Building a Senior and Pet-Friendly Pool or Garden
Article by Jane Day, freelance writer
If you have just had a stunning natural swimming pool (NSP) placed in your garden, then you are probably looking forward to having a dip, doing laps, or simply enjoying a poolside picnic with family and friends. Natural pools are an excellent way to celebrate nature, lower your body temperature in the summer, and reap the many benefits of Vitamin D. If you are over 65 and you have pets, make the most of your brand new pool by following a few safety measures in the pool and garden area.
Keeping it Safe for Your Pooch
The flora around your natural pool is one of the most important elements of its design; make sure that the none of the plants adjacent to the pool are toxic to dogs. Some of the most common plants in American gardens (including daffodils, lilies and azaleas) can cause digestive upset or worse, even when small amounts are ingested so opt for safer varieties, consulting a landscaping specialist if necessary to ensure your garden contains an interesting variety of plants.
What is so Special about a Natural Pool?
This category definitely applies both you seniors and to pets, since natural pools promote better health by virtue of being 100% chemical free. People with asthma and COPD and dogs with respiratory conditions often have a worsening of symptoms when they swim in pools which are sterilized or disinfected with chlorine and other chemicals. According to the Lung Institute, in conventional pools, “The chemicals can irritate the airways and induce cough and wheezing.”
Natural pools are still a relatively new concept in the U.S. but they are fast growing in popularity, because they purify water naturally, using a carefully designed biological filtration system. Natural pools (which should be distinguished from pools that merely look ‘natural’ or have lake or lagoon features) are 100% chemical-free, ecologically harmonious, and healthful for humans [pooches] and the environment.
Going Natural in the Great Outdoors
Be careful of fertilizers; try to use pet-friendly varieties instead, which contain less chemicals that can harm your dog. To keep insects at bay, try making a natural spray comprising water with a few drops of therapeutic grade citrus essential oils. To catch slugs, try placing empty egg cartons beneath plants and check daily. Small steps such as these can do plenty to protect your pet’s health.
It is also important to keep bottles with chemical contents in your garden shed; dogs can be very curious and can chew and gnaw at bottle caps, inadvertently swallowing toxic contents.
Preventing The Great Escape
Dogs can quickly dig a gap beneath a garden fence that is just large enough to escape through, so make sure there is pavement between your fence and the garden, or build a sturdy hedge that will act as a deterrent to attempted escapes. Efforts such as these may seem a bit laborious, but your four- pawed friend is definitely worth it. Research has shown that dogs bring many benefits to seniors, including companionship, stress reduction, and exercise! Somehow, when you have a dog, staying at home all day is not an option, since every pooch needs at least one good, long walk a day.
Watch Out for Possible Fall Risks for Seniors in the Garden
The lawn surrounding your pool should be completely smooth, with no gaps, holes, or level changes that could prove to be a tripping risks for seniors. Make sure you have a nice shady spot to protect your skin against potentially harmful UV rays during the peak hours of summer. Your dog should have his house or bed here too, as well as a bowl full of fresh water.
Try to keep your garden as clutter-free as possible; too much furniture, tools left on the ground, and potted plants can pose fall risks as well. Think ‘clean and clear’ when it comes to your lawn, and allow your natural pool to be the focal aesthetic point of your garden area.
The pool is a magnificent place to enjoy the many benefits that being in nature can bring. Mindfulness, relaxation, and stress relief are just a few of these. To eliminate potential upsets, ensure your garden is as clutter-free as possible, and get rid of the many toxins that can endanger the life of your beloved pooch.
For more information about natural swimming pools (NSPs), please visit