In the heat of summer, it’s tempting to take your dog swimming in lakes or rivers to help them cool down. But before you let your pup dive in, be aware that not all water is safe for dogs. That’s because toxic blue-green algae—also called cyanobacteria—is present in some bodies of water and can be toxic to dogs.
What is cyanobacteria?
These bacteria multiply in warm, stagnant, nutrient-rich fresh water and often appear blue or green but can be other colors. They can even hide on the bottom or shore of lakes and ponds. They’ve been identified in all 50 states and have occurred as far north as Finland and Alberta and Manitoba in Canada. With the higher temperatures and droughts that accompany global warming, as well as increased nutrient runoff from lawns and farms, they appear to be on the rise. They can be dangerous—even deadly—to dogs.