MIAMI (WSVN) - A dog owner in Tampa is devastated over the loss of his dog, two days after his pet ingested large amounts of saltwater at the beach.
Chris Taylor told WFLA his 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever named O.G. loved going to the dog beach and frolicking in the water.
“He always wanted to be doing what I was doing,” Taylor told the station. “He’s my family. He’s just so goofy and just always excited to see me when I came through the door.”
Taylor and his four-legged best friend visited the dog beach at Honeymoon Island for several hours on Monday.
But later that evening, O.G. started vomiting and had diarrhea. The next day, Taylor said the lab was lethargic, though he was eating and drinking water.
Things took a sharp turn for the worse on Wednesday as O.G. stopped eating or responding to his owner. Taylor said his dog appeared to be wandering around in a daze and staring blankly at the wall.
Taylor rushed O.G. to the vet, but it was too late. Doctors said O.G. was suffering from saltwater poisoning, and that he was severely dehydrated, and he had suffered brain damage.
“I saw him last night, and he was convulsing, and I asked if he was in pain, she said, ‘I don’t even think he knows where he is,'” Taylor said.
Doctors at VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital said saltwater is incredibly toxic to animals. If dogs ingest large amounts of it, it can cause life-threatening conditions including brain damage, seizures and dehydration.
“Gastrointestinal distress, so vomiting and diarrhea, which unfortunately, is going to exacerbate any sort of fluid imbalances that — just by ingesting the salt — they will incur,” said Dr. Randi Fishkin.
It’s a danger that dog owners at Hobie Beach in Miami were not aware of.
“I’m scared, because I didn’t know I was doing something wrong for my dog,” said dog owner Patricia Rodino. “I thought it was nice to bring her here, but now I realize it’s not really healthy for her.”
“It’s definitely something to be aware of, but as long as they’re not ingesting a lot of water, I think it’s not going to interfere with my activities with my dog,” said dog owner Neena Black.
“There’s danger everywhere. I think you just have to be careful and watch your dog the same way as you would be watching your kids,” said another beachgoer.
Veterinarians said that if pet owners want to take their pups to the beach, it’s best to limit the trip to just two hours and to take breaks every half-hour and have them drink plenty of water.
“The best thing to do is to always have an abundance of fresh water for them to be able to ingest,” said Fishkin, “so that if they are thirsty out on the beach, that they are not tempted to drink the saltwater.”
They urged dog owners to look for signs of vomiting or diarrhea if they suspect their pets have ingested too much saltwater.
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