Dog Has Water In Its Lungs: Put It To Sleep Or Not? (Counselor)

If a dog has water in its lungs, it’s not a good sign. It can indicate various serious diseases.

It is understandable that dog owners are concerned after such a diagnosis. Mainly because acute shortness of breath can quickly develop if water accumulates in the lungs.

In this article, you will learn how dangerous water in the lungs is in dogs and whether an affected dog can be cured.

We’ll explain what pulmonary edema is and answer questions like “when is the right time to euthanize a dog with water in its lungs?” and “How do I know my dog doesn’t want to live anymore?”

My dog has water in his lungs: death sentence or curable?

If your dog has water in their lungs, it’s definitely not a death sentence!

Yes, there are nicer diagnoses, but your dog can be cured. How exactly the treatment looks like depends on the stage at which the pulmonary edema is and what previous illnesses are present.

However, if the affected dog suffers from acute shortness of breath, it is always an emergency that must be treated urgently. The reduced air supply can quickly lead to respiratory arrest and thus death of the dog.

Please take your dog to a veterinarian if you suspect water in the lungs. Pulmonary edema is difficult to diagnose as a layperson, as the symptoms can indicate many different causes.

What is the life expectancy with pulmonary edema?

This question can not be answered generally.

If pulmonary edema is caught early, chances are it is treatable. However, the disease underlying the edema also plays a role.

At a later point in time there is an increased risk that the dog will suffocate from the water in the lungs.

Symptoms & causes of water in the lungs

The clearest symptoms of water in the lungs in dogs are problems with breathing up to shortness of breath and coughing. However, both symptoms can also point to other causes.

In both cases, you should definitely take your dog to a veterinarian! Only he can give a definite diagnosis.

Other symptoms may include crackling sounds when breathing, poor performance, turning your lips or tongue blue, or a collapse.

How is water formed in the lungs of dogs?

Water in the lungs of dogs is caused by a backlog of blood. The resulting accumulation of water in the lungs is called pulmonary edema.

Pulmonary edema can arise due to various pre-existing conditions. These are often heart diseases such as narrowed heart valves.

Cardiac cough, cardiac arrhythmia or viruses can also cause pulmonary edema.

Treatment options for pulmonary edema

Treatment options depend on the vet’s diagnosis. Various diseases can hide behind it.

It’s very important that if you see even the slightest sign of pulmonary edema (and a related disease), you take your dog seriously and take your dog to the vet!

If your dog is already short of breath, the first thing they do at the vet clinic is give them oxygen. A light anesthetic simplifies further treatment. This may include, among other things:

  • oxygenation
  • administration of cortisone
  • drainage therapy
  • infusions

How does a dog with pulmonary edema die?

If pulmonary edema or the disease behind it is not treated, it means the death of the dog in the short or long term.

The slight shortness of breath eventually leads to respiratory arrest. The dog chokes.

When is the right time to euthanize a dog with water in his lungs?

Only your vet can answer that! Therefore, it is important to find a trustworthy person here.

When is the right time to put your dog to sleep with water in his lungs depends on many factors.

It is important that decisions are always made for the well-being of the animal and that no dog suffers longer than “necessary”. We know that the decision is never easy. A loved one can be worth their weight in gold in this decision (and afterwards).

If your dog has advanced pulmonary edema, they may eventually die from suffocation. It’s nice that we can save our dogs from that.

All we have to do is be with them, take good care of them and notice small signs. You will know when the time is right.

How do I know that my dog no longer wants to live?

You have probably been able to observe over a longer period of time that your dog is slowly preparing for the eternal hunting grounds. He becomes weaker and more sluggish. He sleeps a lot.

It is said that just before death arrives, there are three more phases that herald the approach of death:

  • No more intake of food and water;
  • Suddenly increased urge to move – absolutely allow it;
  • Your dog empties his bladder and bowels uncontrollably, has trouble getting up, and may howl and bark while doing so.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic, you can also read our article “Dog Dying: 3 Sad Signs & Tips from the Pro”.

Conclusion: When to put a dog to sleep with water in the lungs?

If your dog has been diagnosed with water in the lungs, its lifespan will depend on what underlying condition the pulmonary edema is related to.

The point in time at which it is discovered also plays a role. If the edema is not very advanced, the chances of treatment are usually good.

Please stay in close contact with the treating veterinarian. Especially when your dog gets worse or you have the feeling that the end is near.

Your dog will clearly show you when this time has come. Maybe you can see it as a relieving thought that your dog doesn’t have to suffer unnecessarily and is saved from suffocation.

We hope we can help you with this article and thank you for reading.

Please leave us a comment with your suggestions or questions on the subject of “dog has water in its lungs”.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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