A tan pug standing on a pink flotation raft in a pool.

Calling all water-loving doggos and their aquatic owners! It’s time for a summer pool party.

Swimming can be an enjoyable activity for your pet, and it can also be quite beneficial to their health. Both reasons to party! Why not combine the two? By planning a doggy pool party, you’re providing pups with exercise to strengthen their muscles and improve their cardiovascular health as well as offering an opportunity for pets and their parents to mingle and be social. Talk about a well-rounded afternoon!

Let’s dive into how you can plan a bark-tastic doggy pool party that will leave your guests ready and hungry for more.

RSVP for the Party of the Summer

First, decide on a safe location for your party. You’ll want to choose a fenced-in location outside with shade and a designated doggy bathroom area. Then begin thinking about days and times that work best for you and your guests.

Once you have your time, date and location secured, you can select your party theme! From “tropical luau” to “pirates of the backyard,” there’s an endless list of themes to choose from. Pinterest is a good place to start for ideas.

After choosing a theme, make a guest list to see how many invites you need to send. We recommend limiting your guest list to 10 dogs or fewer unless you have extra supervisors on duty. Avoid inviting dogs who tend to be aggressive or whom your pet has not met yet. This will help avoid any potential conflicts the day of the party.

Lastly, ask guests to bring a pet life jacket for older fur babies or those who have little to no swimming experience. A life jacket is an extra safety measure for canines during their time splishing and splashing.

Extra Doggy Approved Activities

Dogs will typically swim for 10 to 30 minutes at a time, so it’s best to make sure your furry guests have other activities to enjoy throughout the party. Extra activities also give the dogs another outlet to socialize with other humans and dogs alike.

Consider these activities and gear for your pool party. We’re sure they’ll be met with happy woofs and wagging tails.

  • Obstacle courses
  • Sprinklers or splashpads
  • Aquatic dog toys for the pool
  • Tug of war with a sturdy toy
  • Hide and seek with dog treats
  • Tennis balls for everyone!
  • Frisbee run

Yummies for the Dog Tummies

A great party isn’t complete without some good grub! Prior to making the shopping list, check in with your guests to make note of any allergies or sensitivities furry and non-furry guests may have. Also, research foods that are toxic to dogs prior to making any treats from scratch.

For healthy treat options, consider adding frozen banana slices, baby carrots or green beans to the lineup. For indulgent options — your doggo is burning off four times more calories swimming than walking, so it’ll even out — add pupsicles, canine cookies, doggie ice cream or a pawesome dog-friendly cake to the shopping list.

When choosing food for your human guests, keep in mind there will be a lot of hungry dogs circling their owners. We recommend feeding your guests foods that are also safe for dogs in case anything accidentally falls into the mouth of a furry companion. Have a question about what is safe or unsafe for dogs to eat at their dog pool party? We have you covered!

Food isn’t the only thing your guests will need. Make sure there are enough water bowls around the backyard to keep your furry guests hydrated. You’ll also want to make sure you refill these bowls throughout the party.

Get Your Party Area Doggo Ready

Make sure your pool is clean before everyone’s arrival. We also recommend adding a ramp for the dogs to get in and out of the pool safely. Dogs should never be forced to jump in or out of the pool. Ramps or zero-depth entry pools can reduce the strain on a dog’s joints, and they can also assist older or smaller dogs with getting out of the pool safely.

Next, locate a safe, quiet time-out area for the dogs in case they get stressed or start to play too rough. Inform your guests of this area upon their arrival.

On the day of the party, you’ll want to make sure the pool temperature is between 70 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. A pool that is too cold or too hot can pose health risks to the dogs.

It’s Pawty Time

You’ve got the decorations set up. The food all laid out. And an eager host dog wagging their tail in anticipation of a pawty about to begin! Before the party gets started, establish basic ground rules to ensure everyone stays safe.

  1. If a dog is attending, the owner must be in attendance, too.
  2. Ask guests to bring their dog’s leash just in case an unexpected conflict arises.
  3. Require all dogs be up to date on their vaccinations. This prevents the spread of any infections or diseases.
  4. Provide plenty of poop bags and ask guests to clean up after their dog.
  5. Swimmers must always be supervised.
  6. Point out all the shaded locations in case Fido needs a break from the summer heat.

After the dogs exit the water for the final time, make sure their owners have access to a hose to give them a good, cool rinse before the drive home. We recommend dog owners rinse their dog for at least 20 seconds to make sure they remove all the chlorine and pool chemicals from Fido’s coat. This helps your doggy guests from having dry, itchy skin after enjoying a fun afternoon in the pool.

Now you’ve got the 411 on how to host a bark-tastic doggy pool party. It’s time to start planning what your party is going to look like!


RELATED POST: Summer Care for Dogs with Heavy Coats

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.