I’ve even seen my one dog lapping up rainwater from the patio furniture covers! It’s so important to keep a good eye on these unwanted opportunities and clean them up or restrain your dog as necessary.
This can happen when a dog swallows too much water too quickly, such as when playing fetch in a lake with a favourite toy. Because the game is so much fun, neither the handler nor the dog may be immediately aware of the effect and the dangerous outcome. Water intoxication can lead to “dry drowning” as the lungs become too full to work properly and tax the heart. Shock symptoms may occur, along with stumbling as though drunk. The potentially fatal consequences of the filled lungs can happen hours later, and owners might not realize what the trigger was.
I often see people throwing toys far out into a lake for their dogs and actively encouraging them to go out, even when clearly (to my eye) the dog is exhausted. To avoid this potentially deadly hazard, keep the water fetch games short and sweet or move them to on land.
As our dogs’ caregiver, we need to be the responsible ones; the dog might be begging for another round, but we need to assess their current physical status and sometimes risk disappointing them for their own good. Some breeds of dogs, such as bully and mastiff breeds, have far larger mouths and are therefore more in danger of swallowing huge gulps of water. Aim to use a flat toy, such as a disc, stick, or rope, so your dog doesn’t have to open their mouth as far to grab it. Conversely, a dog will likely inhale a good amount of water picking up a big, round ball.
Also, be careful playing water games with a garden hose. Many dogs love catching streams of water from a hose, and it’s a great hot water game! To play safely, avoid spraying your dog directly in the face, aiming for the tummy and lower limbs instead, and use a gentle water setting rather than the jet.