You may have heard the shocking story about the woman who died from drinking too much water for a radio show competition.
The contestants were given eight-ounce bottles of water to drink every 15 minutes, and the objective was to see who could drink the most water without using the restroom.
Jennifer died hours after taking part in the competition and her autopsy confirmed that she died from water intoxication.
Can Water Intoxication Happen to Dogs?
This got me wondering whether this could happen to dogs as well.
Whenever I take my Boston terrier, Lucy, to the dog park she swims for hours and almost always ingests a ton of water. She definitely has a wonderful time, but when we get home—she has to pee at least six or seven times before bed-time. And every now and then she gets so exhausted that she has accidents, once she even had an accident on my bed!
Now this is very uncharacteristic for Lucy, so I started to wonder if drinking all this water at the lake could be harming her health. So I started doing some research and this is what I found …
The Science Behind Water Intoxication
The scientific name for water toxicity is hyponatremia or sometimes it’s also called hyper-hydration. It’s caused from overexertion, heavy perspiration, and drinking large amounts of water to rehydrate.
Water toxicity can lead to an electrolyte imbalance and is a potentially FATAL disturbance that occurs in the brain. If water enters the body more quickly than it can be removed, body fluids are diluted and a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance occurs.
This causes the cells to swell as a result of changes in osmotic pressure from within. When this occurs in the cells of the central nervous system and brain, water intoxication is the result.
- Headache and/or malaise
- Cerebral edema
- And even death
Water intoxication may start out with mild symptoms, however the symptoms may quickly escalate as the water continues to enter the body from the stomach.
So if you’re going to go swimming with your Boston terrier, always keep an eye on just how much water your dog is ingesting.
If you think she’s getting too much, stop whatever activity you are doing and give your Boston a break! Better to be safe than sorry.