Humans are not the only organisms that enjoy a swimming pool in the hot summer sun. The family dog also may love to jump into the pool to cool off. With the temperatures high and the sun glaring on its fluffy fur, a dip in the pool is just what the doctor ordered. However, before you let your dog take a swim, educate yourself on the effects of the chlorinated water on canines.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical used in pools to disinfect the area of germs, parasites and bacteria to prevent viruses and illness. This chemical comes in various forms , including gas, tablet and liquid. As of 2011, the commonly used forms used in swimming pools and hot tubs are tablets and liquid (bleach).
Chlorine can be a very dangerous chemical if not used properly. When used in a swimming pool, it is a diluted form of the chemical, but it can still be poisonous if strong amounts are ingested or in contact with the body of an animal or human.
Chlorine Effects On Your Dog
The effects of chlorine on dogs depends on whether they are swimming in or drinking the pool water. If the dog is simply swimming in the chlorinated water, the water can cause some skin irritation after prolonged exposure to the chlorine. It can also irritate a dog's eyes and dull its coat.
If your dog is drinking the water in the pool, it could make them sick from the mixture of the chemicals along with the bacteria and parasites that live in the water. If you have recently shocked your pool, the exposure to those chemicals on the skin or ingested can make your animal very sick.
Symptoms of Chlorine Exposure on Dogs
The symptoms of too much chlorine exposure to your dog are easy to recognise.
It may be scratching more than normal from the chlorine drying out its skin. You may also notice some redness on the dog's skin from the chemical exposure.
Your dog's eyes may become red, irritated and watery. Its nose can also become watery from the nasal membrane reacting to the chemical. According to The Daily Puppy, "Canine eyes and noses are more sensitive than ours, and they can be more susceptible to the effects of chlorine than humans are."
You may also notice a dullness to your dog's coat from the chlorine stripping out the nutrients in its fur.
Some puppies and dogs will also drink the treated water in your pool. Possible symptoms resulting from ingestion include upset stomach, diarrhoea, vomiting and mouth/tongue ulcers. Even small amounts could agitate your dog's digestive system.
Once you identify that your animal is having a reaction to the chlorine, keep it out of the pool and watch it closely.
Treatment of Chlorine Exposure on Dogs
After letting your dog in the pool, rinse it off with fresh water to prevent the chemical from sitting on its skin and causing irritation. To treat eye, nose, and fur symptoms, allow your dog to heal by keeping it out of the pool for a while.
If your pet has ingested some of the pool water, keep an eye out for nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If these symptoms do not go away, contact your vet. The animal could have chlorine poisoning from drinking too much pool water. Also, keep an eye out for discoloured faeces and ulcers in your dog's mouth.
If you have just shocked your pool, keep your dog out of it. Shock gives the pool a high dose of chlorine to kill germs. The high levels of these chemicals can be toxic to your family pet.
Contact your vet about any irritation or reaction to swimming in the pool.