Many dogs owners and pool owners have questions about pools and dogs, such as - are pools safe for dogs? and are dogs safe for pools? Today we look at some common questions we get about pools and man's best friend.
Is Chlorine Bad for Dogs?
We've discussed pool chemicals and pets before, in an earlier post, and yes your dog can swim in a chlorine pool, or a salt pool, and not be harmed. High levels of chlorine (or chloramines) should be avoided however, and may irritate a dogs skin and eyes, just like humans.
Are Pool Chemicals Dangerous to Dogs?
The stench of pool sanitizers will drive dogs and most animals away. And other balancing chemicals or DE powder pose low danger, but should always be stored tightly, out of reach of pets. A larger danger exists from liquid algaecides, clarifiers or antifreeze. Some of these have a sweet odor, and if spilled on the ground, may be licked up by your dog. Store liquid chemicals to prevent falls, and clean-up any spills completely.
Can a Dog Drink Pool Water?
Your dog can also drink pool water in most cases, unless you have just added large amounts of chlorine to the pool. If your dog drinks from the pool, you can either train him not to, build a fence, or you can make the water healthier by using minerals, ozone or UV sanitizers, to reduce reliance on algaecides and chlorine.
Salt water pools will not usually affect healthy dogs, but older dogs on salt restricted diets should avoid it. Salt pools are 10x less salty than the ocean, but drinking salt pool water can still cause some dehydration and perhaps nausea.
Are Dogs Bad for Pools?
In most cases, dogs won't harm the pool, even vinyl liners, with exception to softsided Intex pools. Hairy dogs will shed fur, which will end up in the pump basket, no problem. Dirty dogs will shed dirt and oils, and bring phosphates into the pool, which affects the pH and creates a sanitizer demand. Heavy use, or many dogs in a pool may require pH adjustment and shocking, along with extra filtration to restore water clarity.
Are Pools Dangerous for Dogs?
Hundreds, if not thousands of pets drown each year in backyard pools. Most go unreported, so there is no reliable data on how many pets are lost. We've discussed pool pet safety many times before on this blog, and we advocate dog pool exit training or installation of a dog ramp if you don't have in-pool steps. Pet drowning most often occurs with very young and untrained dogs, but also to old and weak dogs. Pool pet ramps increase pool safety for dogs, even those that resist participation in pool exit training, and for any dog that falls in the pool by accident.
How Can I Keep my Dog Out of the Pool?
If your dog loves the water a bit too much, and you worry about unsupervised swimming, there are some ways you can discourage a water dog. Pool mesh fencing, solar covers and safety covers can be used when you can't keep the dog out of the pool. pool alarms like the Safety Turtle can be attached to a collar, and sound an in-home alarm when submerged. Finally, an outside dog trainer can be brought in to change the behavior and teach your dog new boundaries.
How to Get Your Dog into the Pool
Most dogs either love the pool or they stay as far away as possible. Dog pool exit training is a good idea, if you can coax your dog to enter the pool. We've discussed how to teach a dog to swim and to use a pool pet ramp, before.
Essentially, you can't force a dog into the pool, but coax (bribe) them in the water, and help them make a quick exit using the stairs or swim-out. Smaller dogs can be calmly carried into the water and gently released just a few feet from the steps or pet ramp, so they can become familiar with the location and practice exiting the pool a few times.
If your dog won't take to the pool, it's just their nature. Some dogs love to swim, and others just don't. Consider yourself lucky if your dog prefers to sit in the shade, rather than swim in the pool. When you have several dogs that really love the pool, it can cause water problems, and can become a pool safety concern.
Remember to supervise all dogs in pools, even if they are good swimmers, and limit dogs to short swim periods, and only when pool water is balanced and chlorine levels are mild.
Rinsing your pet with the garden hose after swimming is also recommended, to remove chlorine from your dog's skin and fur.