Filtration Methods

When thinking about filtration and dog pools its all about the hair!

There are 3 main options on the market today for filters – a D.E. Filter (which stands for Diatomaceous Earth), a SAND filter or a Cartridge filter. I think the most important thing is to oversize your filter. Go with the largest filter size you can get, its money well spent.

Something that most pool companies won’t understand is that we are dealing with dog hair. We aren’t going to ask our clients to put bathing caps on and so we need to beef up the water flow to move that water into these filters and then we need to get a filter that is easy to maintain for dog hair.


The D.E. filter is the most efficient type of pool filter on the market. It can trap particles down to 3 – 5 microns; well below what the naked eye can see. As with sand filters, the pressure gauge indicates a need for backwashing when it reads 8 – 10 lbs. higher than its clean reading. After backwashing a D.E. filter, a new application of D.E. filter powder is added to the filter by pouring into the skimmer. An annual breakdown of the filter is necessary to thoroughly clean D.E. filter grids. Many people who are in the canine hydrotherapy business love their DE filters and I have personally enjoyed their sparkeling clean pools… however there is more maintenance to this filter than the cartridge filter for dog hair. Adding skimmer options and baskets and catch pots to help catch the hair before it goes to the filter is money well spent. Another concern I have personally with a DE filter is that several counties are concerned with this option for the environment and won’t allow any backwash from a DE filter to enter the septic systems… makes me go hmmmmmm.


The cartridge filter is an aquatic version of the pleated air cleaner in your car, traps dirt and particles of 25 – 100 microns in size. Although most people try various ways to clean and reuse their cartridge filters, I personally enjoyed the fine art of pulling them out, waving my arms over them lovingly and thanking them for all they do, and then tossing them into the trash. No backwashing involved, just a quick swap out that takes about 30 seconds and I’m back in business. As you can tell, this is my personal favorite method – however, the cartridge filters have to be oversized for your pool and your circulation pumps oversized as well to drive water and hair into and through your filter. With that said, my cartridge filtered pools were never as clean as the DE filtered pools I work in.


The sand filter is graded to trap particles in the 20 – 100 micron range. As a sand filter collects dirt, its efficiency increases, trapping more dirt. When your pressure gauge shows a reading 8 – 10 lbs. over its clean, start-up reading, it is time to backwash the captured dirt out of the filter. There are happy dog spa people with their sand filters, however I personally wasn’t one of them. My first pool had a sand filter and the dog hair used to make channels through the sand that were impossible to clean. There are now better products to put in your sand filter however and again, beef up your pre-filter hair catching mechanisms and you’ll be be so much happier !!!