Swimming pools in your backyard - safety and your pet
Backyard swimming pools are a constant source of fun, laughter and amusement for the whole family including pets. If you are a pet owner and have a swimming pool or are thinking about installing one, this article contains some hints and tips on keeping your entire family safe!
Many pets are attracted to swimming pools. Dogs who love to retrieve interesting buoyant objects and cats who like to sneak a quick drink whilst their owner is out of sight. So what can you do to make sure your pet stays safe? Supervise! Nothing replaces the safety of full adult supervision.
In addition, here are some items you can incorporate into your pool environment to keep your pet and family even safer.
Securely fenced area
Whilst regulations govern most pool fencing requirements, it is a good idea to check your fencing is pet proof.
Cover any gaps. When introducing a new pet, puppy or kitten to your backyard, make sure they cannot squeeze between any gaps or spaces. It is a good idea to cover the bottom portion of the pool fence or gate with rigid plastic, glass or Perspex.
Check regularly for tunnels or holes that your pet may have dug around the pool and have these covered.
Don't leave chairs or tables adjacent to the pool fences that can be used as a launching pad to jump over the fence.
Chemicals and electrical leads. Check that all pool chemicals are stored safely out of your pet's reach and electrical leads are out of reach from a chewing puppy.
Pool netting/ cover
There are various types of pool netting/ cover products available from specialist outlets. Just remember nets only work when they are kept on the pool so vigilant care must be given to replacing the cover after every pool use.
Do not leave pool toys or floating devices in the pool as this may tempt your pet to jump in and play when no one is around.
These are a last line of defence, and come in different styles. Such as a unit that can be attached to a pet's collar. If the pet gains access to your pool area and accidentally falls in, an alarm sounds at a base station located in the home.
Ramps and stairs
Expose your pet to the swimming pool so that they know where the steps are and that they are aware of what the pool is, ie. that it contains water!
If you are building or installing a new pool, consider a set of stairs or ramp that will provide your pet with a non-slip easy exit. Pets can be trained to go to a graduated set of steps. An untrained pet is more likely to go to the nearest edge and try to claw their way out, their state of panic can quickly lead to exhaustion. So an introduction to a shallow area or exit point is a good idea for pets who are more prone to a dip! Also, search "Skamper Ramp" online for an innovative pool attachment to help your pet make an easy exit from the pool.
Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, don't assume that if he/she falls into the pool that they will be ok. They may not be able to climb out and may end up treading water until they are exhausted.
Always supervise your pet when they are near a swimming pool and regularly check fencing for potential access areas.
Is it safe for your dog to swim in pool water as long as he/she is supervised?
If your pool water is regularly tested and carefully monitored a quick swim in the pool under supervision will be of little harm. We recommend hosing your pet after swimming to rid excess salt or chlorine from their coat. If your pet has any kind of skin condition or is susceptible to skin problems you should check with your veterinarian first. It is also a good idea to read the instructions on any parasite control products being used as not all products have water resistant properties.
Remember to always provide fresh drinking water in the pool area so that your pet doesn't resort to drinking from the pool.
What about the water in the swimming pool - will it be affected?
If your pet is taking occasional short dips in the pool it is very unlikely that it will affect the water. You may need to check further with your pool and filter manufacturer for any specific issues relating to your equipment.