The dog days of summer are here, but make sure your dogs are safe cooling off in Minnesota lakes.

The MPCA recently received a report of a suspected dog death as a result of exposure to blue-green algae. Although the Department of Health has not confirmed the cause of death, if you are a dog owner, it better to be safe than sorry.

Blue-green algae blooms have a thick and cloudy appearance that looks similar to pea soup or green paint. Some, but not all, species of blue-green algae contain toxins that can be deadly to dogs and other animals within hours of contact.


What causes this blue-green algae? Well it can occur anytime during the summer, but they are normally associated with warm weather and low rainfall. Algae is a natural part of the ecosystem, but under certain conditions it “blooms” with dramatic growth. Most blue-green algae are not toxic, but there is no way to see if the blooms contain harmful toxins or not.

The best practice is to keep pets away from algae covered water, and if they do come in contact hose them off with clean water right away before they have a chance to lick themselves clean and ingest the algae. If you think your pet has been exposed to harmful blue-green algae, take the vet right away.

Read more on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website. Have a safe rest of your summer at the lake!

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