Disclaimer 😊: I have always been a dog lover. In my adult life, I have owned four dogs:
- Ellie—a yellow Labrador Retriever who passed away approximately 20 years ago.
- Sweetie—a black Labrador Retriever who passed away in July of 2015.
- Bogey—a Dachshund that we got as a puppy in July of 2017.
- Dawson—a Pug mix that we rescued in March of 2019.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I am often asked about swimming pools and dogs. Although it is not recommended by most in the swimming pool industry that dogs be allowed in pools (due to additional chemical requirements and dog hair in the filter), I have always felt that dogs that enjoy being in the water should be allowed to.
Concerning swimming pools and dogs, there are two areas that I feel are worth discussing—safety & exercise.
Several times per year I hear of dogs drowning in swimming pools. I believe that we often overlook pool safety for our pets. Following are some pool safety tips for your dogs:
- Watch your dogs as you would your children when they are in the pool area. This might sound ridiculous, but not all dogs are able to take care of themselves when they are in the pool. If your dog does not take to water, you might want to consider installing a fence around the pool.
- Have a water dish for your dog. Some people allow their dog to drink out of the pool. The water should not harm the dog, but if the dog falls in to the pool while trying to get a drink, the dog may become startled and be unable to recover.
- Teach your dog how to get out of the pool. Most dog drownings in pools occur because the dog does not know how to get out of the pool and simply swims around looking for an exit and wears itself out.
Although dog drownings do occur, an area that is often overlooked when it comes to pools and pets are the chemicals used in the pool. Be sure to keep the lids tight on all chemical containers and clean up any chemical spills to prevent accidents with the family pet.
Swimming has always been widely known to be great exercise for humans, and it would only make sense that it is the same for dogs. Michael Baugh, certified professional dog trainer and owner of Michael’s Dog Training in Houston, confirms this by saying that swimming provides good low impact exercise for dogs and is recommended by veterinarians for dogs with arthritis. He also says that swimming is used for keeping show dogs fit, which we can confirm as our Labrador retriever, Sweetie, was much more fit during the summer due to her swimming regularly to escape the heat.
Although not all dogs like water, for those that do, pools can provide a great outlet for fun and exercise for not only the family pet, but for their owners as well.