Frequently Asked Questions

Dogs can relax after swimming.

See what Happy Swimmers say about us.

If you have questions that are not answered below, e-mail Gunny's Rainbow or call us at (202) 460-5377 or (301) 530-2992.

The Pool

How is Gunny’s Rainbow different than other pools in the area?

We differ from other pools in the area in that we offer a highly personalized and comprehensive service for geriatric and mobility impaired dogs. That is our passion and our focus and is all that we do.

  • There is a swim coach in the pool with your dog at all times to keep him/her safe and to ensure that he/she feels safe, which is equally important.
  • Our pool is sanitized with hydrogen peroxide and UV light so dogs with sensitive skin are not aggravated by chlorine or other harsh chemicals.
  • We specialize in caring for geriatric dogs and dogs with orthopedic issues. We know how to lift and carry your dog properly, as needed, and how to support them in the water.
  • We have years of experience helping people learn how to care for their aging companions, from tips on harnesses and other mobility aids to dealing with incontinence. We also have a great network of specialist vets we can recommend as necessary.
  • You have the entire facility and staff dedicated to you and your dog for one hour. You do not have to come in contact with another dog if you don’t want to, and the pool room’s peace and tranquility often facilitates healing and relaxation for your dog.

What is the water temperature?

The temperature ranges from 85 to 89 degrees. For elderly dogs who do not swim for a long period of time, the water is usually on the warmer end of that range because they will spend more time floating in the water and we want the heat to penetrate their joints.

Is the water safe to drink?

We don’t encourage your dog to drink the pool water and have a bowl of fresh water out at all times. However, if your dog swallows some pool water or takes a drink, it is no problem.

Is the pool chlorinated?

No. We use a state of the art UV light system for disinfection along with hydrogen peroxide. There is no chemical smell or taste to the pool..

How big is the pool?

The pool is 8 feet by 20 feet and is 4.5 feet deep at all points.

Before Visiting

Do I need a referral from my vet to swim?

We do not require a formal referral directly from your vet, but we highly encourage you to consult your vet to ensure that swimming is appropriate for your dog. He or she knows your dog best.

Does my dog have to have all his vaccinations in order to swim?

No. Your dog does not have to come in contact with another dog at the pool, and many dogs can’t be vaccinated for health reasons. Thus, we accept dogs without vaccinations. The exception is we do require a rabies vaccination or titer level showing immunity.

What do I bring when we come to swim?

For your first session, please download and bring two completed forms: Client Information Form [Word doc] and Release[pdf].

You may want to bring a towel for your car, as well. You are welcome to bring any toys that float, although we have lots of toys here.

What do I need to do before a swim session?

DO NOT feed your dog within two hours of swimming. Please brush your dog within a day of coming to swim. And please be sure to give your dog a chance to go to the bathroom immediately before you enter the pool room. There is space at the end of the walkway to the pool for that purpose.

How often should I come?

That depends on your dog. The majority of dogs come once per week. Many come twice per week. For dogs with less acute issues, once every two weeks may be appropriate. Swimming less often than that has very little, if any, long-term benefit.

The Swim Session

How much does it cost to swim?

See rates for the current prices.

Why does Gunny's Rainbow cost more than other dog swimming pools?

Because we provide a one-of- kind level of service, personal care, and a state of the art gentle pool sanitation system. We don't just swim dogs. We help them heal, rediscover their joy, and love each and every one exactly as they are. Learn more About us and our Services.

I have two dogs, can they swim together and how much does it cost?

We rarely swim two dogs at one time for safety reasons. However, if you bring 2 dogs to swim on the same day, you get a substantial discount: see the Rates page for details.

What does a typical swim session look like?

Given the unique nature of every dog, there is no truly “typical” session. However, there are some general themes for every session.
  • Introduction to the water: Many dogs have never swum in a pool, and it can be very scary for them because they simply don’t know what it is. Thus, we introduce them gently to the water and give them time to acclimate to this new environment
  • Swimming: We make the swim sessions fun and have a variety of pool toys, balls, etc. for those who like to retrieve. Dogs who aren’t interested in retrieving usually have fun swimming laps with a swim coach at their side cheering them on!
  • Resting and floating: Swimming periods are alternated with time to relax in a variety of comfortable positions and/or floating. Once your dog has caught his breath and is ready to swim, we resume swimming to the extent appropriate for your dog given his physical condition.

Who goes in the pool?

A Gunny’s Rainbow swim coach and your dog are in the pool together. Your dog is never in the pool alone.

Can I swim with my dog?

No, the human clients are not allowed in the water.

Can I stay while my dog swims?

Not only can you stay, we require you to stay. Swim sessions are a partnership between your dog, you and your Gunny’s Rainbow swim coach. Many dogs feel more at ease when their person is nearby and many people really enjoy watching their dog swim. Rarely, a dog will do better without their person present, but that is a decision that would be made in consultation with you if an issue arises.

How long does an appointment last?

We allocate one hour for each session, but the actual time in the pool varies depending on the dog. See above for details about a typical session.

What if my dog doesn’t like water or doesn’t like to swim?

Some dogs are natural water dogs and other dogs are not. However, most dogs will overcome their fear of the water if they are given time to adjust to the environment of the pool and we are patient in helping them overcome their fear or nervousness. Your dog’s emotional well-being is as important as his physical well-being, and some dogs need more time to feel safe in the water before they can swim. In five years, we have only had three dogs who just never overcame their fear.

Do all dogs know how to swim?

No. Some breeds are not natural swimmers and some, like boxers and bulldogs, have a physique that is not ideal for swimming. For breeds that don’t float or swim easily, they can swim with a gentle assist in the pool and/or a life jacket.

Do you use life jackets?

We do, but only when absolutely necessary. Most dogs, when properly assisted, can swim on their own. We have life jackets in all sizes, however, for those dogs that truly need them.

My dog is incontinent, so can he swim in your pool?

Yes – but it is imperative that you tell us about the incontinence before you come so that we can take precautions, as accidents in the pool may require a complete water change. We can express bladder and bowels prior to entering the pool to prevent accidents. Failure to inform us about incontinence will result in a $300 charge if your dog poops in the pool.

What should I expect after a swim session?

The water can be invigorating so dogs are often energetic and playful when they come out of the water. Almost immediately after exiting the pool, most dogs need to urinate. Not long after the session is over, they will likely take a giant nap.

How will my dog benefit?

To read about how swimming may benefit your dog, see the Benefits of Warm Water on the website of the Association of Canine Water Therapy.