A 29-year-old student at South Florida University is trying to get the word out about saltwater poisoning since his dog died suddenly after spending a few hours at the beach.
The student, Chris Taylor, was devastated by the loss. He'd had the labrador retriever, nicknamed O.G., for seven years, and often took him to the beach.
After Taylor finished with classes last Monday, he took O.G. to Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Beach in Dunedin, Florida where the two spent several hours playing and soaking in some sunshine.
Taylor had no idea anything was wrong until he got home and O.G. started vomiting and having diarrhea. He monitored the dog closely over the next days, even cooking him up some boiled chicken and rice. But when symptoms didn't improve by Wednesday, Taylor took him to the vet.
The vets quickly determined that the dog had saltwater poisoning. Sadly, it was already too late as the lab had undergone severe brain damage, was dehydrated, and having seizures.
In an interview with WFLA, Taylor said:
They told me, there's nothing we can do right now. I thought, this is my son. I don't have children of my own.
Commenters sympathized for Taylor's loss:
Dog Owner Warns Others of Saltwater Poisoning After Beloved Lab Dies After Florida Beach Visit https://t.co/5UoPhUm80e Gosh, I'm so sorry. Sadness. I guess it's like people. Don't drink salt water, at least, like drinking water. Such sadness. Poor guy, poor dog.— Nellie (@NellyNellieNels) July 14, 2018
Just like Taylor, a lot of people didn't even know that this danger exists:
oh how sad---this is the 1st I have heard of this danger!— positively wendy devereaux (@WendyPositively) July 16, 2018
i knew saltwater intake is bad for human an fresh-water fish. i never realized it could happen to cats and dogs too.— jimmie cooper boswell (@Rabbee_jimmie) July 14, 2018
just thought i would spread the warning.
Dr. Katy Meyer from Tampa Bay Emergency Veterinary Services told WFLA that she's seen this happen many times since she started practicing in 1979. She warned that saltwater poisoning can catch pet owners unaware:
Things can come on gradually and you're not aware of how serious things are up front.
If you're planning on taking your dog to the beach, Dr. Meyer's advice is to limit the trip to no more than two hours, take a break every half an hour, and bring a bowl with plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink while there.
Check out the Pet Poison Helpline for a full list of symptoms.
If you suspect your pet may have saltwater poisoning, get them to a vet immediately.