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A Dog Owner's Dive into Poolside Pooch Precautions

Words by: WAG Team

Published on: October 11, 2023
A Dog Owner's Dive into Poolside Pooch Precautions

It’s a sight to behold: the joyous leaps of dogs as they make a splash into a pool, especially during the scorching summer days. The splashing, the paddling, and the relentless chasing after floating toys - it’s a flurry of wet fur and wagging tails. As the weather warms up this time of year, many of us are spending more time poolside or hitting the beach to soak up the sunshine.

However, as dog parents, it's essential to ensure that this aquatic adventure is as safe as it is enjoyable for your pup. So, let’s dive in! (pun intended).

Can dogs swim?

Oh, the joys of splashing around! But do our furry pals share the same love for water as some of us do? Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Born to swim

Some doggos are like the Michael Phelps of the canine world. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Portuguese Water Dogs have flippers for paws and take to water like fish. Their historical jobs and body structure make them very good swimmers, and they are naturals in the water.

Swim school candidates

Not every pooch is ready to dive into the deep end, but with a little nudge and a lot of encouragement, many can learn to paddle around. A gentle introduction to shallow waters, a dog life jacket, and lots of encouragement can turn your fur baby into a decent swimmer.

Little land lovers

Some breeds, especially brachycephalic breeds such as Frenchies, Bulldogs and Pugs, are more couch potatoes than water lovers. Their body structure makes floating a challenge, so they're better off sunbathing by the poolside.

Water-phobes and pool party poopers

Some dogs might look at water and say, 'Nope!' Whether it's fear or just a plain disinterest, it's all good. We can't all be water enthusiasts, right? Never force your pup into the water; there are plenty of other ways to have fun together.

Health check

Before turning your backyard into a doggy splash zone, a quick vet check can ensure your fur friend is fit for a swim. It's like getting a green light to dive into the fun!

Safety first

Whether your dog is a splash-master or a tentative toe-dipper, safety is a must. A snug life vest, your watchful eye, and an easy way to exit the water will keep the fun rolling without any oops moments.

So, whether your pup is a wave rider or a land lover, there's fun to be had both in and out of the water. Remember, every dog has its day, and for some, that day involves a sunhat and a comfy lounge chair far from the splash zone!

Water-phobes and pool party poopers for dogs

Dogs in pools vs the beach

While pools offer a controlled environment with lesser hazards compared to the unpredictable beach waves, dog beaches provide a unique, enriching experience. Here, dogs can explore the sand, play with other dogs, and enjoy the expansive, interesting surroundings.

Dog beaches are great for socialisation (for both dogs and humans!), allowing dogs to interact under the open sky, learn social cues, make new friends, and let off energy through playful shoreline zoomies.

A natural beach setting promotes mental and physical stimulation for your curious canine. The different terrains challenge their coordination, and the environment fuels their curiosity. Whether fetching a ball, chasing waves, or exploring new scents, it’s a playground of engaged fun.

Preparation is key for a beach outing. Ensure you have fresh water, a leash, and poop bags to keep the beach clean, while monitoring your dog for safe play and to prevent them from eating harmful substances. Make sure to bring a stash of yummy treats to treat your doggo when they're on their best behaviour... goodies like Forage Fish or some Functional Jerky!

Dogs in pools vs the beach

Can dogs swim in chlorine pools? 

Chlorine is a necessary evil that keeps pools clean, but how does it fare with our furry companions? Is it ok to let dogs swim in pools? Veterinary experts suggest that while occasional dips in chlorinated pools are okay, frequent exposure can lead to dry, itchy skin and may irritate their eyes.

Short-term effects may include mild skin and eye irritation, while long-term exposure can lead to more serious conditions like chronic skin issues. It’s a balancing act of keeping the pool clean while ensuring it’s safe for your dog.

Pool safety precautions for your doggo

Before your dog makes that jubilant leap into the pool, here are a few precautions:

  • Introduction: Ease your dog into the pool gradually, letting them get accustomed to the water.
  • Pool Hygiene: Ensure the pool's cleanliness to prevent infections. It's a good practice to rinse your dog after pool time to minimise chlorine exposure.
  • Health Checks: A quick check with your vet to ensure your dog is fit for swimming is advisable, as well as post-swim checks if there are any signs of irritation or infection.

Pool safety precautions for your doggo

Maintaining a canine-friendly pool at home

If your fur baby loves nothing more than a good splash in the pool, there are several steps you can take to make the swimming experience more comfortable and safer for them. Pools can be customised to be more dog-friendly, and here are a few suggestions:

Switch to saltwater

Saltwater pools are often seen as a more gentle option for both human and canine swimmers. Unlike traditional chlorine pools, saltwater pools have lower levels of harsh chemicals and can be less irritating to your dog's eyes and skin. They still help in keeping the pool clean, but with a softer touch on your pooch's coat and skin.

Non-chlorine sanitisers

If a saltwater system isn't up your alley, you might consider using non-chlorine sanitisers. These sanitisers are effective in keeping the water clean while being less harsh than traditional chlorine. They come in various types, such as biguanide or hydrogen peroxide-based sanitisers, providing a range of options to keep the pool clean and comfortable for your dog.

Regular water testing

Regular testing of pool water ensures the chemical levels are in check, making it safe for both you and your dog. It's a good practice to keep the chlorine levels well-balanced to prevent irritation or other issues.

Ramp or steps

Adding a ramp or steps can make it easier for your dog to get in and out of the pool. It’s a great way to prevent injuries and makes the pool more accessible for your furry friend.

Shade and resting areas

Consider adding shaded areas and resting platforms in or around the pool. It provides your dog with a place to take a break from the sun and the water, especially on those scorching summer days.

Maintaining a canine-friendly pool at home

Proper fencing

Installing a compliant pool fence significantly reduces the risk of drowning, safeguarding not just children, but also your furry companions. This precaution is particularly crucial if your dog spends time outside unattended while you are away.

Post-pool care

After the splashing fun, a good rinse, and a thorough dry are essential to remove chlorine residue on your dog’s skin and coat. This is also a fab time to check for any signs of skin irritation. 

Also, a balanced diet plays a crucial role in keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Treat them with WAG’s range of natural, nutritious treats to ensure they remain healthy, happy, and ready for the next swim! (We recommend our Functional Jerky for Skin & Coat or Shark Cartilage).

Post-pool care

Make a splash!

As we are already in the warmer months and summer is only on the horizon, you can now leap into the swimming season with well-informed enthusiasm, guaranteeing a safe splash for your furry companion in the pool or at the dog beach. While celebrating their water antics, why not spoil them with some of our tasty natural dog treats? Stay safe, indulge in the fun, and enjoy watching your furry friend perform their best doggy paddle!