Can Dogs Drink Ocean Water?

Who doesn’t love a good day at the beach?

The sun, sand, waves, and of course, your furry friend in tow.

Taking a splash in the ocean is one of the best parts of summertime.

However, before letting your pup dive right in, you might be wondering- what is the effect of ocean water on dogs?

Can they even drink it?

Can dogs drink ocean water?

Ocean water isn’t good for dogs to drink.

Salt and other minerals are harmful to a dog’s health.

It causes gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Besides, the salt makes your dog’s fur dry and brittle.

Moreover, the high sodium content in ocean water increases the risk of dehydration by offsetting fluid levels in your dog’s body.

In this article, we’ll dive into the details of whether or not it’s safe for dogs to drink ocean water.

We’ll also provide tips on keeping your pup safe and hydrated during a day at the beach.

Can Dogs Drink Ocean Water

Why is My Dog Drinking Ocean Water?

Did you know that your dog’s body is about 60% water?

That means they need to drink a lot of water daily to stay hydrated-and ocean water just won’t cut it.

There are a few possible explanations explaining why your dog is lapping up ocean water.

The Taste of Salt

Just like humans, some dogs enjoy the taste of salty water.

If your dog drinks a small amount of ocean water, it probably won’t be harmful.

However, we wouldn’t recommend making it a habit.


Strenuous activities, such as playing fetch or swimming, make your dog thirsty.

If you’re at the beach and there’s no fresh water available, your pup may be tempted to drink ocean water to satisfy its thirst.

Due to Curiosity

Dogs enjoy the waves and splashing around in the water.

While they’re playing, they may accidentally ingest some ocean water.

Thus, it may lap up some water out of curiosity.

Upset Stomach

If your dog has an upset stomach, it may drink ocean water to soothe its digestive system.

This is particularly common if your dog has diarrhea.

What Happens if My Dog Drinks Ocean Water?

Perhaps you accidentally swallowed some ocean water while swimming.

You remember the disgusting taste and the feeling of wanting to vomit.

The same thing happens when your dog drinks ocean water.

In small amounts, ocean water usually doesn’t cause serious health problems.

However, ingesting too much salt water leads to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.

This is because salt pulls water out of cells, which causes them to shrink.

Below is what you should look for if you think your dog has ingested too much ocean water.


Dehydration is a serious condition that can be life-threatening.

When your dog’s body loses too much water, it causes the blood to become thick and sticky.

As a result, the heart must work harder to pump blood throughout the body.

This puts stress on the organ and can lead to organ failure.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dry nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite.

Electrolyte Imbalance

An electrolyte imbalance occurs when there’s an abnormality in the level of electrolytes in the blood.

This can be caused by dehydration or drinking too much ocean water.

Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance in dogs include; muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, and lethargy.

What to Do if Your Dog Drinks Ocean Water

When your furry friend is frolicking in the waves, it’s impossible to keep an eye on them every second.

Therefore, if you think your dog has ingested too much salt water, watch out for the saltwater toxicity.

If you notice any symptoms, take your pup to the vet immediately.

Contact your Veterinarian

At the vet, they will give your dog IV fluids to help restore its electrolyte and fluid levels.

They may also give your dog Mannitol medicine, which helps reduce brain swelling.

Give Plenty of Fresh Water

Pack enough fresh water for your dog to drink throughout the day to prevent dehydration.

Moreover, bring some snacks or dog food to help replenish their energy levels.

For instance, iced chicken or turkey is a refreshing and hydrating dog treat.

Clean your Dog

After a day of fun in the sun, rinse your dog off with fresh water.

This helps remove any salt or sand stuck to their fur.

Thus, your dog will not lick the salt water off their fur, which can cause vomiting.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach

Now that you know the risks of letting your dog drink ocean water, you might be wondering how to keep them safe and hydrated during a day at the beach.

Here are some tips:

  • Bring plenty of fresh water and offer it to your pup frequently.
  • Use a portable dog water bowl that can be attached to your beach chair or umbrella.
  • Give your dog wet towels to cool off with in-between swims.
  • Ensure your dog takes breaks in the shade to avoid overheating.
  • Bring some healthy snacks, such as freeze-dried liver or chicken, for energy boosts.

Can Dogs Drink Ocean Water FAQs

Can ocean water cause itching in dogs?

Ocean water causes irritation and itchiness in some dogs.

This is because of the salt content and other minerals present in the water.

If your dog starts to itch after swimming, rinse them off with fresh water as soon as possible.

When can I take my puppy to the beach?

Puppies can start going to the beach as soon as they have received their final round of vaccinations.

This is usually around 16 weeks of age.

However, it’s best to wait until your puppy is at least six months old before taking them swimming in the ocean.

What other risks are there for dogs at the beach?

Besides ocean water, there are other dangers to be aware of when bringing your dog to the beach, such as heatstroke, saltwater poisoning, sand, and sharp shells.

Therefore, it’s important to keep a close eye on your furry friend and provide them with plenty of fresh water and shade.


Taking your dog to the beach is a fun way to spend a day.

However, be aware of the risks associated with letting them drink ocean water.

Ocean water contains high levels of salt, which cause dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.

Thus, take precautions to keep your dog safe and hydrated during a day at the beach.

Bring plenty of fresh water and offer it to them frequently.

Carry cooling mats or wet towels to help your dog stay cool.

Megan Turner
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