Before Letting Your Dog Swim in Your Swimming Pool
Here in the Sherman TX area, and North Texas, we see a lot of amazing dog breeds that just love water and are some of the first family members to try out the new swimming pool after it’s installed. You may be hesitant to let Fido or Lonestar, and Wyatt (that’s my dog) jump into your pool. We’ll cover some things that you may want to consider before you let them go for it.
We’ll look at the following topics:
- Finding Out If Your Dog Can Swim
- Having A Safe Place For Your Dog To Rest
- Keeping Your Dog Safe At The Pool
- Having An Emergency Plan For Your Dog
- Preventing Your Dog From Damaging Your Pool
Finding Out If Your Dog Can Swim
I know, this sounds like a no-brainer, but swimming does not come naturally for every dog.
The dog paddle should involve both sets of legs, front and back. If your dog is using all four paws and doesn’t look like they’re struggling, they’re probably getting a great work out.
Something that you can watch for though if you’re not sure about your dog’s swimming ability is their usage of the front legs more than their rear legs. Inexperienced dog swimmers focus on the front legs. They end up tired and vertical in the water, without making a lot of progress in the pool.
You don’t really want to throw your dog into the pool just to see if he can swim. A great way to approach the first time would be to have someone get in the pool first and already be in the water, ready to greet Fido when he enters the pool. This way you can support them if they are struggling and help them out of the pool.
It’s a lot easier to get them out of the pool with two people instead of just one person.
You want to make the pool a positive experience.
You can give your dog confidence in the water by getting in the pool with him and supporting his back end. This should encourage him to use his back legs.
You may need to get him a dog life jacket to help teach him to use all four legs in unison. Consider that not all breeds are effective swimmers. Dogs with shorter legs and broad chests can’t effectively swim.
Some dogs, such as whippets and greyhounds, don’t have enough body fat for buoyancy.
Give Your Dog a Place to Rest
If your dog loves the water, you should consider giving him a place to get in and out that is easy.
A ladder might be difficult for him to use. I don’t think I’ve seen a dog climb a pool ladder except on a crazy youtube video. You may not have that much time to train your dog – I know I don’t!
Find steps for the inside of your pool and maybe even install a ledge for him to have a landing area. Any type of ramp that gradually comes out of the water is also a great way to help your furry friend easily get in and out of the swimming pool.
Don’t forget to train your dog on how to get in and out of the pool too. Training can really be helpful and your dog will fall back on that training even if you’re not there. We want to make sure that your dog can enjoy the pool and you don’t have to be worried about it.
Keeping Your Dog Safe At The Pool
Floating pool covers are extremely dangerous to dogs and humans alike. You want to always prevent children and pets from having access to the covered pool.
It is incredibly dangerous should a human or animal get caught in a pool cover, in the water. Use a safety cover that anchors in place to prevent dogs from falling in the pool.
We highly recommend training your dog to not enter the pool without first obtaining your permission. This will keep your dog out of the pool when no one is around to help it. Even using simple commands
like “Stay” or “Stop” can keep your dog out of the pool.
After you’ve set up a routine for your dog to enter and exit the pool, and they now know the drill, you can add some other steps to the process. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, you may want to add a shower/bath to your pool entrance routine.
This can ensure that Fido doesn’t drag in dirt, grass, and other debris with him into the pool. This saves you a TON of time when it comes to skimming and cleaning your pool.
We want you to be able to spend more time in your pool enjoying it than you do cleaning it.
While it’s inevitable that your dog will probably inhale some pool water, it’s important they don’t make it a habit of just straight-up drinking pool water on a regular basis.
While it’s a step up from toilet water, we don’t really want them consuming any chlorinated water if they can avoid it. We recommend keeping plenty of fresh drinking water near the pool, on your deck to provide easy access to a refreshing drink for your dog.
This may mean setting up multiple drinking locations for your dog, but it will definitely be worth it.
Keeping Your Dog Safe At The Pool
If you’ve been a dog owner for any length of time, you are probably familiar enough with your dog to know when they are in distress.
It is incredibly important to be able to recognize when your dog is getting overexerted or overheated.
Paying close attention to your dog when they are in the water can help you know how they’re doing.
During the heat of the summer, you may want to also keep track of their paw pads, which can get burned or damaged from hot rocks and stone decking.
Although drowning is rare, dogs can drown.
They can get tired or make bad decisions.
It is always a good idea to have your vet’s number and an emergency vet on your phone in case of an emergency.
Will Your Dog Damage Your Pool?
If you have a vinyl-lined pool, your dog’s claws can damage the pool liner in no time at all, but if you have time and are committed, you can teach your dog to avoid placing their paws against the pool wall and prolong the life of your pool liner (See our page on problems with vinyl lined pools).
Another big problem is leaving hair in the pool, which may mean that you have to clean your filter more often.
Although the chlorine shouldn’t bother your dog, you should definitely rinse it off after swimming.
The pool chemicals can dry out your dog’s skin. By giving a good rinse after a swim session, you can keep their skin from getting unnecessarily irritated.
If you’re considering constructing a pool for your yard and you want your dogs to have access to it. We really recommend considering a gunite inground freeform pool. You will not have to worry about your furry friend tearing up pool liner after pool liner. Better yet, our team here at Texoma Country Pools and Spas can even custom design and entry and exit points to your pool for your dog. We’ve done hundreds of custom-designed pools for our customers and have years of experience.