There are many pet hazards
unique to summertime. We often hear warnings not to leave dogs in the car and reminders to offer pets plenty of fresh water—but
Every summer a news story or e-mail circulates, relating how a dog was
poisoned by blue green algae. Technically, these organisms are
cyanobacteria—the toxic ones are called cyanoHABs (Harmful Algal Blooms). These
organisms “bloom” when sunlight and warmth increase in summer.
CyanoHABs can cloud water so
densely that it looks like pea soup and in heavy infestations may congeal into
mats near the shoreline. In many cases, the body of water is still and the
water is warm. Blue green algae may be blue-green, olive green, brown—or even
have a red or purple hue.
CyanoHABs can be present in
wild bodies of water, but are also prevalent in urban lakes and even backyard
ponds. To be safe, don’t allow your dog to drink or swim in stagnant water.
While some animals who swim may not necessarily drink a lot of water, grooming
their coat after swimming can be hazardous.
Not all types of green water
are toxic. But since it’s impossible for most of us to know which ones are
dangerous and which aren’t, it’s best to steer clear. Besides, there are other
infectious agents, such as Giardia, in pond water.
Blue green algae also kills
birds, wildlife, and livestock who live in or near the body of water. And it
can cause a skin rash on people who have been in the water. For more
information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site:
Not to totally ruin your
waterside fun, but those of us living in the Pacific Northwest need to know
that ingesting raw salmon can make your dog sick. Wild salmon feed on snails
that carry a fluke; these flukes can be infected with a bacteria that is toxic
Your best bet is to keep Rover
away from raw salmon in the trash can or if you go fishing. If you go salmon
fishing or will be near salmon spawning grounds where fish wash up on the
shore, it’s a good idea to leave your dog at home.
Enjoy Your Summer!
Oh yeah, and don’t leave your dog in the car—even for a
few minutes—when the sun is shining and air temperatures are above 60° F.