Can Your Dog Swim In The Pool With You?

Let’s face it, the answer you really want for this question is Yes! Well, Barrier Reef Pools is happy to inform you that yes, it is definitely safe for your dog to swim with you in the pool! For the most part. 

While we won’t deny how fun it is to see your canine friend paddling his little paws after you, you should still take precautions to ensure your furry friend is safe. There are a few things for you to look out for so your dog can swim safely and worry-free. Most of it is common sense, but some of it may surprise you.

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Measuring Swim Safety For Your Furry Friend

You will need to respect your dog’s swimming level first. Is he/she good at swimming? Have they ever swam in a pool before? Do they even want to swim in the pool, or are you dragging them to the water? Some dogs are more suited to swimming than others, but dogs can have temperaments just like humans. 

If your dog is afraid of the water or reluctant to swim, then it would be best not to force them to the water. Some dogs just simply don’t like the water.

However, if your dog is particularly fond of the water, then you will find swimming is just as healthy for dogs as it is for you. Swimming can provide your dog with healthy, aerobic exercise.

How Will Chlorine Affect Your Dog?

The big question is how does chlorine affect your dog and is it safe for them? Well, the short answer is yes. The long answer: keep it in moderation. 

If the chlorine in your pool’s water system is balanced then you won’t have to worry. But just like on human beings, a chlorine imbalance can negatively affect your dog. Too much chlorine can cause skin and eye irritation for your dog. If your canine friend has a skin condition, you should keep them out of chlorinated water to prevent irritation. You will need to properly check the chemical balance of your pool before you allow your dog out for a swim. 

A good idea is to also hose down your dog after they go for a swim, to get rid of any excessive chlorine still stuck to their fur. Make sure to dry them off thoroughly with a towel and dab their ears to prevent infections.

You will have to use a certain amount of common sense when watching over your dog in the pool. Because of the excited nature in which dogs swim, they will inevitably swallow pool water. A little chlorine ingested won’t cause anything terrible; but if you see your dog ingesting too much pool water, you’ll need to stop them as soon as possible. Otherwise they could become sick. A good idea to prevent this is to always have a bowl of freshwater available near the pool, so your dog can cleanse their throat after a swim.

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Dog Breeds That Are Good At Swimming....And Not So Good

As we mentioned before, some dogs are well suited to swimming whilst others are not. It’s a good idea to look up whether your dog is a good swimmer naturally before you let them in your pool. Dogs with small legs will struggle to swim because of their smaller paw-strokes. A lifejacket is an excellent investment for keeping your puppy pal afloat in the water.

Dogs that are good swimmers:

  1. American Water Spaniel 
  2. Barbet 
  3. Boykin Spaniel 
  4. English Settler
  5. Retriever 

Dogs that are not the best at swimming:

  1. Basset Hound 
  2. Bulldog
  3. Pug 
  4. Dachshund
  5. Pekingese

Watch Out For Your Dog’s Nails

Your dog’s nails may also be a cause for concern, but not for them – just you! As you can imagine, an excited dog struggling to stay afloat may cause injuries by scratching you with their nails. Although they don’t mean it, their nails can be particularly dangerous around any children that are also swimming. To avoid this, keep the dog’s nails trimmed and stick to the shallow end of the pool – you may also opt to purchase swimming boots for your dog.

…Experts estimate a single dog is equal to 3 humans in your pool… 

How Your Dog Affects Your Pool Water

The main effect that allowing your dog to swim in the pool will have is actually going to be on the pool itself. This is because experts estimate a single dog is equal to 3 human beings in your pool. Dogs will naturally pick up dirt through their paws and fur, and cannot help but deposit this debris when they swim. This also goes for any faecal matter being carried by your dog. Additionally, dog fur sheds far quicker than human hair and is significantly thicker. 

This means you will need to clean your filter far more after you let your dog swim than normal. If you let your dog swim with you, it’s important to keep an eye on the PH and Alkaline levels; these will also be drastically affected more by your dog. You will likely find yourself adding more chlorine and cleaning chemicals after your dog has gone for a swim. Lastly, use a skimmer to clean out all the dog hair left behind – some of this will clump together days after the swim.

Important Do’s & Don’ts


  1. Introduce your dog slowly to your pool. Walk them to the exit stairs. Keep them to the shallow end of the pool at first and always stay nearby.
  2. Clean the pool immediately after your dog swims.
  3. Wash your canine friend off with freshwater afterwards.
  4. Make sure any children in the pool have a parent close by, as your dog may end up scratching any children with their paws, due to excitement.
  5. Keep an eye on your dog. They will tire easily in the water


  1. Throw your dog in the water, especially if they are hesitant. Always walk them in the shallow end first 
  2. Forget that dogs need sunscreen too!
  3. Forget that dogs cause the Ph levels in your pool to change rapidly
  4. Let your dog scratch the lining of your pool; their nails will make short work of vinyl
  5. Throw toys too close to the pool edge. Dogs have been known to chip their teeth on the edge of the pool.

So, the short answer is yes! Your dog can swim with you safely. However, you should always keep an eye on them and take these precautions we mentioned seriously. While swimming with your dog may be fun, they unfortunately will dirty the quality of your water rather quickly. But that’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it. (Spoiler: we think it is.) 

If the thought of installing a pool has been dogging you for quite some time now, why don’t you get into contact with our friendly team at Barrier Reef Pools today? We have over 30 years of experience in bringing award-winning fibreglass pools to Australian families. (That includes dogs too). Get your free quote today!