Dogs and harmful algal blooms

A pamphlet produced by New York Sea Grant provides pet owners with information about harmful algal blooms. 

The Lake Champlain Committee's weekly harmful algal bloom email Saturday came with a good reminder.

"As waterfowl season gets underway, please remind bird hunters to be mindful of cyanobacteria blooms, especially if they are using retrieving dogs," wrote Lori Fisher, executive director. "Since hunters are often out on the water very early, they should check conditions the day before. People and animals should avoid water with scums, foam or any signs of cyanobacteria."

While temperatures are dropping, blooms are still cropping up in New York's waters. Blooms typically thrive in warm, calm waters after rains.

Some cyanobacteria blooms can be toxic to humans and animals. Dogs are especially susceptible because if they lick their fur after jumping into a bloom, they could get a very high dose of the toxin. There have been reports of dogs dying after swimming in blooms.

If a dog does swim in a bloom, experts say to hose it off with clean water immediately. 

For a variety of photos depicting harmful and non-harmful algal blooms, visit dec.ny.gov/chemical/81962.html.

— Gwendolyn Craig

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1


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