8 Reasons Your Dog Is Acting Weird After Swimming


Avid swimmers within the canine world reside on the sting.

And yet, many well-meaning dog owners are usually not aware of the risks water can pose.

A few of you may’ve heard about dangers lurking in bacteria-infested waters or dogs drowning long after swimming (so-called dry drowning).

So it’s totally comprehensible that you simply’re fearful in case your dog behaves strangely after swimming.

My Rottweiler is definitely excitable and that’s no different when she’s swimming.

Gulping plenty of water when retrieving toys or drinking from the river on hot summer days makes her more vulnerable to the risks water can pose.

That’s why I’ve researched what precautions to take and what to look out for after a dog’s swimming session (even, or especially, if that’s hours ago).

Photo by Pawleaks

Standing waters can pose just as much of a health hazard as flowing waters and even pool water.

Dog Acting Weird After Swimming

Your dog could also be acting weird after swimming on account of swallowing water, chlorine, blue-green algae, parasites or bacteria, an ear infection, or just exhaustion.

A few of these causes could be emergencies while others may be solved during regular vet visits or they will even be harmless.

Never take any possibilities though. In the event you suspect a serious issue, seek the advice of your vet.

Swallowing an excessive amount of water, blue-green algae, or ear infections may sound harmless in comparison with other serious conditions, but they could be emergencies.

Weird behavior must be closely monitored, especially if the behavior is in stark contrast to when the day began.

Keep watch over your dog, even in the event that they felt somewhat under the weather already. It would indicate an ear infection, allergy, or a chilly.

1. Dog Acts Weird After Swallowing Water

In case your dog acts weird after swallowing an excessive amount of water and also you observe other behavioral issues or difficulty respiration, it’s good to call your vet.

This condition is known as hyponatremia or “water intoxication” and has a complete range of symptoms.

  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty respiration
  • Nausea
  • Dilated pupils or glazed eyes
  • Light gum color or salivation

This might be probably the most common cause why dogs behave strangely after getting back from a swim.

Photo by Bryan Neuswanger on Shutterstock

Below, I’ve gone a bit more into specifics on what to do in case your dog coughs quite a bit after inhaling a great deal of water.

2. Dog Swallowed Chlorine Water

Chlorine water can pose a health risk to your dog and should cause them to behave strangely on account of stomach upset, however the danger will depend on the dose.

This study amongst greater than 400 dogs tried to discover the risks of swimming in chlorine water.

Dermatological issues (dry skin, coat, or abrasion on the armpits) were observed in 15-20%, followed by red eyes and ear infections.

One might assume that the dogs just didn’t swallow water while swimming under supervision.

But either way, while dipping into chlorine water normally requires no emergency vet, it’s good to watch out with the concentration of chlorine and the way much your dog swallowed.

(…) the hazards of chlorine exposure are dose dependent. Pool water accommodates very dilute levels of chlorine, and is unlikely to cause chlorine poisoning in (…) animals. (…) a pet is more prone to turn into in poor health from a dunk in a standing pool of water, or a lake full of unknown microorganisms comparable to amoeba, than they’re from swimming in a properly maintained pool stuffed with chlorinated water.

Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

3. Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae could be the reason behind your dog’s weird behavior after swimming and a few types are extremely toxic for dogs.

Typing “blue-green algae dogs” and checking the news tab spits out dozens of dogs who’re sadly not with us anymore on account of algae poisonings.

The symptoms are plentiful and a few articles list nearly 20 symptoms.

As an everyday dog owner, it’s essential to know the symptoms but many point toward dozens of potential issues while some are rarely noticed by laymen.

Prevention is vital.

Whether it’s a lake, pond, or river, if there’s brightly coloured foam, stay away.

A movie of greenish slime can also be a warning sign.

Photo by Pawleaks; Eibsee mountain lake

No drinking, no swimming. In case your dog went in before you were capable of recall them, wash the fur immediately and avoid letting them lick themselves.

States with flyers or info material warning against algae for pets include Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Michigan, and plenty of more.

4. Parasites or Bacteria

A lake, pond, river, creek, marsh, lagoon, and plenty of more water types have one common denominator; they could be the right playground for parasites and bacteria.

Given all the different sorts of parasites and bacteria which will affect your dog, it’s pretty shocking.

There are a couple of commonsense rules comparable to those above for blue-green algae (i.e. foam, slime, smell).

Nevertheless, you may’t at all times tell if something was within the body of water your dog played in.

In case your dog has swum in water that you think is contaminated with bacteria or parasites after which licked his fur or, worse, swallowed or drank something while swimming, seek the advice of your veterinarian.

A few of these cases could be treated with meds however the response time is crucial.

Common dangers within the water include the next:

  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Leptospirosis
  • Pseudomonas
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Pythiosis

The symptoms are usually not at all times helpful in pinpointing the disease.

While giardia and cryptosporidium normally cause diarrhea (sometimes so severe that dehydration develops), others comparable to leptospirosis may cause fever, shivering, vomiting, muscle tenderness, changes in urination, and more.

