Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is harmful to people and pets. Before getting in the water, always take an overall look at water conditions and do not enter the water if you see blue-green algae. Water conditions can change quickly, and posted water quality signs may not always reflect real-time conditions.
Despite its name, blue-green algae may not always be blue-green. It may also be reddish-purple or brown. Blue-green algae causes the water to be murky. See photos of blue-green algae.
When environmental conditions are just right, blue-green algae can grow very quickly. Most species are buoyant and will float to the surface, where they form scum layers or floating mats.
Dogs that come into contact with blue-green algae blooms can get sick, and sometimes die because their bodies are smaller and they tend to swallow a lot of water.
If your dog has been in the water near a blue-green algae bloom and they seem sick, call your vet.
There are no quick and easy fix once blue-green algae appears in a lake or pond. Reducing the amount of nutrients that wash into our lakes and ponds will eventually reduce the frequency and intensity of blue-green algae blooms, but it may take a long time and a lot of community involvement to effectively change the nutrient concentrations in a water body.
You can help reduce nutrient concentrations by: