Some dogs love to swim, especially Labrador retrievers and other breeds that retrieve waterfowl. They instinctively jump into rivers, lakes, ponds and even puddles, and they long for the opportunity to take a refreshing dip. Collapsible wading pools are ideal for those that just want to get wet, but they do not last very long. Without side supports, the plastic eventually cracks and develops irreparable leaks. You can make an easy in-ground swimming pool for your dog, and without pouring concrete or investing a lot of time or money.
Before getting started on any outdoor project that involves digging, call 811 at least three days in advance to have underground utilities marked. It is a free service for homeowners as well as businesses.
Also, keep in mind that dogs can become sunburned, even those with thick coats. Consider placing the in-ground swimming pool in a partially shaded location. Otherwise, buy a large portable patio umbrella to protect their skin, nose, ears and eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.
To make a cheap and easy in-ground pool for dogs you will need a hard plastic wading pool of your choice, a can of spray chalk, a sturdy shovel with a flat end, a two-inch by four-inch piece of wood, a sturdy shovel with a pointed end, enough sand to create a smooth and level surface, a heavy-duty garden rake, a handheld tamping tool and a long level. A wheelbarrow is also helpful for hauling away the sod and extra soil.
If a round plastic swimming pool seems too plain for your pampered pooches, consider looking for a bone-shaped or paw-shaped alternative. They are made especially for dogs, but because of their unique shape and weight, they cost hundreds of dollars. If you cannot find something thick enough to withstand your dog’s sharp nails, opt for a Rubbermaid brand dog pool or another basic variety that is made especially for canines. In any case, buy something durable and it will last for years to come.
Begin by placing the hard plastic swimming pool in the desired location. Trace the base with chalk paint. Move it aside, and use the pointed shovel to remove the sod. Use the flat-ended shovel to dig out the soil. The pit should accommodate the pool along with a few inches of sand.
After the soil has been removed, take out rocks and any other debris. Work the soil with the tip of the pointed shovel, and use a heavy garden rake to even it out. Top it with a generous layer of sand. After moistening the sand with water, use a two by four to smooth it out. Make it as even as possible with the level while packing it down with the handheld tamping tool. Finish by placing the hard plastic swimming pool in the pit.
Your dogs will love their new in-ground swimming pool, and without adding anything other than water. However, you can make it look like a more permanent part of the landscape. Consider surrounding it with curved concrete blocks. Sink at least two rows of blocks into the ground around it for a more finished appearance. With or without the edging, the in-ground pool will provide a great way for your dogs to cool off on hot summer days.
Source: Professional Outdoor Decorating, Landscaping and Backyard Pond Building Experience