Pet Consider

Can Dogs Drink Salt Water?

Can Dogs Drink Salt Water?

In the summertime, the best way to spend your day is by hitting the beach. Who doesn’t love bringing a cooler filled with drinks, playing in the sand, and riding the waves? However, plenty of us have probably had the unpleasant experience of accidentally drinking some salt water. It can be a truly terrible experience and may make you rethink the beach for a moment.

This is why it can be even more confusing when visiting the dog beach and you notice someone’s pet lacking up the water. Some dogs may be a bit quirky and love the taste, others pay no mind to it. Either way, we know it is not good for us, but how about our pets? They seem to enjoy it and not let a bit of salty water ruin their beach day!

Can Dogs Drink Salt Water?

Answer: No! Humans and dogs can both encounter plenty of health issues if they drink salt water. If you or your pet gulp a bit, you may be fine. But be aware, simply playing with some toys soaked in salt water can be enough to cause digestion issues for your pet. Despite they hydrating effects of water, the high amounts of salt quickly diminish these benefits and can eventually lead to dehydration.


Not only is it important to watch your dog on beach days, but be sure to hydrate them regularly with clean fresh water.

Health Benefits

There are plenty of health benefits to spending a day in the sun and running around the beach! But when it comes to salt water, there are no benefits and plenty of consequences. There is even an unpleasant name for dogs that consume too much salt water, beach diarrhea.

dog at beach

What happens during beach diarrhea is the salt your dog consumed is brought to their intestines. That salt then absorbs water, bringing it in from the blood. The result is diarrhea that is sometimes combined with mucus or blood. If a large amount of salt water is consumed, you may need to take your dog to the vet immediately. This is especially true if your dog is dehydrated, walking funny, having seizures, or vomiting.

Beach diarrhea may also cause your dog’s stools to become frequent and of a liquid consistency. This will make you very unpopular at the dog beach.

Your dog may also appear to be in pain as they use the bathroom. These symptoms could occur after you have left the beach and a few hours later when you have returned home. So always keep a close eye on your pup during beach days.

Things to keep in mind


Sand can be just as harmful to your dog’s body as the salt water. In sand, you will find algae, bacteria, and other toxins that can certainly make your dog sick.

One way to reduce the chances of your dog developing beach diarrhea, or any side effects from ingesting parts of the beach, is by taking frequent breaks. Every 15 minutes or so, stop to offer your dog some fresh water. If they do not accept the water, take a squirt bottle and gently squirt some into their mouth. This does three things for your dog.

First, it helps keep them hydrated so they are never tempted to slurp up some ocean water. If they do, the fresh water will help replenish what the salt will be removing. Second, it helps clean out their system by preventing too much salt water to be consumed at once. Lastly, when engaging in outside physical activity, even with no salt water around, your dog is still at risk for becoming dehydrated. Encourage your dog to frequently drink water so they are never at risk for encountering the unpleasant symptoms of dehydration.

All things considered, getting your dog outside gives them plenty of opportunities to get some exercise. This is much more beneficial than the risk of drinking salt water. Beach diarrhea should never discourage you from bringing your pet to the beach, it simply means you should keep an eye on them and prevent any drinking of salt water.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt your dog will love a trip to the beach. They can fetch balls, run in the sand, and even enjoy the waves. And like watching a child, you should make sure they do not consume any substances that can be harmful to their bodies. It may not be obvious consumption like slurping up some ocean water, but bit by bit the salt can build in their intestines and cause issues. Be sure to take your breaks and encourage fresh water as often as possible.

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