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Our dogs are loved members of our family and they should be part of every fun activity you do, including swimming in your pool.
This begs the question, can my dog swim in my pool?
The answer is yes, but you should consider their ability and safety, and the maintenance of your pool.
Find out if it’s okay to let your dog swim in the pool and if pool water is bad for them. Also learn about whether dogs can swim in above-ground pools or not.
Learn what type of pool and pool water is best for dogs and if they can swim in fiberglass pools.
Compare chlorine vs saltwater pool for dogs and understand how your dog affects your pool.
Finally, check out our tips on making your pool dog-friendly, what to do if your dog drinks pool water and whether dogs can swim in public pools.
Is It Ok to Let Your Dog Swim in Your Pool?
Yes. Your dog can swim in your pool if they know how to swim, and it is well-maintained.
Swimming is a good low-intensity cardio exercise for dogs. It’s a refreshing change for your pup if you think they are bored with walks in the park or the usual game of frisbee.
Things to consider before letting your dog swim in the pool include:
Your Dog’s Swimming Ability
Some dogs are born to swim and explore the waters because of their coats and webbed feet.
Breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Newfoundland, and the Portuguese Water Dog can swim well even in the ocean.
Puppies, beginners, senior dogs, and dogs that get tired easily will benefit more from swimming in the pool because the water is shallower, and the space is smaller.
It’s also safer because there are no currents or unknown debris underwater.
How Long Your Dog Should Swim
Swimming in a pool is safe but letting them swim for too long can be dangerous.
Puppies and beginners should only swim for 10 minutes, while experts can swim for around 30 minutes.
This is enough for a good workout.
The maximum amount of time that dogs should spend in the pool is around an hour. Keep an eye on them all the time because they may need help getting out of water when they are tired.
The Water Temperature of the Pool
Dogs can’t swim in very cold water because they may develop sniffles or, worse, hypothermia and frostbite.
The lowest temperature of the water that dogs should swim in is 45 °F or 7 °C. Even though they can regulate their body temperature, they are still sensitive to heat and cold.
Dogs with kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and hormonal imbalance will have a harder time swimming in cold water.
The Type of Pool Water
Both saltwater and chlorine pools are safe for dogs. The salt and chlorine levels help keep the water clean so your dog can avoid infection from parasites and bacteria.
However, saltwater and chlorine pools have different components.
Saltwater, for instance, uses low salt levels that break down to chlorine. Meanwhile, chlorine uses actual chlorine from tablets.
The Design of the Pool
If you haven’t installed a pool yet, you should consider what it would look like so that you can allow your dog to safely swim.
Decide whether a fiberglass or concrete pool will be safer. Should there be a tanning ledge? Where can dogs climb in and out of the pool? How will you position your fencing?
Is Pool Water Bad for Dogs?
Pool water, whether chlorinated or salt-treated, is generally safe for dogs to swim in. There is nothing to be concerned about, especially if the chemicals are at safe levels.
It would only be toxic to them if they consume pool water in copious amounts.
Salt toxicity is impossible because low salt levels are diluted in massive amounts of water.
Chlorine is also safe when diluted in water unless the actual chlorine tablet or liquid chemicals are reachable.
It’s typical for dogs to occasionally sip on pool water, especially because they get tired paddling in the middle of the water.
They shouldn’t experience any side effects from small amounts of pool water.
But you should make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, cold water for them to drink while swimming.
If they do keep drinking pool water, they may end up having digestive issues and other conditions.
Pool water also has a different effect on dogs’ skin than freshwater. If you let your dog swim for a long time, their coat and skin can get dry.
Make sure to rinse your dog with fresh water after every swimming session to avoid dry skin and fur.
Can Dogs Swim in Above Ground Pools?
An above-ground pool is an affordable option if you are planning to install a pool in your house. It doesn’t take long to install. They also can include decking, fencing, and railings.
Above-ground pools are great for kids. But are they great for dogs?
Yes. Above-ground pools are safe for dogs, as long as they know how to safely climb in and out of them.
The only way your furry friend can affect your above-ground pool is when they gouge it with their toenails.
Before letting your dog swim, train them not to rest their paws on the edge. In fact, you should teach them to stay away from the side.
Your dog must have an easy way to climb out of the water without climbing on the side of the pool.
Another way to maintain an above-ground pool while keeping your dog safe is by giving them a spot to rest.
Instead of installing ladders, which can be difficult for dogs to manage, try some stairs so you can all get in and out of the pool easily.
As with any other pool, make sure to clean the filter more often because your dog’s hair can fill it quickly, especially if they shed a lot.
