Tips To Take Your Dog Swimming In The Pool

Have a pool party with your pup 🏊‍♀️

dog looking out of side of the pool

There’s nothing better than spending a day by the pool on a sweltering summer day. And if you have a pool, you might want to let your dog go swimming with you.

But if you do want to let your dog take a dip in the pool, there are some things you should know first so you can keep your pup safe.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Cristina Bustamante, an associate veterinarian with Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Florida and founder of Dr. B. Vet, to get all the pool safety tips you need to have a fun and safe summer with your dog.

Dogs and pool safety

If you let your dog swim in the pool, be sure to keep these pool safety tips in mind.

Make sure your dog doesn’t go in the pool on her own

Dogs can swim in pools but only with supervision, Dr. Bustamante told The Dodo. You should never let your dog swim in a body of water alone — whether it’s a pool, lake or ocean — because if she gets tired or can’t find her way out of the pool, she’ll need your help.

So only let your pup swim when you’re around to watch her. And if you have your own pool, there are some steps you can take to make sure your dog can’t fall in when she’s outside.

Consider getting a fence or a pool alarm to make sure your dog can’t take a dip when you’re not around, especially if she’s sometimes let out alone to play.

“A fence around the pool avoids your dog accidentally entering the pool without supervision,” Dr. Bustamante said.

Don’t rely on a pool cover since they can actually be really dangerous for dogs. If your dog falls on a pool cover, she could become tangled in it or stuck underneath and not be able to get out. If you’re going to use a pool cover, you should look for one that’s strong enough to support your dog or make sure to use it in conjunction with another safety measure, like a gate or pool alarm.

Teach your dog to swim

Not all dogs are naturally strong swimmers, so you might need to teach your dog how to swim in the pool.

You can follow some general steps to help your dog learn to swim:

  • Make sure your dog’s comfortable with the water before starting your swim lesson. “Never throw your dog into the pool or force your dog to swim,” Dr. Bustamante said. “This can make your dog very scared of the pool.”
  • “Encourage your dog to enter the water with toys, treats or praise,” Dr. Bustamante said.
  • Show your dog how to get in and out of the water. “Teach your dog how to safely exit the pool,” Dr. Bustamante said.
  • Once you’re in the water, support your dog’s belly while she paddles.
  • Keep your swim lessons short so your pup doesn’t get too tired.
  • Stay in shallow water.

Get your dog a life jacket

If your dog is a new swimmer, it’s a good idea to get her a life vest. Even if your dog’s been swimming for a long time, a life jacket is still a great way to make sure your dog stays safe in the water.

“Dogs can easily become tired while swimming,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Life vests provide buoyancy, which facilitates their swimming and avoids exhaustion.”

Doggy life jackets also have handles, so if there’s ever an emergency, you’ll be able to easily grab your pup to get her out of the water safely, Dr. Bustamante said.

(This life jacket has two handles on top and thick foam panels for buoyancy. You can get it from Chewy for $23.99.)

Watch out for signs your dog is getting tired

If you think your pup’s getting tired while she’s swimming, make sure she gets out of the water safely. Even the most accomplished swimmers can be at risk for drowning if they get too tired.

If your dog shows any signs of physical fatigue, such as struggling to paddle, starting to dip down in the water or panting heavily, get her out of the pool ASAP.

Get pool steps or a ramp

If you have an above-ground pool, you might need to get a pool safety ladder or a pool ramp to help your pup get in and out of the water. Your dog might not be able to climb out of the edge of the pool on her own and could get tired trying to find her way out, which is a potential cause of injury or drowning.

Even if your pool has an easy exit for your dog, you might want to get some pool steps to add an additional exit in case your pup gets tired while swimming and isn’t near the stairs. (These pool steps can be securely attached to the side of your pool. You can get them from Open Sky for $190.89.)

A pool ramp can also be an easy way for your dog to get in and out of an in-ground pool if she doesn’t like using the stairs. (You can get this one from Petco for $44.80.)

Can dogs drink pool water?

Good news — just like when people swallow some pool water, if your dog happens to get a little bit of chlorinated water in her mouth, she should be OK. (Just don’t let her drink a lot of it.)

“Most dogs will be OK if they drink small amounts of pool water,” Dr. Bustamanted said. “Ingesting chlorinated water in large amounts can make dogs become sick with upset stomachs.”

So to make sure your dog doesn’t get tempted to drink the pool water, you should keep some fresh water nearby for her to drink, Dr. Bustamante said.

You should also wash your dog after swimming in the pool and dry out her ears.

“Rinse your dog with fresh water to remove chemicals from their fur after swimming in the pool,” Dr. Bustamante said. “Dogs get water in their ears while swimming, which can cause ear infections because of the moisture. Use an ear cleaner after swimming to dry out the ear canals.”

(This dog ear cleaner has tons of five-star reviews from dog parents. You can get it from Chewy for $10.85.)

If you follow these pool safety tips to keep your pup safe, you’ll have the best summer hanging out by the pool with your dog.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.