What To Do if My Dog Falls in Ice Water?

What to do if your dog falls on ice? Can dogs go into shock from cold water? Well, Accidents, as they say, can happen anytime. But, especially if you have someone less cautious along, an eye for their safety is always on alert. For example, individuals will small kids and pets have both their eyes rolling 180 degrees, ensuring safety for all.

May they not eat something toxic, may they stay a foot away from fire and electricity, or may they not drown themselves in a swimming pool. A similar concern is with dog owners while chilling around a frozen lake or river, wondering what if their dog falls in ice water.

Accidents are unexpected and unplanned; thus, preparing for them isn’t something everyone thinks of. However, if you, along with your dog, are stepping out to enjoy a sunny winter day, then keep an extra eye on your dog. There could be any frozen water body across the can lead to serious accidents for you and your pet.

My Dog Fell Through the Ice. How to Rescue?

Even when you are taking multiple precautions, accidents sometimes can still happen. Though during those times, instead of panicking, here are a few smart moves you can make. For example,

  • Call 911 immediately

As the entire nation knows When in an emergency, call 911. They will dispatch the rescue team within minutes to your locations. Those individuals (rescuers) are professionally trained, prepared, and have essential supplies.

They will bring along flotation devices and equipment for rescuing the dog. Further, they will give quick aid to the dog after removing him from the water, followed by sudden medical help.

  • Do not get into the ice at any cost.

Seeing your dog in ice water is very painful. This situation can make you emotional, helpless, and with that desperate as well. However, regardless of how much panicking you may feel, never try to get into the ice layer.

Remember, if the ice can break with your dog’s weight, it can also break with yours. And there is no point in drowning in the same ice water with the dog. Instead, the smart move is to avoid getting into the ice-cold water or ice by any means.

  • Find something (object) to throw near the dog.

If your dog accidentally falls in ice water, ensure he is floating unless 911 arrives. The idea is to not let the dog draw or inhale water. However, dogs would generally hold the ice edge for support.

But in case that isn’t helping, find any floating device nearby, including a branch, ladder, etc. If you found some, throw it into the water and let your dog hold it to float and survive until the help arrives.

  • Do not instigate the dog to swim.

While your dog falls into ice water, let him hold until help arrives. By then, do not instigate him to swim. Swimming in ice water can make your dog lose body heat faster. Staying as still as possible is the only help in that situation.

  • Keep calm and let the rescuers do their job.

Once the 911 rescue team arrives, you stay calm and let them do their job. You panicking and getting into the ice water can double up the job of rescuers, and they will have to save the dog and then you as well.

Thus, keep calm. Once the 911 rescue team brings out the dog, they will dry him with towels and wrap him well in blankets. If any medical help is needed, they will guide you to the hospital as well. However, not all ice surviving dogs may need help.

  • Follow up with your Vet once

Even if your dog doesn’t need any medical help, do follow up with your Vet once. You can do this after the dog is normal and out of Hypothermia or frostbite effect. Consider visiting the Vet after a few hours or the next day for a general check-up.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe on Frozen Lakes and Ice?

Frozen water bodies, be it lakes or ponds, posses a high risk for both humans and pets. Unless the respective authorities haven’t inspected it, walking on any frozen water body isn’t safe.

Though dogs, the voiceless being, doesn’t actually know that. Thus it is your job to keep them safe on Frozen Lakes and Ice by the most. Here are some helpful tips for the same.

  • Use a fence or tie-out leash for frozen lakes, ponds, or even swimming pools in your backyard. This will prevent the dog from going there even when you are not supervising.
  • Always keep your dog on lease while you are out for a walk during winter days.
  • Never allow your dog to run free if there is any frozen water body around.
  • Avoid walking on frozen lakes that aren’t meant for recreational usage. For example, you can access it if any public lake is fine for snowmobiling, ice skating, etc. However, if the lake isn’t fine for the above, it isn’t safe for walking as well. You can always monitor ice thickness by throwing a stone with all your physical will. A stone won’t break the ice sheet if the ice is strong and safe for walking. If it isn’t, you can see the ice sheet cracking.
  • Beware of ice around half-submerged objects, be it tree branches, pipes, or anything.
  • Do not take dogs on ice lake if they have joint pain, stiff limbs, difficulty walking, or even a history of the same.
  • Make the dog walk slowly instead of jumping, even in the safest ice lakes. Be careful with extra energetic dogs especially.

How long can a dog be in freezing water?

Letting your dog stay in freezing water isn’t an ideal scenario. Dogs are prone to Hypothermia, and freezing water can make them sick, and in the worst-case scenario, the pet may even die.

It will take no more than 5 to 10 minutes for your dog to catch Hypothermia in freezing water. Especially if his head, too, is constantly getting underwater, it’s better to rescue him fast.

What is dog hypothermia?

Dog hypothermia is a physical condition that usually occurs due to prolonged exposure to cold. The dog’s body temperature falls very low during this condition, possibly below the normal body temperature.

Dog Hypothermia ranges into three categories, Mild, Moderate, and Severe. The body temperature in the three categories remains 90 – 99°F, 82 – 90°F, and 82°F, respectively.

