The impact of floodplain hydrology on the in-stream dissolved oxygen dynamics and the relation between dissolved oxygen and water temperature are investigated. This has been done by examining the time series of dissolved oxygen and water temperature coupled with meteorological and hydrological data obtained from two lowland rivers having contrasting hydrological settings. Spectral analysis of long-term oxygen variations in a vegetated river revealed a distinct scaling regime with slope ‘–1’ indicating a self-similar behaviour. Identical slopes were obtained for water temperature and water level. The same power-law behaviour was observed for an unvegetated river at small timescales revealing the underlying scaling behaviour of dissolved oxygen regime for different types of rivers and over various time scales. The results have shown that the oxygenation of a vegetated river is strongly related to its thermal regime and flow conditions. Moreover, analysis of short-term fluctuations in the unvegetated river demonstrated that physical factors such as rainfall and backwaters play a substantial role in the functioning of this ecosystem. Finally, the results show that the relation between water temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration at the diurnal timescale exhibits a looping behaviour on the variable plot. The findings of this study provide an insight into the sensitivity of rivers to changing hydro-physical conditions and can be useful in the assessment of environmental variability.