Like most people, dog owners can’t wait for the great summer weather. After the cold and dreary winter months, it’s exhilarating to spend some long-awaited time outdoors with our canine companions. Though summers in Wisconsin offer so many wonderful outdoor activities for dogs and their people, swimming outside can be very dangerous, especially for our furry friends. One of the greatest risks is the exposure to cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as “blue-green algae.”

Blue-green algae are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams, and standing water and often look like spilled green paint or pea soup. Blue-green algae often accumulate in blooms, which are dense build-ups caused by standing water, warmer weather, and sunlight. These blooms contain high levels of toxins that can, if ingested or even touched, result in extreme liver and nervous system damage to dogs and small children. The website reports that:

If the blue-green algae bloom produces high volumes of toxins, then touching it can cause rashes and other skin irritations as well as itchy nose, eyes, and throat. Ingesting it can cause diarrhea and vomiting. At high enough levels, toxins can cause liver and nervous system damage. In the case of small children or pets,
due to their body mass, the toxins can be fatal. Dogs are particularly susceptible to the toxic algae if they get it on their fur and skin and ingest it by drinking the water or licking the algae off their fur.

Not all blue-green algae blooms produce toxins, but since it is impossible to determine this without testing, one should always err on the side of caution and avoid water with any potential for blue-green algae.

Symptoms in dogs following exposure to blue-green algae toxins can include:
• lethargy
• difficulty breathing
• disorientation
• excessive salivation
• lack of coordination
• vomiting
• diarrhea, blood in stool, or black, tarry stool
• pale mucous membranes
• seizures or convulsions
• shock

Dogs exposed to toxins could show symptoms within 15 to 20 minutes of exposure, with death occurring within 30 to 60 minutes upon leaving the water. Some dogs may not be effected from swimming in blue-green-algae infested waters, but they could develop symptoms after licking it off their fur from their coats. Even the smallest amount of blue-green algae can result in fatality.

Think Pawsitive’s K9 Splash Swim Center offers a sanitary, clean, and safe alternative to outdoor swimming. Our pool is meticulously cleaned and maintained each day. The staff take great care to skim the pool and sanitize the rinsing station after every swim, conduct a chemical check each day, and vacuum the pool each morning. Chlorine levels are kept as low as possible for the dogs’ safety, yet at a level that kills bacteria, ensuring the pool is safe at all times for all our canine guests. Dogs that swim at K9 Splash can swim with ease, with the assurance that there is no presence of blue-green algae, mosquitos, or bacteria. In addition to our water quality being safe, the temperature is kept at a soothing 84 degrees, so dogs’ muscles are nicely warmed up while jumping and frolicking away during their swim session! Our rule of only one client per session ensures that the dogs have “the pool all to themselves” to enjoy in a safe fashion.

Think Pawsitive is offering some amazingly HOT Summer Specials to keep all our dogs swimming at extremely affordable prices! If you have ever wanted to try swimming your dog, this is the time! Please call today to schedule a swim session and be sure to ask about our summer swim packages!

See you in the pool!