The Perfect Doggie Day Care Swimming Pool Design: A Cure For Boredom And Overheating

Some breeds love the water and they will dive right in, but let’s face it a lot of breeds avoid it like the plague. At Pompano Pet Lodge, our pool is a major attraction, I believe because we designed it from a dog’s perspective (we always try to see things through the eyes of a dog, both big and small). It’s challenging to think up new ways to play with the dogs, but it’s important to keep the activity level up so your clients get their money’s worth and the pool provides hours of entertainment for the dogs and the staff.

We are located in Southern Florida and overheating is a big issue for us so we not only wanted a pool, but we knew we were going to have to think outside the box of the traditional pool design in order to get all the dogs in and out of the pool several times a day to keep them cooled off. This is what we came up with and it has worked incredibly well. When we open the gates to the outdoor play area, it’s a free for all with dogs rushing to the pool:

  • No 90 degree corners {Hair will collect in the corners, Round corners allow hair to float into the skimmer}
  • Shallow Entry 360 degrees around {Beach entry all the way around is key. If dogs get into a pool and cannot see an easy way out they will avoid ever getting back in. A beach entry all the way around allows them easy access both in and out. Our design is 2’ deep in the center and 3” deep around the entire perimeter}
  • Decking-when choosing decking keep in mind nothing too course (dog’s pads can tear easier when wet) and nothing too slick/slippery.
  • Your pump motor-nothing special for the pump system, a typical home pool motor will work
  • Skimmer Baskets-they’ll get so full of hair so fast, we’ve found using pool “socks” over the skimmer baskets allow us to remove the hair, quickly and easily
  • Use river rock as the finish of your pool. It’s the only thing that will hold up to dog’s nails
  • Filters – we use 550 square foot, commercial grade cartridge filters. They run approx. $700/ea. We replace the cartridges every 3 years and the price of the cartridge runs about $350. {Your pool guy will tell you that you don’t need a filter of this magnitude for a pool that only holds 6,000 gallons of water (a back yard pool holds about 15K-23K gallons of water), but here’s why you do. Human beings, wearing sunscreen are oil based, a dog’s hair is grease based so basically 1 dog is equivalent to 10 humans wearing sunscreen, and depending on the number of dogs in your care, you get the idea.}
  • Superior Aqua is an ingenious purification system for your home and your pool. It’s used at a lot of resorts and hotels, even multiple features at Disney World! {Salt and chlorine are basically the same thing when it comes to swimming pools. We use the Superior system which uses copper & ozone to purify the water. I recommend contacting Superior Aqua  * Phone: 800-225-0119 for the specifics, but basically what you’re left with is pure, clean water that resists algae and won’t leave a sting in your eye. [By the way, your pool guy won’t tell you about it because then he can’t sell you a bunch of chemicals!]}

There is nothing worse than spending the money on a swimming pool in your doggie daycare, only to see that a vast majority of the dogs will not use it. This design will cost you about the same as a traditional back yard pool and is well worth the money, keeping dogs entertained and cooled off!

My final word is one of caution. If you don’t have artificial grass/turf at your facility then a pool may not be the best idea. Grass and dirt will dirty your pool and clog up the filter, not to mention the mud situation that will make maintaining a nice facility a nightmare.  If you have natural grass and are planning to install a pool in a separate, gated area that could work. If you’re interested in artificial turf.

John Glorieux:  12 years managing the largest and one of the most innovative pet facilities in South Florida offering boarding, daycare training and grooming.