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are chlorine pools safe for dogs?

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

When we’re seeking refuge from the sun, our minds turn to the sparkling, blue pool—which then gets us wondering if it’s safe for our four-legged friends to join us for a dip from time to time. I often get asked if it’s ok for dogs to swim in the pool, and most people ask because they worry about the chlorine content.  


Let me be as crystal clear as the inviting waters of your pool—it’s perfectly fine for your dog to swim! And, while you should attempt to discourage it, it’s also safe for your dog to drink some of the pool water. The chlorine levels in the pool water are actually relatively low, so even if your dog drinks gobs and gobs of it, she’ll still be ok.


To put this in perspective, the average chlorine content of a swimming pool is 1-3 parts per million (ppm). Did you know that the water you drink from your tap has also been treated with chlorine? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires it, and the maximum allowable amount of chlorine in tap water is 4 ppm—well above the standard amount of chlorine in a pool.

Chlorine can pose a serious problem, however, if ingested in its concentrated form. Be sure to keep all of your pool chemicals safely stored away from nosey muzzles.


More worrisome threats to swimming dogs are water intoxication, which is particularly common after heavy exercise on a hot day, and dry drowning, which happens hours after a near-drowning incident. Brush up on these life-threatening hazards before you allow your dog to join you in the pool, and make sure your dog knows how to safely exit the pool using the steps or the ladder.


Keep a bowl of fresh water by the pool to attempt to keep your dog from drinking the pool water (though some dogs just prefer the latter!), and make them take a break if they seem tired—some dogs don’t know when to stop! In the meantime, enjoy the dog days of summer with your favorite doggie paddler!

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Posted by Rick Bishoo
on July 25 2016 10:15

Hello, I'm a pool and spa service and repair technician and it's true that pool water is chlorinated similar to the levels as our tap water, but there is something else that could harm a dog or cat that uses pool water as its main source of water. Water hardness can be extremely high in a pool because the soft water is constantly being evaporated out of the pool and hard city water is being added causing the water to become consintrated with high mineral content. Also the chemicals being used such as liquid chlorine, add salt to the water. A gallon of liquid sodium hypochlorite contains about a pound of salt. With the advent of salt pools for chlorine generation, there is a salt added to the pool water to a level of 3400 ppm. All this mineral and salt in a pool might lead to kidney problems. I suggest a pet never be allowed to regularly drink from a pool or spa.

Posted by Sirena
on July 25 2016 09:54

Would have liked to here if it's safe on there skin. My dog is also prone to uti's, curious if the pool water would cause one. Do people give baths after there dogs get out of the pool or ar least rinse the chlorine water off?

Posted by Leslye Koch
on July 25 2016 09:07

Are salt water pools safe?

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