How Understanding Near Drowning Could Save Your Dog’s Life


With the warm summer months approaching, our thoughts at MondayMondayNetwork have been on water safety for your dog. After all, the statistics are alarming when we look at drowning deaths every year. While we know drowning is a risk, what many dog owners don’t realize is that near drowning can be an extreme danger. To help protect against it, learn the signs and understand how to help your dog if he is near drowning or drowning.

What Is Near Drowning?

Even seemingly calm water is dangerous with hidden currents.

Also known as secondary drowning or dry drowning, near drowning is a condition that occurs when your dog has inhaled water into his lungs. However, during a near drowning, not enough water inhalation occurs for a fatal drowning… at least initially. 

Unfortunately, many dog owners brush off this small amount of water despite it becoming a very serious, and sometimes fatal, event.

Dogs that inhale as little as 2 to 6ml of water per pound of body weight can experience a near drowning event within 24 hours of inhaling the water. This can lead to a number of respiratory complications and require veterinarian care.

Always supervise your dog around water. If you can’t, don’t allow him to have access to it.

When we look at drowning in dogs, we classify it in three ways. These are:

  • Drowning: Water Immersion that results in the dog’s death due to lack of oxygen.
  • Near Drowning: Or Submersion drowning, includes all complications seen within 24 hours after water inhalation.
  • Secondary Drowning: Death due to complications from near drowning after 24 hours after water inhalation.

Although we often see symptoms before that 24-hour mark, it is better to monitor your dog for 24 to 48 hours after he inhaled water.

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