Pool Safety for Dogs – 5 Useful and Important Tips

5 tips - pool safety for dogs

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First and foremost – Don’t leave your dog unsupervised by the pool unless you are confident they know how to exit!

People often think every dog is a natural swimmer. The truth is, dogs know how to instinctively “dog paddle,” but not every dog takes to the pool like a duck takes to water.


And just because they can paddle doesn’t mean they stay calm and relaxed when in water.

Drowning is by far the biggest risk when it comes to dogs and pools. This includes every dog, from puppies to “water dogs” to non-swimming breeds and elderly and sick dogs.


Any panicking dog can drown regardless of what makes them panic. An accidental fall during play, not being used to the water, not finding their way out because it’s dark, or having water in their eyes could have fatal consequences!

Many owners of “non-water dogs” and geriatric dogs get a life vest for them to be on the safe side.

1. Add flotation objects and teach your dog to use them

Dogs and swimming pool floats for safety

In our opinion, flotation objects are an absolute must to have. Useful for pool games, resting places, and decorative elements, they can make the difference between life and death for your dog.

Teach your dog to use them, and you will never have to worry about your dogs and swim pool safety.

2. Teach your dog WHERE to leave the pool

Dogs may have trouble finding the exit when they panic, especially in the dark. White exit ramps will be visible for a dog even at night; pool steps aren’t.

Spend some time with your dog and simulate various situations; play with him-her until you are confident the exit path is well remembered.


3. Teach your dog HOW to exit the pool

If there is even a slight chance for your dog to get into the swimming pool do show him where the steps or the ladder to get out are.

In this video, a dog jumps in and then orients herself towards the ladder and climbs out. Good girl!

What if your dog can’t handle the ladder?


Beware, that not every dog can climb a ladder like that. In fact, getting water in the eyes or swallowing water can quickly lead to stress and the dog may not find the ladder or even the steps in that situation or at night.

One of the best solutions is a safety ramp :


4. Pool safety for dogs - set bounaries

Set boundaries – enter the pool only with permission.

If you are considering getting a dog, why not set boundaries right from the beginning? Training your dog to enter the pool only with permission will decrease the risk of accidents, especially if your dog is often unsupervised.


As a responsible dog owner, pool safety for dogs must be something you consider and understand.

This is not the only article on the topic. Find and read more. Maybe we didn’t mention all possibilities.

5. Give your dog a rest (or make them rest)

Dogs can overdo exercise and, like people, end up with sore, tired and stiff muscles. So make sure you increase the amount of activity slowly and steadily.

Some dogs can become obsessed with the fetch game, and it’s up to you to stop as soon as they get tired. 


How do you spot tiredness?

You’ll notice the rear hanging lower, resulting in less powerful swimming.

Another sign to look out for is overexcitement and stimulation. The dog moves about at a crazy pace with wide eyes. That’s the point where you need to stop and allow your dog to calm down.

We should mention one more fact often neglected when discussing pool safety for dogs.

Heatstroke is a real danger in hot summer weather. Even though the water helps to cool the body, energetic play like chasing after toys can increase the internal temperature to hazardous levels, even while in the water.

Is it safe for dogs to swim in pools?


Not all dogs swim.

Whether a dog swims comes down to two things: breed and personality. While all dogs instinctively “doggie paddle,” not all of them can keep themselves afloat. And some, even if they can, don’t want to.


Good swimmers are:

  • Labradors,
  • Poodles,
  • Newfoundlands,
  • German
  • Shorthair pointers,
  • Brittany spaniels,
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Water Spaniels,
  • Golden Retrievers

They lie flat in the water and swim very efficiently.


On the other hand, short-legged breeds like the dachshund or bulldog, are not natural “pool Olympians.” It’s easy to see how their butt hangs low, and their leg length isn’t up to swimming.


Short-faced breeds like the pug can usually swim, but not for long because they get tired quickly.

Breeds aside, some dogs don’t like to go into the water.


And some do go into the pool …and like to walk! Watch, it’s hilarious.



Or, do nothing…


Read more about dogs and swimming on animalplanet.com


Save Animals from Drowning in Swimming Pool


Read more here: Dogs and chlorine pools.

If we didn’t mention all the essential tips concerning pool safety for dogs, or if you know about a dangerous situation related to the topic, please contact us. We keep updating this article since 2016.

Your comments are welcome!

  1. None of my dogs have liked to swim, at the most they’ve strolled along the shore at the beach, so I’ve never had any reason think about the safety for my own dogs. I do have friends though with dogs almost being obsessed with water and swimming! Commonly Labradors and Flat coated retrievers 🙂 Like you say, they easily get over excited.

    I will send to your post, will be good read for them, thank you!


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