Can Dogs Swim in Fiberglass Pools?
Yes. An inground fiberglass pool is the most recommended type of pool if you have a dog.
These pools have a surface made of smooth Gelcoat that don’t get destroyed when they accidentally scratch.
Compared to Gunite, the smooth and durable interior of fiberglass pools are scratch-free, making swimming more enjoyable for the whole family.
It is also unlikely your dog’s toenails can penetrate the vinyl liner if you have a fiberglass pool.
Another reason to get a fiberglass pool if you have a dog in the family is the convenient built-in steps for your dog.
If they get tired of paddling, they can rest on the wide-open steps and climb back out to the ground.
It’s ideal for beginners, puppies, senior dogs, dogs with weak joints, and dogs that can’t naturally swim.
You may even add tanning ledges in your pool for your dog to perch on, or a gradual beach entry for the easiest in and out.
What Type of Pool Is Best for Dogs?
Before choosing the best pool for your dog, it’s important to understand the most common issues that dog owners have with their pool.
Many have worries about their dogs’ claws and the vinyl liner. To avoid this, they need big steps in pools or a tanning ledge.
Nevertheless, dogs rarely damage the pools, especially if it’s a fiberglass pool. This makes it the best type of pool for dog owners.
The dogs’ claws will not tear the Gelcoat in a fiberglass pool because it’s durable, compared to Gunite/concrete in-ground pools.
Aside from being less damaging than vinyl pools, fiberglass pools can also feature wide-open steps and beach entries for dogs.
Some fiberglass pool models you may consider include the D Series, C Series, and L Series. All of them have tanning ledges to help your dog conveniently get in and out of the pool.
They’re also ideal for just hanging out if your dog is too tired to paddle already.
The final reason to choose a fiberglass pool is the easy maintenance. They have great surfaces that allow for easy cleaning.
The second-best type of pool for dogs is a concrete pool. The tiles aggregate, plaster, and other interior features are also sturdy.
The only issue with concrete pools is how harsh the rough surface can be on their paws and claws.
Plastic Collapsible Pool
You might also consider plastic swimming pools as a budget-friendly option.
Some small dogs and puppies may need this, to begin with, because a large pool can be intimidating for them when they first start swimming.
Try the Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pool.
- It’s a tough and durable PVC pool that can stand on lawns and hard surfaces.
- Available in a variety of sizes, it is ideal to teach puppies to paddle. They can easily get in and out of the pool, keeping them cool during the summer.
- It’s easy to assemble and store because of its foldable design and snap-open drain plug for emptying the pool.
- They are made with environmentally friendly materials and have a slip-resistant surface.
Metal pools are another affordable, yet indestructible pool design you can get for your dog.
They are also easy to find. Just buy a stock tank at a close farm or feed store so your dog has something to swim in.
These are ideal for puppies and medium-sized breeds, but they are not for large breed dogs to paddle in.
However, metal pools will give your dog a tough time getting in and out of the pool. You have to keep their swimming time-limited then carry them out of the pool.
Or you can install a ramp so they can move from land to water easily.
Whatever kind of pool you choose for your dog, we hope you don’t choose a vinyl liner pool. The liners are too thin, sometimes even less than a milliliter.
Their claws can easily tear that material.
What Kind of Pool Water Is Best for Dogs?
All kinds of pool water are safe for your dog as long as they are clean and well maintained.
Many dog owners with pools consider saltwater pools to be the best. Salt chlorine generators are more natural than chlorine.
The salt levels are low, and the chlorine that is produced from the salt breakdown is also low.
Another non-chlorine chemical you can put on your pool is Bromine. However, Bromine is more ideal for spas and hot tubs because they stabilize more efficiently in hot water.
However, Bromine is hard to rinse off their coat.
When choosing the best kind of pool water for your dog, you must consider the cleanliness of the pool before its toxicity.
That’s because pool water is unlikely to poison your dog if they ingest some.
However, untreated pool water can be home to various bacteria and parasites which can cling to your dog’s coat and skin.
Also, you need to be more concerned about your dog’s access to the pool chemicals. Directly ingesting chlorine tablets or liquid can kill them.
However, when it’s dispersed in the pool water, there is no need to be concerned.
The right amount of salt or chlorine water is safe for swimming. Too many chemicals can put you and your dog in danger because of the drastic pH level change.
Chlorine vs Saltwater Pool for Dogs
Both chlorine and saltwater pools are safe for dogs if you follow the instructions on maintaining adequate levels.
