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Pets & Pools: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Can your pet go in the pool? Is chlorine safe for dogs? Learn the answers to these questions and more about pet pool safety.

Your pet may have a lot of fun cooling off in the swimming pool during summer, and it’s important to keep your dog cool when hot weather hits. Learn how to keep your pets safe both in and around the pool.

Can your dog go in the pool?

If your pool water is safe for humans to swim in, it is safe for your pet to use. However, you should understand how to keep your dog safe around your swimming pool.

Dog pool safety tips

Teach your dog how to swim

Some dogs are natural swimmers and some are not. It’s important to recognize which category your dog falls into by assessing their comfort level and skills in the water. If your dog is using only their front legs to swim, and are near vertical in the water, try getting in the water with them and support their rear-end as they swim. A quick internet search can help you find professional dog swimming lessons near you.

Ensure your dog can safely exit the pool

Teach your dog where the pool steps are by getting in the water with them at different parts of the pool and directing them towards the stairs.

Never leave your dog unattended in or near the pool

Just like with children, pets need to be supervised around a pool. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, they can get fatigued or disoriented, or something could cause them to panic.

Does your dog need a life vest?

Some breeds of dogs aren’t really made for swimming. Breeds with broad chests and short legs, muscular breeds, and breeds with low body fat typically aren’t good swimmers. A well-fitted dog life jacket will give them a chance to enjoy playing in the water and get some water exercise. Life vests can also be helpful for dogs that enjoy the water but might get fatigued, allowing them to spend more time in the pool.

Is Chlorine safe for dogs?

The amount of chlorine in a typical backyard swimming pool is not a large enough dose to be harmful to dogs or humans. Care should be taken that your dog cannot get into any pool cleaning supplies. Chlorine and other pool chemicals do have a drying effect on your dog’s coat and skin, so be sure to give them a good rinse after a dip in the pool.

What if your dog drinks pool water?

Though you should try to discourage your dog from drinking excessive amounts of pool water, it will not harm them if they drink it. Keep a bowl of fresh water near the pool to try to encourage your dog to drink that instead.

Can your dog damage your swimming pool?

Dogs tend to shed a lot in summer and that hair will end up in your pool. Give your pup a good brushing before they get in the pool to minimize the amount of hair that ends up in the pool filter. If you have an above ground pool with vinyl liners, your dog’s nails could tear the lining. 

Pool safety equipment

Consider adding some of these things to your pool area to help keep your dog safe.

Pool fencing

Keep pets (and wildlife) out of the pool when not in use by installing a security fence around it.

Danger of pool covers

Pool covers that float on the pool’s surface are incredibly dangerous for pets as they think they can walk across them. The pool cover usually cannot bear the weight of the animal and they end up in the pool, oftentimes under the cover. Instead, look for a pool safety cover that fits tightly, is durable and can withstand your dog’s weight.

Pool steps & ramps

It’s important that your dog is able to exit the pool. If your pool doesn’t have a walk-in entry or stairs, you can install a pool ramp or floating stairs that your pup can use to get out of the pool.

Pool alarm

A pool alarm is a valuable safety tool. They have a sensor that detects movement in the pool and sounds an alarm. 

Pool safety for your cat

Most cats don’t like water and will avoid your pool. However, it’s important to know how to keep your cat safe should they go for a swim. 

Consider teaching your cat to swim

If your cat is drawn to the pool, help them learn to swim in the safety of your arms. And yes, they make life jackets for cats, which is a great consideration for cats that are near water a lot.

Dry out your cat’s ears

If your cat does end up in the water, be sure to dry out their ears. Cats are vulnerable to ear infections from moisture in their ears.

Pool chemicals can irritate your cat

Chlorine can irritate your cat’s skin, so be sure to give them a rinse after a dip in the pool. Cats tend to groom themselves after they get wet, so you’ll want to help them avoid ingesting chemicals from their fur. Try to prevent them from drinking pool water by setting out fresh water nearby to promote hydration.

Provide an exit

Just as with dogs, be sure your cat has a way to exit the pool and knows where it is. It can be difficult for a pet with water-soaked fur to exit a pool, so consider providing a ramp they can easily walk in and out on.

Pool Safety equipment

The same safety equipment mentioned above for dogs, will keep your cat safe around the pool as well.

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