Pool Safety for Animals
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Oh, my aching muscles...

from the HSUS

Backyard swimming pools are synonymous with summer fun, but not for everyone. Swimming pools can be deadly for pets and wildlife. According to recent statistics, an estimated one of every 1,027 pets drown in backyard pools each year. This tragic figure doesn’t account for the tens of thousands of wild animals that suffer the same fate.

For example, think of a small frog that jumps in for a refreshing swim but finds the water’s surface too far below the pool’s edge to crawl out, or a field mouse that leans over the edge for a quick sip only to fall in and swim around until exhausted.

“We hear about pool drownings through our wildlife hotline,” says Laura Simon, field director for urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), “and it is tragic, because these drownings are preventable.” Animals, from skunks to mice, ducks, fledgling birds, lizards, chipmunks, frogs, and snakes can find themselves in a pool without firm footing. Curious animal babies are particularly at risk.

A few simple pool precautions can help you dramatically lower the risk of pets and wildlife drowning in pools:

•  Don’t leave your pets unsupervised in a yard with a pool.

•  When building a pool, design lounge ledges along the sides. These are just below the water’s surface and provide an easy escape route from the water.

•  Install a fence around the pool to keep out animals such as dogs.

•  Install one or more water-exit devices such as the Skamper-Ramp ( or Frog Log ( These buoyant devices are placed along the pool’s edge and allow animals to get out.

Place knotted nylon ropes at strategic locations along the sides. Make sure the knot is at the water’s surface so the animal can more easily climb out. (This technique works for climbing animals such as raccoons, mice, and squirrels.)

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