Updated March 2022
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Buying guide for best dog pools

We humans love cooling off in a pool on a hot day, and the same goes for dogs. Your dog could easily puncture a standard paddling pool, however, so you’ll need a dedicated dog pool for Fido to splash around in.

Perhaps the first aspect to consider is the material of any dog pool you’re thinking of buying. It should be made from a heavy-duty flexible material, such as PVC or hard molded plastic. You can also find a small handful of metal models. You’ll also need to be sure that your chosen dog pool is of an appropriate size and depth for your canine companion.

With the surprising number of dog pools on the market, finding the best one for your best friend can be a challenge. For everything you need to know before you make Fluffy’s summer, our guide has you covered. 

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A dog pool provides a refreshing cool spot for your canine companion to escape the heat on a warm day.

Key considerations


A dog pool must be made from a durable material. Otherwise, your pooch’s strong nails could tear it, causing leaks. The majority of dog pools are made from flexible PVC, which is strong enough to be scratch-resistant but still lightweight and flexible. However, you can also find a small number of dog pools made from hard molded plastic and fewer still made from rust-resistant metal, such as galvanized steel or aluminum. These hard-sided pools are even more durable than soft-sided PVC pools, but they’re heavier and much bulkier to store since they don’t fold down.


The vast majority of dog pools on the market are circular. This is the best shape for soft-sided pools since the sides stay up and the water stays in without the need for a metal frame to support the pool. Metal dog pools may be round, oval, square, or other basic shapes. The most adventurous and unusual dog pool shapes are hard molded plastic options. Plastic is easy to mold into almost any shape, so you can find some dog pools shaped like bones or paw prints.


You’ll need to choose a dog pool that’s the right size for your four-legged friend. It should go without saying that a big dog will need a larger pool than a small dog. However, also factor in the number of dogs in your household, as they’ll likely all want to jump in at once. On the smaller end of the size spectrum, you’ll find dog pools that measure around 30 to 35 inches across. On the larger end, you can find models measuring an impressive 60 to 70 inches across – big enough for a few medium-size or even large dogs to share.


The depth of your chosen dog pool dictates how high you can fill it. The majority of larger dog pools have 12-inch sides, so you’ll be able to fill them with about 10 inches of water, which will allow for displacement and stop too much splashing over the edges. This is enough water to reach up to the belly of most large dogs but not so much that their heads will be underwater if they lie down. Smaller dog pools tend to have eight-inch sides, which is a better depth for small dogs. Of course, you can fill the pool just part way full to accommodate smaller dogs, but the sides shouldn’t be so high that your dog can’t jump in and out of the pool.


Slip-resistant bottom

You don’t want your canine companion to slip and get hurt when playing in the dog pool, which is why many models feature textured slip-resistant bottoms. The anti-slip design will put your mind at ease, especially if your four-legged friend likes to jump in and out of the pool and run around, rather than just gently paddling or lying down in it.


When the time comes to empty your dog pool to clean it and refill it or store it for the cooler months, the task will be much easier with a drain. If your pool is fitted with a drain, you simply need to open it and wait for the water to empty. Otherwise, you’ll need to tip the pool or bail it out with buckets to empty it, which takes much more effort.


If your four-legged friend isn’t able to jump into the pool, you’ll need some kind of ramp or steps to help. It’s rare, but not completely unheard of, to find a dog pool with a ramp or steps included. You’ll usually have to buy them separately, though.


Soft-sided dog pools are generally foldable, whereas hard-sided models are not. Since you’ll probably only want to use your dog pool in the summer (and maybe during hotter parts of the spring and fall), the great thing about a foldable model is that you can pack it down for easy storage when it’s not in use.

"Think of a dog pool as a paddling pool, not a swimming pool. The water level should be deep enough for your dog to splash around and lie down in to cool off."

Dog pool prices

You can find small, basic dog pools for around $20 to $30, but these may not be the most durable options on the market.

Mid-range dog pools cost about $40 to $60. These tend to be larger and more durable than the most inexpensive options.

High-end dog pools cost between $60 and $150 and include extra-large and hard-sided options.


  • Choose a dog pool that’s easy to clean. With dirty paws, shedding hair, and all the other muck dogs tend to create, you’ll want a dog pool you can easily wipe clean without any awkward nooks and crannies you can’t get into.
  • Always supervise your dogs while they’re using their pool. Dog pools are as safe as can be expected, but there’s always a slight risk when playing in water. You don’t need to keep your eyes glued on them the whole time, but you should at least loosely supervise your four-legged friends when they’re in their pool.
  • Don’t force your dog into the pool. If this is your dog’s first pool, your pooch may be cautious at first. Never try to force your dog into the pool — let him explore it in his own time.
  • Make sure your dog takes time-outs in extremely hot weather. Your pooch might like cooling off in her pool, but the coolest place she can be is inside with the shades drawn and the A/C on. To avoid heat stroke, don’t let your dog spend too long outdoors on scorching days.
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Position your dog pool in a shaded area if possible, especially on extremely hot days.


Q. How do I fill a dog pool?
The easiest way to fill your dog pool is using a garden hose. If you don’t have a hose, you can fill the pool with buckets of water from your indoor tap, but this will require more time and effort.

Q. Should I position my dog pool on the lawn or on hard ground, such as a patio or deck?
You can position your dog pool on any kind of ground as long as it’s relatively smooth and clear of any sharp rocks that could puncture the bottom of the pool. However, it’s worth noting that if you place it on grass and leave it for a few months, your dog pool might cause the greenery underneath to wilt and die. As such, it’s wise to move your dog pool every few weeks to keep your lawn alive.

Q. Are dog pools suitable for all kinds of dogs?
Yes, any dog can use a dog pool, but small dogs, puppies, and seniors might need to be lifted into the pool or use a ramp if the sides are too high. That said, if your dog is unable to jump back out, you’ll need to closely supervise him while he uses the pool.

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