You have a dog and you have a pool. Most dogs love water so you want them to go swimming, but is it safe? In general, yes, your dog can go swimming in the pool. Just make sure the chlorine is at a normal level. Also, make sure that your dog is able to drink plenty of fresh water after getting out of the pool. People swim in chlorine and sometimes will swallow some water unintentionally without any harm. But things are a little different for your dog. The eyes, ears, and the nose of a dog are more sensitive than those of human beings and as such might be a bit more vulnerable to chlorine effects. As dog owners become more knowledgeable and curious about the harmful effects of different chemical exposures in their dog’s life, it is natural for individuals to wonder if chlorine can poison pets. Here is what you need to know:

Can My Dog Swim in My Pool?

What Does Chlorine Do?

When added to some water, chlorine usually breaks into hypochlorite ions and hypochlorous acid. These two chemicals oxidize the microorganisms (bacteria) in the water by breaking the cell wall and destroying the structures found inside. Without chlorine, swimming pools quickly change from clear to green. In some cases, it can turn black due to the accumulation of bacteria and algae in the pool water.

Is Chlorine Poisonous For Pets?

Like many other chemicals with the likelihood of being hazardous, the dangers of chlorine depends on the dose. Pool water contains incredibly dilute amounts of chlorine and these are highly unlikely to cause any poisoning in animals or humans. Your pet is more likely to fall ill from a plunge in a pool full of unknown microorganisms like the amoeba, or a standing lake of water than they are from diving in a well maintained swimming pool with chlorinated water. Just be sure you regularly maintain and clean your pool and your dog can swim as he or she pleases. That being said, dogs should be taught not to drink chlorinated water since it can affect their digestive system and make them sick. To prevent this, you can keep a bowl of clean water near the pool for them to use. Train them to drink only from there and you will avoid any unwanted incidents further down the road.

How to Handle Chlorine Tablets?

The biggest danger to both people and pets is linked to handling concentrated chlorine before it is added to the pool. You should store the chlorine tablets in their original bottles and keep them in a safe place where pets and children cannot access them. Chlorine gas can be extremely dangerous when inhaled, and direct exposure to undiluted chlorine can cause severe damage to eyes and skin. It would be pretty unlikely for a pet to consume chlorine tablets since the scent is usually unappealing, but proper storage will eliminate any risks in the first place.

Are There Dangers of Chlorine Exposure For My Dog?

Consuming chlorinated water might cause minor digestive system irritations, but it might not cause any serious problems for pets. If you have a pet that likes gulping water as they swim, they should be discouraged right away. Most symptoms associated with chlorine are usually minor.  Dogs that swim for long periods in pool water may show some symptoms of sensitivity, such as itchy skin or red eyes. Pools with high amounts of chlorine can cause irritation to the airways when chlorine gas is released, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. It is okay for your dog to swim in the pool. If they do so regularly, they may experience more regular ear infections. This condition is usually related to dampness in the ears rather than exposure to chlorine. Your vet can prescribe a drying solution you can use after every swim if your dog is susceptible to recurrent infections.

Is There an Alternative to Chlorine?

Bromine is the most popular chlorine alternative for spa and pool use. Bromine has a less pungent scent and less notorious bleaching side effects as compared to chlorine. Individuals who find chlorine irritating to their skin or eyes prefer bromine as these symptoms are less likely. Some people also prefer bromine due to its milder properties. Bromine is more expensive than chlorine and is also less stable when exposed to direct sunlight. So it may not be the best choice for an outdoor pool. We can advise you on the best selection for your situation and setting.

Other Pool Dangers for Dogs

One of the most significant health risks for any pet when it comes to swimming is drowning. Dogs can drown in pools if they are not taught how to use the pool steps properly. You need to supervise them in the same way you would a child. Before you allow any of your pets around the swimming pool unsupervised, make sure you have taught them well how to utilize the steps. That could save their lives since dogs can become helpless when attempting to climb out of the pool. Many people mistakenly assume the natural paddling behavior of a dog means that all dogs are safe in the water. Just like humans, dogs can tire, panic, and drown in a body of water, whether it’s chlorinated or not. Always supervise your pets always when swimming. This will help you identify minor issues before they become serious ones, whether it is exhaustion, red eyes or a cough.

Safety Rules

Your dog might be incredibly interested in joining your family in the pool, but first, you should build confidence in the dog around the swimming pool. Most dogs are fearful when they enter the pool water for the first time. Be patient and praise your canine friend each step of the way. Once you create a pleasant experience your dog will swim well in no time. Dogs are natural swimmers, which means you don’t have to train the pet to swim. Just teach your dog to jump safely in the pool. You can either toss their favorite toy in the swimming pool or escort it over the side. Never leave them alone because if they need help, you need to be close by. With the right guidance, you and your dog can have a lot of fun in the swimming pool. He or she may even be able to teach you the right way to do the doggie paddle.

Remember Sanitation

A dog’s skin is incredibly sensitive and chlorine is an alkaline solution just like bleach. Make sure you give your dog a good bath after swimming and clean their fur correctly, to prevent skin irritation. Even if you use non-chlorine alternatives like bromine, you can give your pet a quick spray using the hose to rinse off any chemicals. Always be sure to dry their ears with a dry towel or utilize a blow dryer to ensure they are moisture-free. Be wary of bathing and washing dogs regularly as this can break down most of the natural oils found on their fur and skin. Without these oils, your pets can get irritated skin and a dull coat.

The Votes Are In…

Allowing pets to use the pool is becoming increasingly popular among most pool owners especially during warmer seasons. You can allow your pet to use the swimming pool at any time, but take precautions to make sure that no harm comes to them. Although you may have concerns about how a swimming pool can adversely affect the health of your dog, rest assured that the health will typically be better in the long run. There are numerous health and lifestyle benefits that come with using a swimming pool. A pool offers an enclosed and safe space for dogs to get the exercise they need with a pretty low impact on their joints, which is great for older dogs or those with arthritis. Just as floating in a swimming pool can be just the relaxation you need, several laps around your pool and resting on the top step is a great vacation for your pooch.


A swimming pool is a good way for you to relax and exercise for your dog that you can supervise as you float leisurely and soak up the sun. If you are planning to introduce your dog to your pool, this guide will help you keep your dog safe and make sure they love swimming just as much as you do. Is there a better swimming partner to have?


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