Should Your Dog Swim in an Inground Pool?

"Where are those handy steps?"
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A dip in a cool pool sounds like just the thing on a hot summer day. If you feel that way, it's likely your doggie does as well. With a few precautions, you and your pooch can enjoy some quality pool time together to beat the heat.

Dog Dangers

If your dog's a good swimmer, it's fine to let her swim in your inground pool, as long as you're out there to supervise. Watch her afterward for signs of itchiness or redness on her skin; chlorine and other pool chemicals can remove oils from her fur and dry out her skin. They can also irritate her eyes. Saltwater pools are usually easier on her skin, coat and eyes. Don't let her try to drink the water, regardless of what type of pool. Ingesting pool chemicals or too much salt can be dangerous, even deadly, for your pool pooch.

Pool Problems

Concrete or fiberglass pools are better options when you enjoy cooling off with Bella. Pools with vinyl liners are vulnerable to rips and tears from your dog's claws. Be prepared to clean your filter and perform regular pool maintenance more often if you let your pup dive in. She sheds much more hair than you -- about the equivalent of 50 people, according to River Pools and Spas. This doesn't hurt Bella, but you must decide if swimming with her is worth the extra work and expense.

Getting Her In

Inground pools aren't a normal swimming venue for most dogs, like a lake or river might be. Getting in yourself can help ease her in. Walk her in on a lease, using the pool's steps so she doesn't feel overwhelmed by the water at first. Letting her stay near the steps for a while can help give her confidence; she knows she can get out or put her feet down whenever she feels the need. That's one reason above-ground pools aren't safe -- there usually aren't large steps to get out, and dogs can't navigate ladders.

Keeping Her Safe

Even dogs who love to swim need to follow safety rules. She should never swim without you, but just in case, make sure she knows how to find the steps so she can get out on her own. If she needs a bit of help in the water, try a flotation device designed specifically for dogs -- but only when you're watching her. Rinsing her off thoroughly after your dip can remove many of the harmful chemicals from her fur, and giving her plenty of fresh water helps ensure she won't try to drink from the pool.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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