What is Secondary Drowning in Dogs?

Recently a long time friend of mine, Dr. Bera Dordoni, sent me a story about a dog that died suddenly from secondary drowning at the tender age of 3 years old. How? Playing in the yard with this person’s nephews with the garden hose. It gave me pause to reflect back on a similar situation that could’ve ended tragically for me with my former beloved dog, Shadrach, our Neapolitan Mastiff.

Shadrach is the reason I became an animal naturopath. I’ve told his story so often – it’s here in various places on this blog, on his Memorial Page, on my podcast, in my books. He’s always been at the center of my teaching. Now, 11+ years since he passed away, I’m still sharing what I learned with and from him. First let me tell you a little bit about what secondary drowning is and then I’ll share my story with Shadrach, which I hope drives the point home. This is not to discourage us from playing with our dogs, but rather to use discernment and wisdom when we do so.

In a nutshell, secondary drowning can happen whether or not your dog is actually submerged in water. It can happen by playing in sprinklers that spray big areas – the kind that swing around. Hopefully you can understand what I’m trying to describe here. The place we often see those type of sprinklers is at parks, as well as the kind of water parks that are in cities and are open play areas which dogs also play in with their people. Or as in the case of this particular dog, in the back yard playing with the garden hose. The dog is inhaling so much water when they’re playing these type of games that it can aspirate into the lungs which then can cause a secondary pneumonia. I’ll share some links here so you can go read up further on that:

  1. Drowning and Near Drowning in Dogs
  2. How to Avoid Losing Your Pet to Secondary Drowning
  3. Secondary – or Dry Drowning in Dogs

Before I became an animal naturopath, I was a veterinary technician. After we got Shadrach, I wasn’t working at all so I got to stay home with him and this dog changed my life forever! His near death by this type of “drowning” didn’t happen because of water, but rather because of an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he’d been placed on by our veterinarian at the time. The details are in the short video of our story on my essential oils page: https://www.aspenbloompetcare.com/shop/essential-oils/ Shadrach had begun vomiting while laying down and aspirated the vomit into his lungs, which later turned into pneumonia – the allergic reaction to the antibiotic caused the reaction which is considered an adverse event. We took him to the emergency clinic the same night it happened, but they gave him more antibiotics via IV, so he was quite sick for awhile afterwards. That was also the catalyst that sent me headlong into natural animal health!

Neo Mastiff sunning in the fall

Fast foward a few years later when Shadrach and I would go to the park in the very early, dark morning together. In summer he’d chase the sprinklers that were on – which also caused the grass to be soggy and slippery as well as setting up an additional possible hazard for both humans and dogs. Shadrach LOVED going after those sprinklers! With his huge Mastiff mouth wide open trying to attack the spraying water. Sometimes afterward he would cough and spit up water which FINALLY became very concerning to me. I talk to all my of dogs (all my animals all my life actually) just like I would be talking to you. I have conversations with them – yes they do respond with vocals of their own. I didn’t get called Weird Animal Girl for nothing growing up. This particular summer morning while we drove the short distance to the park, I was thinking about him going after the sprinklers. I wanted him to stop doing that, so I simply told him that he had to or he could get very sick and die. I told him I loved him too much to continue to allow him to do it, and I should’ve stopped him sooner. We used to also play this game at home with the water hose, but I never let him get the hose, I just swung it around so he’d chase it and get some extra exercise. That worked well and the grass got watered too. So anyway, when we got out of the car that morning and walked into park, he never went near the sprinklers from that day forward.

He obviously understood me. Also believe it or not, our thoughts are energy and they do transfer to others – animals, humans, plants, etc. Animals just receive them as they have no grid to filter those out. That’s another thing I’ve also taught on for years. No, I am not an animal communicator. I just know what scripture has to say about our thoughts, as does REAL science (not the kind manufactured these days for political agendas). I also know that because I talk to my dogs on the regular, they pick up on MUCH more than I may even know. Animals are far smarter than we’ve given them credit for. So that said, Shadrach understood me – of that I’m certain as he never did it again. I’m blessed that this type of drowning didn’t happen to him, especially considering the problem he’d already had from the allergic reaction to the antibiotics – also something I NEVER repeated in him. He never had a Pharma drug again after that either.

None of this was shared to scare you, but to inform you so that you can enjoy your dog (s) for many more years to come!

Until next time…

Have a PAWSitively, tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!



Kim Bloomer, V.N.D., N.D. is an animal naturopath as well as being certified in small animal nutrition, with years of experience in animal wellness. Dr. Kim is a published author, writer, blogger, host of the DOGgone Truth podcast. Dr. Kim offers Animal Naturopathy Mentoring and Courses. Subscribe to her DOGgone Newsletter for updates or to her blog via email. Copyright ©2005-2024 Aspenbloom Pet Care, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article. The only essential oils referenced on this website are Young Living.

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