Dog Hair: Some Floats, Some Sinks

A Day In The Life Of A Pool Owner/Cleaner!
By Melissa Barran of SplashDog Spa in Edmonds, WA
Courtesy ACWT

I never in a million years thought I would become an expert on dog hair and fur. And not just any expert – oh no. I’ve become an expert on which dog hair floats and which dog hair sinks. And you think you have an exciting life.

Picture this. It’s SplashDog’s grand opening and I’m ready to open the doors. The facility, the pool, and the staff are all ready to accept clients. The phone starts to ring and our first client is a golden retriever. The session went great! Upon conclusion the guardian, therapist and pup leave the pool deck area to book their next appointment. I’m still poolside, knowing I need to spruce the pool area up just a little before the next client comes in. A LITTLE BIT? Oh my gosh. Fur everywhere! On the edge of the pool, on the circulation intake device at the bottom of the pool, floating on top of the water and in the pool skimmer basket – there is Golden fur EVERYWHERE! Now I have to really jump into action to clean up the area, and I have to do it fast! What do I do?

I grab my trusty hand skimmer and begin the back and forth process of picking up as much of the Golden Fleece as I can. OK, that’s good, now to the skimmer built into the side of the pool. I empty the catch basket, which prevents hair and any other large debris from entering the main filter system. Then I turn off the circulation pump, which releases the hair from the intake grid. Almost done with a minute to spare – I quickly wipe off the pool edge with a towel and it looks like new. Whew, just in time for the next client. I did it!

The next client was going to be easy – at least that’s what I thought. A dog with short hair – a black lab. All I can tell you is when that pup left the pool I could not see the white fiberglass bottom of the pool. It looked like a huge etch-a-sketch board with all those black particles filling the screen! You see, lab fur sinks – unlike the Golden fur, which floats. This fur went to the bottom like little tiny sinking ships.


And this is just the tip of the tail. You have your German Shepherds, Pugs, Whippets, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Mutts and Old English Sheep Dogs, just to name a few. I can hardly wait until next week…we have an Irish Wolfhound coming in for therapy. Maybe someday we will be fortunate enough to have a Chinese Crested in as a client and I can actually take a break.

So here is the deal. To get your PhD in Hairology, you need to understand that in our business, hair and fur pool management is a whole discipline unto itself. But, I do have some tips for you if it’s your turn to clean the pool.


Hairology 101:

  • Ask your clients to brush their canine friend before coming to your facility.
  • Hand skim after every appointment.
  • Clean out the in-pool skimmer basket after every appointment.
  • I recently purchased a Pool Buster to make quick work of vacuuming the bottom of the pool at the end of an appointment. Pool Busters are battery operated and cost about $200. They are well worth the money!
  • If you have a pool with air jets, place them on high between appointments. That will help kick up the hair so you can skim it off the top.
  • Backflush or change your filter as needed.
  • Keep all the hair and fur you have collected and knit yourself a nice sweater for the winter – just kidding!