Did you understand? The rare disease Naegleria fowleri (also dubbed the brain-eating disease) only has 200 known cases – well shy of the 200,000 it takes to qualify as “rare” – and between 1962-2021, there have been 4 known survivors.

5. Ear Infection

Dogs can get ear infections from swimming which is usually expressed by excessive head shaking or coloured discharge from the ear.

In case your dog behaves weirdly after swimming and you may match the symptoms with those of an ear infection, seek the advice of your vet.

All of the ear infection symptoms:

  • Head shaking
  • Ear scratching
  • Black/yellowish discharge
  • Strong odor
  • Inflamed ear (red and swollen)

The weird behavior after your dog was swimming could also be on account of the proven fact that your dog is in pain and trying to alleviate the itchiness.

There are home remedies available to make the pain more bearable but you mostly have to seek the advice of your vet with ear infections.

Home remedies won’t treat the bacteria and yeast which might be causing the infection, and should make the issue worse.

6. Exhaustion

Dogs who behave weird after swimming could experience the aftermath of a very good workout or perhaps your dog swam past exhaustion.

Limit the swimming time to avoid exhaustion in the longer term.

Don’t get me flawed, swimming is great for dogs.

But when yours isn’t used to the exercise or swam somewhat too far out, he might just be really exhausted.

That’s often the case if well-meaning owners gleefully toss the ball far out again, and again, and again.

7. Upper Respiratory Infection

An upper respiratory infection could also be chargeable for your dog’s unusual behavior after swimming.

Nevertheless, that is more likely in case you’ve encountered other dogs while having fun with your swimming sessions.

Perhaps your dog has other signs of a respiratory infection comparable to sneezing, coughing, nasal or ocular discharge, lethargy, or a fever.

In the event you notice these symptoms in your pet, see your veterinarian straight away.

8. Allergies

Never rule out allergies in case your dog behaves strangely after swimming.

Luscious vegetation near lakes, creeks, and rivers signifies that allergies usually tend to surface.

This one’s more likely within the spring and summer months, especially in case your dog just isn’t a stranger to allergies.

Not as likely as a dog swallowing water or getting an ear infection though.

Dog Coughs After Swimming

In case your dog coughs after swimming, aspiration pneumonia may be the cause and veterinary attention may be required immediately.

This danger of inhaling/swallowing water can also be often known as dry drowning, secondary drowning, or aspiration.

Only your vet can rule out that water has entered your dog’s lungs.

While a gentle case of aspiration might go away by itself, it should never be taken evenly.

Dry drowning progresses quickly and symptoms might only develop hours after you’ve come back from the trip to the lake.

Symptoms of dry drowning include coughing, hacking, wheezing, difficulty respiration, and lethargy (on account of the dearth of oxygen or chest pain).

Vomiting white foam can also be a possibility.

Other causes for a powerful cough after swimming can include swallowing particles from the river or an irritated throat attributable to chlorine, for instance.

What To Do If My Dog Inhales Water

In case your dog inhales water, end the swimming session and closely monitor your dog for signs of dry drowning, stomach upset, or symptoms attributable to bacteria.

Dogs who behave weirdly after a swimming session may require veterinary attention.

Take measures to make sure your dog just isn’t inhaling water in the longer term by not tossing balls or sticks, and by encouraging your dog to swim with the mouth closed for shorter sessions.

Dog Peeing A Lot After Swimming

Peeing quite a bit after swimming may be an indication that your dog drank lots of water or was just pretty excited.

Ensure your dog stays hydrated after coming home and that the urine looks normal.

In case your dog loses the flexibility to regulate his bladder or if the urine changes color, give your vet a call.

Urinating while sleeping can also be possible but may indicate other medical issues as an alternative.

Give it some thought like this: You swim, ride back home, drink quite a bit, after which have a very good nap.

Accidents occur.

If it’s a whole one-off occurrence, your dog might be okay.

Call your vet if it happens repeatedly since this may occasionally indicate an underlying medical issue.

Dog Bloated After Swimming

Bloat usually just isn’t unusual but normally doesn’t occur after swimming unless your dog exercises right after a meal or after drinking lots of water.

Some breeds comparable to the Great Dane, Doberman, and Boxers are more liable to bloat than others.

Other aspects increasing the danger of bloat are a better weight (>99 kilos is claimed to extend risk by 20%), old age, and a deep-chested construct.

Nevertheless, the origins and causes are usually not fully explored and the most important risk factor is eating or drinking right before exercising.

In the event you suspect bloat, or every other serious condition comparable to dry drowning, bacteria, or an ear infection, seek the advice of your vet.

A lot of these conditions could be fixed by your vet and the examination cost, diagnostic tools, and eventual treatment with antibiotics or other meds are still cheaper than waiting simply to find yourself in need of hospitalization or surgery.

Disclaimer: This blog post doesn’t substitute veterinary attention and doesn’t intend to accomplish that. I’m not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. In case your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.


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