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Pool Safety for Dogs

Here’s some water safety advice to help ensure you have fun in the sun this year while keeping your beloved pets safe in and around the water.


You will know fairly quickly if your dog enjoys going in the water. To encourage a safe experience for your dog in and around the pool every time, here are some helpful pool safety tips:

  1. Teach your dog to swim: As a first step, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends that you carry him into the pool and lower him into the water gently. Your dog may be unsure of what to do next, so you can help him swim to the steps, praising him for his efforts.

  2. Familiarize him with the pool: You can guide your dog a bit further into the pool, then assist him back towards the steps. With some practice, your dog will start swimming for the exit on his own.

  3. Ensure your dog learns how to safely exit: Another important element of pool safety for dogs is reaching the steps and finding the exit from any entry point. The AKC suggests putting him in the pool from different points and guiding him towards the exit. Knowing how to get out of the water will help eliminate panic in case of an accidental fall.

  4. Confirm your dog is comfortable: If your dog seems to thrive in the water and is physically healthy enough to swim, you are all set to go. If he seems a bit unsure of the water after the first introduction to the pool, try again next time. You’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable he may be during the second or third try.

  5. Always supervise: Even if your pal is a strong swimmer, you can never know when an emergency situation in the water may arise. By always keeping an eye on your dog while playing in or around the pool, you can be sure he is safe.

Chlorine effects and clean up

Part of a clean pool routine is treating the water with chlorine and other chemicals, which can leave us wondering about the effects of chemically treated water on our pets. Chlorine in large doses can be harmful to both dogs and humans, but according to petMD, the amount of chlorine found in a well maintained backyard pool is at a very diluted level that should not cause any chlorine poisoning.

In fact, the expert at petMD points out that your pool is a safer option than swimming in a river or lake, which can lead to exposure to unknown microorganisms that can negatively affect your pet’s health. Just make sure to store all pool cleaning supplies, such as chlorine tabs and shock, safely away from your dog.

Along with swimming, another concern for dog owners is dogs drinking water directly from the pool. This can become an issue especially in the hot summer months when some dogs, like my JoJo, see the pool as a refreshing oversized personal water bowl. Although we shouldn’t necessarily encourage it, petMD points out that drinking some chlorinated water should not cause any serious issues.

There can also be concerns that prolonged skin exposure to pool chemicals may lead to skin sensitivity. To prevent this, thoroughly rinse your pet off after his swim to ensure all the chlorine has been washed off. When drying your dog, pay special attention to drying the ears, since damp ears can lead to ear infections.

Can my pool handle dogs?

This depends on what type of pool you own. In general, any type of in-ground pool surface like plaster, pebble, or tile, will be fine for both large and small dogs to swim in. Above ground pools with vinyl liners may be less suitable, since the pool lining can sustain some damage from your dog’s nails while swimming or exiting the pool.

Also, consider the impact of your dog’s hair on your pool. If your pup has long hair or sheds a lot, give him a good brushing before getting in the pool to minimize the amount of hair that ends up in the pool filter. If your dog goes swimming regularly, clean your filter often to ensure the pool pump continues working at the optimum level.


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