How to keep your dog safe around water

With warmer weather it’s important to remember to keep our dogs safe. Although dogs are known to be natural strong swimmers they can still drown. Dogs often panic in a strong current or become exhausted when they swim too far from the shore. Always treat swimming dogs like you would your children let them have fun and play, but safely and under close supervision. Dog life jackets also come with safety grab handles that help if there is ever a dog who goes overboard from the boat or needs to be rescued because they swim to far out.


If your dog ever does get into trouble on the water these are the recommended steps to rescue your dog and treat them.

How to Rescue your dog from drowning

  • Holding an attached rope, throw a life preserver toward the dog.
  • Try to hook the dog’s collar with a pole. Row out to the dog in a boat.
  • As a last resort, swim to the dog. Protect yourself and bring something for the dog to cling to or climb on and be pulled to shore.

Once your dog is on the shore

  • If you can lift the dog, grasp the rear legs and hold the animal upside down for 15 to 20 seconds. Give 3 or 4 downward shakes to help drain fluid from its lungs.
  • If you cannot lift the dog, place it on a sloping surface with its head low to facilitate drainage. If the dog is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about 2 inches behind the dog’s elbow in the middle of its chest.
  • If the heart is not beating, perform artificial respiration.

Artificial Respiration for dogs

  • Turn the dog on its side.
  • Extend the dog’s head and neck. Hold the dog’s mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds. Take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.
  • After 10 seconds, stop. Watch the dog’s chest for movement to indicate it is breathing on its own.
  • If the dog is not breathing, continue artificial respiration.
  • If the heart is not beating preform CPR

Dry drowning happens when water is aspirated into the lungs or other parts of the airway. If the water doesn’t make it to the lungs, the vocal cords can begin to spasm making breathing difficult. If water does make its way to the lungs, serious complications and even death can occur. Dry drowning or secondary drowning can happen hours after exposure to water.

If water has gotten into your dog’s lungs – this is known as pulmonary edema – it could take hours or in some cases even days for signs to show. A few of the symptoms to watch out for if you suspect your dog may have swallowed a lot of water include:

  • Coughing or hacking
  • Signs of chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Extreme lethargy (brought on by a lack of oxygen to the brain)

If you suspect your dog might be suffering from dry drowning or secondary drowning, take them to an emergency vet clinic immediately, dry drowning can happen as a result of swallowing sand, too.