With rising temperatures still lingering towards the end of summer, even our beloved pets are looking for a respite from the heat. A dip into a cool and refreshing pet pool is just as equally tempting to them as it is to their humans. Having a pet pool can also be an opportunity for you to bond more with your canine sidekick while keeping him or her limber and healthy at the same time.
However, before you build that pet pool, think of your furry family member's needs. Picking the right building materials should be of utmost consideration as they will determine the safety of your pet and the care and maintenance required for your pet pool. We all love our pets, but we also don't want to spend thousands of dollars on costly repairs or serious pet injuries. So that being said, here are some important tips to keep in mind when building a pet pool.
Choosing The Proper Materials For Your Pet Pool
The first thing you need to do is to decide on the best type of pet pool. Our best recommendation is to pick a fiberglass model because fiberglass is made to resist and endure damage caused by scratching without hurting your beloved pet's nails or paws because of its smoothness. It is also pliable enough not to crack when there are shifts in the soil.
To compare, vinyl pools are not durable enough to weather scratches tears or rips and would be more costly to maintain. Gunite pools (while tough enough to prevent scuffing) can be harsh on your pet's nails and paws, especially if it's uncoated or if the coating gets worn out. Gunite pools will also crack over time because they are built of concrete.
Filtering your pool water efficiently should also be a priority for your pet's pool. Remember, your pet plays around dirt and contaminants all day long and is, therefore, three times more capable of contaminating your pet pool water. You wouldn't want to wade in murky waters, so don't let you pet! Treating the water for 24 hours will not sanitize it completely. Residential pools (on average) can only filter 100 percent of the water in 24 hours. A pet pool will require more frequent filtering -- definitely more than once a day.
To help you keep up with providing the best care and maintenance of your pet pool, we offer the following tips:
1. Use a Dual-Speed or Variable-Speed Pump.
We highly recommend using a dual-speed or variable-speed pump to filter your pet's pool because of its energy-saving capability. By increasing the speed of the pump, the time needed to filter the water completely will be considerably shorter.
However, this is only necessary after your pet swam in the pool. Otherwise, using the lowest speed setting should be enough to do the work. Increasing the pump speed might incur additional costs on your power bill, but your pet pool water will be safe and crystal-clear.
2. Install Larger Pipes to Make Your Pet Pool Debris-Free.
Dog hair will definitely be a cause for concern when removing debris from your pet pool. Most of the time they get stuck in the smaller pipes, reducing the overall efficiency of your skimmer baskets. They can also build up over time and clog your pipes -- preventing other debris from getting to the skimmer basket.
Dog hair build-up also slows down water flow to your filter. To avoid this costly problem, use larger pipes for your filtration system -- we recommend installing 2, 2.5 or 3-inch wide pipes for this purpose. That way dog hair will easily flow and reach the skimmer basket and won't accumulate in the pipes.
3. A Bigger Filter Means Lesser Cleaning.
For filters, larger ones are the better option because you will need to clean them less frequently. This means you'll spend less money on cleaning services. If you're doing self-maintenance, this also means less hassle for you.
Sanitation & Safety Features
After you're done deciding on the right building materials for your dream pet pool, it's time to think about sanitation and safety features. These are just as equally important and require your due attention and diligence.
You're probably wondering -- is chlorine safe for your pet? The answer is a resounding yes. While studies on the effect of chlorine on animals are few, there has been no compelling evidence of chlorine poisoning among animals. The effects of chlorine on dogs and animals are the same as they are on humans, such as eye redness and skin irritation. To prevent these from happening, always give your pet a good rinse after swimming. A word of advice: Keep a sprayer handy, so you can easily rinse your pet after a dip in the pool.
Chlorine plays an important role in sanitizing your pet pool water, but it's also crucial to test the water more frequently. We recommend checking it every week, especially if your pet is always taking a dip. The ideal pH is between 7.2 to 7.6 -- a pH reading of 8.0 would significantly reduce the potency of chlorine to sanitize the water. You should also schedule regular appointments for pool service to make sure you have everything covered.
While we're on the subject of sanitation, keep in mind that having a pet pool increases the cost of maintenance, especially chemicals. We advise that you install a safety cover to reduce the growth of algae. Sunlight significantly increases algae growth, so you are better off covering that pet pool when you and your furry family members are not using it.
A safety cover has a dual purpose: it reduces algae growth and prevents your pets from accidentally falling into the water while unsupervised. Keep in mind that a safety cover should be able to support the weight of a child and two adults or the weight of a large adult dog. A safety cover also has no gaps between the pool and the side of the pool. Regular pool covers do not adhere to these specific requirements and may require an additional safety fence or barrier around the pool.
For safety features, the first thing to keep in mind is that your pets aren't humans and that they have special needs. Pets are just like little kids -- they need close supervision at all times. Your four-legged friend will need a special ramp or steps and marked entry and exit points. Make sure that your marker is distinctive enough for your pet to recognize easily. Also, train your pet first for him or her to learn the importance of these marked entry and exit points.
An in-water bench or ledge is also necessary for your pets to have a rest while swimming in the pool. If possible, consider making the shallow end as pet-friendly as possible such that your dog can safely stand while keeping his or her head above water. Other options to consider looking into are dog life vests or dog collars with water-sensitive alarms, in case your pet accidentally strays into the pool while unsupervised.
Activities For You And Your Pet
The first and best activity to do is to give your pet some swimming lessons. This will help increase your pet's confidence while in the water. Learning how to swim will also save your pet's life! By teaching your pet how to swim, you will also enable him or her to engage in fun activities with you. Here we list a few pool games you will enjoy playing with your furry friend, but make sure that your pet is well-trained and you're prepared for any mishaps. Remember, always exercise caution while doing these activities and only engage in play if you and your pet are physically fit.
- The Fetch Game. Throw a ball or dog toy from the shallow end of the pool into the water and tell your dog to bring it back.
- The Catch Me Game. This means you swim away and command your dog to chase after you in the water.
- The Pirate Game. If your dog can dive, then you can play this game. Start at the shallow end first to build your pet's confidence as he or she retrieves the toy from the bottom of the pool. When your dog is confident enough, you should gradually increase the depth of the water.
Swimming is definitely a healthy sport -- both for you and your pet -- and having your personal pet pool is a great way to take advantage of its many health benefits. Maintaining and caring for your pet pool properly will ensure that you and your best friend will have a clean and crystal-clear pool to splash around in. Now you have all these tips in mind; it's time to enjoy the water with your furry buddy! However, remember to exercise caution at all times, always practice "safety first" guidelines, and hydrate yourself -- and your pet -- from time to time!