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Dog Drowning


Dogs naturally have a very good physique. They are super fast runners, but their body is built for short, intense energy outputs. This is primarily due to their natural instinct.

Dogs are predators and they need to run fast and agile to catch their prey, but that’s only for a short period of time. This means that intense, long exercise is not what they naturally do and they get tired pretty fast. This is the opposite of humans, who naturally run slow but can run for a long period of time.

Some dog breeds, mainly dogs bred for hunting, are bred to have a longer physical endurance.

Now, If your dog is like mine, he absolutely LOVES swimming! Going to the lake and fetching his favorite ball is probably one of his favorite activities!

However, your dog can get into trouble while he’s in the water. He may swim too far away from the shore and gets too tired to get back. Perhaps he is unable to get out of the water (when he fell into the swimming pool for example) and gets tired trying to get out. He may get water in his mouth or nose and gets in a panic.

How to save a drowning dog

First of all, keep your own safety in mind. Don’t attempt to jump in freezing cold water or in water with a high stream flow. Saving your dog’s life is of course very important, but you may lose your own life trying to save him.

With that in mind, follow the next steps

Step 1: Get the dog out of the water.

Most public recreation areas have a buoyancy device near the water. Throw the device towards the dog and pull him to shore.

If there is no buoyancy device, try to grab the dog’s collar with a long stick or pole. In case the dog is out of reach or he doesn’t grab the buoyancy device within a few seconds, try to find a floating object (such as a boat).

If non of the options above are available, you can swim to the dog but ONLY if it won’t bring yourself into danger. If possible, take something for the dog to hold on to.

Grab the dog’s collar and swim backwards back to shore, ensuring his head stays above the water.

Step 2: Drain the dog’s lungs

Lay the dog on his side. Make sure the neck and nose are in 1 line with the body. This stretches the neck and makes is easier for water to drain.

If it’s possible, put the dog in a position where his head is lower than the rest of his body (on a small hill for example). To help the water exit the body, stretch out his tongue and push on this chest and stomach.

Additionally, you can grab the dog’s rear legs and lift him up for 15-20 seconds, giving a few downward shakes to help the water come out. Don’t do it too hard and make sure the dog won’t bite you!

Step 3: CPR

Check the dog’s vital signs and apply CPR if needed.

Step 4: Avoid heat loss

If it’s cold outside or the water has a low temperature, cover the dog with a blanket, jacket or anything else that can reduce the loss of body heat. This will reduce the risk of hypothermia.

Step 5: Seek veterinary help immediately!

Even if you successfully drained the water from the dog’s body or the CPR procedure was a success, you should still see a vet! There may still be excess water in the dog’s lungs or stomach and severe complications are arise.

Did you know? - A dog always tries to find the shortest way back to shore. He may get stuck at a steep edge, even in he can easily get out in another spot. If you have a swimming pool, teach the dog where he can get out.

That was it for today! 

Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information. 

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