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No, dogs cannot drink salt water. Saltwater or seawater contains sufficient amounts of sodium and can cause salt poisoning in dogs. Hence, even a few sips can be fatal. The sodium content in saltwater causes a disbalance of fluids in dogs.

Salt Water
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Dangerous: This food is generally considered a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of dogs. Please contact your vet, a veterinary hospital or pet poison control if you suspect your dog has eaten this food recently.

How Much Salt Water is Dangerous for Dogs?

If your dog has mistakenly swallowed a little bit of water, they might get diarrhea. However, swallowing large amounts of salt water can be fatal for your dog.

TIP: Dogs who like to swim and aren’t trained to do so can sometimes accidentally drink salt water. Swimming training1 can help you, and your dog learn techniques to prevent them from swallowing salt water while swimming.

How is Saltwater Poisoning Treated in Dogs?

If your dog has swallowed large gulps of salt water, it is crucial to rush them to the pet ER or contact the veterinarian if it is working hours.

They will begin treatment by returning your dog’s electrolyte balance to their usual levels. However, the veterinarian must be careful during this process since showing haste to lower the sodium levels can cause other health issues like cerebral edema2.

The veterinarian might also administer IV fluids to help eliminate excess fluid in your pet’s body. The treatment will take up to 3 to 4 days. It might take longer for your dog to recover, depending on your dog’s condition and how much salt water they had consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Even consuming less than a teaspoon of salt water per pound of their body weight can cause adverse effects on your dog. Consuming an excessive amount of salt is dangerous and requires immediate attention.

  • No, dogs cannot drink salt water from the beach. Consuming water from the ocean can cause harmful effects like diarrhea and vomiting and, in severe cases, can cause death.

  • If your dog has swallowed seawater containing large amounts of sodium, immediately contact the veterinarian. If it is past working hours, take them to the pet ER.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.