The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is alerting dog owners that toxic blue-green algae is making a return to Minnesota waters. This type of algae can harm pets, livestock, and even people.

The Minnesota PCA says not all blue-green algae are toxic, but there is no visual way to predict whether a blue-green algal bloom contains toxins and is harmful to humans or animals. Harmful blooms often look like pea soup, green paint, or floating mats of scum, and they often have a bad odor.

You don’t have to be an expert to recognize an algae bloom that might be harmful,” Heiskary said. “If it looks bad and smells bad, don’t take a chance. We tell people, if in doubt, stay out — if you are not sure, it’s best for people and pets to stay out of the water.

The MPCA says dogs are at particular risk as they wade in shoreline areas where algae may accumulate, and can suffer from seizures and convulsions from exposure to toxic blue-green algae.

ADVICE:  Don’t swallow, swim, or wade in water with blue-green algae. If you do come in contact with blue-green algae or if it gets on your skin, wash it off thoroughly, paying special attention to the swimsuit area.

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