Humans are not the only ones that see pools as a great place to cool off on a hot day! Our four-legged friends do too. Before you let your dog swim in your pool, it is worth considering a few safety and maintenance issues first so that everyone can have an enjoyable dip.
Is it safe for my dog to swim in my pool?
You may think that all dogs are natural swimmers, but that is not the case. While some dog breeds are typically more natural swimmers, there is no guarantee they will love the water, especially the first few times they get in.
Dog breeds that tend to have shorter legs and snouts are ones that are more likely to struggle to swim.
When introducing your dog to your swimming pool, make sure that you are not pressuring them to get in and let them suss it out for themselves. Never push your dog into the water if you want them to have positive associations with your pool. If you find that your dog is struggling to swim or is fearful of the water, you could look into swimming lessons for them.
As far as chlorine goes, as long as your pool is safe for human use, your pet will be able to enjoy it as well. The levels of chlorine found in backyard pools should not harm your dog as long as you are regularly testing and balancing your water.
Safety tips for dogs and swimming pools
1. Always supervise your dog while they swim
This is the number one rule for letting your dog swim safely in your swimming pool. Like children, they should never be allowed to swim without supervision.
2. Secure and store your pool chemicals
As you would for children, keep your pool chemicals out of your pet’s reach. While your dog can handle the amount of chlorine in your pool, if they ingest any of your pool chemicals, they will need to visit the emergency pet hospital immediately.
3. Install a pool fence and use your pool cover
A pool fence and your pool cover can help prevent your dog from accessing your pool unsupervised. Make sure that your fence cannot be easily jumped over or dug under and that your pool cover won’t collapse under their weight should they get on top of it.
4. Teach your dog how to use your pool
Familiarize your dog with where and how to exit your pool safely. Most pools are not designed to allow dogs to easily enter and exit the pool, so you might want to consider adding a dog ramp for their convenience.
5. Keep a bowl of fresh water by the pool
This can help discourage your dog from drinking too much pool water. While the chlorine levels in your pool should be safe enough if they consume a small amount of pool water, however, drinking excessively from your pool may make your dog sick.
6. Rinse your dog off after swimming
To prevent your dog from developing skin irritations from the chlorine post-swim, make sure to give your dog a good rinse after they get out of the pool. Also, make sure to give your dog’s ears a wipe to prevent ear infections.
7. Watch out for signs of irritation or allergies
Monitor your dog closely during and after their swim, especially the first few times, to ensure they do not develop negative reactions to the chlorine. Pay attention to redness of the eyes, coughing or difficulty breathing. If your dog exhibits any unusual symptoms, remove them from the water, clean them off and contact your vet if the symptoms persist.
8. Invest in a life vest or flotation device for your dog if necessary
If your dog is not a strong swimmer or is nervous around water, it may be a good idea to invest in a flotation device made for dogs so they can feel more comfortable being with you in the water.
Maintenance tips for dogs and swimming pools
1. Properly maintain and clean your pool.
Stay on top of your pool’s maintenance and chemicals in order to prevent your dog and any other bathers from getting sick. If your dog is regularly using your pool, you may need to increase how often you test and clean your pool water.
2. Give your dog a rinse before they swim
If possible, give your dog a quick rinse before they enter your pool. This will help wash off excess dirt and hair so that it does not end up in your pool. Dogs can be carriers of contaminants such as unwanted bacteria, debris, and fecal matter, so keep that in mind if you are going to allow them into your pool.
3. Pay attention to your dog’s hair
If your dog has long hair or is a heavy shedder, make sure you also give them a good brush before they go for a swim. This will help minimize the amount of hair that will end up in your pool filter. If your dog swims regularly, make sure you are cleaning your filter more often to ensure that your pool pump continues to function properly.