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Is it OK to let dogs swim in your pool?

Just five minutes watching YouTube and you’d think that man’s best friend and swimming pools are a match made in doggie heaven. If you’ve got a pup and a pool, you know the allure.

We get asked a lot whether it’s safe for our dogs to swim in our backyard pools with us. The short answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. Know that if you do choose to let your dog swim in your pool, you will need to increase how much you treat your water chemistry and maintain your equipment. Here’s what you need to consider before letting your four-legged friend jump in with you.


As is with humans (or “hoomans” in dog-speak), swimming is great exercise for dogs that combines the benefits of aerobic activity with low impact. So, yes, in this way it’s perfectly safe for your dog to swim in your pool. But every dog differs in how much they enjoy swimming.

Some breeds — Labradors, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Setters, to name a few — are excellent swimmers, and many can’t wait to jump right in. But other breeds — Pugs, Bulldogs, Terriers, Corgis, and many others — are not very strong swimmers because of their body shape or genetic traits that make it difficult for them to breathe. Always be sure to consult your veterinarian should you have any questions about your dog’s swimming ability.

Basically, dogs are dirt. Estimates say that one dog is equivalent to 10 people swimming and that’s just the beginning. Their hair can clog up your filtration system, they’re more likely to pee and poop in the pool than an adult human, and their nails can scratch tiles and vinyl liners. In worst-case scenarios, parasites can contaminate your water if your dog isn’t up-to-date with their shots or medications. All this adds up to increased maintenance across the board, so be prepared for more work to keep your pool healthy and clean if you’re sharing it with your dog.

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