By: Laurie Brzostowski, President/Owner, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake, IL
The following post was written by my guest writer Kaitlin Gardner. I hope you find this post as informative as I have and I want to thank Kaitlin for writing this very important post.
My neighbor came to me the other day, and she was pretty upset. She had let her elderly beagle out into the back yard to take care of business, and he fell into their swimming pool. She had ducked back into the kitchen for a moment, and by the time she went back out, her dog was in real distress. She wanted to know about pool covers.
All too common. Unfortunately, what happened to my neighbor is more common than people realize. A large number of dogs fall into uncovered pools each year, and many will drown. Whether it is the treasured family pet, or a neighbor dog that managed to get into the back yard, it is a tragedy. Especially if a pet falls into the pool during the winter when the pool is unattended, their chances of survival are even less, because the frigid water can quickly lead to hypothermia, panic, and a drowning. Here are some excellent resources with more information:
A multiple purpose solution. There is good news for owners of home swimming pools. The risk to the family dog can be eliminated with a pool cover. When the pool is not in use, a cover performs other functions. It can keep leaves and debris out of the water and maintain water heat, allowing the pump system to work less. A cover can also diminish water evaporation and lower energy bills. But the cover can also allow the pool owner to let the dog out into the back yard safely, and not worry about them accidentally falling into the water.
There are several options for a safety pool cover that might work for pool owners, they might not work so well for people with pets. Here are the basic choices:
A bubble wrap cover. This is the simplest cover, and easy to deploy. It is similar to a large sheet of wrap used to protect packages, but specially prepared for the swimming pool. It just lays on top of the water. These covers are best avoided by pool owners who own a dog. The cover makes the pool look like a solid surface, and a dog might easily run onto it, become entangled and wrapped up in the wrap, leading to panic and real distress. The dog could also slip under the cover and get trapped, and not be able to get out from under it. Either way, the dog could tire and potentially drown.
A mesh cover. These covers allow rain and snow to leak through them, which means less maintenance over the winter pumping water off the surface of the cover. They are easy to deploy and remove. But since the mesh allows water, leaves and debris to pass through, this type of cover will likely mean more chance for the development of an algae problem. For the dog, these covers have the same disadvantages of appearing to be a solid surface, which could lead to a dog running across the cover and becoming entangled.
A solid pool cover. These covers provide a solid barrier on top of the pool. They typically require two people to deploy and remove. Rain and snow collect on top, and must be pumped off. Leaves and debris need to be swept clear. But these covers can support up to 4,000 pounds, and provide a safe and solid surface. A dog can be racing around the yard, and when they cross the pool, might just slip a little.
I helped my neighbor get her safety cover set up, and now she smiles as she watches her elderly dog wander the yard, knowing he is completely safe.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.