Pet health and safety a worry during pool season

Posted on June 25, 2010 under Dog Health

A black dog goes for a swim with a bright yellow tennis ball in its mouth.
Veterinarian Shannon South knows first-hand that pools and other bodies of water can be dangerous for dogs when they accidentally fall in.

“When you’ve got an older dog or a dog with a handicap, like a dog that can’t see well, definitely get a fence around the pool when you can’t watch them,” South, a D.V.M. at Briarcliff Animal Clinic in Atlanta, Ga. told the Pawnation website.

According to the site, an estimated one out of every 1,027 pets drowns in swimming pools each year, and those that do survive suffer serious pet health problems.

“Even if the dog isn’t attracted to the pool, they could always fall in,” the site reports.

The website also reminds pet owners that not all dogs know how to, or have the ability to swim. On a recent post on the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page, about half of the respondents reported their dogs didn’t know how to swim, hated to swim or had to be taught.

“Certain breeds such as Bulldogs can’t swim at all, and other dogs have physical limitations that put them more at risk in the pool,” the source reports.

Another concern is chlorinated water affecting pet health.

“Pets can get upset stomachs from drinking too much pool water,” South told the source.

South said the chemical also gives off vapors that can bother a pet’s lungs and cause other pet health issues.

“Chlorine can irritate their eyes and their respiratory system,” she told the provider.

The webpage offers six tips to ensure summertime pool safety for owners and pets alike.

• Initially introduce your pet to water slowly so it doesn’t panic.

• Never leave your pet unattended around a pool.

• Be sure to fence the area around your pool and always watch your pooch when it’s within that area.

• Make sure there is an easy way for your pet to exit the pool- should it accidently fall in. Consider products on the market like doggy ramps, or make sure there is a shallow area near the pool steps.

• Never allow your pet to drink the pool water, as this can be detrimental to pet health. Always provide easily-accessible fresh water for your pets on hot summer days.

• Consider investing in a doggy life jacket for your pooch.

The Pawnation site finally reminds owners to monitor their pets around pools, the same as they would their children.

According to the site, pet owners should “be sure to call a time-out so your pooch can recover from its summertime adventures… it may not know when it should take a break from the pool and the sun.”

For more information on pet health and safety, visit the