6 Lake Water Dangers in Dogs: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

6 Lake Water Dangers in Dogs: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

There's something magical about spending a day by the lake with your dog bounding happily through the water. While this is indeed an idyllic scenario, it's also important to remember that lake water can pose certain dangers to your dog. Understanding these risks and taking precautions can help ensure your pet stays safe during lake outings.


#1 Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are microscopic organisms in freshwater systems, including lakes. These bacteria can proliferate in warm, nutrient-rich water, leading to algal blooms. Some types of blue-green algae produce dangerous and even deadly toxins to dogs. If your dog swims in or drinks from a lake with a toxic algal bloom, it may show signs of poisoning, including vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, difficulty breathing, or collapse. If you notice these signs, seek immediate veterinary care. Always look for signs of algal blooms, such as discolored water or floating mats of algae, and keep your dog away from the water if you suspect a bloom.


#2 Leptospirosis

It is a bacterial infection that dogs can contract through contact with urine from infected wildlife, often present in standing water like lakes. Symptoms can range from mild and nonspecific to severe, including kidney or liver damage. To reduce the risk, consider vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis, mainly if they frequently swim in or drink from natural bodies of water.


#3 Giardia and Other Parasites

Giardia is a common parasite that can infect dogs who drink contaminated water. Other parasites, like flukes and worms, can also be present in lake water. Symptoms of these infections vary but often include gastrointestinal signs like diarrhea and vomiting. To prevent infection, discourage your dog from drinking lake water, and provide fresh, clean water instead.


#4 Drowning

While many dogs are excellent swimmers, not all can swim well, and even good swimmers can get into trouble. Currents, undertows, sudden depth changes, or exhaustion can lead to a dangerous situation. Always supervise your dog while they're swimming. For added safety, consider using a dog life jacket, especially if your dog is a weak swimmer, elderly, or very young.


#5 Fishing Gear

Lakes popular for fishing can pose a unique danger — discarded fishing gear. Hooks, fishing lines, and other equipment can cause serious injury to your dog. Be vigilant about where your dog is exploring, and consider keeping them on a leash if you're in a heavily fished area.


#6 Water Intoxication

Water intoxication, or hyponatremia, occurs when a dog ingests too much water quickly, diluting body fluids and creating a dangerous electrolyte imbalance. It can happen if a dog gulps water while swimming or playing in the water. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, stumbling, and dilated pupils. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures or coma.

That’s a wrap

Ensuring your dog's safety by the lake involves being alert to these hazards and maintaining reasonable control over your dog. Obedience training, using a leash when necessary, and teaching your dog to come when called can help you avoid potential dangers. Always provide fresh drinking water and thoroughly dry your dog's ears after swimming to prevent infections. With some planning and precaution, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and fun day at the lake!