Vets warn of 'dry drowning' for dogs

“Dry drowning” can happen hours or even days after going to the beach. (Photo: Pxhere / CC0 1.0 )

Before bringing your dogs to the beach this weekend, veterinarians warn about a condition called “dry drowning.”

“Dry drowning” can happen hours or even days after going to the beach, when a dog swallows too much saltwater. Sand can also be swallowed and become impacted. Both require immediate surgery.

“It’s not very common, but it definitely happens,” explained Dr. Dale Porchei at Shores Animal Clinic. “Their lungs are filled with fluid and can actually die from that.”

Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, skin and gums changing color, drooling and coughing.

Dr. Porchei says rather than spending thousands of dollars on surgery, the best way to treat the issue is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

“Make sure he’s being closely monitored. Keep him on a leash,” said Dr. Porchei. “Make sure your dog has good social skills.”

You can also throw a rubber ball that sand won’t stick to, play in dry areas rather than wet ones and prevent your dog from digging.

“You don’t wanna put the dog through that, and you don’t wanna put yourself through that," Dr. Porchei said.

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