How Do You Save a Drowning Dog?

Drowning dog

When it comes to our pets, particularly dogs, they’re often considered an essential part of the family. Therefore, keeping them safe from potential hazards becomes a priority. Among various dangers, the risk of drowning in different water bodies such as swimming pools, rivers, or bathtubs is significant. This article will cover the steps to rescue a drowning dog, provide post-drowning treatment, and, if necessary, conduct revival procedures.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to respond if your dog accidentally inhales water, the amount of time a dog can hold its breath underwater, and the potential risk of a dog having water in its lungs.

Identifying a Drowning Dog

Recognizing the signs of a drowning dog is the first step in prevention. A dog struggling to stay afloat, paddling frantically without making progress, or sinking below the water’s surface without coming up, may be drowning.

Rescuing a Drowning Dog

  1. Prioritize Safety: Before you rush to save a drowning dog, remember your own safety. If you are not a strong swimmer, do not jump into deep waters. Use a lifesaver, long pole, or rope to help the dog out.
  2. Extend a Helping Hand: If it’s safe, use a floating device or a long object like a pool skimmer or branch to reach the dog.
  3. Approach from Behind: A drowning dog might accidentally harm you due to panic. Approach from behind to avoid any unintended injury.
  4. Lift the Dog: Once you reach the dog, place one arm around the belly area for smaller dogs, or under the chest for larger dogs. Use the other hand to support the dog’s backside, and gently lift it out of the water.
  5. Check for Breathing: Once on dry land, check if the dog is breathing or has a pulse. Place your hand or ear near the dog’s mouth and nose, and watch the chest for any movement.
Cat insurance from From Dog insurance from Coverage Contribution Own risk
petsecur logo €8.46 €12.11 €3.250 — €6.000 10% — 50% €0 — €150
per year
ohra logo €14.05 €17.77 €3.000 — €6.000 20% €30 — €50
per year
figopet logo €12.16 €17.42 €3.000 — €5.000 20% — 50% €0 — €250
per year
InShared logo €13.27 €20,14 €3.000 — €6.000 20% none View
Unive logo €13.86 €14.67 €2.500 — €5.000 20% none View
aegon logo €10.56 €13.14 €3.500 25% €25
per claim

Caring for a Drowning Dog

  1. Perform CPR if Needed: If the dog isn’t breathing, it’s time for Dog Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), which is similar to human CPR with some modifications. Position the dog on its right side, straighten its head to clear the airway, close its mouth and deliver breaths directly into its nose until you see the chest rise. Next, start chest compressions. Use your fingers for smaller dogs and puppies, and your palms for larger dogs. Here is a good guide with images on how to perform CPR on your dog.
  2. Clear Airway: If the dog is unconscious but breathing, check and carefully remove any blockages in its mouth and throat, being careful as the dog may bite reflexively.
  3. Consult a Vet: Regardless of whether the dog was revived or not, it is imperative to seek veterinary attention immediately. Even if the dog appears fine after resuscitation, a vet should assess it for conditions like aspiration pneumonia or secondary drowning, where inhaled water causes complications.

Actions for Dogs Inhaling Water

Should your dog inhale water, it might cough, struggle to breathe, or display other distress signals. In such cases:

  1. Soothe the Dog: Lowering its anxiety will help it breathe more comfortably.
  2. Contact a Vet: Inhalation of water may lead to issues like pneumonia, making a vet consultation crucial.

Dog’s Breath Holding Capability Underwater

The consensus seems to be that dogs can hold their breath underwater for around 5 to 10 seconds. This period can vary depending on factors like the dog’s age, health, and breed.

The Possibility of Dogs Having Water in Their Lungs

Indeed, dogs can get water in their lungs, leading to a condition known as aspiration pneumonia. This typically occurs when a dog inhales a large amount of water. It’s a serious condition that can cause breathing difficulties, decreased oxygen levels, persistent coughing, and can be potentially fatal.

In summary, while dogs may enjoy playing in water, they’re susceptible to water-related dangers just like humans. Now equipped with this knowledge, you can ensure your dog’s safety and effectively manage water-related emergencies. However, in all cases, immediately consult with a vet following any water-related incident with your dog to prevent any further complications.

Looking for answers for
your furry friend?

Use our automatic Symptom Checker for advice on what to do next.

  • Answer questions about the issue to narrow down options
  • Wide range of symptoms and answers
  • Information on the most common toxic foods and household items
What seems to be the problem?
My dog Lily has vomited
Is there blood in the vomit?
Check Symptoms Now