Public swimming pools are not just for human beings, at least during certain times of the year. Dogs, like humans, can enjoy the refreshing water and exercise a public pool provides. However, certain safety precautions must be taken ahead of time, and only dogs trained to swim should partake.
After the public pool season is over, some areas in America allow dogs to swim within the pool itself. These special events are often referred to as "dog days" or "drool in the pool" days. However, human beings are not allowed to swim in the pool alongside the dogs. This safety precaution was put into place to prevent the dogs from passing along diseases to their human companions. Such diseases include parasites, salmonella, campylobacter, hookworm, tapeworm and roundworm. Although anyone can contract these diseases, some are more prone to them, like infants, pregnant women, children, and those who have weakened immune systems.
Public pools that allow dogs to swim within them during the off-season should raise the chlorine level of the pool. Raising the chlorine level helps prevent certain diseases from spreading such as rabies. Chlorine levels should be raised 24 hours before the dog swim begins. All dogs should be properly cleaned before entering the pool to eliminate excessive dirt, feces, urine and hair. Trained professionals should be pool side at all times. The professional must have training in dog CPR and be able to recognize signs that a dog is in distress. Owners should be aware that, even if your dog can swim, he may tire quickly.
Indoor Versus Outdoor
Dog swimming events should only take place in outdoor pools. Indoor pools do not have areas for dogs to go to the bathroom. If a dog happens to defecate within the pool, remove the waste with a net and dispose of it. Sanitize the net properly with cool water and bleach. If waste has been dropped on grassy areas, dispose of it immediately. Waste left unattended may contain parasites that can infect the soil and those who walk barefoot through it. Have a relief station nearby for the dogs. A relief station should contain drinking water and cleaning supplies for dog owners. In the event that a dog bites another dog or human, wash the wound off with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Do so as soon as the wound is inflicted.
Before taking your dog to a public swimming pool event, he should be able to swim. If possible, practice with your dog at a home pool. Train your dog how to exit the pool, as this helps reduce the odds of him drowning. One way to practice is to place your dog in the pool, once he knows how to swim, then call him to get out. Once he does, reward him with a treat and repeat the process. Soon your dog will realize that exiting the pool equals a reward. Dogs that cannot swim well should be kept in the shallow end of the public pool and/or utilize a dog life jacket.