July 5, 2019 TVAH

Yes, Your Dog Can Swim With You

Summer is in full swing, and you’re probably enjoying plenty of outdoor fun. Since your dog is part of the family, you naturally want to include him in as many outdoor excursions as possible. So you might be wondering whether it’s safe for him to join you in the swimming pool.

A quick answer to that question is: Mostly. Like most other activities, there will be a slight degree of inherent risk, to both you and your dog. But with some attention to detail, dogs can usually swim safely with their owners.

Impact of swimming on your dog’s health. Dogs need exercise just like we do, and swimming can be a fun way to spend time with your pet. Of course, you should always pay attention to your dog’s level of enthusiasm; some dogs are fearful around water, and should not be forced to swim if they’re uncomfortable. And, as with children, you want to monitor the situation closely and intervene quickly if your dog appears to be tired or struggling in the water.

But what about pool chemicals? In most cases, dry eyes or irritated skin is the worst side effect. Rinsing your pet immediately after swimming is a good idea, to remove these chemicals from his skin and eyes.

Ear infections are another common problem in dogs who swim. If you notice your dog scratching at his ears, or other signs of discomfort in the area, bring him in to be checked for an ear infection.

If your pool chemicals are not correctly balanced, your dog could contract a virus or bacteria from the water, just like humans. If he tends to swallow a lot of water while swimming, even correctly balanced chemicals could trigger vomiting and diarrhea. This is not common, but does happen from time to time. You might decide to avoid future swims if you can’t train your dog to avoid swallowing the water.

The impact on your health. Generally speaking, this shouldn’t be a problem if your pool chemicals are correctly balanced. But there is the slight possibility of you contracting a viral or bacterial infection from sharing the water with your pet. Carefully weigh the risk to yourself before deciding to invite Fido into the pool.

In most situations, dogs who enjoy swimming can do so safely, with proper supervision. Many pet owners report that the worst outcome is inflicted upon the pool itself, with the filter needing more frequent cleaning. Just remember to keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and health after a swim session, and call us immediately if you suspect a problem.

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