Swimming Pool Blog

Dogs in the Pool ~

by John Galcius, July 20, 2009

Dogs And Pool Equipment
Many people ask, “Can my dog get in the pool?” Or, “Is pool water safe for my dog?” The answer is yes, and no. Dogs in swimming pools are hard on the filter, chemistry and equipment. Dog hair can clog a skimmer or pump basket very quickly. Especially a hairy dog. Clog a pump basket on a 2 HP pool pump repeatedly, and you may have a pump repair on your hands.
Many people let their dogs swim in the pool. Some pools are built just for dogs, with easy exit ramps or steps. If you have a dog, and he or she wants to take the occasional dip, that’s OK. The longer the hair on your dog, the more it will shed, and clog the baskets and filter. Dog hair can also get behind the baskets and clog the pump impeller. Using Filter Savers can help. These are nylon skimmer basket liners, they will help keep hair from getting where it shouldn’t. So, if you allow dogs in the pool, be sure to monitor all baskets and filters to make sure the dog hair is not clogging anything.

Dogs And Pool Safety

Just like you would watch a child, you need to watch your dog in the swimming pool. If a dog gets a mouthful, or eyeful of pool water, he can become disoriented and confused, causing panic. Panic in a pool can mean drowning. Make sure you have taught the dog where the pool steps are, and the swimout or love seat, if there is one. Dogs don’t do too well on pool ladders, so since pool steps are not visible at water level, put a potted plant, or some other landmark near the steps, so your pooch can find them easily.

If you don't have an easy exit to the pool, using a skamper ramp is helpful and provides a measure of safety.
The Skamper Ramp is a pool ramp attaches to the pool deck, and dips into the pool for an easy exit point for any animal. Frogs, mice, chipmunks and of course dogs have all been saved by The Skamper Ramp.  Click here for a video demonstration of the Skamper Ramp.
Most dogs take to water naturally, and some don’t. If you own a home with a pool, and you have a dog, get the dog acquainted with the pool, and teach him how to swim. Yes, swimming lessons for dogs. It’s easy, and with a few treats, you’ll have Lassie swimming, and comfortable in the water in no time. If there is an emergency, it's good to know some animal rescue steps, and learn CPR for Dogs 

Dogs And Skin Care

Also remember, dogs can get sunburned. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, ask your veterinarian about dog sunscreen. Just like humans, the dog's nose, ears, lips can get sunburned. Belly and underarms, where dogs have less hair, can also be sprayed with dog sunscreen. Chlorine can also dry out a dog's skin and fur. If your dog spends a lot of time in the pool, watch for redness and irritation on their skin. A good dog shampoo can help restore some moisture into their coat, and moisturize their skin.

 Is Pool Water Bad For My Dog ?

The biggest myth about pool water is “the chemicals” or “the chlorine”. Properly adjusted pool water is perfectly harmless. I live in the Washington area, and the water we get comes from The Army Corps Of Engineers.   In the summer time, the water from the tap has a chlorine residual of 3.0 to 5.0 PPM of chlorine. A properly balanced swimming pool has a chlorine reading of 1.0 to 3.0 chlorine, so it may be better for your dog to drink from the pool than a faucet. 

Heavy pool use by dogs will drastically reduce the chlorine level in the pool. If the chlorine drops below 1.0 PPM, then the next step is a chlorine reading of 0.0 PPM. Always keep a 3.0 reading, and always
shock the pool when your dogs are done swimming.  A pool without sanitizer or chlorine is dangerous for anybody, even your dogs. If your dog ingests non sanitized pool water, it can get sick. Always keep a fresh bowl of water on the pool deck for your dogto drink, and rinse your dog off with a hose after every swim.
“Pool Dog” Check List
1)      Make sure your dog knows where the pool steps are.
2)      Keep the chlorine level at least 3.0 PPM. Don’t let it drop below 1.0 PPM
3)      Never allow the dog into the pool area without supervision.
4)      Teach your dog to swim.
5)      Clean your baskets and filter on a regular basis. If pressure decreases, clean the impeller.
6)      Install a Skamper Ramp.
7)      Learn doggie first aid.
8)      Put a plant, or other landmark on the pool deck by the steps.
9)      Provide fresh drinking water pool side.
10) Make the dog rest every few minutes. Swimming is tiring.
11) Have fun. Nothing can make a day at the pool more fun, than a happy, healthy pooch.