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What is Sick After Drinking Water?

There are many reasons that your dog may be sick after drinking water. It can be as simple as drinking their water too fast - especially on hot days or after some hectic play. If this only happens occasionally then it is understandable, but if it is happening all the time then it is an issue.  The sickness could be related to some disease, infection or condition that is affecting your dog’s health. These conditions could be related to the following.

  • Esophageal dysfunction
  • Bacteria from contaminated water 
  • Blue-green algae
  • Parasites including Giardia 
  • Gastrointestinal blockage

Why Sick After Drinking Water Occurs in Dogs

Esophageal Dysfunction

 

A condition called megaesophagus is a rare condition that affects the esophagus when it fails to contract as it normally would, where it forces food and water along into the stomach. Due to a weakness in the muscles that fail to contract properly, water (and food) can build up in the throat, and as your dog drinks more, it causes a reflex action which ejects anything sitting in the esophagus.  

Bacteria From Contaminated Water 

While your dog’s bowl may look clean, if you haven’t washed it for days it can become contaminated (especially outdoor water bowls). Ponds and stagnant pools of water can contain contamination from animal or human waste, which contains bacteria including Salmonella, campylobacter and Leptospira and can cause your dog to vomit after drinking.  

Blue- Green Algae

 

Stagnant ponds and pools of water can harbor all sort of nasty toxins and pollutants that may harm your dog, such as runoff from fertilizer used on the nearby paddocks. Another concern is the elevated level of toxic blue-green algae that may be present. Canals and small lakes are best to avoid as well, although it can be hard to stop an active dog from wanting to swim in them and possibly drink as well.

Parasites 

These nasty species love living around water or may be in feces that have infected the waterway. Protozoans such as Giardia and cryptosporidium come to mind and can cause sickness. Usually, it shows as diarrhea, but your dog may be sensitive to these parasites and try to vomit them back up after drinking. 

Gastrointestinal Blockage 

If your dog is a stone carrier type, it can often result in the swallowing of a stone (or object) at some point in time. This object can cause the water to be ejected because it cannot get to the stomach. Usually, if this is the case, your dog will be looking quite sick, and you will notice him retching to try and remove the object. But even a partial blockage or growth of polyp can cause unusual behavior.

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What to do if your Dog is Sick After Drinking Water

If your dog has esophageal dysfunction, your veterinarian will be able to advise on treatment for your dog. The muscles of the esophagus tend to fill with water or food which builds up, leading to problems getting the food to the stomach. Treatment is focused towards the management of the underlying disease. Hypothyroidism and myasthenia gravis are autoimmune neuromuscular diseases that are characterised by weakness within the muscles. Drugs can be administered to increase the movement of the muscle and antibiotics will be given for secondary aspiration pneumonia. While it is a rare congenital condition, it is worth mentioning just to be aware that it can be present.

Simple cases of bacterial infections often respond to a 24-hour withholding of food (but with clean water allowed) followed by a bland diet of white meat, fish and chicken along with boiled white rice. It can take about three days for your dog to return to normal. But it is always advisable to check with your veterinarian as some bacterial infections are nasty and will need antibacterial medications to clear them up. Leptospira can result in liver and  kidney damage and death. 

Blue-green algae exposure needs immediate veterinary attention. While classed as a bacterium they deserve mention on their own since they produce colonies of blooms on the surface of ponds and pools of water, especially during the hot summer months. If your dog swims in the water, he may either get a few mouthfuls of bloom infected water or ingest it when he is grooming himself. Algae can produce vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, collapse and death- it is extremely serious. While there is no antidote for the toxin produced by the algae, the sooner you can get your dog to the veterinarian for supportive care the better the chance for survival. 

Parasitic control needs veterinarian assistance as your dog will require symptomatic treatment and medications that can hasten recovery. Most dogs will respond well to prompt treatment, supportive care and a course of antibiotics. 

Blockages need investigating whether it is an external source causing it (a stone or toy part) or whether it is disease tissue such as a growth. Your specialist will find the source and treat accordingly. It is better to take your pet to the specialist as soon as you can before it develops into a serious, life-threatening condition. Removal of the blockage will be done under anesthesia via surgical means, with supportive care after that.

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Prevention of Sick After Drinking Water

If your dog is being sick after drinking water, if he gulps his water in massive amounts, it can help to slow them down by putting ice cubes in the water bowl. If that doesn’t work, consider just giving your dog small rations of water at a time, but ensuring they do get all they need. Some dogs slurp as if the water was going out of fashion so they can get back and play, so slowing them down will allow the body processes to cope. A good practice is to discourage dogs from drinking from puddles, ponds, swimming pools (because of the chemicals) and other stagnant sources of water. When you are out walking, take along a bottle of water for your dog so that he is not tempted to drink from other sources. Ensure your dog’s bowl is clean, and change the water daily.

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Cost of Sick After Drinking Water

If your dog’s habits are making him sick such as gulping vast amounts of water, or over exerting before drinking, then there are no costs involved, just a bit of pet management. Other conditions such as megaesophagus, can cost between $500 and $6,000 depending on the severity of the condition (average cost $2500), while gastrointestinal blockages can range from $800 to $5000 with the average cost being $2500. Bacterial infection treatments range from $250 to $2000 with the average cost being $1,600.

