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With summer in full swing, water-loving dogs are jumping at the chance to dive into lakes and pools. Swimming is a great warm-weather activity because it gives your dog an outlet for their energy and also helps keep them cool from the heat.
But when it comes to swimming pools, you may wonder about those added chemicals. Is it safe for dogs to swim in chlorinated water? Can it harm them or make them sick? Let’s review the potential hazards and how to keep your pup safe this summer.
Is chlorinated water harmful to dogs?
The good news is that chlorinated water is safe for dogs, just like it is for humans. When the chemicals are properly balanced, the amount of chlorine in a pool is negligible and unlikely to cause any ill side effects.
However, as with anything, there are always some risks:
- Dogs that spend an especially long time in chlorinated water can experience red eyes and itchy skin.
- Dogs that drink pool water may get minor gastrointestinal upset.
- The biggest threat to your dog’s health are the concentrated chlorine tablets or liquid, which can make him very sick if ingested.
To avoid these negative side effects and keep your dog happy and healthy:
- Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming to wash off the chlorinated water.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink so he isn’t tempted to drink pool water.
- Keep chlorine tablets and other pool chemicals well out of your pet’s reach.
Does pool water cause ear infections?
Dogs that spend more time in the water—especially those with long, floppy ears—may experience more frequent ear infections. Some pet parents may wonder if these are related to chlorine exposure, but recurrent infections are more likely related to wet ears in general than chlorine in particular.
If your dog is prone to ear infections, speak with your veterinarian about how to prevent them by drying your pup’s ears and using an ear-cleaning solution after swimming.
Swimming safety for dogs
The biggest concern for dogs in pools is not the chlorine, but swimming safety in general. Always err on the side of caution and keep the following in mind:
- Not all dogs want to swim, and they should never be forced into the pool.
- Even swimming fanatics can tire or panic, which can put them at risk of drowning. Make sure your dog knows how and where to get out of the pool.
- Always supervise dogs in and around pools.
- Consider getting a life jacket for your dog. All types of swimmers will enjoy a more relaxing swimming experience with the support of a personal flotation device.