Is It Safe for My Dog to Drink From Rivers, Lakes or Oceans?

Parasites. Outdoor water sources are also sources for parasites, including species of the protozoans Giardia and cryptosporidium. If your dog gets diarrhea after a day on the water, one of these may be the culprit.


Chances are, these parasites won’t be spread to humans, but there is a slight risk for those who are immunocompromised.

Chemicals. Outdoor bodies of water can not only contain surface runoff from surrounding lands, such as pesticides and herbicides, but other chemicals like gasoline and oil from boaters.


Salt.Consuming a little bit of ocean salt water probably won’t hurt your dog, but large amounts of it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Dogs drinking ocean water may also experience diarrhea.

So What’s a Dog Owner to Do?

When heading into the great outdoors with your dog, always pack a portable bowl and plenty of fresh water. If you notice your dog trying to drink out of a river or lake(or the ocean), lead him to his water bowl.


In cases where the water smells or looks dirty (as enticing as that is for most dogs), it might be better to keep him on shore. And if your dog doesn’t seem like himself after a day on the river, lake or beach, take him to your veterinarian, just to be sure.

And remember: If you wouldn’t drink the water, it’s probably not safe for your dog to drink either.


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