Can Dogs Hold Their Breath Underwater

Dogs are amazing animals. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities and abilities.

One question that many dog owners ask is whether or not their dog can hold its breath underwater. The answer to this question depends on the dog breed, but most dogs can hold their breath underwater for a short amount of time.

In this blog post, we will explore can dogs hold their breath underwater and how long they can typically stay submerged. We will also discuss some of the best ways to make sure your dog stays safe while swimming.

So, if you are curious about your furry friend’s ability to swim, keep reading.

Can dogs hold their breath underwater?

Dogs can hold their breath underwater for a few minutes. When dogs, like other animals, are submerged in water, their bodies take steps to preserve oxygen.

The reflex is involuntary and happens automatically. Dogs will stop breathing normally, and their hearts beat slower. Blood also diverted away from non-essential organs, like the gut and kidneys, to the brain and heart.

In general, bigger breeds with larger lungs are better able to retain their breath for lengthy periods of time. On the other hand, Smaller dogs struggle to hold their breath for more than 30 seconds.

Dogs can get wet and stay underwater for quite some time, but this isn’t a good idea. Your dog may not be able to do it naturally, which would cause them injury or death if left unattended!

However, if you want to stop your dog from diving underwater, there is a way that will keep them safe and happy while they enjoy themselves in the water. All it takes are some life jackets and boating accessories like life nets.

These will give your dog the chance to have a good time in the water without going underwater and possibly.

can dogs hold their breath underwater

How Do Dogs Hold Their Breath Underwater?

Dogs hold their breath underwater by using the same mechanisms as people do. When a person holds his breath, carbon dioxide levels rise, and oxygen levels fall in the blood.

This triggers a reflex known as the Mammalian diving response, which causes her to take a big gulp of air when she comes up for air.

The reflex helps prevent the lungs from collapsing. It also increases her oxygen levels quickly when she begins to breathe again.

The cardiovascular system responds to the initial rush of cold water going over her gums by slowing down.

This allows the muscles around the airway to constrict, which keeps more of her air from escaping when she submerges into the water.

Compared to a person’s reflex, a dog’s is not as strong, but it is also not as quick to activate because he has been underwater for more than ten seconds.

In addition, some breeds do better at holding their breath than others. In particular, dogs with short faces and big chests have an easier time holding their breath longer because of the way that they are built.

What It A Mammalian Diving Response

When a dog goes underwater, its body responds similarly to that of aquatic mammals.

This response is called the mammalian diving response, and it allows a mammal to conserve oxygen while underwater. This works in conjuction with Peripheral Vasoconstriction

The mammalian diving response is characterized by the following:

Pupil Dilation

The pupil can dilate up to 50 percent wider than the normal size, allowing a greater amount of light to enter the eye and giving the dog a better view of its surroundings.

Blood Shift

A shift in blood flow and body fluids from the body’s surface to the heart, lungs, and other vital organs.

The purpose of this is to protect the dog’s organs from damage due to extremely high pressures that would otherwise be experienced at depth.

Increased Release Of Blood Protein

It acts as an oxygen carrier and allows the animal to hold its breath for extended periods of time underwater.


A dramatic decrease in heart rate after irregular heartbeat. This is initiated by signals sent from the brain and serves to conserve oxygen.

Bradycardia also helps protect the dog’s body from getting too much oxygen, which can damage cells and tissues.


Blood vessels in the limbs and other body parts constrict, ensuring that the most blood possible will be available to vital organs.

Breathing Slows

Inhaling and exhaling both slow down, taking less than a second to conserve oxygen.

In addition, the dog’s spleen contracts and pushes red blood cells to the center of its body while releasing a hormone that increases blood oxygen capacity.

Combining these responses allows a mammal to withstand the pressures and lack of oxygen experienced when swimming underwater.

It is important to note that this response does not enable a mammal to breathe underwater; it simply allows the animal to hold its breath for a more extended period.

Dogs can’t breathe underwater as their bodies would need to regulate that.

They cannot perform the mammalian diving response properly.

This is because dogs lack something called a “vasculature reflex.” Dogs can’t hold their breath for an extended amount of time because they can’t do the mammalian dive reflex.

The reason why dogs struggle to hold their breath is because they have this reflex, which is why they can’t hold they’re breathe for an extended amount of time.

Instructions for Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Give Your Dog A High Five!

This is especially important if it has been a battle to get them into the water. The more excited and less reluctant they feel, the better their swimming will be.

High five is a great motivator (just like in humans), which you don’t want to use too much while training, but once they are hooked on swimming, it is a great way to get them excited about going into the water.

Begin With Shallow Water

Just because your dog can run around on land doesn’t mean they are ready for the deep end. Once they are ready for freshwater, you will want to use a shallow body of water that is calm and straightforward.

Develop Their Intrust By Some Toys

Throw water toys into the water – do anything to get your dog’s attention, but it’s best not to throw balls or sticks as their instincts make them go after them immediately instead of swimming out to get them.

