Swimming is a terrific way to exercise your dog. This stress-relieving activity can improve their joints and muscles.
But can dogs swim in chlorine pools?
Yes. It can be safer to let them swim in chlorinated water over freshwater or saltwater from lakes or oceans.
Find out if chlorine is bad for dogs and if it’s safe for dogs to swim in chlorine pools.
How does chlorinated water affect dogs? You’ll learn the answer to this question, plus more information on puppies and chlorine pools.
Check out our tips on swimming pool safety for dogs for an enjoyable swimming sesh.
Is It Safe for Dogs to Swim in Chlorine Pools?
Yes. If your pool is properly maintained and the chlorine levels are safe, then your dog can swim in the pool.
It is safe if they don’t spend too much time in the pool and if they don’t drink too much of the pool water.
Before learning about chlorine pool safety for dogs, it’s important to understand what chlorine does to the water.
Chlorine breaks down into substances called hypochlorite ions and hypochlorous acid when it’s mixed with water.
The cell wall breaks down, ruins the structures in the pool, and oxidizes the microorganisms there.
If you don’t put chlorine in your swimming pool, you’ll notice algae and bacteria building up right away.
The safe level of chlorine for swimming pools is between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million or ppm. A higher chlorine level may result in swollen eyes and itchy skin.
You should also make sure that the pool water is free from leaves and dirt. The pump must remain running, and the filters must be regularly checked to ensure it’s safe for your dog.
Another factor to consider when determining the safety of chlorinated water is the amount of time they spend in it.
Make sure they only swim for 10 to 30 minutes a day. The maximum length of time of swimming for expert dog swimmers should only be 1 hour.
Make sure to train your dog in safety precautions before swimming in the pool. Give them plenty of freshwater so they don’t get thirsty and drink the pool water.
A chlorine pool is safe even if your dog does ingest the water. It will not cause toxicity unless they drink too much.
Despite the possible irritation, chlorinated water is still safer to swim in than freshwater because lakes, seas, and ponds are more likely to contain bacteria, viruses, and algae.
Is Chlorine Bad for Dogs?
It depends on the dose.
The same is true with other chemicals. They may be hazardous at an exceedingly high or low level.
Realistically, your dog has a higher chance of developing hypothermia from cold pool water or being poisoned by blue algae in a lake than developing chlorine toxicity.
They are also more susceptible to anxiety, disorientation, and drowning than being poisoned by chlorine water.
Because the chlorine in swimming pools is extremely diluted, then your dog has little chance of developing sickness or being intoxicated by pool water.
There’s nothing to worry about if you thoroughly clean your pool and chlorinate it at an adequate level.
What you should worry about is the actual handling of your chlorine tablets. Don’t let your dog get near chlorine tablets.
Remember that chlorine contains bleach the same way paint thinners, gasoline, and lye do.
Store it somewhere safe and inaccessible, even though your dog is unlikely to approach it due to its foul smell.
Undiluted chlorine can cause poisoning and skin and eye damage if ingested.
In a study by American Veterinary Medical Association, researchers found that dogs who ate quick-dissolving chlorine showed life-threatening symptoms within 15 hours.
These poor dogs can’t breathe, were dehydrated, drooling, and coughing. Later, they had liver and kidney damage which resulted in their death.
On the other hand, chlorine gas can also cause toxicity when inhaled.
Make sure to keep these chlorine tablets in their original containers as well.
Muriatic acid, brominating tablets, and other pool cleaning chemicals can also cause poisoning if swallowed. Ulcers will occur because of acid ingestion.
Keep all your chemicals out of your dog’s reach.
How Does Chlorinated Water Affect Dogs?
Chlorinated water is safe at a low level. But high amounts of chlorine gas may lead to you and your dog’s suffocation, especially if you have an indoor pool.
Chlorinated water has no severe effects if your dog has swallowed some. They may have minor digestive issues, but the chances of dying from toxicity are very low.
To avoid digestive irritation, provide your dog with plenty of water so as not to make them thirsty while swimming.
You also want to train them to only drink from their bottle or bowl to avoid similar situations in the future.
If your dog swims too long in chlorinated water, you may also notice minor symptoms of irritated skin and eyes like itching, redness, and dryness.
You can avoid these mild symptoms by letting them swim for shorter sessions at a time.
While it’s not limited to pool water, you should also check for symptoms of ear infection after letting your dog swim. Make sure to clean and dry their ears after taking a dip.
In a study of dogs who are enrolled in pool swimming courses, 20% had dry hair, 16% had armpit abrasion, 19% had dry skin, 13% had swollen eyes, while 6% had ear irritation.
