Splashing and swimming can be great fun for furry friends, but even expert dog-paddlers need a lifeguard on duty. Pets at play can be overwhelmed by strong currents or accidentally fall into the water, putting them in danger of drowning.
If your pet has a near-drowning experience and recovers, he may seem fine ― but the danger isn’t necessarily over. He can still succumb to “dry drowning,” which occurs when fluids collect in the lungs (known as pulmonary edema). The pet breathes in just enough water to irritate the lungs, leading to coughing and breathing difficulties. The result is drowning ― hours or even days after your furry friend has dried off.
If your pet has a near-drowning experience, act fast:
Once he’s on dry land, lay him on his side, neck extended and head slightly lower than his body to help drain water from his lungs.
If you’re safely able to, carefully pull his tongue forward and gently press his side.
If your pet has stopped breathing, start CPR by closing your pet’s mouth and covering his nose with your mouth to blow air into his lungs.
Stay with your pet. Near-drowned pets are often disoriented and may risk falling back into the water.
Even if your furry friend seems fine, err on the side of caution and contact your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately. Monitoring can help ensure your pet emerges from his aquatic adventure unscathed!