Chris Taylor lives in Dunedin, Florida, and last week he went to the beach with his very best friend, his 7-year-old black lab, O.G.
It's something they've done so many times before, and had a ton of fun as usual, but this time things were different.
Later in the day, O.G. was feeling sick and threw up, and Chris did what any of us would do, boil some chicken and rice and just keep an eye on them. O.G. did eat and drink a little and seemed a little better the next day, but on Wednesday, O.G. wouldn't eat at all, and was wandering around, Chris said, almost unresponsive.
So he rushed O.G. to the vet, and what they told him next broke his heart.
O.G. was suffering from saltwater poisoning, the vet said he was severely dehydrated, and had started suffering seizures and his brain was swelling, causing brain damage. The vet said he was not responding to medication and there was nothing they could do.
Chris had to make the heartbreaking decision to put his best friend to sleep.
Salt itself can be deadly to your pet, and as a result, saltwater can be deadly too, if they ingest too much.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline,
"Salt poisoning in dogs and cats results in clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, lethargy, walking drunk, abnormal fluid accumulation within the body, excessive thirst or urination, potential injury to kidneys, tremors, seizures, coma and death."
Chris says he's heartbroken, O.G. was his best friend, so he owes it to him to draw attention to what happened so no one else has to go through what O.G. went through.
Even though he and O.G. had been to the beach so many times over the course of his life, Chris didn't know that saltwater could be deadly to O.G. and vets say the signs of danger can appear gradually, over the course of 12-48 hours, and that EVERY dog reacts differently, but you need to know that if you wait too long to take them to the vet, it could be too late.
But, if you take them at the first signs of trouble, the Pet Poison Helpline says they can be treated successfully:
"Treatment for salt poisoning includes careful administration of IV fluids, electrolyte monitoring, treatment for dehydration and brain swelling, and supportive care."
Vets do say if you and your dog love going to the beach, there are precautions you can take to avoid a tragedy.
- Limit your pet's time in the water to under 2 hours
- Watch them carefully to see if they are drinking or licking the water
- Take a break every 30 minutes
- Have plenty of fresh water available for your pet to help flush the salt from their system
You know your best friend best, so if you're both beach lovers and love frolicking in the water, please watch them carefully when you come home.