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What Are the Dangers of Pets Drinking Pool Water?

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You should always provide your pet with fresh, clean drinking water. In the warmer weather months, it can be tempting to let Fido or Fluffy take long drinks out of your pool, since the water looks cool and clean. Although problems are few and far between for pets that drink pool water on an occasional or accidental basis, risks still exist. Homeowners with both pets and pools should take precautions to minimize problems.

Toxins

Pool water contains pool chemicals, including chlorine and algaecides that keep the pool disinfected and free from plant life. Despite their beneficial purpose for pool maintenance, these chemicals can pose a risk to household pets. The levels of these toxins are intentionally low to keep harm from occurring, since people routinely ingest pool water by accident. While most pets won't develop a problem from the occasional small drink of pool water, large quantities of pool water may cause problems, including irritation or burns to the esophagus. Additionally, if the dog or cat is allergic to the chemicals in the pool, a life-threatening reaction may occur.

Microorganisms

Bacteria and fungi love pools. A properly cared for pool is treated with chemicals to regulate these potentially harmful microorganisms, though trace amounts can remain even in the most well-maintained pool. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is one such bacterium present in pools. E. coli is passed by ingesting fecal matter. When ingested, microorganisms such as E. coli cause disease. Although the chances are low of a pet contracting E. coli or another microorganism-related disease from drinking pool water, it is still possible.

Aspiration

Aspiration occurs when water or another foreign material enters the lungs. Pets drinking pool water may accidentally aspirate water due to improper posture when drinking or the sheer quantity of water available. Cats are at a higher risk than dogs. Aspiration typically results in coughing, gagging and regurgitation of the water ingested. If a significant amount of water remains in the lungs, pneumonia can develop. Aspiration pneumonia is a serious medical problem and animals that show signs, including trouble breathing, noisy breathing, depression and a blue tint to the lips and gums, need immediate medical treatment.

Stomach Upset

Stomach upset is the most common problem associated with pets drinking pool water. Cold water increases the chance of stomach upset, as does water heavily laden with chemicals. Dogs and cats that drink pool water quickly to ward off dehydration are at an increased risk of developing stomach upset. Vomiting, regurgitation and discomfort are typical signs of stomach upset as a result of drinking pool water. Though stomach upset is not a life-threatening problem, chronic vomiting can result in dehydration, which is potentially deadly.

Commonly Asked Questions:

Is it dangerous for dogs to drink pool water?

Yes, dogs and cats that drink pool water quickly to ward off dehydration are at an increased risk of developing stomach upset.

What happens if a dog drinks pool water?

Stomach upset is the most common problem associated with pets drinking pool water. Aspiration occurs when water or another foreign material enters the lungs.

What is the most common source of water that can cause problems for pets?

Pool water.

What is the term for a coughing cough when water enters the lungs?

Aspiration occurs when water or another foreign material enters the lungs.

What is chlorine in pool water?

Chlorine keeps the pool disinfected

What is chlorine and algaecides free from?

Plant life. Pool water contains pool chemicals, including chlorine and algaecides that keep the pool disinfected and free from plant life.

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