Dog Pool Safety

The Dog Pool Safety Tips You Need to Know

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Dog Pools Versus Dogs in Swimming Pools

Dog-Pools-Versus-Dogs-in-Swimming-Pools

While most dogs are fully capable of swimming in human pools, getting a dog pool will significantly improve the dog pool safety and overall swimming experience.

Dog pools are smaller and shallower compared to human pools. This minimizes the risk of drowning when swimming. The small size of dog pools is also great for introducing dogs to the water. Just like humans start in kiddie pools, dogs can greatly benefit from starting in a less overwhelming space. 

Having a dog pool is not only great for your pooch but also for you as well. Dog pools are much easier to maintain compared to a full-sized human pool. They are usually much easier to fill, drain, and clean. 

Allowing dogs into your pool can compromise its hygiene. Dogs don’t have the common sense to clean off before getting into the pool. They bring dust, grass, and debris on them into the pool. Dogs also continuously shed hair that stays in the pool after swimming.

For all these reasons, one dog may bring in as much dirt as three people. You will therefore need to clean your pool more often if your dog is using it. Namely, dog pool safety has implications on owners too. 

What are the Risks of Dogs in Pools?

Pools are great for dogs as long as dog pool safety is considered and taken care of. To ensure maximum dog pool safety, pet owners must be familiar with the potential hazards. Here are some of the risks of dogs in pools: 

  • Drinking the pool water. It is almost unavoidable to drink some of the pool water while swimming. Your dog will, therefore, inevitably drink a little bit of water while swimming. In small amounts, the pool water has no effects on your dog. However, poisoning can also occur due to the chemicals present in the water. 
  • Skin irritation. Your dog’s skin may get affected by water, especially if she spends too much time in the pool. She may also respond negatively to chlorine and other cleaning chemicals and develop an irritation or hot spots. Cleaning your dog’s coat regularly and applying coat health products are both effective means of protecting your dog’s skin in the pool. 
  • Water Intoxication. On the rare occasion that your dog drinks too much water in the pool, she can suffer from a condition known as water intoxication. Drinking too much water dilutes body sodium and other minerals resulting in electrolyte imbalances.  
  • Drowning. Worst case scenario, your dog can fail to get herself out of the pool in time, resulting in drowning. While dogs are known to be very good swimmers, many dogs drown in pools and other water bodies every year. 
  • Salt poisoning. If a dog were to drink too much salt water, she might get poisoned from the salt. Signs and symptoms of salt poisoning can include diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, and lethargy. If left untreated, salt poisoning can cause damage to organs like the kidneys and brain. The dehydration that is induced by saltwater can be fatal.     
  • Injury. Dogs can get harmed while in or around water. If a dog exerts herself for too long in a pool, she can suffer from muscle exhaustion. Dogs can also get normal injuries like scrapes, broken nails, and falls while swimming. After every swim, inspect your dog’s body for any injuries. You should also examine your dog’s body if you notice any change in behavior after swimming, like limping or lethargy. 

How do I Make My Dog Pool Safe?

How-do-I-Make-My-Dog-Pool-Safe

The foundation of dog pool safety is constant supervision – ensuring your dog is able to swim and removing the potential sources of danger. 

Dog Pool Safety Tips

Here are some dog pool safety tips you can easily practice: 

