Updated: Mar 23
You may have heard of a certain blue-green “algae” that has harmed or killed dogs after swimming. This “algae” isn’t actually algae but rather a form of bacteria called cyanobacteria which can appear like algae. This toxic substance can form floating masses which may look like blue/green algae when the bacteria colonies cluster together in slow moving or stagnant bodies of water.
Cyanobacteria is frequently found in bodies of fresh water which lack movement or flow during periods of minimal rain fall accompanied by hot seasonal temperatures. However, the risk is not limited to ponds and lakes. Backyard pools and ornamental ponds can develop this harmful bacteria if they are not regularly cleaned.
With the Texas summer months rapidly approaching, dog owners need to be mindful of where their dogs go for a swim. Dogs which love to play fetch in the water are at increased risk of ingesting these toxins as they retrieve a toy, ball, stick, etc. since their mouths are open the whole time they swim with their trophy in their mouths.
What to look for before jumping in.
Take a few moments to assess the body of water you intend to visit before you let your dogs off leash to go play.
-If water appear dirty/foamy,
-you see matting of various colors ranging from blue/green, red, vibrant green, or brown on the surface
-you notice any stinky, off-putting odors
-or substances which may look like paint slicks of the surface
If there is any question about the cleanliness of the water then it is probably best to avoid that body of water all together.
“What if you suspect your dog was exposed?”
Immediately rinse them off with clean water and call your veterinarian. Dogs often ingest the toxin when they lick their coats after taking a swim.
“What are the symptoms?”
-diarrhea and/or vomiting
-neurological symptoms such as disorientation/confusion
-or even collapsing/falling unconscious
If ANY of these signs show up after your dog has been in the water then immediately contact your vet. Your vet may be able to flush out the toxins if caught early enough before your dog is total afflicted.
Don't have access to a clean body of water but your dog loves to swim? Fear not, K9 Water World is the place to be this summer. Come cool off in a clean and safe environment. K9 Water World offers private pool rentals, learn to swim training sessions, dock diving, and even hydrotherapy for doggo's in need of a little extra TLC. This one-of-a-kind dog water park is located in San Marcos, Texas making it a perfect day trip for residents of Austin and San Antonio alike. So come splash about and enjoy the dog days of summer at K9 Water World!