Thursday, March 10, 2016

Standing water makes for sick dogs

Liam the pug is thinking about drinking from a puddle
Liam the pug is a true Oregon dog, so he goes for walks in the rain and the shine. And this time of year, his walks are much more likely to be wet, not dry.

With spring in Oregon comes rain. And that means almost every sinkhole, crevasse and crack is filled with water. And Liam sometimes thinks those puddles make for nice watering holes.

Pugs can be heat sensitive, and a springtime temp of 65 can make Liam really thirsty, especially if we've walked for quite some time. He starts to pant, and each little breath causes him to lose quite a bit of moisture from his mouth. It's reasonable for him to look for puddles to drink from.

But, those puddles could be filled with all sorts of nasty stuff. Standing water is often made up of runoff from yards and flowerbeds that have been treated with herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or mulches. Any of these additives could be poisonous to a small dog.

Also, standing water could come with a sheen of oil or antifreeze. And some pools of water contain giardia or leptospirosis spores.

Liam the pug is pleading to drink out of a puddle

In theory, contaminated water would taste bad or smell bad, so dogs wouldn't want to take a sip. But Liam often looks at me with longing when we walk past a pool of the stuff. He's desperate to drink out of this puddle in my side yard, for example, even though that pool of water is crammed with leaves, dirt and other contaminants. He doesn't care. He wants to drink it.

Beefing up the "leave it" command is an excellent way to get past these fall dangers. I use that command when I see Liam thinking about dropping his head to drink from one of these pools. If he looks at me, he gets a cookie.

Bringing water along in a bottle or bowl can also be helpful. That way, when your dog sees something to drink, you can replace the nastiness with liquid you've brought from home. I routinely use water bowls while hiking with Liam, but in the spring, I might need to take along a bowl, too.

And finally, if you see your dog drinking from a puddle, don't panic. Lure the dog away with a treat, and then monitor for health. Any trembling, vomiting or other unusual symptoms should prompt a visit to the veterinarian.

I know we need the rain, so I am choosing not to complain. But I urge everybody to be careful with the puddle season. No sick pups on my watch!

I'm joining the Pet Parade by Rascal and Rocco this week!

Be sure to check out some of the other awesome blogs included. It's always a good time. And be sure to leave me a message, so I'll know you were here!


  1. Great advice and so important to remember when you're out and about with your pup.

    We do a lot of off-leash hiking with Haley and sometimes she comes across a puddle before we do, but your advice about the "leave it" command and carrying water with us usually does the trick.

    1. That's my favorite all-purpose command. It works for so many things!

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Jean. Puddles are fun for stomping through, but not for drinking from!

    1. You're right about the stomping, for sure!

  3. We carry water with us on our walks because Bentley gets really thirsty too. We just say no to puddle water. ☺

    1. I'll bet Bentley does get thirsty. He's a big guy!