My Dog Drowned – What To Do Now?

Getting a dog is quite exciting, especially when it’s your first one. After all, these pets are loyal, loving, enthusiastic, and always eager to play with you. Ultimately it’s always comforting coming home to them. 

That’s why it’s always heartbreaking when something bad happens to your dog. Whether your furry friend is dealing with a regular twisted stomach or bladder stones, it is natural to be worried and scared of the outcome. And things get even worse if your dog drowns or almost does so. 

This can be particularly distressing if you blame yourself for the incident. It can be difficult to get past the event and even get another dog in the future. Fortunately, today’s post has been designed to help you in such situations. In it, we will discuss how to prevent your dog from drowning, how to deal with the aftermath of your dog drowning and many more related concerns.

How Fast Can a Dog Drown?

Unfortunately, dogs drown very quickly. Your dog can start drowning in a matter of seconds and be dead in 5 to 7 minutes. As such, it can be hard to miss, no matter how attentive you are. It’s also important to note that dogs who are saved from drowning before they die can develop respiratory problems hours later.

This condition is called near-drowning and happens when your dog inhales 1 to 3 ml of water per kilogram of its weight. Usually, inhaling 4ml of water per kilogram or more leads to immediate death. If your dog experiences near-drowning, they can seem okay for up to 24 hours before developing symptoms like coughing, breathing difficulties, lethargy, and anxiety. These symptoms are an indication that the water your dog inhaled has diluted the surface lining of their lungs and entered their alveoli.

This leads to a drop in blood oxygen levels, increased blood pressure, hypothermia, and a lack of oxygen in your dog’s brain. Ultimately, near-drowning is a serious condition that can even lead to death. 

So if your dog has inhaled some water, always take them to the vet even when they seem okay. And remember, your dog doesn’t have to be in a pool or another water body to drown – it can even happen when they’re drinking water using a hose. 

My Dog Drowned in A Pool

Immediately you notice your dog is drowning, remove them from the pool and try to clear their airways. If the dog is not breathing, perform mouse-to-nose resuscitation and CPR. These will help your dog start breathing and expel the water they had inhaled. Once this happens, cover your dog with a blanket to keep them warm.

Whatever you do, though, be careful not to constrict your dog or cover its nose/mouth. Also, remember to take them to the vet immediately after the ordeal. The vet will check your dog for any adverse effects and administer oxygen where necessary. This will be done using a ventilator or mask until your dog’s blood oxygen levels are sufficient. 

If your dog is anxious or stressed out, the vet may also sedate them. In some cases, they can even administer electrolytes and other fluid treatments. If it’s established that your dog has developed pneumonia or bacterial infection, antibiotics will be administered as well. Whatever the case, though, your dog will have to stay at the vet’s for a while and be monitored until they are fully recovered.

Does a Dog Suffer when It Drowns?

Yes, dogs suffer when they drown. Recent studies show that drowning dogs experience pain and discomfort due to limited oxygen supply to their brains. Just like for humans, drowning is a very unpleasant way to die for dogs. 

Generally, dogs who are drowning struggle and fight hard to survive, making them inhale even more water than they would if they were calm. This leads to no oxygen (anoxia) or low oxygen (hypoxia) in their bodies. Ultimately, these conditions are what cause pain and discomfort.

While the drowning process does result in the rise of carbon dioxide levels in the body, they don’t rise fast enough to produce any narcotic value. As such, the dog usually dies without getting any relief. In fact, studies show that in dogs drowned in fresh/salty water, carbon dioxide levels never exceeded 70 mm Hg. 

How Do You Deal with Guilt Over Your Dog Drowning?

Grieving a beloved dog is difficult, especially when you blame yourself for their death. The best way to deal with your guilt is to allow yourself to feel your feelings and learn from them. Consider writing a letter to your deceased pet, expressing all your guilt and grief – it can be a great way to unload and let go. Moreover, remember how much you loved your dog and that you did everything you could to keep them happy and healthy. 

Remind yourself that you can’t control everything and always keep your pets out of harm’s way, no matter how much you want to. And obsessing about protecting them and locking them inside would negatively affect their quality of life. Ultimately, you have to accept that accidents happen, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. It’s just a part of life.

As long as your intentions for your pet were always pure, you have nothing to be guilty about. It’s much more productive to use your energy to figure out what tangible things you can do to prevent your other dogs from drowning. In some ways, this can give your loss meaning.

How to Prevent Your Other Dogs from Drowning in The Swimming Pool?

Fortunately for any pet owner who’s ever lost a dog to drowning, there are several things you can do to reduce the chances of this happening again. For one, you can take your dog for swimming lessons. This way, even if they accidentally fall into a pool of water, they can swim to safety. Beyond that, you can ensure all pools around you are secured, get your dog a life jacket, and always supervise them when they’re swimming.

While swimming comes naturally to many dogs, it doesn’t apply to some. So when you first get a dog, it’s important to test their swimming skills. You can easily do this by getting into the shallow end of a pool with them and seeing how effectively they can dog paddle. Once you have some clarity on their abilities, you can effectively train them so that they can get better and learn to use the stairs. 

While you can do all the training yourself, it’s best to hire a professional trainer for this. Whichever way you go, though, always ensure any swimming pool near you has a dog-proof fence and ensure it’s tall, sturdy, and never remains open. Also, always supervise your dog when they’re swimming, no matter how good they are at it. For extra safety, consider getting our top-rated doggy life jacket – its multi-handed design makes it great for dogs of all sizes. 

When Should I Get a New Dog After Mine Drowned?

As anyone who’s ever lost a pet before can tell you, there’s no standard timeline for grief – this is a personal matter. It takes some people months to move on while others need years. As such, you shouldn’t rush to get a new dog after yours has drowned. Take as much time as you need, and only take that step if and when you’re ready.

Several signs can tell you that you’re ready. For one, you may notice that you’re at peace with your dog’s death, even if it might still hurt. Secondly, you may notice that the people you live with are also at peace with the loss and are ready to welcome a new pet to the home. Also, it will become clear that a new dog will make your life easier and not harder – the new pet won’t negatively affect your finances or goals.

Another sign that you’re ready to get a new dog is that you are willing and even excited to train a new dog. This is particularly important when it comes to new puppies because you may even have to take time off work to train them. Ultimately, it’s important to take your time before you get a new dog and during the time you are choosing one. This will keep you from projecting your grief onto your new dog and allow you to have a healthy and personalized relationship with them. 


As anyone whose dog has drowned will tell you, it’s a terrible loss that can leave you depressed and full of guilt, especially if you keep replaying the accident in your mind. However, we’re here to tell you that there’s hope at the end of this tunnel – you can overcome these negative feelings and find hope again. Moreover, you can get a new dog and even protect them from the same fate. So don’t give up – your dog wouldn’t want that for you!


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!