Choosing a Hydrotherapy Pool for Dogs
There are many factors to consider when trying to figure out what kind of pool to buy.
Going in-ground with a permanent pool.
You can go in-ground with a custom swimming pool and build it specific to your needs. However you'll want to make sure you're zoned for business and that you want to do this as this is a permanent decision.
Going in-ground with a preformed fiberglass pool:
Another fun option but again, make sure you want this as its rather permanent. Also, in a dog spa - it's nice to be able to empty your water once in a while to clean thoroughly. Some of the preformed fiberglass pools are not designed to empty as they'll pop out of the ground if there is ground water. To get around this, some people put them in a cement vault.
Swim Spa/Endless Pool:
This is a nice option and they're moveable if you decide you want to move the business or in case you are going into rented space. These are usually a maximum of 8' in width as they are designed to be self contained and self supported and above ground. I like the swim spa for canine therapy because the flow of the water is enhanced with the jets and you can empty and clean and refill easily. The challenge is to find a swim spa with a good access for canines. Easy entry steps and benches are what you will want to look for.
A couple of swim spas that I personally like due to the easy entry for dogs and the benches for resting are the Florida North Pool at www.swimspas.com and the Elite Spas at www.elite-spas.com. The Florida North pool comes in a nice 8x20 size while the Elite Spa only comes in a smaller 7.5x14.5 size. However look at this video if you want to see 2 big beautiful dogs swimming gracefully in the smaller size pool:
Bigger is not always better when it comes to a dog spa - less water to maintain means you can drive that water into the filters and take better care of it.
An above ground liner:
A vinyl liner pool has a custom made sheet of vinyl between the water and the pool structure. This is in contrast to a gunite or shotcrete pool which uses plaster as its waterproofing membrane. Vinyl liners typically lock their top edge, called a bead, into a track located on the bottom of the coping, which is at deck level. Underneath the liner is a sand or cementitious floor, specified in dimension to the "cut" of the liner that is to be used. The floors come up to meet the walls, which are commonly 3 ft by 8 ft panels made of galvanized steel or thermoplastic. These walls are supported from behind so that they won't bow out against the weight of the water. All of the wall panels are secured together to make up the perimeter shape of the pool. For this reason, there are some limitations to the possible shapes of a vinyl liner pool. These are nice options when you need to be portable, they are cheaper than the other options but they lack water flow and so you will need to work hard to keep these pools clean.
If you choose an above ground liner, there are some nifty steps now to help get dogs safely in the pool.
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