Can swimming pool chemicals poison a dog?

April 13, 2012

Swimming pool chemicals were announced by the ASPCA Poison Control Center as one of the top ten poisons for pets. A swimming pool owner would know that these chemicals are very necessary accessories of a pool. Dangerous pathogens will thrive if the pool is filled with untreated water. Chlorine and other pool chemicals were designed to kill potentially harmful bacteria and algae that naturally build up in the pool. These swimming pool chemicals will protect humans from infection. However, these chemicals that are added to the pool water can be hazardous to the health of humans and pets. Chlorine in pool water for instance is much higher in concentration as compared to the amount of chlorine in tap water.

Swimming would be a good exercise for the dog. Pool water per se is not dangerous. Pool water does not make people ill. Dogs have sensitive water receptors at the tip of their tongues. These receptors make a dog choosy on the kind of water they drink. There is a small chance that the dog would lap large amounts of chlorinated water. However, not all dogs can swim. A dog that accidentally tumbled on the pool will bark frantically. In doing so, a lot of pool water will be ingested damaging the esophagus. Near drowning and ingesting copious amounts of water will make the dog ill.

Dogs have many genetic similarities with humans. Some chemicals used to clean the pool contain acids and oxidizers that can cause burns and skin irritations in humans if handled without protective gear. Some people can develop skin irritations from swimming in treated water. The same thing is true with dogs. There is a possibility that the dog will have an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the pool water. Our four legged furry friends have very little exposed skin but the chlorine and other algaecides can damage the fur and cause skin irritations. An adverse reaction to the chemicals can be the cause of the death of the dog.

Pool chemicals contain several types of acids. If ingested, the phosphoric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid can cause ulcers in the mouth, esophagus and larynx of the pet. Storing these chemicals therefore must be given careful considerations. Dogs are considered as members of the family. The safety of the pet is of prime importance to responsible pet parents. Caring for a dog is comparable to caring for a child minus the high chair. The smell of the chemicals would already be abhorrent to us humans. But we should never assume that the chemicals would not be interesting to the dog. Aside from their gargantuan appetites, dogs are very inquisitive creatures as well. Curious Fido will smell… take a small lick and eat the swimming pool chemical that is lying around. The result? Poisoning!

Swimming in the pool would not do the dog much harm as long as too much pool water is not ingested. It would be a good idea to give the dog a good rinse to remove traces of swimming pool chemicals that can damage the fur. Doing so would also prevent skin irritations from developing. The greatest worry a pet owner would have is if the dogs had a free go at the container of swimming pool chemicals. The need to keep these chemicals securely covered and out of the dogs reach can never be stressed enough. Responsible pet owners would ensure that the home dog-proofed however, accidents still happen. A dog that has ingested poisonous chemicals may not show signs of poisoning right away. In most cases the dog would vomit. Breathing difficulty, seizures, loss of consciousness are signs of poisoning. To save the life of the pet medical attention must be given ASAP.

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