How to Throw an Epic Dog Pool Party for Dogs · The Wildest

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Making a Splash: How to Throw an Epic Dog Pool Party for Dogs

Here’s some advice on what you can do to make yours the best in the neighborhood.

by Madeleine Aggeler
Updated August 10, 2023
Girlfriends lounging by pool in summer with large white dog.
Trinette Reed / Stocksy

We are in those final days of summer (not that the school supplies section at Target hasn’t already been reminding us of this for weeks). While August might be the sweetest summer month of all (tomatoes, corn, fruit!), we’ve been dealing with the hottest summer on record this year, which has been a bit of a letdown. It also means pools and other water sources have been pretty necessary these days.

So, with that in mind, this next bit makes a lot of sense. According to Pinterest’s 2023 predictions from the beginning of this year, searches related to dog pool parties have skyrocketed. At the start of 2023, searches for “DIY dog areas in the backyard” were up a whopping 490 percent, while searches for “DIY dog pool” were up 85 percent, and those for “dog party favors” were up 135 percent.

How do I plan a dog pool party?

Now, it’s time to make those predictions a reality. Here are all the dog pool party ideas you and your pup will ever need:

1. Procure a pool.

If your house doesn’t have one, don’t worry. Companies like Minnidip make stylish, non-inflatable kiddie pools just for dogs who are sturdy enough to withstand the scratch of dogs’ claws. Just unfold one, or two, or six, and let your guests splash around. You can also consult Pinterest for some DIY dog pool ideas.

2. Make sure there’s shade.

If your space allows, make sure there’s a shaded area where dogs and the easily sunburned can gather away from the sun, like under a patio or an umbrella. Or, if you want a more regal feel to your gathering, Minnidip also makes beach cabanas.

3. Offer refreshments.

It’s always a good idea to have refreshments for all of your guests (maybe some of chef Dan Churchill’s frozen blueberry dog treats?). But! Be mindful about when you’re giving dogs food. More on that later. 

4. Provide party favors.

If you really want to splash out (sorry), you could put together party favors for everyone to take home. Maybe some tropical-themed plush toys from P.L.A.Y., one of celebrity dog trainer and The Wildest Collective member Nicole Ellis’s favorite toy brands. Or some towels for everyone to dry off with. 

5. Prep your pool.

Once you’ve got your decor, refreshments, and party favors set up, make sure your pool is ready for its canine guests. If you have a regular pool, Darcis recommends putting socks in the skimmers to protect the filters from filling up with too much hair. And if it’s a regular chlorinated pool, have a hose or buckets of tap water on hand to rinse the dogs with after, as too much chlorine can sometimes irritate their skin.

Should I provide toys and activities for the dogs?

So, you’ve invited a group of chill dogs who are strong swimmers and don’t have problems with sharing. And you’ve invited their human companions. Now what? It's time to think toys: There are dog pool beds and pet pool floats you could invest in — there are even pool mats for dogs. Check out some of our favorite summer gear for pups to keep them cool at your party. If you really want to go all out for the photos, there are dog swimsuits and even bikinis.

Should I provide treats and refreshments for the dogs?

Planning out when dogs eat is key at a pool party. Here are some of Darcis’ top tips for snacking and drinking:

  • Darcis says dogs shouldn’t eat for three hours before they swim and should use the bathroom before coming to the fête. Otherwise: “You can end up with a pool littered with poop.”

  • Remember to take everyone for regular pee and poop breaks while they’re at the party, so you don’t end up with a Caddyshack situation on your hands (except this time it definitely won’t be a Baby Ruth floating in the pool).

  • Don’t have any kind of (very toxic) chocolate bars at your dog pool party.

  • Refrain from giving dogs any treats while they’re in the pool. “Swimming is a lot of exercise and feeding them during swims can make them throw up,” Darcis says. Plus, you probably don’t want to be cleaning bits of dog food out of your pool filter. 

Who should you invite to a dog pool party?

Friends! Enemies! Lovers! And, if you have a regular pool, only dogs who are comfortable swimming. As Dominique Darcis, the owner of the K9 Aquatic Center in Potomac, Maryland, explains: “Take your dog to a pool party if your dog enjoys swimming, and do not believe that dogs just know how to swim. Totally untrue, and some dogs could drown.” Indeed, while swimming may be second-nature for Labs and Golden Retrievers, dogs with flat faces, including Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers, and those with long bodies and short legs, such as Corgis, Dachshunds, and Basset Hounds, have a hard time swimming, and may tire quickly or struggle to breathe. (They’ll probably enjoy splashing around in a kiddie pool, though.)

Darcis added that it’s important to keep the doggie dynamics in mind when compiling your guest list. Invite dogs who like each other and are comfortable in groups. And make sure that you don’t invite any dogs who are toy-reactive. “You don’t want a fight in the middle of the pool,” Darcis cautions.

Can all dogs attend a dog pool party?

Kinda common sense, but dont bring your dog to a pool party if they arent well socialized, or if theyre averse to the water!

Can I hire professional help for the dog pool party?

Once the festivities are well under way, remember that it’s essential to make sure the dogs are supervised at all times. Darcis says that having life vests on all the dogs would be ideal, but that at minimum, people should always be in the water with them to make sure everything goes smoothly. As tempting as it may be to knock back a few beers while you watch the dogs play, Darcis recommends against it. “Don’t mix alcohol and dog pool parties.”

What safety precautions should I take for a dog pool party?

Even if a dog is a good swimmer, you have to show them how to get out of the pool so they can exit safely if they want to. When they first get in, guide them to the pool ramp or to the steps and help them get out so they can see how it’s done. Repeat this a couple of times if necessary. 

FAQs (People Also Ask):

1) Should I set any rules or guidelines for the dog pool party?

General rules and safety guidelines should include ensuring that each attendee’s dog does not go to the bathroom in the pool and that their dogs are safe in the water.

2) Should I have a designated area for rest or shade?

Yes; make sure there is a space where dogs can get some shade and relax. Minnidip makes beach cabanas if you don’t have a shaded area.

3) How can I handle any potential conflicts or dog behavior issues?

Make sure youre watching for any signs of conflict, such as growling or baring teeth. Ask your guest to separate or remove their dog before a fight breaks out.

4) What can I do to make the dog pool party enjoyable for all attendees?

Your human guests will appreciate the same consideration you gave their dogs: snacks, refreshments, and some shade!


madeleine aggeler

Madeleine Aggeler

Madeleine Aggeler is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a writer at New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives with her dog, Cleo, who works primarily as a foot warmer.

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