Can swimming in a pond or lake kill your dog? - Dr. Marty Becker


Can swimming in a pond or lake kill your dog?

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2018 | By Dr. Marty Becker

dog swimming

Beware of blue-green algae in water where your pet plays or swims. The algal blooms, often the result of agricultural runoff, produce toxins that affect the gastrointestinal tract and liver, causing vomiting or diarrhea. In severe cases, the animal can suffer liver failure.

Blue-green algae blooms look like blue or green paint spilled on the surface of non-moving water, says Steve Ensley, a clinical veterinary toxicologist at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Keep pets (and yourself) away from lakes or ponds with blue-green algae, which commonly develops when temperatures are high and rain falls regularly.

“Rain causes lakes and ponds to become enriched with an excess amount of nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, causing bacteria to bloom at a more rapid pace,” Ensley said in a news release.

Read more, including tips for biking with your dogs, in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.