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Toxic Algae

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

We emphasize the importance of keeping dogs safe from potentially toxic algae, which can make animals sick and even lead to death.

Dogs are naturally drawn to the smell of this algae and may ingest it when near rivers and lakes. Ingesting even a small amount can harm your dog.

The algae can be recognized by its appearance in rivers as dark mats with a slimy texture, and in lakes as cloudy or discolored water.


In Lakes, Ponds and Lagoons

Planktonic cyanobacteria (floating algae) is often suspended in the water. When it blooms, it can make water look cloudy, discoloured, or like it has small globules in it. There may not be obvious visual traits.


In Rivers

This cyanobacteria (called benthic cyanobacteria) grows on the bottom of river beds. It appears as thick dark brown or black mats that have a slimy or velvety texture and musty smell.

Certain rivers here in Canterbury are known to have potentially toxic algae, so caution is advised when visiting these areas.

Even if a small amount (the size of a 50 cent piece) of potentially toxic algae is ingested, it can be harmful to your dog

It's important to know the symptoms of poisoning in dogs, which include panting, lethargy, muscle tremors, twitching, convulsions, and in severe cases, death shortly after symptoms appear.

If you notice these symptoms after your dog has been near water, contact a veterinarian immediately.


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