Blue-green algae, what to do with complaints


If your dog likes to swim, it is of course wonderful to cool off in the water. But beware, before you know it you will be dealing with blue-green algae in dogs and that can be quite dangerous!

Disclaimer: always go to your own vet in case of complaints and never rely 100% on articles that can be found on the internet.

Dangers of blue-green algae in dogs

Before we start with the symptoms, it is important to become aware of the dangers of blue-green algae and dogs. Blue-green algae are bacteria that occur in almost every surface water, so they are not algae. As soon as the natural water warms up, the bacteria (blue-green algae in this case) will therefore multiply quickly. You can often recognize it by the water where a kind of strips become visible. A blanket floats on the water which may look green or blue.

Blue-green algae are real poisons, unfortunately for people they are also annoying bacteria that we can also suffer from.

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The symptoms of blue-green algae in your dog

If the dog has ingested too much blue-green algae while swimming in natural water, the dog can develop the following symptoms:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Eye irritation
  • Breathing problems (panting, shortness of breath)
  • Sluggishness
  • excessive drooling
  • Poor sense of direction, coordination may be impaired
  • Having to urinate a lot (cleanliness may even decrease)

If you are sure that the dog has ingested a lot of blue-green algae and he is showing symptoms, contact your own veterinarian immediately. They can advise you on treatment, for example whether you should make the dog vomit. They may also want to take a look. This differs per dog, per situation.

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Dog drank blue-green algae while swimming

As soon as you notice that there is (too much) blue-green algae in the natural water where you are swimming with the dog, it is wise to get the dog out of the water as soon as possible. Leash the dog if he or she really wants to swim again. Then walk back to the parking lot of the off-leash area and go home.

Most dogs get an infestation of blue-green algae because they lick the fur after swimming. So try to avoid this. The incubation period of blue-green algae in dogs can vary from a few minutes to an hour or 6. The first symptoms will therefore become visible within this time if your dog has ingested too much blue-green algae.

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What you can do after contact with blue-green algae

Just like with humans, it is smart to rinse the dog well with clean water from the tap. If necessary, use a good dog shampoo, so that the blue-green algae is properly removed from the coat. Because dogs like to lick their own fur, this is extra important.

As soon as the dog is nice and fresh again, you should try that the dog continues to drink enough water after contact with blue-green algae. Because the dog can get complaints such as diarrhea, it is important to keep enough fluids inside. In addition, make sure that the dog can lie quietly out of the sun. As mentioned above, always contact your own veterinarian in case of complaints.

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Check whether the bathing water is safe

If you go swimming with or without your dog, it is always wise to check whether you are allowed to swim in the water you have in mind. The swimming water is often checked weekly in the summer months and online you can immediately see where it is safe to swim (with the dog).

Have fun swimming!

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