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Sick After Drinking Water Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Husky mix

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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Bloating

My fiancé and I started getting sick from a hotel we were staying at. We thought it was food poisoning until my nursing instincts realized it was from the water. I noticed my dog started feeling the same. She doesn’t go anywhere (since she’s obese), so it had to be from the food or water. She has the same symptoms as we did. The difference is, as a husky, she’s so vocal about it and doesn’t let me sleep much. I don’t know if I’m not being diligent enough or she’s really in worse pain than I was. Help please!!!!

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- Thank you for your question. I do think it would be a good idea to have her seen by your veterinarian today. Unfortunately pepto is not very effective in dogs. Your vet can prescribe medications to help with the GI upset as well as something for her pain and a bland GI diet to help her heal. I would also recommend having a stool sample checked to rule out a parasite such as giardia causing the GI upset. I hope you all feel better soon.

Aug. 4, 2020

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shepherd pit bull mix

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3 months

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Throwing Up And Not As Active

My puppy started throwing up clear liquid after drinking water. If he eats his food after drinking water or before then food comes up as well but the liquid is still clear. He is also very mopey and lazy but will dang sure raise his head up or a piece of chicken. I have reduced his water intake by giving him water from a syringe instead of letting him gulp down from his bowl. This has slowed down his vomiting tremendously but he is still mopey and lethargic.

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. That is definitely not normal behavior for a puppy, and that would concern me. But these can be affected by parasites, infectious diseases like parvo virus, or intestinal infections. It would probably be a good idea to have your puppy examined by a veterinarian. They would be able to look at him, see what might be going on, and let you know what options for treatment there are. I hope that your puppy is okay.

July 29, 2020

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Jack Chi

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Eighteen Months

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Vomiting And Mucus In Stool

Dog vomited a big pile of granular beige colored vomit with small pink chunks in it. After giving her water. She went on to throw up all the water she drank. She is pacing back and forth in my apartment and acting anxious.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- I’m sorry she’s not feeling well. She’s likely pacing because she may be uncomfortable. If she has any further vomiting or will not eat I would recommend taking her to a veterinarian. There are many different causes of vomiting including infectious causes such as parvovirus, G.I. obstruction, pancreatitis, toxin ingestion, or gastroenteritis from something she ate. If symptoms continue it would be best to take her to a veterinarian so they can run some diagnostics (x-rays and blood work) to assess the cause of her vomiting and provide IV fluids and anti-emetics to help her feel better. I hope she feels better soon.

July 26, 2020

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Beagle

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Five Years

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Vomiting

My dog is vomiting after a match was in her butt to get her to poop. She’s a very anxious dog. She is mostly vomiting yellow and clear liquid. Keeps going for more water, crying for water but keeps vomiting after drinking water and I don’t want to keep giving her water for her just to vomit again... help!

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I'm not sure why a match was put in her rectum to help her defecate... There may be more going on there than what I'm aware of. If she is vomiting, having trouble defecating, or not acting like herself, it would probably be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. If she is drinking water and vomiting that up and not able to keep water down, there is something wrong. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. I hope she is okay.

July 21, 2020

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German Sheprador

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Seven Months

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Vomiting Clear Liquid After Drinking Water

My pup keeps vomiting a clear liquid after drinking water. He drinks aggressively so I thought maybe he was inhaling air while drinking water but it happens almost every time. I've bee giving him less to try to slow him down but it doesn't seem to help

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If he is drinking water that aggressively, that may be a problem. If you are able to offer him small quantities of water frequently, 1/4 cup every few minutes, that might help slow him down. I am concerned as to why he's drinking like that, though. If this continues, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they may want to run some lab work and see if he is okay. I hope all goes well for him.

July 16, 2020

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Zypp

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Blue Heeler

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11 Weeks

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Mild severity

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Diarrhea
Vomiting
Not Eating
Drinking But Throwing It Up Later.

I honestly dont know whats wrong with my pup.. Because he was fine all day and then after dinner he started getting sick. He drinks water but throws it up an hour or so later and has diarrhea. And refusing food.. Hes had his 1st set of shots. Someone please help!

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Akira

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Husky

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9 Months

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Lethargy
Weakness
Vomiting
Won'T Eat

My puppy is usually full of energy and eats and drinks like there's no tomorrow...today, all day, shewo t touch food, even her favorite doggie bones, and when she drinks, she throws up a few minutes later. She's really beginning to worry me...she's still slightly playful, but nothing like usual. What should I do???

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Buster

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Vomits After Drinking Water

My staff vomits after drinking water, he can eat food in morning then later in day gulp water and he would vomit which would b undigested food. This is happening daily his happy within himself. I did take him to vets cost £700 x-ray medication and no further forward, his stools are fine and his regular. Any advise much appreciated Thanks

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Luna

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Mix

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Regurgitation

My 5-year-old St. Berdoodle just started regurgitating her food right after eating. After trying to rule things out, I have noticed that it seems related to her drinking water right after eating. For example, I just fed her, she drank and immediately regurgitated. Then, I fed her again—she’s hungry—but I take away the water and the food stays down. However, she has always drank water after eating so... why would the regurgitation start now?

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Cheyenne

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Rottweiler/Pitbull

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5 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

We have a 4 month old Rottweiler/ Pitbull female. Cheyenne, yesterday she stopped eating and when she drinks water she throws up. She is lethargic shows no interest in food what so ever. No diarrhea. No bloody stools.

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