Can Dogs Swim in Chlorine Pools?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

The allure of cooling off in a swimming pool can be irresistible in the dog days of the summer, not only for us but also for our canine companions. However, before your furry friend takes a dip in chlorinated waters, it's vital to understand the potential effect this chemical can have on your pet. While chlorine is commonly used to disinfect swimming pool water, and while it's considered safe for humans, it can potentially affect dogs differently. 

Is Chlorine Safe for Dogs?

Usually, when it comes to pool disinfection, small amounts of chlorine are used – small enough to be harmless for your dog. However, while not necessarily toxic for dogs, chlorine in swimming pools can cause issues for our canine companions – dogs with sensitive or dry skin may experience more pronounced adverse reactions to chlorine, and dogs who love drinking pool water might have digestive issues such as vomiting, and even esophagus erosion if the concentration of chlorine is higher or the amount of water ingested is greater than a few accidental sips. 

In case your dog has sensitive skin in general, chlorinated pools might further dry out their skin and cause their fur to be brittle, which coupled with previous skin and coat issues can be a nuisance. To counteract it, always wash off your dog after getting out of the pool. You can simply use just tap water to rinse out the chlorinated pool water if you don’t want to bother with a regular bath, but if your dog is really sensitive and you want them to enjoy pool time occasionally – give them a bath afterward to ensure they won’t have irritations. Use a mild, moisturizing pet shampoo such as this oatmeal formula to nourish their skin and coat and counteract the drying effect of chlorine after a dip in the pool.

For those canines that are prone to drinking pool water, it’s advised to keep a watchful eye on them. While the amounts of chlorine in pools are usually safe for dogs and humans to ingest in small quantities, other chemicals used to maintain pool water may not be as safe for them to swallow. In other words, it’s better to err on the side of caution and prevent your pet from drinking too much pool water – no matter how fun it is.

Alternatives for Safe and Fun Doggie Pool Time

Now that you know that dogs can swim in chlorine pools, provided that you follow some basic safety guidelines, you can enjoy some quality summer fun time with your pet. However, in cases where your dog doesn’t want to cooperate (e.g. won’t stop gulping when inside the pool) or you have any other type of concern, such as your pet’s swimming skills or the adverse effects pool chemicals could have on their fragile skin, you can always opt for alternative ways of providing summer refreshment.

My personal favorite are sprinkler or splash pads for dogs – they’re not as much work as doggie pools which you have to fill with water and keep at least somewhat clean before having to dump all that water somewhere – as they’re both insanely fun for dogs and easy to use. Plus, they are perfect to cool off in the summer! 

Of course, for proficient canine swimmers and their adventurous human companions, there’s no better alternative to home pools than a swim in the ocean or a dip in the lake. Depending on where you live, packing up your pooch for a day at the beach might prove to be the best solution yet – no need to worry about chlorine or getting bored when you’re out and about in the great outdoors! 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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