In our July Cold Noses Newsletter, we talked about the top 3 summer dangers for your dog; sunburn, ear mites and the fact that not all dogs can – or want to – swim.
But with record heat temperatures this summer, it’s natural to want to let your dog in to your pool to cool off.
But should you?
We know there are often minor side effects for humans when swimming in – or exposed to – chlorine; dry skin, red eyes and a horrible, nasty taste if you inadvertently swallow some! But what about Fido? Are chlorinated pools safe for dogs?
Unfortunately, chlorine is a necessary “evil” in keeping pools algae- and bacteria-free. But could your dog – or any pet – be potentially poisoned by chlorine?
As with any chemical that could be potentially dangerous, it depends on the level of exposure. Properly maintained pools contain diluted chlorine levels usually unlikely to cause any lasting harm or toxic poisoning to animals or humans.
But, this doesn’t mean there are not potential risks. Concentrated chlorine tablets should always be stored in airtight and inaccessible containers (out of reach of pets and children). Any direct contact with undiluted chlorine (which could damage skin and eyes) or chlorine gas (which could be dangerous if inhaled) should always be restricted.
In addition, pets who swim regularly in chlorinated water may experience:
- Recurrent ear infections (which could be related to the chlorine or simply more frequent dampness in the ears).
- Minor stomach irritation especially if your dog loves to gulp water while in the pool.
- Red eyes or itchy skin (especially if they spend extended periods of time in chlorinated water).
- Potential airway irritation from the release of excess gas in highly chlorinated pools (typically inside where proper ventilation may be a problem).
But always watch your dog when they are swimming and monitor – and adjust if necessary – their time in the pool if you see any potential risks and/or adverse reactions.
When swim time is over, ALWAYS rinse off your four-legged swimmer with fresh, cool water to remove all chlorine from their fur, skin, eyes and between the toes to avoid any negative side effects.