Signs of Dog Hypothermia

  • Rapid breathing which followed by slower and shallower breathing.
  • Increased and then slow heart rate
  • Excessive shivering.
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Lethargy
  • Walking difficulty
  • Pale gums
  • Fure and skin becomes cold to touch
  • Stupor, unconsciousness, or coma

Treating Hypothermia in Dogs

  • Firstly, rescue the dog from cold water/ temperature/ exposure.
  • Dry the dog extremely well, wrap him in blankets and take him close to the heated space. Avoid exposure to the wind by any chance.
  • Take a thick towel, wrap some hot water bottles inside and apply it near your dog’s stomach.
  • Allow your dog to drink some hot fluids.
  • Rub your dog’s paws repeatedly for generating heat.
  • Do not allow the dog to move or perform any physical activity, as doing so can make him lose his body heat rapidly.
  • Lastly, check your dog’s body temperature, and if it is below 95 degrees, then call a vet immediately.

How do you know when a dog is too cold?

When your dog is too cold, these signs will help you identify the same:

  • Constant shivering and shaking.
  • Whining or barking
  • Constant gritting of teeth.
  • Anxious or uncomfortable behavior.
  • Limping, curling up, and hunched posture with tail tucked inside.
  • The slow movement, lethargy, or extreme sleepiness.
  • Seeking a place to shelter.
  • Lifting paws from the ground
  • Dogs can get cold more than you may imagine; thus, always take extra care of them during the winter season.

How do you warm up a cold dog?

If your dog goes cold too often, then the winters might go crucial months for you.

Here are a few tips that will help your warm up a cold dog easily:

  • First, bring the dog indoors in a warm room and dry them thoroughly as soon as possible. Leaving any wet patches on their fur can make the recovery process longer and harder.
  • Wrap the dog in a regular or insulated blanket/blanket.
  • Either rub your dog’s stomach or put something warm on his stomach.
  • For heating the body from the inside, let the dog drink warm water or milk.

Can a dog get sick from being wet and cold?

Yes, long-term exposure to wet and cold weather can make the dog sick. A similar situation can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of your dog’s respiratory tract, and even Hypothermia. This is especially applicable for older dogs or snub nose dogs.

Do dogs get cold when they are dying?

Yes, all mammals, including dogs, get cold when they are dying. This is because mammals usually control their internal body heat. And while their death is near, this body heat starts decapitating, and the individual starts feeling colder.

Is it OK for dogs to swim in cold water?

Absolutely not. It isn’t OK for dogs to swim in cold (icy) water. Even a healthy and fit dog can develop health issues while swimming in cold water for long.

Water temperature above 7 to 8 °Celsius is safe for dogs (majority) to swim. Dogs with thick coats can stay warmer in water for long when compared to dogs with thin coats. Also, puppies and smaller dogs can take cold water effects quicker than large dogs.

What temperature of the water is too cold to swim in?

A brief guide to water temperature and how it is for swimming:

0 to 5 degrees Celsius- Extremely cold and hazardous for swimming.

5to 10 degrees Celsius- Very cold, and exposure of more than 10 to 15 minutes can prove harmful.

10 to 20 degrees Celsius– Safe and comfortable once the swimmer gets used to it.

20 to 30 degrees Celsius- Warm. Water temperature close to 30 degrees isn’t very safe for long hours of swimming.

30 degrees Celsius and more- Unsafe for swimming unless you are taking a quick dip.

Do dogs like cold water when it’s hot?

Do dogs prefer room temperature or cold water? Yes, similarly to humans, dogs too like cold water when the weather is hot. Coldwater helps them maintain their body temperature and provides protection from hyperthermia.

However, consider room temperature water instead of giving your dog icy cold water to drink. Icy cold water is good only when used occasionally.

How can I save my dog in the water?

While saving a dog from water, use the following tips:

  • Firstly, rescue the dog by bringing him out of the water. Then, consider pulling gently yet strongly.
  • After bringing the dog out, consider draining his lungs. For doing so, grasp the rear legs and hold the dog upside down for about 10 to 20 seconds. However, if it is a large dog, then try laying him down on a sloping surface. Again, the idea is to keep the head low and facilitate drainage from the lungs.
  • In case the dog is breathing, things are safe. However, if he is not, then perform artificial respiration.
  • Let the dog lay on his side and press his chest with both your palms.
  • After performing immediate saving techniques, reach the Vet for more support.

Can a dog survive a waterfall?

The chances of a dog surviving a waterfall depend upon the circumstance. For example, dogs usually survive high plunges from waterfalls if they swim right after dropping.

They may experience several injuries, though. That is why, while taking your dog outdoors, in unknown places, always be extra cautious.

Wrapping up…

Remember the most common age-old saying, “Prevention is better than cure.” So while it is the winter season and your city experiences snow, be cautious with your pet’s care.

Unless you have a winter dog, do not unnecessarily allow the pet to step outside in the cold. And whenever it gets necessary to take the dog out, make sure the lease is on.

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