Why is my dog drinking pool water?

dog drinking pool water

Summer is almost here, and it’s the perfect time to get in the water! As you hit the pool with your furry friend, though, there are some safety tips you should keep in mind. 

The good news is, it is okay if your dog swallows a bit of pool water while they’re swimming. The bad news is, drinking large portions of pool water can cause some serious problems for your pooch. 

Let’s get into some of the details, as well as training tips to keep your dog safe from drinking pool water and other swimming-related risks.

Photo by Jakob Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Risks associated with letting your dog drink pool water

Chlorine and other chemicals

The biggest reason to stop your dog from drinking pool water is the chemicals. Pools have chlorine and algaecide in them, which stop germs and bacteria from growing. If a swimming pool didn’t have these chemicals, the water would be green and even worse for your dog to drink. 

These chemicals won’t usually cause problems in very small amounts. Humans often drink some pool water while swimming too! 

However, it’s important to make sure that your dog doesn’t drink a lot of this pool water or treat it as the main drinking source. 

It’s also very, very important that you store the chemicals themselves in a safe place and keep the dog away from the pool when you are doing maintenance or adding more chemicals.


Aspiration is when water gets into the lungs. This can happen if your dog is drinking pool water while very excited or accidentally inhales some when they are trying to get out of the water or catch a ball.

Because of this, it’s important to have a dog pool ramp or dog pool stairs so that your dog can always get out of the water easily if they are tired or overly excited. Keep your dog calm and still watch them carefully while they’re in the pool.

Stomach problems

The most common problem that will come from your dog drinking pool water is stomach upset. Because of chemicals and bacteria in the pool, your dog will feel sick if they drink too much, just like a human would. 

After swimming, watch your dog for diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or decreased appetite. If your dog still seems to feel bad after 24 hours, take them to the vet for a checkup to make sure they aren’t reacting to the chemicals.

Excessive salt intake

Some pools are salt-water pools, meaning they don’t have the same chemicals as freshwater pools. This may be better for dogs, but you still don’t want them drinking a lot of pool water. 

Drinking water for salt-water pools can lead to excessive salt intake, which may cause electrolyte imbalances or digestive problems, and can be very serious for dogs with other health conditions. 

How can you stop your dog from drinking pool water?

Is there any way to keep your dog from drinking the pool water? It can seem like an impossible task if your dog likes to swim with his mouth open or take big gulps of the water. After all, it’s hard for dogs to know that this giant bowl of water is not for drinking!

  1. Make sure your dog drinks water before swimming. Never let your dog swim in the pool if they are thirsty. Make sure they drink some clean water before getting in the pool. If your dog doesn’t want to drink right then, you can give them an ice cube or two. This will help hydrate them, and most dogs love playing with ice cubes!
  2. Keep a bowl of clean water near the pool. You should always have clean water accessible and make sure your dog knows where it is. If the dog drinks clean water instead of pool water, have a treat ready as a reward!
  3. Take frequent drinking breaks. While you are training your dog not to drink the pool water, it’s a good idea to take a water break at least every half hour. Lead your dog to the water bowl and maybe toss them another ice cube. 
  4. Block off the pool when you aren’t swimming. If the swimming pool is in your yard, make sure that the dog can’t get to it when you aren’t around. Not only is this important to prevent drowning, but it will also keep your dog from getting in the habit of drinking the water.
  5. Finally, don’t swim for too long. If your dog is in the pool for six hours at a time, they’ll be more likely to drink dangerous amounts of water. Start with small chunks of time and try not to let your dog get too tired out from swimming.

What are other dangers of dog pools?

We’ve talked a lot about what happens when you find your dog drinking pool water. But there are some other risks related to swimming with your pet that is worth talking about. 


The most obvious risk is drowning, which is also a worst-case scenario. The best way to prevent this is to never let your dog near the water alone.

Dogs are natural swimmers, but they sometimes have trouble getting out of the water on their own, and they do get tired! 

If you plan to swim with your dog, get a dog pool ramp or dog pool stairs so they can get in and out of the water easily. Teach them how to use it and make sure they are very comfortable getting out of the pool on their own. 

When you’re swimming with your dog, always keep an eye on them and encourage them to take breaks when they get tired.


Dogs, especially with floppy ears, are prone to ear infections from having damp ears. To combat this, make sure your dog doesn’t swim too long or too often. 

After swimming, use a soft cloth or a cotton ball to gently dry out the inside of your dog’s ears. Pay attention during the next couple of days to make sure they aren’t itching or in pain. 

Dogs can also get skin problems from the chemicals in pools. You can prevent this by spraying them off with a hose after swimming or giving them a bath in clean water. Then make sure they dry off!

Spreading germs

Finally, one of the risks associated with swimming with dogs is actually more for humans. Dogs can bring in a lot of dirt and germs to a pool. You can minimize this risk by brushing them thoroughly before they get in the water, as well as checking for poop stuck around their tail and excessive dirt on their paws. 

You can also lower the risk to yourself and your dogs by cleaning the pool often and taking the time to invest in proper pool maintenance so that there is no bacteria or algae growth. 

I hope this guide helps you safely swim with your pup! Many dogs love water, so enjoy spending the day cooling off in the pool with your best friend!

Cailey Thiessen

Cailey Thiessen

Cailey Johanna Thiessen is chief editor and translator at Ihavedogs. Her previous experience includes writing for other pet websites and doing complete research about specific dog healthcare products.

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