If you have a pool, it's quite likely that your dog will enjoy sharing it with you, particularly at the height of summer. However, having your dog swim in your pool can pose certain risks. Here are just a few steps you need to take to keep them from harm:
Check with Your Vet
Some dogs are natural swimmers. The Labrador retriever, for example, has a large chest perfect for breaking through the water, strong legs, water-repellent coat, a strong tail that they can use as a rudder, and even webbed paws. However, other breeds are not so well-suited to water, even the calm waters of a residential swimming pool.
Brachycephalic dogs, those with flat faces and short snouts, are very poor swimmers; in fact, they cannot keep their noses above the waterline without being completely vertical, and it's very hard for them to stay afloat in this position. Dogs with shorter legs, such as Dachshunds, and those with very large heads are also poor swimmers. Before you let your dog swim around in your pool, make sure you check with your vet clinic to ensure the breed can handle it.
Acclimatize Your Dog to the Water
It's important to remember that dogs may find the sensation of being in a pool somewhat strange at first, even if they are a breed that can swim perfectly well. This means you should really acclimatize your dog to being in the water. The best way to do this is to hold them from underneath as they paddle around. Your presence will be comforting, and they'll be able to get used to the sensation of swimming without having to worry about sinking.
Don't Use Too Much Chlorine
If your dog is going to be using your pool with you, you should keep in mind that their eyes, ears, and noses are more sensitive to chlorine than those of a human, so try not to top up with too much right before your dog is going to enter. You should also rinse your pooch's coat with a hose when they eventually climb out. Most importantly, make sure your dog doesn't get into the habit of drinking pool water. Swallowing a little isn't going to do any harm, but your dog can become quite sick if they drink a lot.
Buy an Exit Ramp
Dogs can jump into a pool easily enough, but they'll often find it very hard to get out again. This can be quite stressful for the dog, and the sides of your pool can be scratched by their claws as they try to climb out. Of course, you can always lift them out, but dogs, especially wet ones, can be quite heavy, so you might injure them or yourself in the process. The best thing to do is buy a doggy ramp; these project into the water, allowing dogs to easily walk out of the pool.