Should You Allow Your Dog to Swim in the Pool?
Your swimming pool is a source of entertainment and fun for the whole family… and you definitely consider your dog to be family! But should you allow Fido to hop on into the family swimming pool? Ultimately, that’s up to you, but we’ll break down some of the potential risk factors so that you can make an informed decision.
How could your dog affect your pool? First, let’s discuss the effects of allowing your dog to swim in the pool. Yes, the presence of pets can definitely add more dirt, fur, and (sorry to disillusion you) fecal matter to your pool water. And of course, anything in the pool water also ends up in the pool filter. You might find that your filter needs to be cleaned more often when Ralph is a frequent participant in your pool parties.
Dirtier water might also translate into increased need for chemicals to keep that water clean and balanced. And for those of you with above-ground pools, sharp nails can damage pool liners.
How could your pool affect your dog? Since swimming is a low-impact exercise, it could be a great way to help your pet maintain their weight and keep their joints healthy. This is, of course, assuming that they enjoy swimming. You never want to stress a pet by forcing him or her to swim, if they’re fearful of the water.
As with people, some dogs might experience dry skin or irritated eyes due to chemicals in the water. These reactions can be highly individual, so just watch for them if you decide to allow your dog in the pool. Another risk is ear infections due to trapped moisture within the ears. Watch for excessive scratching at the ears, and other signs of discomfort, after swim sessions.
Finally, in some dogs the pool chemicals can cause gastrointestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea. Or, if your pool water is not balanced correctly, viruses and bacteria can propagate and cause a health risk (as in humans).
How your dog’s swimming could affect you… There is a third factor to evaluate here. Yes, dogs can carry diseases that are transmittable to humans, and yes, these could theoretically be transmitted through shared water. Assuming your pool chemicals are correctly balanced, viruses and bacteria should be killed quickly when entering the water. So if you do decide to share your pool with your pet, just remember to properly maintain your pool water to prevent infections from spreading.
The final verdict is up to you. Many dog owners enjoy swimming with their pets, with neither dog, nor human, nor the pool suffering any ill effects. But the situation does require a bit of extra care and vigilance, with regard to both pet and pool care. So if you decide to invite Fluffy to join you, just keep the above facts in mind.