  • Never leave your dog in the pool unattended. The first step in ensuring your dog’s safety in the pool is to always keep an eye on her while she swims. This way, you are always available in case of an emergency. You should also not let your pooch out in a backyard with a pool without supervision, as she can fall into the pool accidentally or even intentionally.
  • Teach your dog how to swim. Even though some dogs are strong swimmers, others aren’t able to navigate water without training. Breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Dachshunds aren’t natural swimmers because of their body structure. Encourage your dog to love the water with tricks like offering treats whenever she gets in the water, taking her to places with swimming dogs, and getting in the water with her. Some dog owners even invest in a dog trainer for swimming lessons. 
  • Provide fresh water to drink before and after pool time. If your dog enters a pool thirsty, she is more likely to sip on pool water to quench herself. To prevent this from happening, get her to drink some water before swimming and leave a bowl at the poolside for whenever she feels like rehydrating. 
  • Use dog-friendly pool chemicals. When cleaning your pool, opt for products that don’t compromise pet health. Chlorine in normal concentrations is not harmful to healthy dogs, but other cleaning agents you use might be. Read the label carefully to see if a product poses a danger to your pet. If unsure, consult your vet
  • Teach your dog how to exit the pool. If your dog was to fall in the pool in your absence, knowing how to get out can literally be a lifesaver. When teaching your dog how to swim, show her to the steps and train her to get out on her own. 
  • Wash your dog after every swim. To minimize the skin irritation risk, bathe or just rinse your dog’s coat after every swim to rinse off any residual chemicals. You should also regularly inspect hidden spots like under the ears, the armpits, and the tail base to make sure that they are in good condition. Also, pay attention to the dog’s ears and make sure there is no leftover moisture. 
WANTRYAPET Foldable PVC Slip-Resistant Dog Pool
  • Made of High-grade PVC material and thickened MDF boards, which is sturdy to make your pet and kids safer while bathing or play.
  • The convenient fold-down design makes it simple to open and fold, space-saving for storage at home, easy to store and carry around.
  • No air pump needed. You only need to unfold the dog bath tub and fill it with water, and then you can shower your dog in the cool pool, with no air pump needed.

Does my Dog Need a Life Vest in a Dog Pool?

No, your dog doesn’t need a life vest when using a shallow dog pool. The point of a life vest is to protect your dog from sinking so she can keep her head above water to breathe. If the water level of a pool doesn’t exceed the top of your dog’s legs, there’s no need for a life vest. 

On the other hand, if the water level of a pool can cover your dog’s head while she’s standing, you need a life vest. Such pools include very deep dog pools and definitely full-sized human pools. 

Life vests are an important dog pool safety tool for pups that are just learning how to swim. The vest helps the dog to float without using too much effort to flap the legs. Dogs whose physical ability is compromised should also use life vests while swimming. Such dogs include senior dogs, dogs with arthritis, and injured dogs. 

Some dogs, even when well trained, should use life vests in deep waters. Small and short-legged dogs like Basset Hounds and Dachshunds are more prone to exhaustion while swimming and would therefore benefit greatly from wearing a life vest.  

When choosing a life vest, ensure to choose one with the right size that achieves the perfect balance between safety and comfort. Your dog should still be able to run, sit, and play comfortably while wearing her vest. 

How do I Stop My Dog From Drowning in the Pool?

How-do-I-Stop-My-Dog-From-Drowning-in-the-Pool

There are several things you can do to maximize dog pool safety. Here are some helpful tips: 

  • Pool cover and pool fence. Pet parents with backyard pools should consider installing a safety cover and fence to ensure maximum dog pool safety. A pool cover and fence would also provide peace of mind whenever a pet wants to play outside without supervision.  
  • Dog life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is essential for dog pool safety because it helps to keep the body floating without much effort. Life jackets are especially beneficial to dogs that are still learning how to swim and those whose physique doesn’t favor floating. 
  • Pool alarm. You can install an alarm to alert you whenever your dog is close to or inside your pool. Some dog collars have immersion safety alarms that go off when your dog falls into a pool or any water body. 
  • Pool ramp or pool steps. Whenever your dog is using the pool, attach a pool ramp or steps to help her get out of the pool on her own. Exhaustion while swimming is a common cause of drowning. A ramp would allow your dog to leave the pool in time without needing your help. 
  • Learn how to perform first aid for a near-drowned dog. Be prepared for an accident by educating yourself on the steps to take to save your dog from drowning. Learn first aid tips like lifting your dog by the hind legs and shaking vertically to force the water of the lungs. You should also learn how to perform artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to save your dog from drowning.
  • If possible, opt for an above-ground pool. If you have the option, choose a raised pool that limits your dog’s access. Unlike a ground-level pool, your dog would need assistance to get into a raised pool. However, you should still install other dog pool safety precautions like alarms in case your dog finds its way to the raised pool platform.