Avoid Water That Looks Like This
For many dogs, summer often means swimming in lakes, rivers, or ponds. Along with the standard water safety steps (close observation, doggie PFDs, etc) and post-swimming ear cleaning to avoid ear irritation and infections, there’s something else you need to be aware of when you take your dogs swimming (or hiking, or camping near water) … blue-green algae.
These dangerous algal blooms are most common during periods of high heat.
Dogs that drink water containing blue-green algae, or that groom the algae off their coat after swimming in such water, can exhibit a range of signs, including:
- Uncoordinated walking (“Ataxia”)
If you’re noticing these signs in your dog, at any time, they need to be seen by a veterinarian right away. These are very serious signs indeed, and may well indicate liver failure from blue-green algae exposure.
Here’s more information on blue-green algae in dogs.
Danger for dogs and people – lurking in ponds and lakes
Oh, and be aware, these algae aren’t just a problem for your pets — they can cause illness in children and adults, too! To find out if there are any blue-green algae warnings in your state, just google “blue green algae (insert your state)” or check out these state-by-state resources: interactive map of state's blue-green algae labs and monitoring and state-by-state harmful algal bloom monitoring resources.
For more water-related hazards, check out our Dog Swimming: Safety in Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans article.