The 3 best portable dog pools to beat the summer heat

The 3 best portable dog pools to beat the summer heat

Summer is quickly approaching, which means heat, humidity and the dog days of summer.

Literally. Once the weather warms up, dogs are all about soaking in the sun.

But our furry friends don’t always know how much heat is too much.

That’s why pools and water activities are perfect for cooling down. Keep reading to find out which pool best suits your pup.

Staying cool is essential for beating summer heat

As much as your dog wants to run around, it’s important to make sure they know when it’s time to cool off – but that doesn’t mean keeping your dog locked in the air conditioning all day, since physical activity is vital to keep your dog happy and healthy. Monitoring their outdoor activity and providing plenty of water and shade can go a long way in providing a healthy, fun summer for your pooch.

Signs and symptoms of overheating

As a bulldog owner, I’m all too familiar with the hazards heat can pose – even on “lazy” breeds! Heat stroke doesn’t discriminate, so all owners should be aware of the tell-tale signs of their dog possibly suffering from this affliction.

Early intervention is crucial to saving your dog’s life. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature - above 103° F (39° C)
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Rapid heart rate

The damages of heat stroke can become irreversible in a short time frame.  If your dog exhibits any of these signs after being exposed to heat, be prepared cool your dog as quickly as possible. Getting your dog into air conditioning, or packing their body with ice (particularly on the chest and between the back legs) can buy you valuable time as you transport him to the vet.

newfoundland dog in pool

Even dogs not interested in water can get used to pools and enjoy a swim. Image: Tracy Lee

How to help your dog avoid overheating

Early prevention of heat stroke is key. The most important part of which, according to Dr. Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health, is being able to recognize if your dog is at increased risk of overheating.

  • Elderly, very young, or sick dogs
  • Brachycephalic dogs (bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers)
  • Double-coated and heavy-skinned dogs
  • Overweight dogs

While any dog can be at risk, some easy preventative measures can keep them happy and cool all summer.

Always be sure to provide clean, fresh water to your dogs and keep an eye out for shady spots that are great for cooling down during play or walk time. And of course, keep activity bursts short and sweet or reserved for the coolest hours in the day.

It should go without saying, but as a reminder - never leave your dog unattended in a car during the summer months. Temperatures climb rapidly inside vehicles and can quickly send your dog into a heat stroke that can be extremely difficult to recover from.

If you’re worried or unsure about your dog’s susceptibility to heat stroke, consult your veterinarian.

Water activities are a prime option for your dog

Dogs and cats differ in a lot of ways, water being one of them. Most dogs love getting a running start and diving right into the muddiest puddle they can find. Swimming benefits your dog in more ways than just that great wet-dog smell.

Swimming obviously provides physical exercise, and who doesn’t love a dog too worn-out to bark at the neighbors? But if offers a lot more than that:

Mental stimulation

Many breeds thrive on brain games, and boredom can cause them to become destructive. Even my bulldog will cop an attitude every now and then, so less-active breeds can benefit from a pool, as well. It’s a great option to wear out both the body and mind – creating one happy bulldog, in my case.

Low-impact fun for senior/arthritic dogs

Thanks to the body’s natural buoyancy in water, swimming is a great choice for older/arthritic dogs. The water relieves the stress on the joints (making movement more comfortable) and aids in temporary pain relief.

Regulating temperature on warm days

Pools, particularly with lighter colored lining, can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the air temperature. Soaking in the pool helps lower your dog’s core body temperature so they can withstand the heat for longer amounts of time, which means extra time making memories with your best friend.

Not all dogs are likely to take to the water like a fish, though. Some breeds, like the Labrador or Duck Tolling retriever, are impossible to keep dry, while others prefer to steer clear of any H2O. Luckily, any pup can be persuaded.

Dog-friendly water activities

For those with dogs a little too chicken to get their feet wet, there’s a host of other water-bound activities they can tag along to. Just be sure to provide your dog with the property safety measures (like a life vest) before embarking on any of the following:

  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Paddle boarding
  • Fishing

Getting your dog out to natural bodies of water like a river, lake or even the beach is a great option for you both, but keep in mind that natural bodies also come with these dangers:

  • Bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Animals (snapping turtles, fish, snakes, etc.)
  • Sharp rocks/shells
  • Currents

Dog-friendly pool recommendations

Fortunately, these dangers can be eliminated with a safe, contained, fresh body of water – a doggy pool. Here are your best bets for dog pools for the summer:

One Dog One Bone Dog Pool

A One Dog, One Bone Dog Pool is perfect for dogs of every size.

Not only is this option adorable, but it’s also a great size. It holds up to 85 gallons of water and is made from the same material as truck bed liners, making it chew resistant. It also boasts a brass garden hose thread drain, making the Bone Pool easy to drain and clean.

With dimensions of 11” x 44” x 66”, the Bone Pool is great for all dog sizes and is even approved by owners of Newfoundlands. If these 140-pound dogs can enjoy the Bone Pool, any dog can.

This pool is on the pricier side, but with the ability to withstand tough treatment it should pay for itself in longevity. It’s made with Heavy Duty Virgin High Molecular Weight Polyethylene and has a 25% UV inhibitor. This helps to prevent it from disintegrating and crumbling apart if it’s left out in the sun. Plus, your pup is worth it.


