Warning as Dog Dies From Suspected Algae Poisoning

icon May 16, 2023

According to the BBC, many dog owners have brought their pets to play in the water near the park as temperatures have risen recently, with reports of a dog suspected to have died from algae poisoning, the National Resources Wales said, adding that blue-green algae may be present in a rock pool near Penmaen Park, which is near the Penmaenmawr Sailing Club, where That's where the dog collapsed. This prompted a warning to keep pets out of the water.

Cyanobacteria can produce toxins, such as microcystins and anatoxins, which can be dangerous to both humans and animals, including dogs.


When dogs come into contact with or ingest water containing toxic algae, they can experience various symptoms, including:

How to spot blue green algae

Blue green algae tends to grow in stagnant/slow-flowing water such as ponds, streams and lakes. It can be very difficult to spot, so keep an eye out for:

  • Green/blue scum on the water’s surface

  • Green/blue streaks in the water, which can look a bit like paint

  • Green or brown clumps floating on the surface, that look a bit like seaweed

  • Cloudy water with a green/blue/brown appearance.

  • Green flakes or brown dots

  • Foaming on the shore’s edge, which can look a bit like sewage

  • Warning signs

  • Dead fish/wildlife in the water

In addition to blue-green algae, there are many other algae in the other pond.

Pond Algae Types

Ponds can host various types of algae, which are photosynthetic organisms that thrive in aquatic environments. Here are some common types of algae found in ponds:

Green Algae (Chlorophyta)

Green algae are one of the most common types of algae found in ponds. They are typically bright green in color and can form floating mats or attach to rocks and other submerged surfaces.

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are photosynthetic bacteria that can appear as green, blue-green, or even reddish-brown in ponds. They can form slimy, scum-like mats on the water's surface and produce toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals.

Filamentous Algae

Filamentous algae are long, thread-like strands that can tangle together to form mats or float freely in the water. They can be green, brown, or even red in color and often create dense, fibrous masses in ponds.

Diatoms (Bacillariophyta)

Diatoms are a type of algae that have intricate cell walls made of silica. They can be found in various shapes and sizes and are often brown or golden in color. Diatoms are important primary producers and are commonly found in freshwater environments, including ponds.


Charophytes are a group of green algae that are closely related to land plants. They have a complex structure and can have a grass-like appearance in ponds. Charophytes play a crucial role in providing habitat and food sources for various aquatic organisms.


Euglenophytes are a diverse group of algae that can be found in both freshwater and marine environments. They are typically unicellular and have a unique feature called a flagellum, which allows them to move through the water. Euglenophytes can be green, red, or colorless and are often found in nutrient-rich ponds.

If a dog swims in a pool because they are playful.

What are the precautions you take as an owner after your dog swims?

After your dog swims in a pool, there are several precautions you can take as a responsible owner:

Rinse off

Rinse your dog thoroughly with clean water to remove any chlorine or pool chemicals from their fur. This will help prevent skin irritation or ingestion of chemicals when your dog licks themselves.

Dry your dog

Towel dry your dog or use a pet dryer to remove excess moisture from their coat. Pay attention to their ears, as moisture trapped in the ear canal can lead to ear infections. You can use a gentle, pet-friendly ear cleaner to dry and clean their ears.

Monitor for any signs of distress

Some dogs may experience fatigue or muscle soreness after swimming, especially if they are not accustomed to swimming or have overexerted themselves. Monitor your dog for any signs of exhaustion, difficulty breathing, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian.


Offer your dog fresh water to drink after swimming. Swimming can be physically demanding, and staying hydrated is important for their well-being.

Skin and coat care

Depending on your dog's coat type, you may want to use a dog-specific shampoo or conditioner to maintain the health of their skin and coat. Regular brushing can also help remove any tangles or mats that may have formed during swimming.

dog-specific shampoo or conditioner

Pool safety

It is best for owners to take their dogs to a regular pool to ensure that the pool water is safe and that they can keep an eye on them.

Algae Treatment for Ponds

As a park manager, effectively removing algae from ponds can help maintain the overall health and aesthetic appeal of the water body. Here are some strategies you can employ to tackle algae-related issues in ponds:

  • Identify the algae

Confirm that the algae present in the water is indeed blue-green algae. This type of algae can appear as a blue-green or greenish scum on the water's surface and may have a foul odor.

  • Nutrient Management

Algae growth is often fueled by excessive nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Implement measures to control nutrient inputs into the pond, such as minimizing the use of fertilizers near the water body, preventing runoff from lawns and agricultural areas, and managing nearby animal waste. This can help reduce the availability of nutrients that promote algae growth.

  • Mechanical Removal

Manual removal of algae can be effective for small-scale infestations. Use tools such as rakes, skimmers, or pond vacuums to physically remove floating or filamentous algae from the pond. Regular maintenance and clean-up can prevent algae from accumulating and spreading.

  • Algae Reactor

Installing aeration systems and water circulation devices can help improve water quality and reduce algae growth. Aerators introduce oxygen into the water, which can support beneficial bacteria that compete with algae for nutrients. Circulation devices, such as fountains or waterfalls, promote water movement, which hinders algae colonization.

  • Biological Control

Introducing natural predators or competitors of algae can help control their growth. For example, certain species of fish, like grass carp or tilapia, feed on algae. Additionally, adding beneficial bacteria or enzymes to the pond can aid in breaking down organic matter and reducing nutrient availability for algae.

  • Vegetation Management

Planting native aquatic plants, such as water lilies or submerged vegetation, can provide competition for nutrients and shade the water's surface, reducing light availability for algae. However, ensure that vegetation is not allowed to overgrow, as it can create stagnant areas that promote algae growth.

  • Chemical Treatments

As a last resort and in consultation with experts, you may consider using algaecides or herbicides to control severe algae outbreaks. It is crucial to carefully follow the product instructions, adhere to safety guidelines, and consider any potential impacts on the environment and other organisms in the pond.

  • Regular monitoring

Set up a regular monitoring program to assess water quality and algae levels within your park's bodies of water. Monitor parameters such as nutrient levels, temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen to track changes and address potential issues before they escalate.

  • Educate visitors

Raise awareness among park visitors about the importance of protecting water bodies and preventing the growth of blue-green algae. Provide information through signage, brochures, or interpretive programs to encourage responsible use of park resources.


To prevent your dog from encountering harmful algae, it's best to keep them away from stagnant or visibly contaminated water sources like ponds or lakes. Be cautious when allowing your dog to swim or drink from natural bodies of water, especially if there is a visible presence of algae or if the water has a foul odor.

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