Dogs don't need much to be happy - a loving family, a bowl full of kibble, and the squeaky toy he's sure he buried in the backyard (and is now in the process of digging trenches through your flower garden to find when it's really just behind the porch steps). Yes, not much. While it may not be a mandatory purchase, you absolutely have to get your pooch a wading pool. It just might be the best decision you'll ever make!
1. Test the Waters Before Taking the Plunge
Contrary to popular wisdom, the first time you take your dog swimming, you shouldn't just toss her overboard in the middle of Lake Erie. The animal cruelty people might have something to say about that. When you've got a kiddie pool out back, Fluffy can dip her toes in the shallow end without fear of the tide pulling her into the Pacific Ocean. That's a lesson saved for at least day two.
2. Beat the Dog Days of Summer
The mercury keeps rising, your margarita is melting, and the incessant drool from the corner of your St. Bernard's mouth is evaporating before it even hits the pavement. Your panting pooch needs some relief from the summer heat and a wading pool is one of the best ways to keep your dog cool during the summer. He can splash in it, or treat it like the doggie equivalent of a Venti Caramel Frapp from Starbucks. Hold the whip.
3. Scrub Those Dirty Paws
You know what's great about taking Bella for a spirited jog through a wooded trail? The two of you can bond, enjoying the great outdoors together. You know what's not so great? When Bella brings the muddy trail back with her and scampers right onto your bed. Before heading inside, give those dirty paws a good cleaning in the wading pool first. You should probably clean Bella's feet too...
4. Teach a Dog to Fish and...
Have you ever seen videos of dogs leaping off the ends of docks, splashing into the water, and doggy-paddling their way back with a largemouth bass in their mouths? They didn't start out doing that. Convince Rocky that it's a good idea to play fetch, even when the item being fetched has been thrown into the water of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wading pool, and take it from there. Cowabunga, dude!
5. Dogs Take Cat Naps Too
Have you ever tried standing barefoot on the asphalt after the sun has been beaming down on it all day? It's hot enough to fry up a steak and you don't want to turn your dachshund into a BBQ'd Oscar Mayer Wiener. Throw a couple of towels in a small plastic kiddie pool, and you've got yourself a makeshift doggie daybed for your hot dog, no bun. And that'll leave plenty of sidewalk for your steak-grilling hobby.
6. An Appropriate Outlet for Digging
After your unfortunately named terrier, Digger, has converted your yard into a Jackson Pollock where the canvas is a dirty brown with only a couple random specks of green, it's time to look to alternatives. No one said the wading pool had to be filled with water. Bury some of Digger's favorite toys in his new wading pool-shaped sandbox and hopefully he'll stop carving up your lawn like a demolition site.
7. The Inexpensive Decoy
Just as a dirt or sand-filled wading pool can distract Buster from digging up your lawn and garden, a suitably entertaining water-filled wading pool might be enough to keep him away from wrecking the expensive new fountain you just bought as well. Populate it with cheeky anatomically correct cherubs and your neighbors will love it.
8. A More Organized Toy Story
Dogs and toddlers have a lot in common. They drool. They can still have "accidents" when you think you've got them trained. And they leave their toys everywhere for you to trip over. If you've got a small wading pool in the backyard, it can be used to gather up all these toys and keep them in one place. And yes, that includes the actual wading pool toys too.
9. Post Pepé Le Pew Protocol
Well, that's just wonderful. Your canine companion got herself sprayed and now she reeks worse than the dumpster behind the dive bar on unlimited taco night. Follow the recipe for de-skunking a dog. Keep that stench outside by using a wading pool instead of the same bathtub you use to bathe your family.
10. Bonding Time for Pups and Tots
If you don't want your kids to terrorize your house all summer long, it's in your best interest to keep them occupied. Toss your littles into the wading pool and let them engage in water-filled antics with Rubble and Rocky. As a bonus they'll tire each other out and everyone can just nap.
Best Wading Pools for Dogs
It used to be the only pools you could buy for your dog was the hard plastic kiddie pool. These are still a great, low-cost option but definitely no longer the only one.
GPCT Foldable Dog Swimming Pool
Available at Walmart, this puncture proof dog pool can be folded up for convenient storage or travel. It comes in red and blue and is made with a fiber board frame and polyester fabric coated with PVC. The pool when open is 4 feet wide and 1 foot deep. It retails for about $33.
Petmaker Collapsible Pet Pool
Home Depot carries this foldable pool in both small and large sizes. The small is for dogs up to 40 pounds sells for about $29. The large version is for dogs up to 80 pounds for about $34. The pool comes with a bag for storage or carrying it with you and it can be easily emptied with a drain cap. The pool is made of vinyl. While it is designed to be a dog proof paddling pool, reviewers noted it wasn't very durable.
Summer Escapes Poly Pool Pet Bath
If you prefer a hardy and no-frills option, PetSmart carries their own version of the traditional plastic dog pool. The pool is 35" long by 35" wide by 6" high and sells for about $11. The pool is best for small to medium-size dogs and is can be great for bathing your dog as well as a way to cool off in the heat.
One Dog One Bone Paw Shaped Pool
This fun pool is similar to a traditional hard plastic kiddie pool but comes in a cute dog paw shape. It can hold up to 20 gallons of water and is UV and chew resistant. It sells for about $150. The dimensions are 6" x 38" x 39" and is best for smaller size dogs. The pool is made from heavy duty truck bed material. It comes in blue and pink.
Alcott Inflatable Pool for Dogs
A dog inflatable pool seems like a bad idea, but based on Amazon reviews this pool does appear to hold up to dog usage, though it may not prevail if you have a hardcore chewer or digger. The pool is made from PVC and is 4 feet in diameter and 16" high. It can be easily deflated and folded up for storage. It sells for about $25.
Metal Dog Pool
If you want something that is extra durable and can stand up to the toughest and largest dogs, some owners use stock tanks which are steel tubs used for watering livestock. The plus is you won't likely need to replace it due to damage. The cons are they are expensive and the water can get warm to hot in a steel tub compared to a plastic pool. You can find them at livestock feed stores and Tractor Supply and they can sell from around $95 to $400 depending on size.
Getting Your Dog to Use the Pool
While you might think that your dog will instantly want to jump into a new doggie pool on a hot summer day, not every dog is an immediate fan of water.
- If your dog appears hesitant, do not pressure them to go in.
- Use some extra delicious treats and reward them for getting closer to the pool.
- If your dog loves toys, you can toss some waterproof toys into the pool to coax him to go after them.
- If you're dying from the heat yourself, make the best of your training session by sitting in the pool and encouraging him with praise and treats to come join you!
Keeping the Pool Clean
A doggie pool can get dirty quite fast, so make sure you keep an eye on the cleanliness of the water.
- You should especially make sure you empty the pool out regularly and do not leave standing water out. This can quickly become a breeding ground for mosquitos, parasites, algae and other unhealthy bacteria.
- You can put a tiny amount of pool chlorine to the water although be advised that it can irritate a dog's eyes, ears and skin and their stomachs if they drink it.
- Wash the pool regularly with some antibacterial soap and clean any toys that may have been in the pool as well.
Splish-Splash for Not Much Cash
Many pups enjoy splashing about in the water, but you don't have to dig a 10-foot-deep hole in your yard to build (and maintain) an expensive pool. Cheap kiddie pools are a dime a dozen, and they make great dog paddling pools. So when Fido decides that the wading pool serves much better as an overgrown chew toy than as a vessel for water, it's pretty painless to buy another one.