How To Have a Dog Safe Pool

If you love dogs then you know that there’s nothing they love more than playing around in the outside world with you. But imagine being able to give them that fun in a whole new way without ever leaving your backyard. You can do exactly that by learning how to make your swimming pool dog safe. And don’t worry, that also means safeguarding your pool against the whirlwind of fur and claws that dogs can turn into when having a great time with their humans. Read on to learn what tools and techniques will let Fido in on the fun.

Key Takeaways

Pools are great for the whole family and dogs will love to be included in the fun but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your furry friend is safe around the water. These include:

  • Pool Barriers
  • Tanning Ledge
  • Dog Ladder
  • Pet Life Vest
  • Pool Covers

Pool Barrier

If someone asked can dogs swim in pools then the answer would be a solid yes. Almost all dogs have a swimming instinct and can quickly grow to love your pool. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Breeds with larger head-to-body ratios are not good natural swimmers, such as the English bulldog, will often have trouble swimming. But the addition of a buoyant dog life jacket is often all they need in order to get in on the fun.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a dog can swim doesn’t always mean that he should. It’s especially important to make sure your dog can never get into the pool when it’s unattended. Even dogs who take to the water like a seal can run into serious, even fatal, issues if there’s not a human around to help them out. This is why a pool fence can be so important if you want to swim with your dog. The fence provides both a physical barrier for your dog and a reminder that he’s not allowed in the pool alone.

luxury villa with garden and fenced swimming pool
Keeping pets and children away from the water with a physical barrier is one of safest ways to ensure a pool is safe for your dog.

Tanning Ledge

Do you remember how scary pools could be when you were first learning how to swim? A small depth for an adult can seem like the Marianas Trench to a child. And the same holds true for dogs. They’re often understandably nervous about jumping into water that dwarfs their own height. But a tanning ledge can provide them with both comfort and safety. The ledges essentially create a large flat space that they can walk around while still being in the water in your pool’s shallow end. It’s a place where your dog can rest, enjoy the water without needing to swim, and generally recognize a safe place to return to when they get tired from swimming in the deeper area of the pool.

dogs playing in a pool with a tanning ledge
A ledge in your pool is great for both dogs and kids a like as they can enjoy the water without having to swim.

Dog Ladder

Remember that a dog doesn’t have the same capacity to lift himself out of a pool that you do. This is another one of the reasons why many dogs find pools unsettling at first. Humans see dozens of ways to get out of the pool once they’ve jumped in. You have everything from ladders to the edge of the pool itself to use as leverage. But a dog can’t pull himself out of a pool or use standard ladders. However, you can get a dog ladder for your pet. A dog ladder is essentially a combination of a ramp and ladder that a dog can use to easily get out of the water on his own. As with the tanning ledges, dog ladders provide both safety and peace of mind for your pet and are great to keep in the pool for when an animal might get into the pool when you are not around.

dog climbing up a dog pool ladder
A ramp provides easy access out of the pool for both your pets and also any wildlife that might fall into the water.

Dog Life Jacket

Dog life vests operate just like those made for humans. The jackets keep your dog afloat even when he’s not paddling. It’s an invaluable way to keep your dog safe in the water. And it can also help him build up confidence while he learns just how much fun pool time can be. These are also popular for dogs that have limited physical ability whether that be from a disability, being overweight or from age.

dog in pool wearing a life vest
A life vest is great for dogs not confident in water, or for those that are not able to swim properly by themselves.

Pool Covers

Pool covers can be either help or hindrance when you’re safeguarding your dog’s relationship to the water. If a cover isn’t strong enough to support your dog’s weight then there’s a good chance he’ll fall into the pool water if he mistakes it for solid ground. Sadly, the cover will usually disorient the dog so much that he’ll be unable to stay afloat.

That’s why it’s so important to set up a pool fence if you’re using standard pool covers. Though keep in mind that some automatic pool covers are strong enough to support your dog, you, or even furniture. Covers are still an important part of pool ownership. But if your dog is going on regular swims then you need to make sure you have the right pool cover to ensure he’s safe.

large dog lies on a blue safety cover for a residential swimming pool
There are many different types of pool covers available, some can withstand pets walking on them while others can be dangerous.

The Type Of Pool

Most dog owners are understandably concerned about the dangers a pool might pose for their pets. But you might be surprised to discover that dogs can be a danger to your pool as well. Some of the major pool types will stand up to anything your dog can dish out.

Fiberglass pools in particular shouldn’t need any additional safeguards or protections.

However, vinyl pools can be easily damaged by a dog’s claws unless you’re very carefully ensuring they stay short and blunt. Concrete pools sit in between the two extremes. The pool’s interior will be able to stand up to even the sharpest claws. But conversely, the coarse surface of concrete can sometimes hurt a dog’s sensitive paws.

Teach Them To Swim

You’ve seen the concept of a dog’s concerns and trepidation brought up a few times so far. And if it reminded you of a child learning how to swim then you’re on the right track. Dogs have a stronger natural instinct for swimming than humans. But that hardly means that they’re fearless in the face of a new environment. Just as with a child, you need to teach your dog how to handle himself in the water.

That process begins by helping your pup learn that pools aren’t scary and that he can get out at any time. This is where tanning ledges and dog ladders come into play. You’ll want to slowly ease him into the water while making sure he has secure footing and understands that he’s in control of the situation. Remember that kids have some awareness of what a pool is before their first swimming lesson. A dog’s discovering a whole new world!

After you get your dog accustomed to the water you can start to help him go from a clumsy doggy paddle to a point where he’s really confident. Novice canine swimmers tend to only use their front legs. There’s tons of splashing and wasted energy. Think of how well you’d swim if you were only using your arms. The same holds true for dogs. You can help your dog get the hang of it by supporting his back end as he swims. This will help him realize how much more fun horizontally, rather than vertically, oriented swimming can be.

Your helping hand will eventually give him the idea to use his back legs as well as his front. And from that point on your dog should become far more confident in the water. Likewise, you’ll be able to have confidence in your dog’s newly honed abilities. Learning to swim together is a great way to take care of both of your concerns at the same time!

dog jump and dive underwater to retrieve ball
Like with anything, it’s always more fun with a dog and a pool is no different.

It’s Time for the Whole Family To Join In on the Fun

And that’s really all there is to it. With the preceding tips you now know everything you need to keep your furry friends safe while having fun in the pool. The only remaining step is to actually put these ideas into action. Before you know it you’ll be witness to one of the best days in your dog’s life as he frolics with you in the pool.


This blog is based on information available at the time of publishing and for the purpose of sharing information with the public related to swimming pools and projects that can be financed through Viking Capital. Although we strive to be complete and accurate, it is not information that is verified or maintained. It should not be relied upon for making financial decisions. An investment such as a swimming pool is significant. Viking Capital recommends consulting with a financial professional regarding your financing decisions and with pool professionals regarding pool options. To learn what financing options are available for you today, please apply with Viking Capital and you’ll receive your free loan consultation. Click Here to Apply.

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