Dog passes away after playing common game with owner – family wants to warn others of hidden danger

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For this California family, a simple game of fetch and a refreshing swim turned into a tragic event. Jen Walsh and her family spent a summer day at the lake in 2017, bringing along their two-year-old Schnauzer named Hanz. As usual, Hanz eagerly joined in on the family fun, happily fetching sticks and balls that Jen threw into the water. With each toss and retrieval, Hanz returned with an endless supply of energy and excitement.


After playing fetch and swimming for over an hour and a half, Hanz had retrieved more than twenty balls and sticks from the lake. Although he appeared content, little did anyone know the danger he was in. Shortly after, Jen noticed that something was off with Hanz. Unlike his usual behavior, he didn’t shake off the water and looked exhausted.

Jen Walsh/Facebook

As Hanz’s condition deteriorated rapidly, Jen and her family rushed him to the veterinarian, where he continued to worsen. Despite their efforts, the little Schnauzer could not be saved and passed away. Only after Hanz had passed did Jen discover the cause of it – water intoxication, or hyponatraemia as it is also known.

“You hear about dogs that do swimming competitions and you never hear about that being a concern for them,” Jen Walsh told “It can apparently happen to any dog.”


Jen recounted that she and her family, which included her husband and 8-year-old daughter, had taken a trip to the lake with Hanz for her nephew’s birthday celebration. For about ninety minutes, the family played fetch with Hanz, throwing sticks into the lake.

During this time, Hanz appeared lively and energetic, eagerly chasing after the sticks. However, at one point, Hanz suddenly stopped and began to shiver in the water. Jen became concerned when Hanz did not shake off the water after getting out of the lake, as dogs typically do.

“He was always shaking himself dry after getting wet, so I knew something was amiss,” she explained.

Veterinarians have noted that water intoxication is more common in smaller dogs with lower body fat, high energy levels, and a fondness for being in water. The condition can also affect young children.

It is essential to keep in mind that dogs may not be able to regulate their water intake, particularly when playing in water bodies like the ocean, a pool, or drinking from a hose.

Early signs of water intoxication in dogs include weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Additional symptoms may consist of tiredness, confusion, excessive licking, bloated stomach, widened pupils, and a glazed expression. In severe cases, dogs may face difficulty breathing, cramps, or even lose consciousness. Therefore, pet owners should remain vigilant for any potential symptoms and quickly seek medical assistance if they appear.

Pet owners are advised to seek veterinary attention if they observe any symptoms of water intoxication in their dogs. Timely medical intervention is critical in treating this condition! As they did not know any of these, Jen and her family definitely regret it. Nevertheless, you will be always ready from now on.

“This will never happen to us again, but I wish we had been warned of the possibility,” she wrote on Facebook. “It would have saved Hanz’ life. He was the best dog EVER.”

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