Vets Warn: Dry Drowning Is a Risk for Dogs, Too

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Want to take your pooch to the beach for some summer fun? Read this first.

Sunny days on the beach, frozen treats, and vacation time– what’s not to love about the summertime? Unfortunately, while you might enjoy all the lovely things that this season has to offer, your four-legged best friend is exposed to more risks during summer than they are at any other time of the year. The most common issues are those related to the extreme temperatures; heat stroke is oftentimes fatal for dogs, and sunburn can lead to more serious issues in the long run, such as skin cancer. But there’s another lethal hazard you should add to the list of summer risks for dogs, and it’s one that not many people know about: dry drowning.

If you take your pet to the beach to cool off in the ocean or like to refresh your furball with a swim in the lake, you need to make sure you keep an eye on them. OK, that might sound like an obvious advice, but you’d be surprised at how many pet parents rely on their pooch’s swimming abilities, and that, combined with the fact that not many people know about the risks of dry drowning for dogs, can lead to a disaster.

If a dog gets swept by a strong current or tide, or simply gets too exhausted, they are at an increased risk of inhaling water. These near-drowning episodes might not seem like a big deal- after all, what’s the problem if your pet swallows a bit of saltwater?- but the truth is, aspirating water can end up being fatal for your pooch. When a dog inhales water, it can cause a pulmonary edema, and that fluid in their lungs can be deadly, as it can cause a cardiac arrest. To make things worse, it can be hours or even days before any serious symptoms show up.

To ensure your dog is not at risk of dry drowning, make sure to closely watch them during their time in the water. Additionally, you could buy a lifejacket for dogs to ensure their head will always be above water if you have a dog prone to exertion or just don’t want to risk it. Most importantly, if your dog happens to have a near-drowning accident, be sure to watch for dry drowning symptoms in the following days- these include bluish gums, difficulty breathing, crackling sound from the chest, and more.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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