Dogs are naturally inquisitive and will want to know what all the fuss is about when you’re relaxing in your hot tub or lazy spa. But there are risks involved which is why I decided to put this guide together explaining how hot tubs can hurt dogs and extreme care needs to be taken.
Can a dog go in a hot tub? No, dogs should not go in hot tubs. Lazy spas and hot tubs can hurt dogs, make them overheat and sick, as well as a risk of drowning. Chemicals including chlorine and bromine in the water can cause irritation, and swallowed water can get into the dog’s lungs.
There’s also the consideration of the damage a dog can do to a hot tub or lazy spa. Whilst it might initially be amusing to some when a dog jumped in the hot tub, after a few seconds the dog will panic, the hot tub will get damaged, and the animal may get seriously hurt.
While hot tubbing may seem like the perfect opportunity for your dog to let loose, it’s a threat to their health in so many different ways. The treated water and the hot environment in the tub aren’t canine-friendly.
Below I’ve listed all the main reasons why a dog should not go in a hot tub, including details on the health concerns and potential damage. And if a hot tub is a no-go zone, is there a safer option your dog will enjoy? It’s all below.
6 reasons to not let your dog jump in a hot tub / lazy spa
As loving dog parents, nothing gives us joy more than having a good time with our four-legged companions. And when you want to relax and de-stress from the daily grind, you’d love to have them by your side.
A hot tub date with your dog may be one of those activities that pop up first when you want to start or end your day (and your dog’s day) on a “relaxing note”.
After all, you love “hot-tubbing”. So, your dog friend will definitely love the experience too, right?
Most dogs aren’t fans of hot tubs simply as they can’t sit back and enjoy the soothing, bubbly water as we do. They must move around, which can be uncomfortable in hot water.
Letting your dog go in a hot tub isn’t a good idea.
Here are six good reasons why a hot tub can hurt your dog, and why you should never let him jump into it.
1. Overheating is real (and fatal to dogs)
One of the most important reasons to protect a dog from a hot tub is overheating. The reason you feel that cooling effect whenever you soak in a hot tub is this: the water’s temperature activates the millions of sweat glands throughout your body, making you sweat a lot.
And, of course, as you sweat, your body cools down.
Now, a dog’s way of sweating is very different to ours. Unlike you, your dog’s sweat glands aren’t scattered all over their body.
Instead, their sweat glands are in a few areas where your dog doesn’t have hair, like the paw pads. The glands here aren’t enough to cool a dog’s entire body. That’s why they resort to panting as it cools them down good!
When your dog jumps into a hot tub, their paw pads can’t sweat much because they’re under water.
We can’t ignore how hot a tub or lazy spa is. The average temperature inside a hot tub is roughly 102 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s way higher than what a dog can withstand, considering they can’t sweat all over because they’re covered in fur.
Panting remains the only option.
But then again, the heat in the tub is often too much, so your dog will have to pant harder than usual to find relief from this heat.
That’s a lot of effort needed, and they might get tired quickly.
And when your dog can’t pant enough, the heat in the tub will take a toll on them. It can even kill them.
Imagine your dog getting a heat stroke. It’s not a pleasant thought so you need to protect your dog from the hot tub at all costs.
2. Hot tub water chemicals aren’t dog-safe
When you have a hot tub, you know that treating the water isn’t an option. It’s necessary.
Chemicals like chlorine and bromine do a great job of ensuring that tub water is clean and bacteria-free for anyone to soak in without worrying about falling sick.
The problem here is, these chemicals are toxic to dogs.
If a dog jumps in a hot tub full of chlorine and the like, they’ll experience itchiness on the skin. What may start as minor skin irritation can turn into pus-filled blisters.
The chemicals will also irritate your dog’s super sensitive eyes and ears, causing itchiness, redness, or even infections.
Also, dogs can get sick from drinking hot tub water. Don’t forget there’s a possibility of them lapping some of the chlorinated water as they move around the tub. You can already guess what will follow – throat irritation and a horrible stomach upset – if there’s too much chlorine in the water!
Plus, the treated water will draw all the natural oils in your canine’s fur coat, leaving it too dull and dry (these oils keep your dog’s coat looking shiny and healthy).
You wouldn’t want that – so no, dogs can’t go in hot tubs as it will make them sick… more on that below.
3. Chemical-contaminated steam can make your dog sick, too
Having your dog inside a hot tub puts them at risk of inhaling the chemical-filled steam from the heated water. They might start sneezing, coughing, drooling, or having breathing problems.
The last thing you’d want is your dog experiencing respiratory distress, yet they were totally fine before going in the tub.
4. Clogging nightmare
See all that loose hair you’re always trying to clean up after bathing your canine friend?
When you let your dog in the hot tub, be sure that any excess fur will find its way into your tub’s filters sooner than you think.
Not just that.
