It’s finally that time of the of the year when pools start to open for the season. After being cooped up all winter long, soaking up some rays in the warm sun is a welcome thought. Hanging out by the pool with family and friends is a great way to spend the weekend. But what about our four legged friends that love to swim? Is it safe for them to swim in the pool?
The Truth About Chlorine:
Dogs are safe to swim in pools with the same levels of chlorine that are safe for us. Some dogs may be a bit more sensitive to the water in their eyes or nose, but in general it doesn’t pose a large threat. Just make sure that your dog knows that the pool water is not for drinking. It’s easy for your dog to think of it as a source of drinkable water, so take time to train your dog to not drink the chlorine filled pool water.
Dangers of contaminating the water:
When you let your dog swim in your pool, your will see your pH levels change and will need to sanitize more frequently. This is because you dog introduces more particles from insects, body oils, dirt and even fecal matter to the pool. These can potentially transmit Recreational Water Illnesses such as Giardia, E. coli, Hepatitis A, and Cryptosporidium. This means you will need more sanitizer and chlorine to keep your water clean and safe.
Also, dogs will shed in the water the same as they do out of the water. For the most part these hairs end up in the filters and pumps. This could cause them to clog, so if your dog swims frequently you may need to change your filters and flush your pumps more often.
Swimming with kids:
For the most part, letting your kids swim with your dog is no big deal. However, you do want to watch out for their claws. Dogs still have sharp nails which can easily hurt kids in the pool. Make sure your kids know not to play too rough with your dog in the pool. A make sure everyone is comfortable before letting them swim together. A scratch in the water could leave an open wound that could easy soak up any bacteria from the pool.
Safety tips for having your dog around the pool:
- Make sure they can get out if they can get in
- Maintain clean and healthy water levels
- Get a life vest or jacket for your dog
- Teach your dog the “come” command so they will always come in from the pool when you call
- Learn some pet CPR either online or at local classes
- Never leave your dog unsupervised in the pool
- Watch for signs of overheating and heat stroke (just because they are in the pool, they aren’t always staying cool enough).
Lastly, always make sure to rise your dog off with clean water once they are done swimming. We don’t like to go to bed with the dry skin and smell of chlorine that the pool leaves and neither do our dogs. So give them a little shower to remove the chemicals and chlorine that could irritate their skin.
Spring and summer are the perfect time to spend leisurely hanging by the pool. But it is always important to know how to keep every safe while having a good time.