Pooches and Pools: Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Use the Hot Tub
Hot tub season is here and with it comes questions of how to include Fido in the family fun. Can our canine friend come along? The simplest answer is no, but let’s discuss why.
The first in the list of problems with your pooch in the spa is the temperature. The average hot tub is around 102°F, scorching for a pet that cannot sweat, but instead, must pant to dispel excess body heat. At those temperatures, however, dogs will overheat easily; panting just won’t be enough to keep up. Dogs who are overweight or particularly heat sensitive are especially at risk, but no dog would be comfortable in a hot tub that warm. It simply isn’t worth the potential for harm: heat stroke or death could happen in a shorter time than you realize, and your dog won’t enjoy the time spent in the spa anyway.
As humans we’re recommended to take a quick rinse in a shower after a dip in a pool or hot tub, the reasoning being it’s good practice to get all the spa chemicals off our skin. The same concept applies to your dog, but tenfold: not only can the chlorine and other additives irritate their skin, they also get trapped in and cause damage to your pet’s gorgeous coat. This can cause rashes in sensitive pets, exacerbate skin conditions, or contribute to a thinning, dull, or rough coat.
There are also the chemicals on your dog to think of. You’re supposed to wash your hands after applying the flea medicine because of the potential for irritation, but once you pop your pup in the tub, you’re both soaking in it together. This same concept applies for any other topical medicines you may put on your pooch, like medicated shampoos, which could also leave a residue.
Speaking of fur, where do you think Fido’s excess fluff goes once he’s floating? Straight into the filter. A hot tub filter should be able to handle the strain of dog fur, but the extra stress will reduce longevity and, depending on your pooch’s shedding, may not quite be able to keep up. This means a furry, dirty experience for anyone trying to enjoy the hot tub when Fido takes his fateful dip, and the clean-up could take several hours, subject to the strength of your filter. That’ll put a damper on things!
Even provided all of these concerns are somehow invalidated, there’s still the possibility your faithful friend freaks out and does some damage. Many dogs respond with fear to being placed in water or are much more easily spooked while swimming. In what your dog views as a survival situation, the natural reaction is to get out. This means that, when Fido is in fear for his life, he’s going to start frantically clawing every surface he can reach. The finish on a hot tub isn’t made to take this kind of abuse, and your pet’s claws could leave scratches, chips, or gouges in your spa. If you’re particularly unlucky, your dog might even manage to break a light or snap a fixture off in their panic.
Perhaps you’ve read all these causes for concern and none of them resonated with you. In that case, consider the outcomes. It’s possible your dog enjoys a relaxing, rejuvenating spa experience, but it’s equally possible—if not more likely—your dog overheats, becomes injured, or drowns in a freak accident. Can you say that the payoff is worth the risk?
We love our pets, and that means we want to give them everything we can. Sometimes, though, doing what’s best for our pets means not including them; hot tubbing is one of those times. So when you hop in the hot tub this season, remember: Fido’s better off sitting this one out.