Toxic algae blooms have become increasingly common in recent times, with its thick film covering beaches and lakes in areas across the globe. These blooms are toxic to humans, exposure can cause severe illness including vomiting and respiratory issues- depending on the nature of exposure.
Harmful algae blooms are also toxic to animals. There have been multiple reported cases of canine deaths just this past summer following exposure to algae blooms. Dogs can be exposed to algae blooms the same ways we can: by swimming in affected waters, accidental ingestion of affected water, or breathing in toxic fumes.
To protect your dog from harmful algae blooms, do not let them near water with telltale slimy film floating on top. You should stay away from algae blooms if at all possible.
However, accidents do happen. If you think your pet has been exposed, take them to the vet immediately. There is not much time between exposure to attempt to reverse the effects. Do not wait- it may be too late. Symptoms will appear just minutes after exposure. Some symptoms of exposure include itchiness of the skin and eyes, vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, or even seizures.
Overall, do not let your dog swim in a polluted body of water. Though some natural ponds are safe, and blue-green algae normally isn’t toxic, you can never be too careful. With the rise of harmful algae blooms, do not let your pet swim somewhere unless you are positive it is safe.
- Erin F. Fox