Reward Him With Treats

Treats can be an excellent motivator for your dog if they like them. You can also reward your dog for going into the water and reward it even more once they start swimming.

It is essential to use treats that won’t make them sick if they swallow too many of them at once.

Begin Deep Water Training

After your dog is comfortable swimming in shallow water, you can move to train in deeper waters.

It is important to keep the rewards coming so that your pet knows that they are doing the right things.

After a few times of this, you will find that your pup’s legs start moving, and it begins paddling and kicking much quicker when you place them in shallow water.

Keep Him Safe

Your pup may try vomiting out of fear, so always have a towel ready to dry it off. Once your dog starts getting tired, get them out of the water to avoid drowning.

Contact your vet if you see signs of fatigue, limpness, or shallow breathing.

What should you do if your dog falls into the pool?

Most pet owners would panic at the thought of their beloved dogsstruggling to keep their heads above water.

The instinctive physical response would be to jump in to save them. However, some dogs are capable of holding their breath for a few minutes and will claw themselves out of the water or wait patiently for their owners to spot them and rescue them.

Dogs that like water and are good swimmers should not be a cause for concern.

However, dogs that don’t like water should be watched with extra care.A dog that knows how to swim may still drown if it falls into deep waters.

If your dog falls into the swimming pool, the best thing you can do is remain calm.

It’s easy to get excited when you’re around dogs since they are just so cute and fluffy! But staying calm will help you assess the situation better.

Your dog has the ability to hold its breath for several minutes, especially if it is a breed that was initially bred for hunting and swimming like the Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Portuguese water dogs, Newfoundlands, and poodles. But this does not necessarily mean that they can swim indefinitely underwater.

If you own a dog that doesn’t particularly like water, it’s important to teach it how to get out of the pool. Acquire its help in strengthening its muscles with a few basic exercises.

What you need are some dog-friendly dumbbells and an hour of your time every day.

This will encourage the dog to develop the strength and agility necessary to escape from a pool in case it falls in, which is important since dogs do not have the ability to tread water for extended periods of time.

What to Do If Your Dog Won’t Swim?

If you want to keep your dog safe in the water, they need basic swimming skills.

While it can be fun to throw a stick and watch your dog run into the water after it, this is not an effective way of teaching them how to swim.

Keep your dog’s well fitted life vest on until they start using their rear legs for more efficiency.

Most dogs learning how to swim will paddle ferociously with the front ones but not usually any good when it comes down patting themselves out of the water.

With an extra layer slowing them down, this problem goes away entirely, giving you some time to assist them.

I know of a case where an animal struggled to learn how to swim. This dog had no fear of water, but when he went in, his strokes were inefficient.

It took him months before developing powerful, efficient ones like many other dogs would do with ease!

You may think that your dog can’t learn to swim, but there are actually some dogs who just don’t want to.

Maybe it’s because they’re physically built unfavorably for getting into the water or have never been around pools before and therefore feel uncomfortable in them; perhaps fear is what prevents this behavior from occurring.

Either way, you’ll know soon enough if these concerns apply based on how reluctant your pup seems in the water when you find yourself trying to introduce them.

Don’t push anything, however. Some dogs will never enjoy going in the water, and if this is the case, don’t push them to do anything they are not comfortable with.

What Happens When A Dog Holds His Breath Underwater For Too Long

Dogs are not able to hold their breath underwater for too long. If they do, the oxygen in their blood will be depleted, and they will experience a fatal attack.

While still structurally similar to all other mammals’ lungs, dogs’ lungs are not built for air storage.

They’re also not fully muscularized, which means that the muscles responsible for breathing cannot contract with enough force to pull oxygen from the very bottom of an otherwise full lung.

In fact, if a dog were to be submerged underwater for more than a few seconds, that oxygen would start to deplete, and the blood passing through the lungs would not pick it up. This leads to a lack of oxygen reaching all parts of the body.

If dogs are deprived of oxygen for too long, they will experience brain damage or even pass away depending on the length of time they were deprived of.

A dog can hold his breath underwater for up to 30 seconds which is not very long.

After that, the cells in their body will die, and organs like the heart or kidneys could fail due to lack of oxygen.

While this scenario does not often happen with dogs, it can happen if a dog is exposed to water for too long of a period.

A few minutes exposed to the pool water or pond does not pose much of a risk, but more than that can result in tragic death due to excess liquid than he can bear.

Can Dogs Be Taught To Hold Their Breath Underwater?

No, dogs cannot be taught to hold their breath underwater on command as they are not like aquatic animals. Some dogs can swim for long periods, but this is different from holding their breath.

Some good swimming breeds may learn to hold their breath briefly while underwater, but this would only be a learned behavior unless they are trained by an expert.

This learned behavior may only last when the dog is with their trainer or when in a familiar environment.

