With the heat we have been experiencing, allowing our pets a swim in local ponds and lakes is tempting. However, there is a danger lurking you may not be aware of.

Blue-green algae blooms have been a long-time problem in Indiana waters, and this hot, dry summer is making the problem even worse. Also known as cyanobacteria, blue-green algae are named for the color they give to the water they grow in, including the dense scum they can leave on top of the water. With low water levels in many of our lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, blue-green algae are growing at record breaking rates. Local lakes and reservoirs are affected, including Geist Reservoir.

Illness from blue-green algae can affect humans and animals, especially dogs. Symptoms in dogs include drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering and convulsions. Liver failure often develops. Death can occur 4 to 24 hours after exposure to the algae.

Dogs become ill from blue-green algae through swimming in and drinking contaminated water. Already in Indiana, the death of 2 dogs is being blamed on these algal blooms.

If you’re looking for a way involving water to help your pet beat this summer heat, try filling a plastic children’s pool with water from your home’s hose. It will be a much safer environment for your pet!

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