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Does allowing a dog to swim in a pool have any effect on either the dog or the quality of the water? As for humans, prolonged immersion in pool water can have a detrimental effect on the dog's skin as the sanitiser removes natural oils from the epidermis. This can lead to dry, itchy skin which may be confused by the dog owner as the result of fleas or ticks. Excessive immersion in the pool water may even result in canine dermatitis.


As far as the quality of the water itself, trials in the US have shown that an average-sized, long-haired dog can generate the same chlorine demand as 50 to 80 human swimmers. (1,2) This results in a rapid loss of sanitiser (even if stabilised with cyanuric acid) and greatly increases the potential for disease. In addition, the shedding of dog hair can cause reductions in pump and filter efficiency.


Whilst conclusive information is sparse, it is reasonable to assume that cats, rodents, possums and other mammals will also significantly increase chlorine demand. In the case of rats and other disease-carrying vermin, the water must be shocked prior to swimmers re-entering the pool. If a high level of contamination is suspected, or if faecal material is present, the pool should be drained and all pool surfaces washed with an appropriate disinfectant before refilling with clean water.



1. Spa and Pool Education Committee, Orange County Register, Santa Ana CA, 5 September 1987.

2. C. Sullivan, Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque NM, 5 July 1998.


The above information is supplied by Bio-Lab and represents its best interpretation of available technical information at the time of preparation. The sole purpose is to supply factual information to Bio-Lab customers. It is not to be taken out of context nor used as support for any other claim not made herein.