Can Dogs Drink Pool Water: Dangers Of Chlorine & Salt Water Pools

Having a pool in your yard is the perfect way to spend time outdoors with your family.

Everyone in the house can enjoy a day spent around the pool, including the canine friends in our life.

A dog that enjoys swimming in the pool may take in a few sips of water on occasion, leading many to wonder if this is a safe activity for our pups to enjoy.

While the occasional sip of pool water will not cause a dog harm, a large amount certainly can.

In this article we will discuss the potential dangers of salt water and chlorine consumption in dogs, and help you better understand when it is time to seek veterinary care in these situations.

Can Dogs Drink Pool Water

Is Chlorine Harmful To Dogs?

When pet owners are concerned about chlorine toxicity in dogs, most are typically referring to the chlorine present in pool water.

Chlorine levels in a standard pool are diluted enough to ensure a safe swimming environment, making it safe for our pups to swim in as well.

The low concentration of chlorine in swimming pools also means that it would take a large amount of pool water to make a dog seriously ill with consumption, so a few sips should not harm your dog in any way.

Many dogs will accidentally drink a bit of water throughout their swim, with some even taking a few sips to attempt to hydrate.

As long as your pup only takes in a small amount of pool water, they should be just fine.

It is important to note that concentrated levels of chlorine can be extremely toxic to our canine friends.

Chlorine can be corrosive to the esophagus if it is consumed in large amounts, and can also lead to GI ulceration as it travels through the digestive tract.

To avoid this risk altogether, we suggest keeping any pool cleaning supplies or chlorine tablets in a secure area away from your dog.

Is Salt Water Harmful To Dogs?

Though many assume the chlorine is the main danger when dogs drink pool water, salt water pools can pose the largest threat in most situations.

Salt water pools are nowhere near as concentrated as ocean water, but they still contain enough salt to seriously impact a dog’s health when consumed in excess.

A few sips from a salt water pool will not cause devastating impact to your pup, but using this water as a drinking source can lead to salt water poisoning in some cases.

The salt present in this water can throw off the electrolyte balance within your dog’s body, leading to a slew of life threatening symptoms to follow.

Dogs suffering from salt water poisoning may experience lethargy, weakness, muscle tremors, ataxia, disorientation, and even seizures.

These dogs will often require aggressive medical care to help restore their electrolyte balance, as this condition can lead to permanent brain and kidney damage when left untreated.

Keep in mind that this typically occurs when a dog drinks a large amount of water from a salt water pool, and not with the occasional gulp they take when swimming.

Ingesting a small amount of salt water may only lead to minor GI upset, but you should always keep the threat of salt water poisoning in the back of your mind.

What Can Happen If Your Dog Drinks A Lot Of Pool Water?

While chlorine water and salt water may not cause an issue when our dogs take a few sips, these ingredients can make a dog extremely ill if they drink a large amount of it.

Fresh water should always be nearby when a dog is enjoying a day at the pool with their family, as many dogs will attempt to drink from the pool as their main water source if they have no other option.

Not only will some dogs attempt to drink pool water when swimming, others may even lean over the pool edge and drink each time they are let outside.

Some pet owners have to put a cover on their pool for this reason, as some pups seem to enjoy the chemical filled water bowl.

Like many things in life, pool water in excess can deeply impact your canine friend’s health.

This is why it’s important to not only offer your pup plenty of fresh water when hanging around the pool, but to also monitor their behavior when they have access to your family pool.

Signs Of Illness From Drinking Pool Water In Dogs

If your dog drank a large amount of pool water, there are a list of symptoms you may begin to see.

To help you better understand what you can expect from illness due to pool water ingestion, let’s list some of the most common signs below.

Signs of illness from drinking pool water in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Hypersalivation

Some of the more severe signs of illness from pool water that require immediate medical care include muscle tremors, extreme weakness, ataxia, and seizures.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further care.

Is Water Intoxication Real In Dogs?

Water intoxication is something to be mindful of when dogs are playing in any body of water.

Water intoxication involves a situation in which a dog takes in a large amount of water, leading to a life-threatening drop in electrolytes within the body.

This imbalance within the body can lead to thinning of the blood, changes in cardiac rhythm, kidney damage, and even brain damage.

Most cases of water intoxication are seen in dogs that are swimming in pools, lakes, and even oceans.

These pups either take in too much water while swimming, or accidentally ingest too much fluid while playing with a toy in the water.

Dogs with water intoxication often develop symptoms at a rapid rate, causing fear and confusion among any pet owner that witnesses it.

These dogs will typically appear disoriented, unsteady on their feet, nauseous, and even glassy eyed.

They may experience symptoms ranging from violent vomiting to muscle tremors, with severe cases even developing seizures.

If you ever notice the above symptoms in your canine friend, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian immediately.

Even if water intoxication is not the cause of your dog’s illness, these symptoms will always warrant immediate medical care.

When Should I See The Vet?

If your dog has developed any abnormal symptoms after their time spent swimming in the pool, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for guidance.

Most situations involving pool water ingestion will result in simple GI upset, but these symptoms should be addressed just as promptly as any other complications.

If any of your dog’s symptoms cause you to take notice, it is always a good idea to contact your vet.

Final Thoughts

A few gulps of pool water may not cause any trouble for your beloved pup, but consumption in excess certainly can.

If your dog is a water loving pup that takes frequent dips in the pool, these potential risks should always be on your mind.

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