HONOLULU (KHON2) — As the summer heat kicks in, it’s important for pet owners to be mindful of risks that can occur if they’re taking their furry loved ones on a fieldtrip to the beach. Dogs love to play fetch and chase waves, but these activities can also make them thirsty.

If you ever swallowed a mouthful of ocean water, you know how unpleasant it tastes. But for dogs, it can be dangerous for them, even deadly.

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“The best thing is to be aware and prevent salt water toxicity. We want to have a great time, but we don’t want our babies to get sick,” said Dr. Eric Ako, Hawaii Kai Veterinary Clinic. “In the excitement of the beach, your dog may swallow more salt water than you think.”

This can happen when you throw that stick or ball in the ocean, and your dog’s swimming — and also swallowing salt water — to get it. Dr. Ako warns that salt toxicity will result in your dog being lethargic, weak and inactive, not acting normal. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur.

According to the American Kennel Club (ATK), this can happen within a few hours if your dog drinks excessive amounts of salt water. In severe cases, your dog may suffer muscle tremors and seizures.

“If ongoing, this may be life-threatening. In any case, it’s unpleasant,” said Dr. Ako. “This is a common emergency in Hawaii, especially in summer.”

ATK says the best thing you can do to keep your dog safe is to make sure they always have access to fresh water. Don’t let them drink from the ocean, and if they’re playing in it, let them take a break every 15 minutes to avoid salt poisoning.

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ATK also warns pet owners of the dangers of sand ingestion. This can happen if your dog grabs a wet, sandy ball over and over, or licks the sand off their paws. Swallowing a little bit of sand won’t hurt your dog, but in large quantities, your dog may have a big problem. Click here to learn more.