Can Dogs Hold Their Breath Underwater

Can Dogs Hold Their Breath Underwater – Detailed Guide 2022

There’s nothing more adorable than a dog playing in the water, but can dogs hold their breath underwater? As it turns out, there is no straight answer to this question.

Some dogs are able to stay underwater for extended periods of time, while others need to come up for air pretty quickly. In general, smaller dogs have a harder time holding their breath, while larger breeds can hold theirs for a longer time.

So, here we come up with the detailed answer to the question of “Can dogs hold their breath underwater?” Also, here you get the guide about is it possible for dogs to hold their breath.

Can Dogs Hold Their Breath Underwater? 

So, can dogs hold their breath underwater? Well, it depends on the size and breed of the dog.

Generally speaking, bigger breeds with larger lungs are more capable of holding their breath for long periods of time. On the other hand, smaller dogs usually have a hard time holding their breath for longer than 30 seconds.

This also means that older dogs will not be able to hold their breath as long as younger dogs.

Some breeds – such as pugs and bulldogs – have a very limited ability to hold their breath, so they should never be left alone in the water for longer than a few seconds.

However, some other breeds such as Portuguese Water Dogs and Newfoundlands can stay underwater for longer stretches of time, with the longest record being over 6 minutes (in the case of Newfoundlands).

Note: While most dogs cannot hold their breath underwater – and should not be left unattended in such a situation – there are some swimming breeds that actually enjoy spending time in the water. If your dog belongs to one of the breeds above, you should always supervise them and never leave them alone.

Why is My Dog Holding his Breath?

Some dogs can hold their breath for a few minutes while some need to come up every single time – depending on the breed, size, and age of the dog.

Common reasons why your dog is holding his breath are:

  1. He is trying to find a scent and is concentrating on that rather than breathing.
  2. Your dog might be ill or unhealthy, which means he will breathe heavily and quickly – not holding his breath for extended periods of time.
  3. Your dog might be swimming in an area where there’s little oxygen.
  4. Your dog is in a playful mood and does not want to come up just yet – especially if he’s been playing fetch with you or another dog.

In some cases, your dog might be coughing from his exposure to smoke or polluted air. In most cases, the water will help him feel better because it will get rid of any contaminants that entered his respiratory system.

Note: If your dog is coughing excessively, you should take him to the vet right away because this can be indicative of something more serious.

When Can Puppies Hold Their Breath Underwater?

Puppies can hold their breath underwater just as well as full-grown dogs, but this is limited by how long they can breathe without taking a break.

Some puppies become capable of holding their breath for extended periods of time as they grow older and bigger, but the length varies for each breed.

It’s important to remember that puppies can drown just like humans – and we should treat them with the same caution.

Note: Just because your dog is breathing while underwater does not mean that he is all right or that you can leave him unattended. If something goes wrong, he might not be able to get out of the situation and you might lose him forever.

Is it Possible for Dogs to Hold Their Breath?

Yes, dogs can hold their breath and concentrate for periods of time underwater. However, in most cases, they cannot be diving underwater for more than 30 seconds – especially when playing or swimming around.

If it’s too cold outside and your dog wants to play in the water but you want him to come up soon, consider filling a small pool with warm water (or keep the hose nearby).

A warm swimming pool will make your dog come up sooner because he won’t be dying of cold water. Also, you should try to reward him with treats and love when he comes up because this will encourage him to do it again!

The Mammalian Diving Response

All mammals, including dogs, have a diving response which is an involuntary reflex that helps them stay underwater for longer periods of time. It is important for you to know about some of the reflexes that occur during diving after knowing about can dogs hold their breath underwater as mentioned below:

1) Reduction Of Heart Rate

This prevents the dog from using up too much energy while swimming and allows them to conserve oxygen.

2) Reduction In Blood Circulation

This helps keep the dog’s core body temperature regulated, which is important since water can cause rapid cooling of the body.

3) Closure Of The Airways

This reduces the amount of air that is taken into the lungs while driving.

4) Divergence Of Nasal Passages

This diverts blood flow from the nose to other parts of the body, which reduces heat loss by warm blood flowing through a large surface area.

5) Vasoconstriction Of Extremities

As mentioned previously, this helps keep the dog’s body temperature regulated.

6) Increased Release Of Blood Proteins

This helps maintain blood pressure and prevents the dog from bleeding out while underwater.

7) Active Suppression Of Hunger And Thirst

This allows the dog to focus on swimming and not be distracted by their need to eat or drink.

The mammalian diving response is something that all mammals have in common. The reflexes mentioned above help them conserve oxygen while they are submerged in water and allow them to stay underwater for longer.

It is important to note, however, that not all of the effects of these reflexes will be apparent externally. For instance, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a dog’s heart rate has decreased because its normal heart rate is already quite low.

However, by being aware of the diving response and its effects, you will be able to better understand why your dog might be struggling to breathe when they come out of the pool.

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How Deep Can Dogs Dive?

When it comes to how deep dogs can dive, the answer depends on their breed and size (bigger dogs can go deeper than smaller breeds).

For example, larger breeds like Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water Dogs are known for having a great ability to dive underwater. On the other hand, Cocker Spaniels have a limited diving capacity of about 1.5 meters (5 feet).

What Happened if Dog Hold Their Breath Underwater Too Long?

There are some breeds that can hold their breath for a long time. However, there are some risks of drowning when they are in the water and unable to come up for air. Some of the major risks are :

Heart Attacks

Just like humans, dogs can go into cardiac arrest while swimming in deep water. If this happens, they will need help getting out of the water to receive CPR and possibly defibrillation if needed.


A dog might go into a seizure while underwater for long periods of time. This is because when they go into shock, their muscles will become stiff and they might collapse.


If your dog is in the water alone it could panic and then drown while trying to get out of the pool or lake. This can happen if the water is too deep for them to stand up on their own.

When any of these situations happen, you should go into the water and pull them out. If you are unable to do it on your own, call for help immediately.


So, can dogs hold their breath underwater? The answer is yes – but it’s impossible to predict how long they can do this.

It also depends on the age of the dog and its breed. Smaller dogs are usually incapable of holding their breath for longer than 30 seconds, while some other breeds (especially retrievers) have a stronger lung capacity and can stay underwater for longer periods of time.

However, there is no guarantee that your dog will be able to hold its breath if it falls into a pool or another body of water. Always keep an eye on your dog just in case one day he gets into trouble!


Is it possible for a dog to drown?

Yes, it is! Some dogs can hold their breath for longer periods of time than others. However, this does not mean that they are safe if left unattended in the water.
If something goes wrong – such as a seizure or heart attack – your dog might not be able to get out on its own and you might lose him forever.

What breeds are the best swimmers?

There is no clear answer to this question. In general, larger dog breeds have a better chance of being great swimmers – but it mainly depends on their size and lung capacity.
Smaller dogs drown much more easily than larger ones.

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

The best thing you can do is to be with your dog when he’s swimming. Never leave him unattended – even if he seems like he’s having the time of his life! If something goes wrong, you will not be able to save him in time.
Additionally, make sure that all of your swimming equipment is safe and free of any sharp objects. This will prevent him from getting hurt while having fun!

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