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What You Need to Know About Pool Chemicals & Your Pets

Even though chemicals have been used in pools for many years, they are not always safe for human or pet use. Some chemicals used in pools, like bromine and chlorine and salt, can even cause extreme skin irritation and inflammation along with dry skin, itchy eyes, and even rashes. If this is the way human bodies react, imagine how your pet might feel. It is quite common for dogs to jump right into the pool with their owner on a scorching day. Here are a few ways to limit your pet’s exposure to chemicals before letting them take a dive.

Chlorine reacts negatively with water in the body.

The reason chlorine works as a disinfectant is that it reacts with water quickly and aggressively in order to disinfect the pool. As soon as chlorine comes in contact with any form of water it causes a chemical reaction. If we think of this in terms of our bodies, there is quite a lot of water in all of our skin cells and bodily organs. If chlorine comes in contact with our skin or if it is ingested it immediately begins to break down the tissue it comes in contact with. Luckily, the amount used in pools is diluted, but this doesn’t mean this chemical is any less harmful.

Pets tend to lap up any ol’ water source that they can get their tongues into. So, if you do own a chlorine pool make sure that your pet is plenty hydrated before letting it anywhere near the pool (if you choose to do so). Keeping a bowl of fresh water, especially on very hot days could help limit the amount of chemicals your pet has to endure.

Salt actually is a chemical.

While saltwater pools do cut down on the amount of unnecessary chemicals being added to a pool, they don’t eliminate it completely. When thinking of saltwater as an alternative to regular pool cleansing keep in mind that exposure to excess amounts of salt can also be potentially harmful to the skin and body.

However,saltwater detoxification for pools is activated by electrolysis which converts salt into a safer form of chlorine. So, in the end your pool still ends up with chlorine as a cleaning agent. Keeping this in mind, if you do decide to go this route know that you will want to limit the amount of exposure your pet has to this water. While they may not get quite as much skin irritation, drinking this water can dehydrate a pet quickly in the hot sun.

Ozone cleansing is the best option available.

In order to truly optimize pool cleansing for kids and pets, consider ozone instead of salt or chlorine. Ozone (O3) is basically just three oxygen atoms formed together. Instead of your usual formation, like two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms (H20), these three oxygen atoms are hanging out together until they come in contact with something else. Ozone is looking for a strong bond to connect to so when ozone comes in contact with water the atoms are attracted to other components, such as bacteria and algae. The ozone attaches to these compounds which oxygenates these materials thus disinfecting or eliminating them with no chemicals or chemical leftovers after the fact.

A pet that jumps into this water won’t be ingesting a bunch of nasty chemicals. Some ozone pools still do suggest adding a very small amount of additional cleansers into the pool, so just keep that in mind when checking into making the switch. Whichever way you put it ozone is definitely the best option in order to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals you and your pets are exposed to.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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