Pet Friendly

Swim Safety: Is Ocean Saltwater Safe For Dogs?


One of the best things about this time of year is the warm, beach-perfect weather on the forecast. But, before you pack the beach bag, make sure you’re prepared to take care of your dog while he’s romping around in the salty seawater!

While at the beach, it is important to provide your pooch fresh, clean water to drink. If not, the dog will start to drink water from the sea. This should be avoided because like in humans, drinking salt water is not safe for dogs. As a matter of fact, it can result in dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A Brief Overview

The beach may just be the ideal spot for your pooch to play, get needed exercise, and bond with other dogs. Nevertheless, keep in mind that vigorous exercise can result in loss of water in the body. Since physical stimulation will cause your dog to become even thirstier, he will most likely need water to drink while playing at the beach. If your dog is not provided with enough fresh water to drink, he might resort to salt water.

The Side Effects of Drinking Salt Water

1. Drinking salt water is unsafe because it results in an osmotic effect that triggers diarrhea, causing dehydration in your pooch to worsen.
2. Fido may also vomit if he drinks the water too quickly, which may make his dehydration even more severe.
3. Aside from that, even if your pooch does not directly glug down salt water, he still may swallow small amounts of it while he’s swimming and playing in the beach.
4. Once Fido ingests sand along with the salt water, its effects may also worsen as it can hurt your dog’s intestines.
5. There is also the chance your dog will accidentally ingest bacteria, algae, or another toxin at the beach which will make him ill later on.

How to Keep Fido from Drinking Salt Water

The best way to prevent your pooch from drinking salt water is to provide him lots of fresh water to drink while at the beach. Ideally, you need to bring a water bowl that can be refilled continually with fresh clean water. The container should be one that Fido is familiar with, so that he knows where he can find his drinking water. If the use of water bowl is not possible, try carrying a water bottle filled with fresh water. Then, simply squirt into your dog’s mouth the drinking water he needs as often as possible.

Because excessive exercise normally results in dehydration, it is crucial that you give your dog regular breaks while at the beach. It is highly advisable that you take Fido into the shade and offer him lots of water to drink at least every 20 minutes or so – more often if he is particularly active.

Bottom line, the beach is a blast for dogs – but the saltwater can be a problem. Just provide plenty of fresh water and keep an eye on your pup to prevent him from taking a sip. And, have fun!



  1. Pingback: Bright Tips for the Perfect Beach Day with your Dog - Live The Pet Life

  2. Pam

    Aug 5, 2016 at 11:46 am

    When I take my pup to the beach I only bring toys that don’t absorb water. Make her drink water at least every 10 minutes. And always check the Water Quality, here in Florida I check Healthy Beaches which can be sorted by county and each beach is tested once a week. Other states have similar water testing. If moderate we don’t go to the beach but to the park

    • Karen Dorman

      May 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Has anyone ever used a muzzle on the beach? My dog is so active and quick that is not possible to catch her quickly enough to stop her from dribbling ocean water and redirect her to fresh. I was considering a muzzle until I could give her fresh water. Any thoughts?

      • lisa

        Jul 20, 2018 at 7:39 am

        If you muzzle, use a basket style so the dog can pant (sweat) sufficiently. It might defeat the purpose though. If the dog can pant well, he can probably also open his mouth to drink the sea water.

  3. beneful dog food recall

    May 1, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Yes i totally agree with you. One of my friend lost his dog due to drinking of salt water. RIP!

  4. Dee Mui-Brown

    Aug 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    R U NUTZ????!!!!!!Drinking Saltwater is like drinking arsenic–it will kill you!!!!!!

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