If you're already a member, please log in. If not, please register.

Log In   |   Register

LICWP

Blog

Algal Blooms Are Lethal to Pets

Protecting our four-legged friends

Spend summer on Long Island and you’re likely to see dogs in parks and on beaches just as much as people. Long Islanders love this extra time outdoors with their four-legged friends. The pups do, too. But are they really safe? As concerns of toxic algal blooms plague our fresh and saltwater bodies each year, dogs are just as at risk as we are. 

A recent article in The New York Times details reports from dog owners across the country that have reported their pets becoming fatally ill after swimming in and ingesting water filled with toxic blue-green algae. These blooms thrive in summer months when the temperatures are warmer. While the sights and smells of algae are apparent to humans, keeping most out of these polluted waters, “animals sometimes lap up the water, ingest floating pieces of algae or snap at floating algal balloons. They could fall fatally ill after licking their wet fur. Toxic algae can also dry up into crusts onshore, where dogs might nibble on them.”

Algal blooms killing dogs is nothing new. In 2012, a dog died after drinking water in East Hampton’s Georgica Pond that was laden with blue-green algae. The following year, there were two more reports of dog deaths from swimming in these toxic waters in Southampton. When reports of these blooms appear in our waters, killing shellfish and making people sick, we should also take extra care in ensuring our pets stay away from these waters, too. The science is increasingly clear that a major cause of our region’s water quality problems is tied to outdated and failing septic systems.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Beach and lake closures should not be the norm. We live on an island and are surrounded by water! It drives the local economy, tourism, fisheries, and more. At the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, we are committed to finding solutions to our water quality problems to protect and restore our waters for the future. Alternatives now exist to better treat our sewage and protect our waters. For more information about how you can qualify for financial assistance to replace your old septic system, click here.

Join us to ensure your drinking water is safe now and for generations to come!