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Dogs and Swimming Pools: What You Should Know

Most pups see a swimming pool and instantly know what it’s for. While most dogs are natural water-loving animals, there are still some protective measure that should be taken before you allow your dog to jump on into your pool.

  1. Prior to swimming be sure your dog is groomed – If your dog is long-haired, you want to be sure to keep it as clean and trimmed as possible if they like to swim. Hair can greatly affect the filtration system of your pool and will require you to clean your skimmer basket more often.

  2. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed – Sharp nails on a dog are more likely to scratch when they are happy and playing in the pool, which can be dangerous to swimmers and to your pool liner.

  3. Use doggy sunscreen – Because the sun can affect animals as well, you are going to want to protect them. Purchase a pet specific sunscreen and use it each time that your dog is outside swimming.

  4. Be cautious when using pup toys while swimming – With poor depth perception, a dog trying to grab their toy on the edge of the pool can actually chip their teeth if not careful.

  5. Rinse them off afterwards – Swimming can cause skin and eye irritation for dogs, just as it can for humans, when they spend the afternoon in the pool. By rinsing your dog off after a swim it can help to avoid some of this irritation.

  6. Take baby steps when introducing swimming – Rather than push your dog into the water, start showing him how to swim slowly. Carry him in the shallow water with you, or have him walk in with you. Most dogs will naturally take off swimming, however there are some who might get nervous and start flailing. If your dog can’t swim or doesn’t take to the water you can use a doggy swimming vest.

  7. Don’t allow them to drink the pool water – After strenuous swimming you are going to want to be sure your dog drinks enough fresh water, and not from the pool. He is likely to have to urinate after ingesting so much water as well, so give him plenty of opportunities to.

  8. Put a marker where the exit of the pool is – Unfortunately, dogs don’t have a great sense of depth perception, so you will need to denote where the stairs are for his exit. The best way to do this is by putting a large potted plant at the top of the stairs for them to see clearly. For those pools that don’t have steps you can purchase a pet specific non-slip ramp.


Teaching Your Pup How He Should Swim in a Pool

If your dog has never been in a pool before, you are going to want to give them time to learn how to swim. You want to be sure that you start off slowly at the first step of the pool. By starting with just getting their paws wet and easing them into it they can begin to get comfortable with the water. Remember that you don’t want your dog to feel as though he is being restrained, rather supported. It can help to cradle their body underneath their stomach while giving him some of his favorite treats to make him comfortable. Slowly you can begin to coax them further into the water as they become more comfortable, or if your dog takes to the water right away you can give him the treats for being so brave. One great tip that can be of help when your dog is learning to swim is having a neighbor or friend bring their dog over for a swim. This should be a dog that your pup recognizes and that can comfortably swim in a pool. Oftentimes it will ease a dog to see that another pup can swim in a pool too. dog-swimming-safety-vancouver

Remember to Care for Your Pool After a Swim

You want to be sure to sanitize your pool properly after a dog has been swimming in it. This should include using an enzyme chemical to help remove some of the oils and skin build-up that dogs can leave in the pool water. These enzymes can be found at your local pool supply store and can be done once a week, or more frequently if your dog swims often. You should also keep some of the following in mind when maintaining a pool that has dogs swimming in it.

  • After heavy use you should always shock your pool

  • Remove debris, like dog hair, from the pump baskets and skimmer

  • Check the pressure on your filter, should it be between 5 and 10 psi you should backwash it

  • Maintain balanced alkalinity and pH at all times

Keep in mind that allowing your dog to swim in a pool does provide them with great exercise and offers mental stimulation, however you don’t want to push your dog to swim. Always remember that water safety means keeping the safety of each of your family members in mind, including your dog.

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