Swimming Pool Chemicals & Dogs

Like people, most dogs love the water.
Like people, most dogs love the water. (Image: chocolate lab image by itsallgood from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

There is no better way for a dog to cool off on a hot day than to take a dip in the pool. Swimming can help dogs who have arthritis and encourage exercise without impact to the joints. There are various kinds of chemicals used in pools to prevent algae and bacteria such as chlorine or bromine. These chemicals are safe for all dogs as long as certain precautions are taken.

Dogs and Water Saftey

First, your dog should know how to swim. Even though dogs have a natural instinct to swim, if your dog is swimming in the pool for the first time, you should be prepared to get in and help your dog. Then, there are some dogs who don't like the water. In addition, if it is your dog's first time swimming, wait a few days after to make sure that the dog was not negatively affected (hot spots from dry skin or ear infections).

Chlorine Levels

You should make sure that the chlorine levels in the pool are within the same range that people use the pool. Your dogs skin can become particularly irritated if the chlorine levels are too high. Generally, dogs don't like the taste of chlorine, so they won't drink the water but ingesting some chlorine will not harm your dog, however, too much chlorine can potentially make your dog sick.

Post Swimming Care

Dogs should always be hosed off after swimming in a pool to prevent dry skin. In addition, you should dry out their ears to avoid ear infections, especially dogs with floppy ears who are more prone to ear infections. There is also a drying ear cleaner available to use for dogs who get infections on a regular basis. Check the skin under the coat to make sure there is no irritation or redness.

Potential Problems

Some dogs can get sick, if the dog throws up or has lose stool within 12 hours after a swim, hold off before letting your dog swim again. Next time you let your dog swim in a pool, make sure there is plenty of fresh water available nearby for them to drink.


Lastly, everything in moderation, dogs should get a variety of exercise to stay healthy, so take time and let your dog get adjusted to swimming before making it a regular activity. Once they are adjusted, check regularly for any of the aforementioned issues.

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