  • Durability
  • Plenty of space
  • Easy to drain and clean
  • UV resistant
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A.


  • Price
  • Ease of storage

You can read more reviews and buy the One Dog One Bone pool on Amazon. 

One Dog One Bone Paw Pool

The One Dog, One Bone Paw Pool is perfect for smaller dogs.

Small dogs swim too, making this 25 gallon paw-shaped pool the perfect option. This heavy duty liner is chew resistant and still flexible, allowing for easy draining. The reviews speak for themselves: This pool can withstand some serious abuse.

Made by the same manufacturer of the Bone Pool, the Paw Pool’s longevity isn’t a question. With the same perks as the aforementioned pool, the Paw Pool comes in at a lower price point, making it more appealing to those with a budget-conscious mind.


  • Durability
  • Safe for small dogs
  • Easy to drain/clean
  • UV resistant
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A.


  • Not adequate for larger dogs

You can purchase the One Dog One Bone paw pool on Amazon.

FrontPet Foldable Dog Pool

This FrontPet pool is perfect for dog parents on a budget.

This pool is a great option for those on a budget. For an affordable price your dog can lounge in this 12-inch-deep pool until the hot days pass. It also folds down, making storage a breeze, while the lining makes cleaning an after-thought.

While it’s made of extra-strength PVC material, it’s important to note that power chewers (like my bulldog) may find this pool to be just the challenge they love. Keep an eye on your dog if they’re prone to chewing and correct them if they think the pool is actually a giant chew toy.


  • Low price
  • Good depth for soaking/bathing
  • Easily folded and stored


  • Lack of durability
  • Not UV resistant
  • Not suitable for power chewers

You can read more reviews and buy the PetFront Foldable dog pool on Amazon.

These are our top 3 portable pools for your dog. However, there are countless more options available to you. So, do your research and select the pool that best suits your dog’s needs.

How do I introduce my dog to the pool?

Despite your dog’s enthusiasm for water, or lack thereof, a proper introduction to the pool is necessary. The last thing you want is your dog to have a poor first experience with the pool this summer.

Introducing your dog to the pool when he’s a puppy is ideal. But for the many of us that adopt adult dogs, these steps still hold true for a great first impression.

Start shallow

“Baby steps” are recommended for a reason. Allowing your dog to inspect the pool on their own time allows them to build the confidence they need in order to, y’know, swim in it. Begin with no water in the pool and once your dog seems comfortable, slowly add water.

Toss in some goodies

If your dog is like mine, he avoids doing anything unless there’s something in it for him. This is where treats come in handy, particularly for dogs who are food-motivated. To help get your dog into the water, feel free to toss their favorite toys or treats into the pool.

Praise, praise, praise

If all else fails, praise and enthusiasm can go a long way in coaxing your dog into the water. And if that doesn’t quite work, hop in yourself and baby-talk away!

If they’re a water-hound

For those with water-loving dogs … I’m jealous, but the hard work is done for you! Keep the water shallow until you’re confident your dog knows the ins and outs of the pool. Once you’re sure they’re comfortable, feel free to add in more water and let the splashing commence!

Post-swim care

While swimming and lounging in the pool are great summer activities for your dog, it’s important to remember proper cleaning once your dog is out of the water.

wet chihuahua wrapped in towel

Make sure to dry behind your pup’s ears! Image: Michael Tipton

Drying your dog off

Nobody wants a water-logged dog running through the house or jumping into the car. Keep a towel handy to dry your pup off once the pool is closed – or at least as much as they’ll allow.

For dogs with folded ears and wrinkles (I’m looking at you, bulldog owners), keep a smaller towel handy to thoroughly dry your pup’s ears and folds. This prevents bacteria from growing in these places (they thrive on moisture) and avoids infections. A happy wrinkly-faced pup is the best!

Here’s a quick life hack: give your dog a bath before you’re ready to dry them off. This eliminates that wet-dog smell and rids your dog’s coat of any loose grass or dirt that found its way into the water. And you’re conserving water: win-win!

Clean and properly store your pool

As mundane as it is, giving your dog’s pool a good rinse is essential for removing bacteria, dirt, and prolonging the life of the pool. Why spend the money to make your dog happy only to treat it poorly?

Store the pool in a dry place where it can avoid as much weather damage as possible, particularly during the winter months.

Enjoy the company of your summer side-kick

At the end of a long summer’s day, be sure to enjoy the time spent with your best little buddy. A pool, water and treats are the ingredients to a great warm day for your dog. Stay alert for signs of overheating and remember to take it slow when introducing your dog to the pool for the best possible results.

While the heat of the afternoon fades, the memories made splashing in the water with your dog will last a lifetime. So, soak it all up and enjoy.

-Brooke Ketron

Brooke pretends to be a normal person with a full-time marketing job, but really she is the epitome of a “dog mom.” She obsesses over her two boys, Rowdy (English Bulldog) and Koda (Pitbull/Catahoula mix), and is often times found doting over them and purchasing way too many collars. And, when she’s not with her dogs, she’s with her bigger dogs … horses. 

Feature image: localpups