Is Dog Hair Bad for Pools? Tips to Save Thousands in Repair Costs

It’s not just your own hair-clogging up drains that should worry you. I’ve had my fair share of blockages because of hair and have since learned my lesson. Since then, I’ve encountered a new hair problem to handle. My dog loves to swim in the pool! So is dog hair bad for pools?

Dog hair can damage or even ruin a pool pump or filter if you don’t maintain it frequently. Failure to take simple precautions can result in unnecessary and costly damage to your pool’s filtration system.

I love that my dog loves to swim. It makes for a fun time in the pool and at the beach and gives her plenty of exercise. My dog’s health, safety, and quality of life are essential to me, so having her swim in the pool is not the issue. You need to understand what can happen to your pool pump and how you can prevent dog hair from causing any damage to your filtration system. 

Dog hair can be bad for pools if you don't take proper steps both before and after they swim.

Can Dog Hair Ruin a Pool Pump?

Our fur babies love to cool down in the pool just as much as we do. Naturally having more hair than us, they shed a lot more hair than we do. The hair that they shed can indeed ruin your pool pump by getting into your filtration system through the skimmer. 

The skimmer’s job is to pick up all the dirt from within the pool and prevent larger bits of debris from getting into the filtration system. Unfortunately, they aren’t designed to block out the smaller fragments, like dog hair. 

When the skimmer picks up the hair and any attached dirt, the pump sucks the hair into the filtration system, where the blockage can be caused. The hair gets clogged up in the filter and will severely impact how the pump releases water back into the pool. 

Without the proper water circulation pumping the cleaning chemicals through the pool, there is the risk of an unpleasant algae problem. Your pool water needs to be constantly circulating to stay clean for swimming

Dog hair is bad for swimming pools if it slips through the skimmer and clogs up the filtration system.

What Happens to Dog Hair that gets in the Pool?

It’s very typical for dogs to be shedding just as we do. They lose dead or damaged hair, so there’s room for a new coat to grow. Also, depending on the breed, they may go through a more aggressive seasonal shedding. The dog hair floats on the surface of the pool and gets picked up by the skimmer. 

Here’s a recap of what happens when dog hair gets into the pool. 

  1. Skimmer catches the hair, some of which will be caught in the basket, but not all.
  2. The pump pulls water through the skimmer into the filter along with the hair follicles.  
  3. Dog hair and dust clog the filter. Dog hair is finer than human hair and can bypass the trap installed in the pump. 
  4. Pump pressure is reduced because of the blockage. If severe enough, the pump motor becomes overworked.
  5. The pool is no longer being cleaned efficiently and can result in algae production.

In a nutshell, dog hair that gets into the pool can clog up the pool’s filtration system and wear down the pump if not cleaned immediately after your dog has been swimming. I have a small cartridge filter in my pool pump and regularly find more than just dog hair clogging it up. 

Dog hair can stick to other debris and get pulled in through the main drain also.

Additional Dirt and Debris

Because dogs have a funny habit of rolling around on the ground, their hair carries a fair amount of dirt and debris. If you haven’t bathed your dog before jumping in the pool for a swim, the dirt will come off in the pool, usually sticking to the loose hair or sink to the bottom where it gets picked up by the main drain. 

How to Limit Dog Hair in the Pool

Fortunately, there are ways in which we can manage dog hair in the pool. Some of these solutions take minimal effort, while some might sound time-consuming and a little bothersome. Take a look at some of these suggestions to help you prevent dog hair from ruining your pool’s filter.  

  1. Wash your fluffy friend before swimming
    To avoid the dirt and dust that comes along with your dog’s hair, try to wash them or even hose them down before getting into the pool to limit the amount of debris. Remember to clear any hair from the area so that it doesn’t get blown into the water. 
  2. Brush or de-shed
    Have you ever heard of a de-shedding brush? I use one of these for my dog at home and de-shed her before swimming in the pool. It’s worked well, and I’m finding much less dog hair after a swim.

    deShedding Tools for Dogs and Cats | FURminator®
  3. Skimmer Socks
    Try skimmer socks. Perfect for catching lawn, bugs, and dog hair before it gets to the filter.

    Custom Molded Products Large Pool Skimmer Socks 5-Pack – 58307-100-000 –
  4. Turn the pump off while you’re swimming with the dog
    To stop the hair from getting into the skimmer and essentially the rest of the pump, turn the pump off while swimming. It doesn’t mean the water isn’t circulating, but you can sweep the pool and turn the pump back on when you’re done. You’ll need to check the PH levels and make adjustments to the water levels.
  5. Invest in a Robotic pool cleaner
    Yes, robots are the way of the future. This robotic pool sweep is expensive, but it gets the job done. The robot cleans above and below the surface for optimum effect.

    Dolphin Nautilus CC – Maytronics (
Robotic pool cleaners that also skim the waterline can help tremendously.

What to Do After Your Dog Swims in Your Pool

Here’s what you should do almost immediately after your dog has been for a fun swim in the pool. 

  1. Clean the Pool
    Try to clean as much hair, dirt, debris, grass, and bugs as you can. Don’t wait for the skimmer to do it for you. As you read above, the skimmer will pick up almost everything and try to push it through the filter if the smaller particles have bypassed the trap. Please don’t do what I did and wake up to find an overworked, struggling pump. Clean your pool ASAP!
  2. Clean the Filter
    It doesn’t matter the size or type of your filter; check it and clean it. You never know how much your skimmer picks up while you’re having too much fun to notice. Always check your filter before leaving the pool for the day. You never know what you might find!
  3. Check the PH levels
    Having one dog in your pool is the equivalent of having three humans in the pool. This means the PH levels of your pool will be imbalanced, and you should check if you need to add any chemicals. If the PH levels are out, you could start to see some damage to your pool fittings and some nasty bacteria growth.


Dog hair in the pool’s filtration system can get worse over time if left untreated. It’s a necessary effort to go through if you want to keep your pool swimmable and your pool pump working effectively. Don’t leave dog hair in your pool, and always check your filter after your dog has had a swim or risk ruining your pool pump.