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Pool Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats

By Stacy Painter
July 6, 2022 • 3 min. read
cat at edge of swimming pool

Swimming pools are a fun way to stay cool on hot days, socialize, and get some exercise. Your water-loving pet may also enjoy going for a paddle to help them cool down. Whether or not your pet likes to go into one intentionally, a swimming pool presents a safety hazard to all pets with access to them. If your home has a pool or there is one nearby, make safety a top priority. Here’s how you can keep your pets safe near a swimming pool.

Prevent unsupervised pool access

There are many ways you can prevent tragedy should your pet be outside without supervision. Many of these suggestions are also relevant to keeping children safe.

Pool covers: go solid or none at all

A solid pool cover strong enough to support your weight can be a solid way to prevent accidents. But if your pool cover is soft, it presents a serious threat to pets, even to dogs who are accomplished swimmers. If they fall or purposely jump into a covered pool, a pet can get stuck under the pool cover and become disoriented and unable to find its way out.

Fence your pool

A swimming pool fence can provide peace of mind that pets and children cannot access the pool without adult supervision.

Pool alarm

Another option to ensure pool safety is to use a pool alarm. In addition to door and gate alarms you may use to be notified when someone can access the pool, a pool alarm can let you know when the water has been disturbed. There are two types of pool alarms, and they either float on the pool’s surface or are installed underwater to the side of the pool.

Pool steps and ramps

If your pool doesn’t have steps to get out, be sure to install a ramp or steps so that an animal can get out. For dogs that enjoy swimming, it’s essential to teach your dog where the steps are so they know what direction to get in and out of the pool.

Keep your dog safe in the water

Prevention aside, there may be times you’d like to encourage your dog to enjoy the pool safely.

Life jacket

black dog in life jacket next to pool

Purchase a dog life jacket for your pup to wear in the pool. It gives you peace of mind, and a life jacket will also prevent them from getting tired and inhaling water. Plus, it allows your dog to stay in the pool and play to their heart’s content.

Don’t overdo it

Dogs can’t recognize when they are getting tired in the pool and can quickly exhaust themselves. Be sure to encourage plenty of breaks to rest. You can tell when your dog is tired by watching his rear—the lower the rear, the more tired he is.

Never leave pets unsupervised

Any type of accident—not just drowning—can happen quickly and unexpectedly, so it’s best to practice “safety first” by never leaving a pet with unsupervised access to the pool.

Learn pet CPR

Be prepared in case of an emergency by learning pet CPR, and encourage other adults in the household to learn it as well.

Frightened red cat looks inside the empty pool

Other pool pet tips

Pool safety isn’t only about preventing drowning; it also includes keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Drinking water

Be sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water so they aren’t tempted to drink pool water which contains chemicals that can make them sick.

Rinse off after swimming

When you’re done for the day, give your pet a good rinse off with fresh water. Pool chemicals can irritate and dry out your dog’s skin. Be sure they can fully dry off (remove their collar and life jacket) to prevent the formation of hot spots.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for a pet insurance company was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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