The Pool Owner’s Guide to Pet Safety

We all love our pets as part of the family.  Sometimes we even call them our “fur babies”.  As swimming pool owners, we need to take certain steps to keep our furry friends safe.  Here are some things you can do.

Swimming Lessons

Many people. Myself included, assumed dogs just naturally know how to swim.  According to MEDVET, this isn’t the case.  They recommend introducing them to the water slowly.  Start at a shallow spot, like the stairs and use one of their favorite balls or toys to entice them in.   Never force them.  I have heard stories of how some human parents just throw their kids into the pool and it is sink or swim.  This can be traumatic for a pet and can prevent them from ever wanting to get into the water again.  Get into the water with them.  They trust you.  They feel safe with you. When they start to paddle, lift up their rear end so you can teach them how to float.  It is advised to keep them on a leash at first so they can’t drift further than you want. Finally, make sure the water is a comfortable temperature.  We don’t want them getting hypothermia!

Life Saving Jackets

They do make these for pets.  It is just an extra insurance policy to prevent drowning.  You still should never leave your bundle of fur unattended.  They make vests with bright colors to make the pet more noticeable and even have  handles on some so that you can more easily lift them out of the water. 

Fences and Safety Covers

By installing a safety fence or a safety cover, you can control their access to the pool.  This obviously is a good safety precaution for children and the elderly as well.  The same pool alarms that let you know if a child were to fall in can double as a doggie alarm.

No Drinking Pool Water

This is easier said than done, but we want to limit the amount of pool water your pet consumes.  Ideally zero.  Chlorine and the other chemicals you use to maintain your swimming pool can be harmful for doggies to drink.

Remove the Solar Cover

If you are going to have your pet in the backyard and they like to swim, always make sure your solar cover is off the pool.  If a human or pet were to fall or jump into a pool with a solar blanket on it there is a serious drowning potential due to the cover billowing up around them, making it difficult to reach the surface.

Ingress and Egress

Make sure your pet can easily enter and exit the pool.  Since the obviously cannot climb the ladder, you may want to invest in a pet ramp.  These are slip free.  If you plan on having them use the steps, show them how to climb in and out.

Choking Hazards

Your dog will certainly be attracted to all the groovy new pool floats and toys you got for this season.  If they are a chewer, they may pop one of these and pieces of the material could get lodged in their throat, creating a choking risk.  Plus, you don’t want your floats ruined!

Automatic Pool Cleaners

If you are planning on having pets swim and own an automatic pool cleaner, you will want to disconnect it and remove it from the pool.  Make certain to disconnect it or you will suck air into your system.  The hoses that attach to the cleaner could cause an entrapment for your pet if they were to become entangled in it.

This article provides instructions for effectively backwashing your pool filter.

Critters of the Wild

If you live in an area by woods or swampland, you may have the occasional visitor to your swimming pool.  To help prevent them from drowning, there are a bunch of “animal catchers”  such as platforms, that give the varment  a place to climb out.  Never, ever attempt to remove a wild animal yourself.  If the unfortunate happens and you find a dead animal at the bottom of your pool, just remove and dispose of.  As long as you have a chlorine level of 1PPM or above you are ok.  That is the point of chlorine.  There is an exception.  If a racoon drowns in your pool you will want to remove it and shock the pool because racoons carry deadly illnesses.

See you, and your pet, poolside!

Related articles:

Chlorinate Your Pool in Three Easy Steps

How to Backwash Your Pool Filter—The Easy Way