In the middle of the summer, what better way to cool down is there than to hang out with some sunscreen, a portable speaker and a few frozen drinks at someone’s outdoor swimming pool! A spontaneous dive, a refreshing dip and a sustained swim are great ways to beat the heat and get some healthy exercise.

Planning a Dog Pool Party

For your dog, it’s no different, as many of our furry friends enjoy pools just as much as their human owners. Indeed, if you know a few dog owners, and at least one of them has a pool, why not pick a day when everyone can bring their canine companions over and have a party for the dogs (after you all have had your own chance to swim, of course)!

Even dogs who might be naturally shy to go in a pool can be surprisingly eager to jump in for a swim in the company of other dogs (especially if they’re chasing after a toy or a treat). If you search on YouTube for “Dog Pool Party,” you can find plenty of videos of these events.

The sight of a pup pool party in full swing is one of those rare moments that seem to be reserved just for summer. In fact, even many public pools in local communities have one or two “dog days” (often at the end of the season) when they open up exclusively for pooches.

Ideas for Doggie Pool Parties

Some of these “dog days” feature contests to see which pup can make the Biggest Splash or what pooch is the Coolest Wet Dog. Others have competitions akin to dock diving, where dogs compete to see which one can jump either the highest or the farthest into the water.

Some great games for dogs to play in a pool include fetch, catch me if you can (where your dog chases after you in the water), keep away (where two people toss an object back and forth and the dog tries to grab it) and pirate (where your dog fetches an item from the bottom of a pool). 

If you have your own dog pool party, these are just a few of the ideas you could use to entice your dog-owning friends to bring over their four-legged playmates. Additional suggestions are:

  • Charge a nominal admission, and gift the collected money to your local dog shelter or pet charity.
  • Contact an animal shelter and see what type of in-kind donations they accept such as food, blankets, towels, totes and more.

Beyond the pool, gather a few kiddie pools, and have them scattered around for older or younger dogs that can’t swim well, or for those for whom deep water could be problematic (such as brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs, which are not traditionally strong swimmers and must be carefully supervised).

Precautions to Take

While a doggie pool party can be a great way for dogs to have fun and unwind, be sure to take relevant safety precautions:

  • Verify that all dogs are spayed and neutered. Make sure that all dogs attending are up to date with their vaccinations, and confirm that they’ve been around pools before. Not all dogs are eager to jump in a body of water — just as not every dog is a social animal that wants to be at a party with other dogs.
  • Keep dog treats and plenty of cold fresh water on hand — don’t let the dogs drink the pool water because it’s harmful to their health! Some organizers might want to consider making canine-specific refreshments like “dogsicles” — bite-sized frozen treats made from savory ingredients like peanut butter, carrot slices, cottage cheese, canned pumpkin and no-sodium chicken broth (you can Google “dogsicles” to see a variety of different recipes).
  • Include some shady areas where pooped-out pooches can rest before they work up the energy to jump back in the water and frolic anew. Remember that in the hot sun, dogs can get overheated and sunburned just like humans can, so stocking up on dog sunscreen (human types are not safe if dogs lick them when self-grooming so shop for canine sunscreen) is probably wise.
  • For every dog attending, ask its owner if that dog has been in a pool before and knows how to get out. For those pups that are new to pools, acclimating them in a shallow end (or just a kiddie pool) can get them more used to being in the water. Also, make sure that dogs know not to do their bathroom business anywhere close to the pool.
  • It’s possible that any dogs that aren’t great swimmers can ride around the pool in a raft or inflatable, as long as they’re closely supervised by their owners. Get dogs used to these objects outside the pool first by having them climb aboard and stay there, using treats as an incentive. Then, when they’re comfortable with these devices, transition them to the pool, monitoring the dogs to make sure they’re alright with floating around in the middle of the water.
  • Be sure to keep an eye on all dogs that are in the pool. If a dog looks like they are not enjoying themselves, it may make sense to get them out of the pool and give him or her some personal attention.
  • Any dogs that are being too wild, hyperactive or reactive may need to be calmed down and/or separated from the group so they can be “chilled out.”
  • It’s up to you how many dogs you want to have at your party or in the pool at any one time, but it’s best to start with lower numbers and dogs that are of similar size so a large dog is not overpowering a smaller dog. You also want to make sure that there is more than one person supervising the dogs. 

Rinsing Off The Chlorine And Saline Water

After dogs leave the pool for the final time, they should be bathed with fresh water from a hose or run through a sprinkler, as the chlorine from the pool water isn’t healthy for them to ingest during self-grooming. It’s also important to wash off those chemicals. Rinsing after a dip in a saline pool is just as important.

If all goes well, your dog should have an absolute blast at a dog pool party, and it should easily be one of the highlights of the summer for them.

 Don’t forget to take your smartphone along, so you can take videos of your pup playing in the pool with all the other pooches!