Blue-Green Algae And Dogs: Dangers, Safety Tips, & What To Look For

Sign at Preston Marina warning the public about the dangers of blue-green algae

(Picture Credit: Stephen Barnes/Getty Images)

You might have heard your fellow dog parents talking about blue-green algae and how it can be a danger to dogs. But what is blue-green algae? And how dangerous to dogs is it really?

Well, the short answer is that blue-green algae can be found in bodies of water. It can be toxic to dogs, and your dog might become poisoned if they drink or swim in water containing this algae.

Here’s what you need to know about this toxic algae and dogs.

How To Spot Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae is most commonly present in non-flowing bodies of water during the warmer months of the year.

Water with blue-green algae might seem to be a color that some describe as “pea-green” and may also be covered in a slime-like substance.

Some of the other contributing factors that might cause a body of water to contain this algae include:

  • Water is stagnant
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus present in the water
  • Hotter weather

What Are The Dangers Of Blue-Green Algae For Dogs?

Green water polluted with blue-green algae Cyanobacteria

(Picture Credit: Tatiana Sydorenko/Getty Images)

Blue-green algae is toxic to dogs if they ingest it in sufficient quantities. If left untreated, this can bring about liver damage or a range of neurological problems.

Some of the most common symptoms of a dog suffering from exposure to blue-green algae include:

  • Drooling a lot
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seeming disoriented
  • Panting a lot and having trouble breathing

Note that after exposure, a dog might show symptoms in as soon as 15 minutes. In other cases, symptoms might take a few days to show up.

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, call your emergency veterinarian straight away and follow their advice.

How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Blue-Green Algae

The best and most effective way of protecting your dog from the dangers of blue-green algae is to prevent them from coming into contact with it.

Some of the ways you can keep your dog safe from exposure include:

  • Keeping your dog on a leash around bodies of water
  • Cleaning your dog properly if they go for a swim in water
  • Preventing your dog from drinking out of bodies of water

Have you ever had an experience with blue-green algae? How do you keep your dog safe around bodies of water? Let us know in the comments section below!