It’s also worth noting from this study that the symptoms worsen every time they go for another session of swimming.
Dogs can also affect your pool. They may bring debris to the pool, affect its filtration system, and ruin the chemical balance.
Dirt, pollen, hair, and fecal matter may end up in the water, causing danger to you and your dog.
Be sure to keep your pool well maintained and regularly cleaned so it is safe for the whole family to swim.
Can Puppies Swim in Chlorine Pools?
Yes. Swimming in a chlorinated pool will not hurt a puppy. In fact, it keeps them safer and free from bacteria and algae.
If the chlorine levels are safe and you keep the chlorine tablets away from them, then they are free from danger.
What you should be more worried about when letting your puppy swim in the pool are their age and ability.
Your puppy is only ready to swim at ten weeks or older. Some take longer to develop their confidence and physical body for the activity.
Whatever happens, don’t rush your dog into swimming lessons. Never throw them in the pool.
If your pooch wants to go for a dive, only let them do so for 10 minutes or less at a time.
Get them a life jacket as well so that they can stay afloat with little effort.
Can Chlorine Kill Dogs if They Drink It?
Chlorine water will not kill your dog if they drink a little from the pool, but actual liquid chlorine can.
You don’t have to panic if your dog swallows a bit of pool water, especially if your pool has a safe chlorine level. If they drink too much, the worst they could experience is vomiting.
Does that mean you have to lower the chlorine levels of your pool?
This can be more dangerous because the untreated pool will be home to parasites and bacteria.
Liquid chlorine and chlorine tablet ingestion can lead to death, so always store them in a safe place where your dog won’t be able to get into them.
Is Chlorine Bad for Dogs Skin?
Yes. Chlorine can dry out your dog’s skin and hair. The chemicals in the water strip the coat and skin off their natural oils.
This means their barriers are compromised and they are more prone to other skin infections.
Your dog may suffer from dry, itchy, and red skin. Their coats also become dry and dull right after swimming.
Some dogs also experience the lightening of dark coats after swimming. That’s because chlorine has a bleaching effect on dark hair. Some even have their fur turn green.
These symptoms worsen as your dog stays in the pool longer and more frequently.
But you can avoid these side effects by applying sunscreen before they head out to the sun, conditioning your dog’s coat before they go to the pool, rinsing their coat after swimming, and combing their fur.
Dog Chlorine Poisoning Symptoms
Your dog may be intoxicated if they drink too much pool water. But this is caused by the water itself and not the chlorine levels. That said, any kind of water can cause toxicity if your dog drinks a lot.
Some signs of water intoxication include:
- dilated pupils
- glazed eyes
- loss of coordination
- pale gums
On the other hand, your dog may experience worse symptoms of toxicity if they consume the actual chlorine tablet or liquid.
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- low blood pressure
- paw discoloration
- sore throat
- stomach pain
- ulcers on the paws or mouth
- weakened limbs
Rush your dog to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms. Your vet may induce vomiting and collect a sample in a bag for diagnosis.
Swimming Pool Safety for Dogs
Here are some pool safety guidelines for you and your dog.
Never Leave your Dog Unsupervised in the Pool
Even if your furry friend is an expert swimmer, don’t leave them unsupervised in the pool.
You don’t know when they will need your help in case they get tired swimming, can’t reach the platform, or are submerging in the water.
Dogs also have a tough time barking when they are in the pool, so calling for your attention may be hard for them.
Fresh Drinking Water
To prevent your dog from ingesting pool water, give them plenty of freshwater before swimming.
Make sure to bring fresh water to the pool so you can let them drink in between swimming sessions.
Dogs also tend to be more dehydrated when they are swimming because they are using up more energy.
Provide Swimming Gear
Give your dog a life jacket or a life vest when swimming, especially if they are still a beginner or are a small-breed dog.
Flotation devices are also ideal for dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia so that they don’t exert too much effort while they paddle underwater.
Don’t Swim for Too Long
To avoid dry skin and hair, you should only let your dog swim for a short amount of time.
10 to 30 minutes of swimming is a good workout for most dogs. It gets their whole body moving with little to no impact and intensity.
Don’t overtire your dog or they could develop muscle and bone problems in the future. Overtiring may also lead to drowning because of inefficient paddling.
Swimming in a Chlorine Pool is Safe for Dogs
Let your dog swim in a chlorinated pool without panicking. The chances of severe irritation and toxicity due to ingestion are low.
What you should be worrying about is whether the pool water is well-maintained and clean. You must also beware of chlorine tablet ingestion, along with drowning risks.
Remember that chlorine pools have different effects on your dog compared to saltwater pools. Find out if it’s safe for dogs to swim in saltwater pools.