health due to the salty nature of that water.
So you can imagine what contaminated water can do to them. Drinking too much seawater can cause dehydration. If your dog ends up drinking more sewater, it might cause them to puke or have diarrhea as a result. While most dogs learn their lesson after a single visit to the beach, the threat is still present. Therefore, the best way to prevent them from drinking contaminated seawater is by bringing loads of freshwater along.

What Symptoms Should You Watch Out For?

“Beach diarrhea” is the name most veterinarians give to the sickness that results after your dog consumes contaminated seawater. If you think your dog has had any amount of salty seawater, you must watch their health closely for a few days. Here are some symptoms associated with toxicity you should look out for:

  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If you suspect the presence of any of these symptoms, take your dog to a vet right away, as it’s the only way to restore their water balance and electrolytes to regular levels.

Can You Prevent Your Dog From Becoming Sick?

Again, the saying that prevention is better than cure is as relevant to dogs as it is to humans. Even though there have been several advancements in their treatment over the years, why let them be sick at all?

Therefore, remember to take your pet’s water bottle along before your next visit to the beach. Remember that spending time at the beach can be a great way for you and your pet to bond, and you shouldn’t let their love of drinking ocean water get in the way. So, by being mindful of the following factors, you’ll be able to spend quality time with them while ensuring their safety.

  • Monitor their time around the water
  • Offer them fresh water and make sure they stay hydrated throughout the visit.
  • Take a break in between while playing.
  • Look out for any noticeable changes in their behavior and also check for any symptoms of saltwater poisoning. If suspected, take them to a vet right away.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are way too many toxins in the water and air these days, which is why you should always be careful before taking your dog out for fun. Make sure to have them vaccinated against all major diseases and keep them away from seawater as much as you can. Remember, an unclean beach does not only mean toxic water; it also means that the surroundings are unclean.

This brings us to the conclusion that the beach and the land surrounding it can both be a source of diseases for your dog, given how most owners don’t bother cleaning up after their pet and end up exposing other dogs to waste left behind. Unless you want to set the same standards for other pet owners, it’s better to ensure every pet’s safety by playing a role on a personal level and cleaning up after your dog, no matter where you take them.