Can Dogs Go In A Pool? – Swimming Safety Tips For Dog Owners

Last Updated on October 19, 2021

As summer approaches and the heat is starting to settle in, one of the best and easiest way to cool down is to go swimming. It’s a fun and enjoyable activity that’s great for your family. And when we say your family, this means every member, including your canine friend. 

Just like people, some dogs love diving into the pool, especially during the hot summer season. But as a dog parent, you might have some concerns about the safety of your pet. Can dogs go in a pool? Should you allow your dog to jump in the water? Are there harmful effects of chlorine or saltwater on dogs? 

To help you, here are the answers to your questions as well as other information you need to know about letting your pet join you in the swimming pool.

Can Dogs Go in a Pool?

Yes. Generally, dogs can go to the swimming pool with you and your family. However, there are some precautions. For example, the common belief that dogs are natural swimmers is not true. Some dogs do not have the physical build to just jump in and swim without worry. 

For instance, Bulldogs have a weight distribution that makes it impossible for them to swim very well. Those with long bodies and short legs would also struggle in the pool, i.e. Dachshunds. But with a life vest and swimming lessons, any breed can get around in the water. 

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Can Dogs Swim in a Chlorine Pool?

Yes. Dogs can swim fine in chlorine pools, given of course that the chlorine is at a normal level. According to the CDC, a small amount of chlorine in water can’t affect your dogs and you can even use it daily to bathe him. In particular, 4 mg/L of chlorine is considered safe and no harmful effects can occur. The real toxic concern is when your dog ingests the chlorine tablets. So make sure to put it in a safe location. 

The diluted amount of chlorine in water is unlikely to cause poisoning in people or animals. It can, however, affect your dog’s digestive system when taken too much. So to prevent this, have a bowl with clean water near the pool and train your pet to drink only from there. You should also make sure to prohibit your dog from licking or drinking pool water. 

Ear Infections

Another concern dog parents have with chlorine pools is ear infections. However, chlorine has nothing to do with this. Rather, it is related to the dampness in the dog’s ears. Thus, the more frequent a dog swims, you can expect more infections. To avoid this with your furry friend, carefully dry his ears with a soft towel. If he is more susceptible to infections, you can ask your vet for a drying solution that you can use after every swim. 

What is a Good Alternative to Chlorine?

Still unsure of chlorine? Some fur parents chose to use non-chlorine chemicals like Bromine – which is considered safer for pets. Compared to chlorine, it has a less pungent smell and milder bleaching side effects.

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Can Dogs Swim in a Saltwater Pool?

Do you use salt instead of chlorine to sanitize and clean your pool but still worried if it’s safe for your dog? Well, you don’t need to be. Salt is less corrosive than chlorine and it’s considered safer for your pet. 

However, salt in large quantities can still be toxic. So whether you have a chlorine pool or saltwater pool, always rinse your dog with fresh water once he is done and always provide clean water for him to drink. 

Benefits of Swimming for Your Dog

Swimming helps dogs cool down and it also serves as a total body workout for them. See, swimming is a great workout for your furry friend’s cardiovascular system. Just a minute of it offers the same advantages of a 4-minute jog. However, this doesn’t mean that it can be a substitute for workouts on land.

But more importantly, the swimming pool is a great place where you can all bond together as a family and have fun, especially if you have some dog pool toys with you. 

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Things to Keep in Mind Before Allowing Your Dog in the Pool

  1. Each dog is different

Take note that not all dogs want to go swimming. Some dogs are physically better equipped at swimming than others. For example, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are better swimmers compared to pugs and dachshunds because they have longer legs and faces. This gives them an advantage in paddling and in keeping their snout out of the water.   

  1. Don’t force it

Don’t be surprised if your furry friend doesn’t immediately jump in the water as many dogs are scared the first time they encounter pools. So don’t force him or throw him into the water. Instead, experts suggest encouraging them and allowing them to enter the pool at their own pace. 

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To help your pet enter the swimming pool, you can use dog pool toys and toss them in the water. You can also escort him yourself as he approaches the water all while praising him in every step he takes. 

  1. Teach how to exit 

If it’s your dog’s first time to join you in the pool, it’s highly likely that he’ll panic when he wants to go out – which can be a reason for drowning. So as his owner, it’s your responsibility to show him how to use the steps. You can also make his exit easier by providing a ramp or ladder which are made especially for dogs. Remember, making his exit smooth and easy can encourage him to repeat going in the water with you. 

  1. Proper maintenance

Before jumping in with your best friend, you have to ensure you’re using the recommended chemical levels and that you’ve cleaned your pool. Without proper maintenance, your pool may just be standing dirty water that can make you, your family, and your furry friend sick. 

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  1. Allergies and irritation

Watch out for any signs of irritation and allergies in your dog. If you notice any coughing, red eyes, or anything unusual, remove him from the pool. You can provide him with a kiddie pool instead, especially during the intense summer heat. 

Want To Have More Fun With Your Dog While Swimming? Check Out These Dog Pool Toys

Photo by Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos

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