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Tips for if (or When) Your Dog Swims in Chlorine Pools

June 3, 2022

This question will frequently pop into the heads of pet parents, and it is a very simple one. Many of us constantly find ourselves wondering “is this safe?” in reference to our dogs’ activities. Our pets love to get themselves into all sorts of situations, often without regard for possible consequences.

This means that it is up to us to make sure that our pets remain healthy and happy at all times. At the same time, we always want our dogs to be safe and feel safe.

The good news is that it is generally safe for dogs to swim in chlorine pools, so long as some measures are taken to keep them safe and comfortable. Throughout this article, we will highlight the most important of these measures.

Keep Your Pet From Drinking Pool Water

The main potential hazard in terms of swimming pools comes from potentially drinking the water. Unlike people, dogs do not know that they should not drink from pools. Most of us end up swallowing a bit of pool water while swimming, as it is largely unavoidable. Anything more than a small amount of water could become harmful, so it is best to stop dogs from drinking chlorinated water or salt water as soon as possible.

If you notice your dog starting to drink the pool water, remove them from the water quickly. Provide them with a source of clean drinking water in case they are thirsty. Be sure to always give them water, so that they will hopefully be fully hydrated before entering the pool, and not feel the need to drink. This is important all year but becomes even more so when going on summer adventures with your pet.

Become a Doggy Lifeguard

The prospect of being a doggy lifeguard might sound adorable, but it is actually a very important job. Just like people, dogs have to be watched while in the pool to prevent accidents from occurring. Even if the pool is relatively small and the dog is relatively large, you never know what could happen.

If your dog is a seasoned pro when it comes to the water, you might not have to watch them quite as closely. However, you should always remain aware and alert so that you can help the moment assistance is needed.

If your dog is new to swimming, you should maintain a close watch at all times. You should also go through a series of steps to make sure that your dog is as comfortable in the water as possible.

How To Introduce Your Dog to the Water

For dogs that have not swum before, this can be a new and exciting adventure. You also have to remember, though, that not every dog will enjoy swimming. If your pet does not take to it, do not try to force it. This will only result in discomfort and unpleasantness for both you and your pet.

In the beginning, you might want to invest in a life vest for your dog. These come in a wide range of sizes, so any dog from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane should have options available.

Let them explore the pool at their own leisure, and never force them to do anything. This, like with any dog training, is all about positive associations and positive reinforcement. Your pet has to create fond memories of the pool and swimming in order to want to do it again.

Rinse Your Dog Off After They Are Done

After taking a swim, many of us will head right for the showers. After all, there is a reason chlorine is not one of the most popular perfumes or colognes on the market. We have a tendency to forget that overexposure or failing to remove chlorine can result in dry skin and hair. There is a reason that frequent swimmers so often find themselves with itchy skin.

Unfortunately, this principle also applies to our dogs. If they swim a lot, they might end up with dry and itchy skin. This can be avoided by monitoring just how much time they spend in the pool, and by taking measures after they are done swimming. A rinse with a hose or in the bath should do the trick to get the chlorine off of your dog.

How To Maintain Pool Hygiene

We put chlorine into our pool water to keep them more hygienic, but even the powers of chlorine can have some trouble standing up to dogs. Our dogs are our world, but that does not mean they always keep themselves in the cleanest condition. If you have ever looked down after giving your dog a bath to notice a tub full of fur, dirt, and debris, you know exactly what we mean.

Once the bath is over, you can get rid of all of that down the drain. However, the drainage system is not quite as simple in a pool. As a result, much of what your dog brings into the pool will stay in the pool, which is not ideal for humans hoping to go for a swim.

Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take ahead of time to keep your pool as clean as possible, even when faced with a furry friend.

Properly Brush and Groom Your Pet Before Taking a Dip

The last thing you want when swimming around the pool is to be greeted with a face full of fur. Not only is it gross in the moment, but that fur can also accumulate over time and block your pool’s filtration system. This will lead to even more fur getting stuck in the pool, along with bugs, dirt, leaves, and other unintended items.

This tragic fate can be easily avoided by grooming your dog ahead of time, a little while before heading into the water. If you brush your dog thoroughly first, then there will be much less hair for them to shed. Make sure to remove as much of the excess hair as possible after it is brushed, or else it could still easily fall off into the pool.

If you regularly get your dog shaved or professionally groomed, this is likely to be very helpful when it comes time to jump in the pool. Just know that, if you do this so that your dog will be cooler in the summer, it might not have that effect. Dogs actually cool down primarily through panting and expanding their blood vessels. In reality, the amount of fur they have has little to nothing to do with their heat retention.

Give Your Dog a Bath First

Remember when we mentioned how gross a dog’s bath can get? Well, better down the drain than hanging around in your pool! It might seem counterproductive to give your dog a bath right before they are going to jump into a pool of water anyway, but that is not the case.

During a bath, you can be intentional in cleaning your pet. You can also gently and carefully clean their face. When your dog is in the pool, they are not actually being thoroughly cleaned. Also, the smell of shampoo is typically much more pleasant than that of a wet dog covered in chlorine.

A Pool of Knowledge

As long as you follow these tips, your dog should be able to enjoy swimming for a long time to come. Just remember to always keep watch, and do not make them do anything. Your dog might not be the next Olympian, but they don’t have a race for doggy paddles anyway.


Dogs and the Pool: What You Need To Know | The Spruce Pets

Is It OK To Shave Your Dog’s Coat? | American Kennel Club

Water Dogs | American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation

The Diggs Team

Dog-Loving Pet Parents

We believe our dogs deserve safer, better designed pet products.

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