What to Do When You Find an Animal in Your Pool

What to Do When You Find an Animal in Your Pool
Pools are wonderful. There are many joys of pool ownership, but today, let’s deal with an unpleasant topic. What do you do when you find an animal in your pool?

Are There Serious Health Risks When You Find an Animal in Your Pool?

Let’s get this out of the way early. Most dead animals found in a pool do not pose an immediate threat to swimmers. We take health seriously, so we’re very honest when it comes to discussing the safety of public pools and why you shouldn’t drink the pool water. Fortunately, waking to find an animal in your pool may not be the health disaster it first appears to be.

The fact is, most of the time, the germs that a drowned animal carry will not spread into the water. According to the CDC, these germs should only affect the poor creature you’ve discovered. In a grand majority of cases, the chlorine levels of a well-maintained pool should be enough to disinfect the water.

That said, a floating carcass is not exactly something that makes for a pleasant swimming experience. When you find an animal in your pool, you should quickly and carefully remove the body. It also wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of extra pool maintenance to ensure a healthy swimming environment. After all, there are always exceptions to consider. For example, if a raccoon drowns in your pool, it may be infected with a worm called Baylisascaris, which can spread to humans. For more information, go to CDC’s Raccoons and Pools page.

How to Deal With a Dead Animal in Your Pool

  1. Skim the Animal Out

First, be sure to use the tools you have available. Above all, a pool skimmer will be your best friend if you find an animal in your pool. While wearing rubber or latex gloves to avoid contamination, use this tool to fish out the poor deceased creature. This has two benefits. For one, you won’t need to touch the animal. For two, you’ll be able to tell that the animal is actually dead… instead of receiving a nasty surprise attack.

  1. Dealing with the Body

The next step is to dispose of the body. Call your local animal control department to learn what to do next. Depending on where you live, there may be different regulations when it comes to removing an animal’s body. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with the creature.

  1. Shock the Water

Next, you’ll want to give your pool water some extra love. Shock your pool with enough chlorine to give it a solid “cleansing.” Typically, this will mean raising the chlorine levels to 2 parts per million (ppm). For your pH levels, keep them at 7.5 or less. This shock should be maintained for a minimum of 30 minutes. Ideally, you should keep a close eye on the water for a day, testing at periodic intervals so you can be absolutely sure that the chemical levels aren’t too high.

After letting your water levels return to normal, let your filter run overnight before anyone gets in the water.

Dead or Alive, You’re Getting Out of the Pool

Of course, when you find an animal in your pool…it might not be dead! In Florida, for example, alligators are known to climb into people’s pools. This happens far more often than many Florida pool owners would like! Here’s one such harrowing story that was captured on video:



Now, the rules of dealing with a live animal are very different than the steps above. We’ll go over some steps in a future article, but as a general rule: stay as safe as possible! Call your local animal control service instead of attempting to move the live animal yourself. Besides the obvious risk of angering a gator, you can never know what diseases an animal may be carrying. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Leave live animals to the professionals.