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Dog Swims

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 Program Contacts

Tom Fink RS
Program Manager
216.201.2000 ext 1226
Barry Grisez RS
216.201.2000 ext 1232


Dog swims have become a very popular end-of-the-season activity at outdoor municipal pools. This is the one day a year that operators open up their gates to man’s best friend and give them a chance to take a dip before summer ends. Normally, these events take place the day after the pool closes for the season.

The only restriction in the code states: “Unless otherwise permitted by law, animals are prohibited at a public swimming pool and within the pool barrier defining a pool area during the swim season”.

This just means that dog swims must take place at the end of the season, after the pool is closed to patrons.

Each municipality has their own way of handling dog swims, but here are some useful tips for anyone considering an event like this:

  • Allow only one dog per one human owner.
  • Verify with the owners that their dogs have experience swimming, especially in pools.
  • Set a minimum age for all dog owners or handlers.
  • Require that all participants pre-register their pets. This way, event organizers can verify that all pets are current on their vaccinations (rabies, distemper, parvo virus, bordetella) and you have contact information for the owners.
  • As part of pre-registration, it is highly recommended to have a signed “release of liability” form stating that the community is not responsible for injuries to pets, humans, etc.
  • As the owners show up with their pets, check to make sure that the dogs appear to be in good health with no obvious signs of illness.
  • Make sure that the owner is able to handle the dog without difficulty.
  • Be sure that the dogs are not acting aggressively toward other dogs or humans. If this happens, the event coordinator does not have to allow the dog and owner into the pool area.
  • Do not allow humans to swim in the water with the dogs.
  • Do not allow pet or human food in the pool area.
  • Be sure that dogs are on a leash when outside of the fenced-in pool area.
  • Remove dog waste from the grounds on a regular basis. Usually, event organizers will make this the responsibility of the dog owners.