This behavior may also be seen in hunting dogs such as Labradors and Retrievers, who learn to stay underwater for extended periods while looking for games such as ducks and other birds. For the most part, it is not something that you want your dog to learn, as it can be dangerous.

What is “Dry Drowning”?

Dry drowning is a condition that can occur when a dog has been submerged underwater for too long.

The dog will begin to have difficulty breathing as fluid fills the lungs and chest cavity. As this progresses, it becomes more difficult to breathe until the dog runs out of air completely and suffocates to death.

In most cases, dry drowning is only a risk for dogs who have been submerged in water for more than 10 minutes.

Dry drowning may occur after just 5 to 6 minutes in rare cases.

What are the symptoms of “Dry Drowning”?

The initial symptoms of dry drowning usually begin within an hour of the dog being submerged in water. In many cases, the dog will show signs of fatigue and lethargy after they have been in the water.

Other symptoms include coughing, gurgling or gasping sounds while breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, or blue tint to the skin and gums.

As dry drowning progresses into pulmonary edema, there may be additional symptoms such as increased salivation that begins to foam in appearance.

The dog may also lose consciousness quickly.

If your dog exhibits these symptoms after being in the water, take them to your veterinarian immediately.


Dogs cannot hold their breath underwater, although some dogs can swim for long periods of time.

There are also cases where a dog may briefly hold their breath underwater while hunting. This is not something that should be taught to a dog, as it can be dangerous for them.

Stay alert and watch your pup’s diving behavior. They may need to stay underwater for a little too long, so make sure you have them on an appropriate life jacket so they can paddle back to the boat or shore.

This will help them stay safe in the water, but it is always best to be with your dog when they are in the water!

I hope this article has helped you understand this subject much better.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Do dogs open their eyes underwater?

Dogs definitely do open their eyes underwater – possibly even more so than humans, because they rely on sight to make out shapes and edges in dark and murky waters.

They are also able to see less well underwater, particularly when they cannot directly look at an object.

They have a reflective layer in the back of their eyes that bounces light, giving them night vision even when they are in murky or dark waters. That means they can see outlines of shapes but not specific details.

They also have water-repellant coats that help them stay clean and dry while they’re swimming. When you get them wet, the water rolls right off their coats, which is why they always look shiny and smooth after a bath or a swim.

Do dogs hold their breath in smoke?

Dogs can hold their breath for short periods, although they cannot do it for as long as humans.

They can hold their breath long enough to get out of a smoke-filled room. However, this is not a good idea because there are other dangers in a fire or smoke-filled room besides lack of oxygen. The heat and gases from the fire can harm a dog.

Can dogs submerge?

Dogs don’t have the ability to submerge and hold their breath like human beings can. Most dog breeds take between 30-60 seconds to drown if they fell into a pool of water.

This does not mean that dogs can’t be submerged in water because many breeds have been known to swim quite well.

What Animal Can Hold Its Breath Longest?

Different marine mammals like beaked whale, sperm whales come with an improved survival instinct and the ability to hold their breath for a longer time compared to other animals.

These aquatic animals can dive up to 500m and stay underwater for 90 minutes. They are the most efficient divers among all marine mammals.

Other animals like elephant, reptiles, amphibians can hold their breath for a short time only.

Is it possible for a dog to drown in water?

Yes! Dogs can drown in water because if their nose and mouth are submerged under the water’s surface, they would not be able to breathe in.

Dogs have a limited lung capacity, and they would not be able to hold their breath under the water for any longer than a couple of minutes.

Can dogs hold breath under water?

Dogs are, in fact, unable to hold their breath underwater for an extensive period of time.

The average time span for a dog to drown in water is around one minute. Some dogs may be able to hold their breath for a maximum of 2 minutes, but that is definitely not recommended as it can lead to a tragic death of the poor animal.

Is it bad for dogs to put their head underwater?

Yes, it is not recommended for dogs to put their head underwater. Not all breeds of dogs can swim.

This comes with a risk factor because if they fall into a pool of water and can’t swim, then putting their head under the water’s surface is not recommended.

If a dog’s nose and mouth are submerged under the water for a longer time, they will drown.

What dogs dive underwater?

Some breeds of dogs love to dive underwater for extended periods of time. These breeds include bulldogs, pugs, and boxers, which are very popular medium-sized breeds.

Diving underwater is not an easy skill for any dog to learn, but some breeds are able to do it quite well.

What is the best way to keep my dog safe near water?

To keep dogs safe around water, it’s best to ensure that all pools have a secure fence surrounding them. If your dog can swim, then it’s best to keep them on a leash and away from any bodies of water that they can swim in.

The dog may seem like he’s having the time of his life, but you need to be aware that not everything in nature can protect him from dangers.

Make sure nothing around them is dangerous, and keep an eye on those swimming with pets because we just don’t know when something will go wrong!

If your dog falls into a body of water and is unable to swim, you must throw them a lifebuoy or ring to help them stay afloat.