What Pet Parents Should Know About Blue Green Algae

Did you know that certain algae can be a common sight in bodies of water, but certain types can be harmful, and even deadly, to dogs? As a Minnesota-based company, our summers are filled with lake days and for us, being mindful of algae is super important for keeping our pups, safe, happy and healthy! In this blog, we will take a closer look at harmful algae and what you can do to keep your furry friend safe.

What is harmful algae?

Harmful algae, also known as blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, are a type of bacteria found in freshwater and saltwater. While not all algae are harmful, some species produce toxins that can be dangerous to both humans and animals.

How can dogs be exposed to harmful algae?

Dogs can be exposed to harmful algae by drinking or swimming in water that contains the bacteria. Algae blooms can occur in bodies of water, especially during warmer months, and can make the water look like pea soup (no thanks!) or like green paint. For reference, check out this photo from our friends at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services!

blue green algae bloom

What are the symptoms of harmful algae exposure in dogs?

The symptoms of harmful algae exposure in dogs can vary depending on the type of toxin and the level of exposure. Symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

What should I do if I suspect my dog has been exposed to harmful algae?

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to harmful algae, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating toxin exposure, and early intervention can save your pet's life.

Preventing harmful algae exposure in dogs

Preventing harmful algae exposure in dogs is key. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe:

  • Avoid bodies of water that have algae blooms or appear to be discolored
  • Do not let your dog drink from stagnant bodies of water
  • Keep your dog on a leash near bodies of water to prevent them from swimming in potentially contaminated water
  • Wash your dog thoroughly after they have been swimming in any body of water

In conclusion, while not all algae are harmful, it is important to be aware of the potential risks that algae blooms can pose to dogs. By taking the necessary precautions and seeking veterinary care immediately if exposure is suspected, pet owners can help keep their furry friends safe and healthy.

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