The truth is, no chemical is better than the other. They keep the pool clean and free from bacteria, although saltwater tends to be more natural and lower in chlorine.
However, both also have the same downsides. Both can be drying to your dog’s skin and coat.
When left in the water for too long, your dog may develop red, flaky skin and dull fur.
Salt toxicity in saltwater pools is also impossible because the salt levels are extremely low.
How Dogs Can Affect Your Pool
Dogs can have more effects on your pool than humans have.
Some say one furry friend is equivalent to three humans in terms of the debris they leave in the pool. But others say one is equivalent to fifty people.
Here’s how dogs can affect your pool.
Dogs have more hair than us, so expect your filtration system to catch a lot of fur from their coat. It can be twice as messy if your dog sheds a lot.
But this does not mean that dogs are more likely to damage your pool.
It is rare for dog fur and debris to damage the filtration system of your pool.
But it only means that you need to clean out your filter more often or backwash it if it has a lot of debris.
Contamination of Pool Water
Your dog’s coat also carries dirt, pollen, and even poop which all go to the pool water. Germs and parasites can also affect the water and make both of you sick.
Disease transmission from dogs to humans is common when swimming. Intestinal infections and parasites may include:
External parasites like ticks and fleas can also be transmitted in the pool.
Depending on the material, the pool liner can be torn by your dog’s strong nails.
If the lining is made of plastic or vinyl, we recommend keeping your dog out of the pool.
That is why we recommend a fiberglass pool if you have yet to install a swimming pool in your house.
Your dog’s nails can also scratch other people and dogs in the pool. Remember that they use their paws to paddle, so they may hurt your skin if you go near them.
Their nails can also damage other pools and toys, so you should clip their claws before letting them take a dip.
How Do I Make My Pool Dog Friendly?
Making your pool dog-friendly also makes it safer for people who swim in the same pool. Here are some tips.
Entry and Exit Points
Before installing your fiberglass pool, it’s important to consider the design of the entry and exit points.
Our dogs know how to jump in the pool, but not everyone is confident in doing so. And because they can’t use ladders easily, then a ramp or steps should be installed.
Try placing a vibrant object at the entry and exit point to help them find it if they panic and get into trouble.
Use a Bigger Filter
Filters automatically require more frequent cleaning if you let animals swim because they have more fur and debris.
But if you want to avoid the hassle of more frequent cleaning, try using a bigger filter for your pool.
A bigger filter can also help you save money because you are less likely to require professional maintenance.
If you clean your own filter, you can save yourself some money in the long run.
Maintain Proper Chlorine Level
A day before swimming, raise the chlorine level to 2.0 mg/l. Then, let it stay at 1.0 mg/l as they are swimming.
Make sure that your chlorinator and circulation tools are working continuously to keep your pool free from dirt and debris.
Do not allow chlorine levels to exceed 5.0 mg/l to avoid toxicity and extremely irritated skin.
Aside from the chlorine level, you also need to consider the pH of your pool water Keep experimenting from 7.2 to 7.6.
Don’t let it reach 8.0. Otherwise, chlorine loses effectiveness by 10%.
For more details on how to maintain your chlorine levels, be sure to get professional advice from your local pool service or shop.
What Happens if a Dog Drinks Pool Water?
It is unlikely for your dog to be poisoned by pool water if they ingest some, especially if the chlorine levels are safe.
It is normal for them to drink some water from the pool, especially if they get tired from swimming.
This is not a cause of concern unless they consume excessive amounts. Too much can lead to an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and erosion of the esophagus.
To avoid this, always offer plenty of freshwater to your furry friend. Do a chemical shock to the pool until it is safe again for your dog to swim in.
Are Dogs Allowed in Public Swimming Pools?
Only service animals are allowed in public swimming pools and enclosures at public recreational bathing facilities according to law.
If you want to let your dog swim in a public place, consider dog-friendly beaches instead.
However, beware of the risks of oceans to your dog. Waves and currents can easily sweep your dog away, and natural saltwater has different effects on their body.
In some states, special events called “dog swims” or “drool in the pool” allow domestic dogs to swim in public pools and participate in different activities.
Dog tricks, competitions for the most athletic dog, and contests on the cutest dog can occur in these events.
Consider Your Dog Before Getting a Pool
Because dogs are a part of our family, they should be allowed to swim in your pool.
A fiberglass pool with safe levels of chlorine or saltwater and entry and exit points is the ideal pool for them to swim in.
Make sure your pool is dog-friendly and your dog doesn’t drink too much pool water.
Post-swimming also requires safety guidelines! Learn how to wash your dog after swimming.