The weather is warm and the pool is open! However, you may have a few unexpected guests wandering in without your permission. Here are some tips on how to keep pets and wildlife away from your pool, and to help them escape safely if need be.
1. Teach Your Pets How to Swim
While this may seem counter-intuitive to the goal of keeping your pets out of the water, it is nevertheless a good idea to make sure that your dogs, cats, and any other outdoor pet has a good understanding of how to stay afloat. Consider getting an animal life vest to be on the safe side. Keeping pets away from the pool is secondary to making sure they can survive in case they do fall in, so make sure they have the necessary skills to safely navigate out of the water if they have to. For most cats, however, one session may be all it takes to keep them away from the pool forever!
2. Take Extra Care With Special Needs Pets
Animals that have special needs are particularly vulnerable around in-ground pools (assuming they are unable to access an above ground pool). Pets who are injured, handicapped, of old age, visually impaired, etc, have a much higher risk of accidentally falling into a pool than their more able-bodied counterparts. The best line of defense with a special needs pet is a good, solid fence and/or hard surface pool cover.
3. Watch Out For Wildlife
Animals of all kinds have been found in pools, including frogs, squirrels, snakes, geese, even deer! Whether from running to escape a predator or just out of plain curiosity, these critters end up in pools quite often, especially those located under trees and other high surfaces. In the best case scenario, critters are able to escape on their own safely. If they aren’t so lucky, however, you are left with the cleanup. Consider the tools mentioned below to keep your pool wildlife-free.
4. Invest in Some Safety Tools
Fortunately, there are many products on the market to help repel pets and wild animals away from the pool, give you an alert should they happen to fall in, and escape safely:
These devices - made primarily for inground pools - have saved many animal lives. Even if your dog is allowed to swim in the pool with you, ramps are an easy way for them to climb out, especially since waterlogged fur can add extra weight and make exiting the pool a little more challenging. There are even some DIY tutorials available online if you would rather fashion your own.
As we mentioned before, fences are a great way to keep pets out of your in- or above-ground pool. Some fences are permanent fixtures while others are quick to set up and easy to remove.
A direct barrier to your pool water, pool covers are arguably one of the best lines of defense to keeping pets and wildlife safe. Covers are especially useful if your pool sits under a tree or roof of some kind, as those are typically the easiest ways critters find themselves unknowingly going for a swim. Some hard covers even allow animals to walk across without falling in, though softer options are also available. Covers are also handy for keeping leaves and other debris from contaminating your pool water.
There are two main types of pool alarms: weight-detection alarms that sit in the water, and those that can be worn as a collar on your pet. The first type, when activated, will sound an alarm in your home if a being or object greater than a certain weight (usually around 15 lbs) enters your pool The second will sound in your home if the device becomes submerged in water. Both are very handy and reduce the need for constant monitoring.
Animal Life Vests
If thoroughly supervised, it is fine to allow your pet to swim in your pool if you choose. Some pets even find it to be great exercise! If your dog or cat is a fan of swimming, it is worthwhile to get them a life vest. Even if they’re not, it’s still a good tool for teaching them how to swim in case of an emergency!
Though not always the most effective method, some people have had success using simple scare tactics to ward off animals. Two such tactics are installing sprinklers near the area and placing a decoy animal in the water. Fake crocodile heads and rubber snakes are popular choices to ward off birds and frogs, respectively. If nothing else, they can be a fun way to prank your friends!
Pools provide hours of fun and relief from hot sunny days, but they can also be treacherous for many animals. Use these tips to help keep everyone safe this summer.