All the products you use to keep your furry friend safe from annoying flees and other bugs will wash off in the heated tub water. Talk of contamination. Yuck!
Once in your tub, the product buildup will turn into scum, mix with the fur, and head straight to your filter. And let’s be honest, even minor tub clogging involves unnecessary maintenance expenses.
So, if you’d like to save some coins and want your hot tub unit to remain functional for a long period, bond with your doggo elsewhere, not in there.
5. Scratches, scratches, and more scratches!
Your dog has his own logic. And sometimes, that logic tells them that if they are in a confined space, they’re in the wrong place and need to get out. Fast.
So, your dog might willingly enter the tub but feel out of place the next minute.
They’ll move from one side to another, scratching the surface lining of the tub in an attempt to get out. That’s how your tub’s surface will start wearing off.
And every time you get in the tub, those permanent claw marks will remind you of your mistake, allowing your doggo to be where they weren’t supposed to be.
And this risk is even more so with inflatable hot tubs like lazy spas. A dog’s claw can puncture and burst the lining, meaning you’ve got a repair job on your hands and will lose a day of hot tub bliss before you can refill and warm the water again.
6. Drowning accidents happen
If your dog isn’t a good swimmer, letting them get in a hot tub is a recipe for disaster.
The tub may not seem deep to you, but that depth is enough for your dog to have a near-drowning experience like this lovely pooch here, or actually drown and die.
Hot tubbing doesn’t always have a happy ending for dogs. That’s why you must always cover your tub with a hot tub cover when no one’s using it.
A recent news article in the Liverpool Echo had the following story:
“An English Bulldog called Boris had a close call last summer after he fell into a hot tub. The puppy was just 13-weeks-old when the incident happened. Boris’ owners Sarah and Kyall rushed their precious pooch to an emergency Vets Now practice where he was treated for inhaling chlorinated water into his lungs. The vets had to give him oxygen through a special catheter in his nose to help stabilise him.”
Hot tub aside, here’s a better option
You know what’s a much safer and more enjoyable alternative? A dog-friendly wading pool, which you can fill up with fresh, lukewarm water. Here’s a great option on Amazon.
These wading pools are exclusively designed for our canine friends, so all your safety concerns will go out of the window. While you’re hot tubbing in the warm weather, your dog can also have the time of their life beside you.
Handy Hint: Did you know that some dog breeds are more prone to cancer than others?
FAQs on dogs going in hot tubs
Can dogs get sick from drinking hot tub water?
Dogs can get very sick from drinking hot tub water. It has the chemicals chlorine and bromine in which will cause irritation to sensitive areas like skin, eyes and ears. Some dogs might also have a bad reaction from inhaling treated hot tub water into their lungs.
Hot tubs are very dangerous to dogs as treated hot tub water that is swallowed can be very toxic. The power of lazy spa jets can also increase the risk of a dog inhaling or swallowing water or suffering death through drowning.
How do I protect my dog from hot tub?
You can protect your dog from a hot tub by being extremely vigilant. Always cover the hot tub with a hot tub cover so that your dog doesn’t go in when you aren’t watching. Also don’t leave a step next to the lazy spa that a dog can use to get over and into the hot tub.
Never leave an open hot tub and a dog unattended.
Can my dog go in my swim spa?
No, dogs cannot go in your swim spa. It’s risky because the temperature and the chemicals will harm your dog.
Can a dog burst a hot tub?
Yes, dogs can burst hot tubs. They are naturally curious and will put their paws and weight up onto the sides to see what you are doing. If they claw punctures the hot tub, it will burst and leak.
This is a particular risk if your dog jumps into a hot tub, panics, and attempts to get out quickly.
Is Pool Shock safe for dogs?
Pool Shock can hurt a dog as it contains chlorine, up to 65% calcium hypochlorite. Chlorine is used to keep swimming pools and hot tubs clean and free of bacteria. However, if a dog ingests water that has Pool Shock in it, it could, in large quantities, make them sick.
What is hot tub therapy for dogs?
You’ve heard my warnings, so you might wonder how hot tub therapy for dogs is even a thing. I wasn’t aware of it either before writing this guide…
From what I can gather, it is a safe practice as the people who do it lower the temperatures, remove the chemicals, and use warm water therapy to help injured and arthritic dogs.
“Founded in January of 2005, the Association for Canine Water Therapy works to promote and advance the safe practice of canine water therapy through education, establishing industry standards, and building a support network for therapists and their clients. The association already has 70 members and is continuing to grow.”
Like most dog parents, you’d want your dog friend to be part of any fun endeavor you have in mind. Maybe you’ve thought of dunking in a steamy hot tub with your dog to create more beautiful memories.
But is it a wise idea, though?
Hopefully you now agree with me that it’s not.
Dogs that go in hot tubs are at risk of illness and injury. Please don’t do it.