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How Long Can A Dog Hold Its Breath Underwater?

how long can a dog hold Its breath underwater

Holding a breath underwater is not an easy task for an ordinary person. But, as humans, if we get trained for the same, we can do it easily. But if not, there is no chance for it, and the same is with dogs.

We are sure you might have thought about how long a dog can hold its breath underwater. If you have the same thought, then know that they can do it for 5-8 seconds, but expecting more is not acceptable. Also, there are some exceptions, too, in which you can expect the dog to hold its breath underwater for a long time. Keep reading to find out more about it. Here we are discussing it in detail. Let’s get started!

How long can a dog hold its breath underwater?

Dogs can hold their breath underwater for 5-8 seconds, but if their mammalian diving response is activated, you can expect them to hold it for longer. However, keep in mind that immersing them in water for an extended period of time is not a good idea. Small-nosed dogs have a lower chance of holding their breath underwater for even 5 seconds.

You will also notice some dog breeds, like Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers, can hold their breath for longer durations underwater. This is because they have large lungs responsible for storing more oxygen for diving purposes.

Note: When you let your dog go underwater, do monitor him. Some dogs are not in the state to stay longer or even for a while in the water. For example, if you have Basset Hounds and Pugs, you need to be attentive.

Mammalian diving response in mammals

The natural reaction of the mammal characterizes the mammalian response. In this condition, the mammals are ready to dive into the water.

The characteristics of mammalian diving response are as follows:

  • Bradycardia

Bradycardia is responsible in dogs for lowering the heart rate, which lets them hold their breath for long periods underwater.

  • Blood flow

When there is a reduction in blood flow in a mammal’s body, they will be able to handle the slight changes in pressure. This also helps them dive deep under the water.

  • Peripheral Vasoconstriction

Peripheral vasoconstriction is a simultaneous procedure in a dog’s body responsible for narrowing the blood vessels and conserving oxygen for other vital parts of the body that require it the most.

Note: every mammal comes up with a different mammalian diving response. This is helpful in deciding how long they will be able to breathe underwater. All of these are the result of their psychological adaptations.

How long can a dog stay underwater?

Dogs can stay underwater for 5-8 seconds, and the rest depends on their mammalian diving response. Some breeds can stay for a long time, and some breeds can not even resist for 5 seconds underwater. If you notice your dog is uncomfortable when they are underwater, try not to put them in the same situation again.

You can train your dog to swim if you want him to enjoy the aquatic habitat for a while. However, unless and until they have been trained for the same, it is not advisable to allow them to enter the water.

How deep can dogs dive?

Well, the dogs can dive, on average, up to 15 feet, but this is not certain. This also depends on the dog breed you own. Some breeds can even dive for a long time, and with some, you cannot expect even 5 feet.

This also depends on the lung capacity the dog has. Some dog breeds, like Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers, have larger lungs, which means that they have more oxygen content available to them. This simply indicates that they can hold their breath for long durations underwater and can dive deep too.

Can I train my dog to hold his breathe underwater?

Well, training a dog to hold its breath underwater is not practically possible. The diving response is simultaneous, so one cannot expect it to get controlled. Either you can teach your dog how to swim, which will help them stay in the water for a while.

What to do if my dog is not breathing in an emergency situation?

It is alright for dogs to not breathe for a while after coming out of water or in any other circumstance. But if they do not regain consciousness within 3 to 5 minutes, there is a chance of permanent damage too. Well, in that case, follow “ABC”: airway, breathing, and circulation.

  • Airway

Check your pet’s airways by looking into their mouth and be sure that there is nothing that can obstruct the airways. If you notice there is something stuck in their airways, an abdominal thrust will help. Five to ten abdominal thrusts are required to take that out of the airways.

  • Breathing

After removing the obstruction from the airway, if you notice they are not breathing, continue CPR. Pass your breath through their mouth and notice whether they are responding to it or not. If they do not respond after 3 breaths, continue it and take them to the veterinary doctor immediately.

  • Circulation

Lastly, do check them for circulation. Checking for circulation means you need to detect their heartbeat. If you are unable to detect their heartbeat, this calls for an emergency.

Can dogs hold their breath naturally?

You will be surprised to know that dogs can hold their breath naturally as well. There are two possible reasons for this, and they are as follows

  1. Swimming

If your dog has been taught how to swim, there are chances that they will develop the habit of holding their breath for long periods of time underwater. It is somewhere similar to the mammalian diving response (as discussed above), and dogs will not face any problems either.

2. Smoke inhalation

Smoke inhalation is the condition that occurs when they are in the vicinity of smoke. In this case, they will develop apnea. In this state, they will not breathe for a while. But to regain consciousness, they will start breathing excessively. It is important that they get their breath soon, otherwise, it will be called an emergency and result in hyperventilation.

Also, with time, dogs get accustomed to it, so there is a possibility that they will be able to hold their breath for long periods of time underwater.

Is it possible for my dog to control his breathing?

Do know that there is no art that will help them get trained in holding their breath. Also, holding breath is an impulsive response of the canine body, so expecting them to do it by their choice seems to be impossible.

Can dogs breathe through their mouths?

Dogs do, in fact, breathe through their nose when they are resting. But if they are breathing with their mouth, it is entirely normal. But commonly, this occurs when they pant. Symptoms to notice when a dog is panting include:

  • The stomach is moving faster than usual.
  • Noisy breathing
  • Flaring nostrils
  • Holding the neck and head low

Can dogs swim in pools?

Well, if your dog is aware of how to swim, there are major chances that they will develop the habit of holding their breath underwater. But if they are unaware of it, there is a possibility they will not be able to do so. If you are taking your dog for a swim, there are things you need to keep in mind. These are as follows:-

  • Get a life-vest for your dog

A life vest is important to have when you are taking them to the pool for the first time. It is helpful in preventing accidental drowning and also helps you find your dog among other dogs in the pool.

  • Pool maintenance

Pool maintenance is an important factor of consideration. You cannot let your dog in a pool that is not maintained. In some cases, after coming in contact with contaminated water, dogs develop different health conditions like some respiratory issues and some skin allergies too.

  • Understand how to get them out

Sending your canine into a pool is easy, but taking them out is not. Thus, it is advisable for you to plan how to take them out of the pool. This will be helpful in emergency situations too.

  • Breaks are important

If this is your dog’s first time in the water, you should not immerse them for an extended period of time. Thus, it is advisable to maintain the schedule with some breaks too. This depends on the breed and the level of training you are adapting to for them.

Note: Teaching your dog to swim is not an overnight thing, so it is important for you to be patient throughout. If you are panicking or shouting at them for not doing as you want, there is a possibility that they will not go in the pool again.

The takeaway from all this

Dogs can hold their breath underwater, but only for 5-8 seconds. If you are thinking of training them for it, the same is not possible. This is an impulsive response from their bodies that cannot be altered by any means. Also, do notice your dog’s behavior when they come out of the pool because some dogs are not in the state to be in the water for long. If you notice any changes in your dog, do reach out to the vet immediately to save them from any other health condition.

Also, when you are sending your dog into the water, be sure that they are wearing their life jacket. This will help them to be on the water surface and monitor them throughout when they are in the pool.

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anuja saxena author at anifirm

I am a dog lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.