Here's our quick guide on how to protect your dog from blue-green algae. At the bottom of this page, there is a form to report toxic algae near you so we can help keep more dogs safe.
Understanding Blue-Green Algae: Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that thrive in both fresh and saltwater. When they grow in abundance, they form blooms which can produce toxins harmful to both humans and animals.
Identifying Algae Blooms:
- Appearance: They often look like blue or green paint spilled on the water's surface. The colour may range from deep green to bluish-green or even reddish-brown.
- Texture: It can appear slimy, scummy, or foamy.
- Smell: Some blooms may emit a strong, unpleasant odour.
- Always inspect water bodies for visible signs of blue-green algae before letting your dog near them.
- Avoid stagnant water, as it's a common site for algae blooms.
- Keep dogs on a lead if you're unsure about the safety of a water source.
Provide Clean Water: Always bring clean, fresh water for your dog to drink when outdoors. This prevents them from drinking from potentially contaminated sources.
Educate Yourself: Stay informed about local water quality advisories. Many local authorities will post warnings if blue-green algae are detected.
Immediate Action Post-Contact:
- If your dog swims in or drinks water that you suspect may have blue-green algae, prevent them from licking their fur.
- Rinse your dog off immediately with clean, fresh water. It's essential to remove the toxins before they can be ingested.
- Do not let your dog eat the algae, as consumption can be very harmful.
Recognising Symptoms: If your dog has been exposed to toxic blue-green algae, they might display symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice, seizures, difficulty breathing, or disorientation. These symptoms can appear within minutes to hours of exposure.
Seek Veterinary Care: If your dog displays any symptoms or you suspect they've been exposed to blue-green algae toxins, seek veterinary care immediately. Time is of the essence, and quick action can save lives.
Educate Others: Share information about the dangers of blue-green algae with fellow dog owners. The more people are aware, the more we can collectively protect our pets.
Stay Updated: Join local community forums or groups that share updates on water conditions. This way, you're always informed about the safety of local lakes, ponds, and rivers.
Consider Alternative Water Activities: If you frequently visit areas prone to algae blooms, consider alternative water-based activities for your dog, such as kiddie pools, sprinklers, or indoor dog swimming facilities.