Three weeks ago we posted a survey online and at the bulletin board at Grant Bark Park, in response to a Facebook comment:
“PLEASE REMOVE THE KIDDIE POOLS FROM THE GRANT PARK DOG PARK, These things are breeding pools of disease for dogs, especially puppies. If this is were my yearly membership is spent, I don’t know why I bother.”
This issue has come up before (August 2010):
“Possible Water-borne Disease – A park user reported that his dogs got Giardia, and blamed the kiddie pools at GBP for transmission of disease. Board members argued that dogs love the pools in the hot weather, and that they provide a real benefit. Is there a way to work around the potential for water-borne disease transmission by posting ‘pool rules’ that specify, for example, that the water should be changed frequently, and by providing dilute bleach solution? Sarah agreed to discuss the issue with her vet and report back with a draft of a ‘pool rules’ sign to be posted on the ‘lock box’.“
Our decision at the time was to implement ‘Pool Rules’ that instructed Grant Bark Park users to frequently dump out and refresh the water, and to periodically clean out the pools using a dilute bleach solution. The pools at GBP cracked and fell apart by year’s end, and they were thrown out over the winter.
Other Chicago DFA’s have kiddie pools during the summer, and they also rely on park users to be concientious about maintaining the pools. The folks at the Churchill Park DFA, for example, recently posted:
“Please help keep the pools clean, keep the water running, empty when dirty or peed in and don’t leave them full if you’re the last one to leave the park. We want our dogs cool and healthy!! Thanks and enjoy your weekend!”
We are well aware of the issue of disease transmission, but we have to balance that with the needs of dogs at the parks. The pools that appeared at the park this year were brought in by a park user, they were not supplied by the SLDogPAC!
There have now been twenty five (25) votes submitted online and by email:
‘Yes’ – 21
‘No’ – 4
We consider the result of our survey to give us a ‘sense of the park’ – people do want the pools (or something wet!) in the park. But we have to take concerns about disease seriously – is there a ‘better way’?
These are the comments we received:
As long as they are emptied every day and rinsed often, they should be safe, and the dogs love them!
It’s a great way for the dogs to stay cool while getting the exercise they need!
Yes, and dumped out at the end of the day. What’s the research say?
Only if the water got changed on a regular basis. Might be a breeding ground for bacteria and disease.
My dog loves them!
Make a rule to empty it if u leave – so new dogs don’t enter to old water
Maybe one bigger one.
It’s the best way for bulldogs to beat the heat.
My dogs (2) love them.
Keeps my doggy cool
I’m kind of torn on this. I think they’re a great way to keep dogs cool, but on the other hand, without regularly refreshing/changing the water they can get kind of icky. Our dog has twice developed hot spots after he’s spent an entire day tromping thru the pool at daycare…So now we don’t take him during the summer. How about a nice sprinkler instead?
Sprinkler yes pool no! Too many dogs get sick!!!!
Bacteria, disease, lack of ownership for taking care of them.
I was just in the dog park this morning and saw the poll being taken about the kiddie pools. Shouldn’t the question be “Are kiddie pools healthy for our dogs?” not “Should we have them?”. Pools of standing water bring mosquitoes – and with the new research about a new batch of mosquitoes being heartworm medicine resistant, standing water is not a good thing. Also, dogs pee in the water, stand (with paws that have been whoknowswhere) and lap it up. If you have a puppy, senior dog, immune compromised dog, etc. “community” water is not a good thing. Heat alone brings on drooling and diharea both of which gets transferred easily to water. I think the individual water bowls being refreshed with clean water when you bring your dog into the park is a good idea. For summer fun, it would seem that a sprinkler would be the healthiest way to go for our puppies. Sorry, I have to vote “no” for the kiddie pools.
We invite those of you who feel strongly about this issue, pro or con, to participate directly in the decisions being made about your dog park – come to SLDogPAC board meetings, join our committees, or send us an email!
Either way in the end it’s up to you, Grant Bark Park users, to make a difference.