Everyone loves to cool off in the pool after a long summer day. This isn’t only for humans. When it comes to cooling down, animals are attracted to the water just like humans. Allowing pets to swim in the pool raises additional questions for pool managers. Is it safe to allow dogs to swim in the community swimming pool? Operators should encourage doggie swim days. Is the swimming pool safe for dogs? We will be discussing the following information regarding doggie swim days in this article:

  • Doggie Swim Days have Health Benefits
  • Health Risks Of Doggie Swim Days
  • How to host a doggie swim day
  • Following a Doggie Swim Day: Protocols to Follow

Doggie Swim Days have Health Benefits

Dogs need exercise. One of the best ways to give them that exercise is to allow Fido to go for a swim in the water. Water is a great way for dogs to have fun, recreate and get their heart rate. A veterinarian would agree swimming is great for dogs, provided the dog is comfortable with water and does not have anxiety about it. Swimming is a great activity for dogs, but it doesn’t mean that swimming in a pool is a good choice for them or other swimmers.

Doggie Swim Days: Health Risks

Dogs are great pets that provide companionship and love, but they can pose a risk to swimming pools. Dogs can bring a wide range of foreign contaminants that can cause havoc to the delicate chemical balance in our swimming pools. A small number of dogs can destroy the chlorine in your pool. This chlorine is essential for the elimination of infectious diseases. It is important to remember that many diseases can be transmitted between dogs and humans.

  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
  • Cryptosporidium is extremely resistant to chlorine
  • Giardia (very resistant to chlorine)
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Ticks
  • Fleas
  • Ringworm (a contagious fungal skin disease)
  • Sarcoptic Mange

These diseases can spread to humans by water contact with dogs that are carriers. Dogs can also be exposed to other diseases and risks that are dog-to-dog, such as:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Adenovirus
  • Kennel cough
  • Brucella canis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rabies

While chlorine can inactivate most of these issues, it is important to remember that maintaining enough chlorine residual can be difficult, if not impossible, when there are many dogs in the pool. Chemical balance is not the only problem dogs swimming in a pool can present.

Our filtration equipment can also be affected by dog fur. Dog hair can cause clogs or backups in our filtration systems, resulting in poor and unhealthy pool water.

Swimming pools can pose a risk to our dogs. Although chlorine is a powerful disinfectant, it can dry out a dog’s natural oily coat, leading to dry skin and rashes. 

Do I need to host a doggie swim day at my property?

Doggie swim days are a bit of a dilemma regarding whether we should have one on our property. The highly-trained professionals and experts at Pool Training Academy believe that doggie swim days pose far more safety and health risks than they offer. There are many options available for dogs to enjoy a summer swim, including lakes, rivers and streams, and the ocean. Dogs can enjoy swimming in these waterways as long as they are safe from chemicals. These bodies of water are large enough to provide additional protection against dog-to-dog transmission of illness. Dilution is the answer to pollution, as they say.

You can now take your dog to a pet swimming area.

Swimming pools are meant for humans, not our four-legged friends. These natural water bodies or pet pools may not always be available near our homes. Doggie swim days are a powerful marketing tool for businesses to attract owners and renters. You can rent or own the property. 

How to host a doggie swim day?

Plan Your Swim Day after the Last Day of Human Swimming

This will reduce the chance of your doggie getting sick by swimming the day after you have finished human swimming.

Keep your Chlorine in Check

Your free chlorine level should be raised to 2ppm 24 hours before the event and maintained at a minimum of 1ppm. This will reduce the risk of illness transmission in the water.

No Humans Allowed

A human and their dog cannot be allowed in the water together. Dogs must be able to swim confidently and not fear the water. Dogs should also be able to enter and exit the pool independently. A ramp or other device may be required to allow dogs to exit the pool.

Look out for Fur

All drains, skimmers and other outlets should be free from hair. Some people will disable the pump to prevent hair from draining out, which is strongly discouraged. It isn’t easy to maintain adequate chlorination levels without proper circulation.

Keep an eye on who is swimming

All participants must be registered owners or tenants. All participants should have a copy or proof of their pet’s vaccines. Anyone who cannot provide proof of vaccination should be refused entry to any puppies or dogs.

Pre-Pool Showers are a must

Before entering the pool, make sure to hose off your dog.

Correctly trained staff

Staff members with training in CPR for animals and other safety training should be present at the event throughout.

Post-Doggie Swim Day Response

Hyper-Chlorinate

To kill any pathogens in the water, you will need to increase your free chlorine level to an extremely high level after a doggie swim day. These requirements for chlorination can be found here.

Clean all surfaces

It would help if you cleaned the deck and other places where there might be a fecal remnant.

Closed for the Season

Due to the hostile environment in the pool, you must close the season immediately after a doggie swimming day. You will also need to drain the pool before filling it up with new water for the next season. It is best to start with fresh water to keep your water as clean as possible.

What else do I need to know?

It is not easy to manage a swimming pool, especially when hosting a doggie swim party. It takes more training to safely manage and maintain an aquatic facility than you can see on YouTube or read in an article like this. There are many options available to learn more about keeping your swimmers safe. CPO classes with Pool Training Academy are one of the options. CPO(r), or Certified Pool Operator, is one of the best methods to become an expert in pool management. This certification is required in many states to operate a spa or pool. Pool Training Academy is the number one provider of CPO(r), and our classes are designed to be engaging, fun, and relevant to your specific needs. 

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