Pool owners must consider the safety of animals as well as humans. Animals are in danger of drowning when there is no possibility to get out of the pool with its slippery walls. These animals might be the owner’s own pets, but also neighbours’ pets coming into the garden, and wild animals. Animals are likely to come for a refreshing bath or a nip of cool water and accidentally fall into the pool. Making your pool safe for animals is a responsibility that every pool owner needs to be aware of.
When thinking about making a swimming pool safe
In the preparation phase it’s good to reflect on the following questions:
- What animals can I expect depending on the country/the area I am living?
- Which materials are safe for animals and can protect them from getting into my pool area?
That helps focus your efforts on the most relevant precautions to be taken.
- Fences: depending on your requirements, this could be either a removable or a permanent fence. Either way, don’t forget to block up any gaps that animals could wriggle through, and make sure the fence is stable enough to withstand stronger animals.
- Ramps and steps: at least one of these features in the pool helps animals to make their escape. Do make sure that these features are non-slip.
- Alarms: if you install an alarm system it is wise to go for one that goes off only when there is movement in the water itself, not around the swimming pool edge.
- Coverings: opt explicitly for safety covers, as simple pool covers can mislead an animal by looking like a solid surface.
- Tidy your pool: never leave behind anything that could arouse an animal’s interest and entice it to jump into the pool.
- Climbing aids: some knotted nylon ropes along the sides can be helpful tools for stranded animals to climb out.
- Critter escape ramps/nets: these tools are specifically designed to help small animals such as frogs, ducklings and squirrels to overcome the height of a swimming pool.
- Cut overhanging branches: this prevents small wildlife like squirrels from falling down from trees into the pool.
In case of an emergency
Even with the best precautions in place, it can still happen that an animal finds its way into the water. In such cases, it is advisable to have something to hand to help the animals out:
Small animals: tools like nets, brooms, shovels and pool skimmers are very helpful, so make sure there’s always something like that within reach so that you can help an animal in need immediately.
Larger animals: have something nearby such as a long, wide plank of wood that can be used as a ramp; or place some garden chairs in the pool which can help the animal escape.