Why dogs shouldn't drink from puddles

Most dogs love to drink from puddles while walking and quench their thirst. In addition, puddles smell extremely interesting for dogs and that arouses their curiosity. Unfortunately, the pleasure for your animal companion is not without danger - pathogens lurk in the puddle water. "Oh, shouldn't I at least try the puddle water briefly?" This dog seems to be thinking. For health reasons you shouldn't allow him - Shutterstock / Ivanova N

Leptospirosis in particular poses a danger to dogs who like to drink from puddles. The pathogens can also be transmitted to humans and cause flu-like symptoms. Giardia in puddle water can also make your dog sick.

Attention! Leptospirosis hazard when dogs drink from puddles

Mice and rats in particular carry leptospires, as the pathogens of leptospirosis are called. They don't get sick themselves, but they still excrete leptospires in the urine. Since wild rats and mice do not care where their remains end up, their urine can be almost anywhere in the wild. The leptospirosis pathogens feel particularly comfortable in a humid, mild environment - which is why they multiply particularly lively in pools, ponds and puddles.

If your dog drinks the puddle water, it absorbs the leptospiras directly. Infection is noticeable through vomiting and diarrhea and frequent urination. In addition, the skin and mucous membranes turn yellow. If you suspect leptospirosis, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. Detected early, the disease can be treated well with antibiotics.

Caution! Leptospirosis is one of the so-called zoonoses - diseases that can be transmitted from animal to human. If you experience severe fever and symptoms that resemble flu, go to the doctor quickly and have it checked. Otherwise, meningitis or organ damage can occur.

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Giardia in puddle water cause diarrhea in the dog

Giardia are excreted in the faeces of infected animals and can survive in cool water for several weeks. Puddles near dog meadows and other places in nature where there are many dogs are an ideal breeding ground for the parasites. But other stagnant waters can also be contaminated with the pathogens. Dogs who drink the water from these puddles can become infected with giardia. The result: diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence and weight loss.

The same applies here: go to the vet quickly if you are suspected. It can help your dog get rid of the intestinal parasites. Certain antibiotics or worming treatments are used. As a precaution, if there are other animals living in your household, you should have them treated for Giardia. And also take care of yourself: Giardias can be passed on to people. Use rubber gloves if you come into contact with your sick dog's excretions.

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Can you stop dogs from drinking puddles?

Dogs don't know that they shouldn't drink from puddles because they can make them sick. For them it means pleasure and enjoyment to feast on the puddle water. This applies all the more to hunting dogs and other dog breeds who like to browse in the great outdoors and go on a research tour. It is therefore not easy to keep dogs from drinking puddles.

You can try to avoid danger spots - such as dog walking or nature trails near standing water. Or you can leash your dog consistently and say "No!" As soon as he approaches a puddle. The best way to offer him an alternative is to put him a drinking bowl with fresh water. Then he feels less of a punishment for not being allowed to slurp out of the puddle.

This is how you can prevent leptospirosis and giardia

There is a vaccine against some leptospirosis pathogens. Unfortunately, the vaccination does not help against the many other leptospires, but at least the risk of infection can be significantly reduced. Leptospirosis vaccination is particularly recommended for dogs that cannot avoid a puddle and a pond. Discuss with your veterinarian whether it is useful for your dog to get vaccinated.

Unfortunately there is no vaccination against Giardia. Here you can essentially only try to keep your dog away from puddles. Also make sure that there is adequate hygiene in your area and make sure that your four-legged friend does not come into contact with excrement from other animals.