Ask The Experts: Can Pool Water Make My Dog Sick?

When relaxing and walking around your backyard on a hot day, it’s common to see your four-legged pal lapping up the pool water. But can dogs drink pool water? Here is what you should know if your pooch has been taking it.

Don’t freak out if your pup drinks a little bit of pool water. Your furry friend will be ok, particularly if the pool’s chlorine content is at a safe balance. However, too much of it will cause problems. Thus, close supervision when your dog is playing around the pool is vital.

Note that drinking water from a swimming pool isn’t the same as the infrequent sip during jumping or swimming. An occasional sip isn’t a reason for concern, but drinking pool water frequently can be dangerous.

Will Pool Water Make My Dog Sick?

Pool water is harmful to your dog due to microorganisms and toxins. Let’s discuss these dangers in detail.

Related: How Do Dogs Drink Water

Presence of Microorganisms

Pools offer an amazing breeding environment for algae, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. It requires a lot of maintenance and high hygiene levels to reduce the risks of microorganism growth in your pool. Even those properly maintained pools have traces of toxic microorganisms.

Perhaps Escherichia coli is the most harmful bacteria the pool water can harbor. The bacteria is passed through fecal matter and is regularly found in pool water samples.

The probability of your pup contracting E.coli by drinking pool water is slim. However, the risk persists if your dog often drinks it.

The Presence of Toxins

To ensure the pool water is disinfected and clean, you add chemicals like algaecides and chlorine. While these chemicals are good for pool maintenance, they are harmful to your dog.

Mostly, the level of these chemicals in pool water is low. This is purposefully formulated since animals and people might accidentally consume the water. Nevertheless, if your FIDO drinks a lot of pool water, he might get sick.

Depending on the chemical type and level, the side effects range from irritation, stomach upset, and burns to the esophagus. The condition can be worse if the dog is allergic to some chemicals.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Drinking Pool Water?


If you believe that your dog is drinking water every time, here is what to do:

  • Ensure your pooch has easier access to fresh water in an adjacent bowl. If it seems disinterested in the water bowl, you may get a pet drinking fountain that rotates water.
  • Look out for the signs of dehydration, overheating, and even heat stroke. Seek advice from your vet on effectively addressing any of these issues.
  • If your canine friend doesn’t stop lapping up pool water, take him inside.
  • Use obedience training to redirect your pup or excite him with a toy to steal his attention.

Signs of Water Intoxication in Your Dog

Water intoxication in pets occurs when they drink a lot of it and too fast, irrespective of the water source.

Signs of water intoxication include:

  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Pale gums
  • Drooling
  • Loss of coordination, including staggering, falling, and stumbling
  • Restlessness

If your pooch shows any of these symptoms, call your vet and take him in immediately.

Dangers of Salt Intoxication

Salt intoxication occurs when your dog drinks from pools with salt water. While the salt content in the pool may be lower than that in the ocean, the danger of salt intoxication is still there.

Here are the signs of salt intoxication:

Salt intoxication should be treated as an emergency. The vet will give your pup electrolytes and intravenous fluid.


The common issues associated with ingesting pool water are stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, and abdominal discomfort. If your canine friend is obstinate and loves the taste of pool water, don’t allow him to roam around unsupervised in your home or install a pool fence.

Further Reading:

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