Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To swim or not to swim...Chlorine & our dogs

Any of you dogs out there water dogs? My chocolate & tan cocker spaniel, Reese is a water dog. She sees a pool, beach, or lake and cries and cries to go in. I take her to dog beach, and she swims her little heart out. And to my in-laws, who have a really nice salt water pool. Until now, I was never concerned with Chlorine. 
We just bought & moved into a house that has a beautiful, chlorine treated pool. We know we want to switch to the salt water pump, which will cost roughly $1,500 for us to make the switch. And a new roof comes before that, pooey. (to read more on how saltwater pumps in pools work, go here)
So I began reading up on the Chlorine we are putting in the pool to currently keep it clean and maintained.  Now let me just forewarn, am I over the top about my pets? Most will say yes. Will swimming in a chlorine pool kill your dog? No. But it can cause some serious health issues over time. 
Let's start by looking at what Chlorine is exactly. Chlorine is a natural gas, that under certain pressure & temperatures is turned into a liquid. It's most commonly used as a disinfectant in pools and water.  (yes, the amounts are regulated by the government of chlorine in your drinking water, and it's vital to ensure clean drinking water) a gas it can be very dangerous though. 
You can tell children not to drink the pool water and to keep their eyes closed while swimming, or wear goggles to protect them. But what about our pets? Dogs tend to want to drink pool water and ingest much of it when swimming, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs ears, eyes, and nose are far more sensitive than ours.  Not to forget their skin,  and chlorine dries out their skin and coat
So is it bad for them? Yes, it can be. And in undiluted or large amounts, it can be toxic. But for those of you with chlorinated pools, who are not interested in changing to saltwater, you can lessen the amount of chemicals you put in your pool and make it a little safer for your pooch to swim.  Always give a bath after they get out of the pool, be sure to rinse eyes with clean water, and if they swim often, use a moisturizing conditioner on them after you shampoo.  

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