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!