Are Saltwater Pools Safe for Pets?

When the weather is great, there is nothing better than taking a dip in a crystal clear salt pool. If the whole family is partaking in fun in the pool, you’ll probably be wondering if your furry family members can as well.


Most dogs love swimming and will always want to join in on the fun. Cats, while generally do tend to avoid water, alway may be curious or take a lick out of the pool. If this happens, there isn’t too much to worry about- here’s what you need to know.


Are Saltwater Pools Safe?


The simple answer is yes. An occasional drink from a well-maintained saltwater pool is not harmful to pets1. Saltwater from the ocean is harmful for animals, but because of the salt pool’s extremely low salinity (usually about 1/10th the salinity, or less)  it isn’t much of an issue unless a large amount has been consumed.


Now, in that sentence there are two main key factors to really make sure you understand- occasional and well-maintained. 


Dogs occasionally drinking out of the pool is fairly unavoidable, especially if they’re swimming. Most people that swim will eventually end up getting water in their mouth, so if your dog swims with you, it's inevitable that water will be ingested. 





What To Avoid

The occasional drink of saltwater in small amounts from a pool is totally fine as long as your dog has another separate main source of fresh water so that your dog is not only drinking out of the pool. It’s not a good idea and is harmful for anyone to ingest large amounts of saltwater- including your dog as well.  


Luckily, the occasional sip of saltwater in small amounts does not pose the same amount of risk due to the low salinity levels in saltwater pools.


However, drinking large quantities of water from any pool- regardless if it’s salt or chlorine- can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy among other more serious issues, so if you believe your dog has ingested a large amount of pool water, you should reach out to your vet.


Avoid letting your dog drink the water directly after anything has been added to your pool’s water- including any balancing chemicals or concentrated additions of salt - as well as try to keep it properly maintained so if your pets do take a drink of water from the pool now and then, they aren’t ingesting tainted or unsanitary water. 


That is good advice for all pool owners, regardless if they have pets or not. Checking your pool regularly to free it of debris and dirt should be a good habit to have for any pool owner. 


In fact, you’ll want to make sure you take into consideration the amount of debris your dog can bring into the pool like fur or even fecal matter- all of which can cause chemical imbalances and spread of bacteria. 


So if you know your dog will be swimming with you, check the levels after to make sure they are still safe for swimming and make adjustments as needed.






Things to Consider

One of the number one things to consider is to please always have a normal source of fresh water for your pets. If not, this alone could cause your pets to turn to the pool as a source of water if there is not enough regular fresh water provided. 


You’ll want to make sure they don’t think of the pool as their main water source to prevent them from drinking large amounts of pool water, which can be toxic.


When it comes to how pool water impacts your pets skin and fur, saltwater pools are generally safer than conventionally chlorinated pools because it’s missing all of the added chemical byproducts that make the water have more caustic qualities2


The water in saltwater pools lacks chloramines, the harsh chemicals in traditional pools that make your skin itchy and makes your hair brittle and dry. Because the water lacks chloramines, saltwater pool water keeps hair more protected. However, still make sure to rinse your pet well with water after swimming.


Pro-tip: If you don’t want to have to rinse off your pets after every swim, especially when you know they’ll just be going back in after a little rest, just provide an area of shade for your dog to lounge in while it rests. 


The sun while outside is what causes the salt to dry faster, so if shade is provided, it’ll make it so that you don’t have to keep getting out of the pool to clean the dog off every single time. 


Lastly, never leave your dog unattended in water of any kind and always have an easy way for them to get out, and be ready and able to help them if they need assistance, especially if they're tired or elderly.



Bottom Line

Even though ocean salt water can be toxic, the salinity levels in a properly maintained saltwater pool are low enough so that occasional drinks from the pool are not harmful to your dog- that’s why humans can normally not even taste the salt in a saltwater pool. 


With a watchful eye and some guidelines for what you should monitor while your dog is enjoying your pool, rest assured that as long as you watch out for your pets drinking too much water and provide enough shade and fresh water, your dog can enjoy your clean, crisp salt water pool just as much as you can!


If you’re ready to take the plunge and set up a new saltwater system so that you and your furry friends can enjoy a crisp and clean pool, give us a call! We are happy to help answer any questions you may have, just give us a call at 866-766-5243!




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