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As harmful algal blooms become more widespread, it's important to understand the dangerous impacts these toxic organisms can have on people, planet and even your pets.

Algal blooms often resemble foamy mats, floating on the water. They can look like pea soup or spilled paint, often green, or blue-green in color. Without analyzing the water sample in a lab, it is impossible to know whether or not the bloom is harmful. To ensure the safety for yourself and your pets, it is best to avoid water that appears to have any blooms.

As harmful algal blooms become more widespread, it’s important to understand the dangerous impacts these toxic organisms can have on people, planet and even your pets.


Algal blooms often resemble foamy mats, floating on the water. They can look like pea soup or spilled paint, often green, or blue-green in color. Without analyzing the water sample in a lab, it is impossible to know whether or not the bloom is harmful. To ensure the safety for yourself and your pets, it is best to avoid water that appears to have any blooms.

One unfortunate example is when 16-month-old black lab, Alex, was swimming in a reservoir that, unbeknownst to his owner, had an outbreak of harmful algae. Alex later collapsed and was immediately rushed to the vet. Unfortunately, despite treatment, he died five hours later from cyanobacteria neurotoxins, one of the toxins found in algal blooms.

“Dogs can be particularly susceptible to the effects of [harmful algal blooms] because of their behavior, sometimes drinking water from ponds, lakes and streams; cleaning their wet fur; and consuming algal mats or scum with attractive odors,” N.Y. Sea Grant Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist, Jesse Lepak told Great Lakes Today.

Toxic algal blooms can be found in more than 20 states. Beaches in South Florida were covered last summer by a toxic algae sludge, prompting Florida Gov. Rick Scott to declare local states of emergency. California and Utah were heavily affected last year as well, and the Great Lakes region is known to have an over abundance of harmful blooms. In 2014, the Western Lake Erie Basin had its most intense bloom of toxic algae ever recorded, which shut down water supplies for nearly half a million people in Toledo, Ohio.

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research are working to identify factors that influence toxic algal blooms, as well as developing methods to forecast outbreaks. So, while there are steps being taken to resolve this issue, it is important that people are aware of the problem.

NOAA suggests to keep your dog on a leash to prevent them from swimming in or drinking potentially dangerous water. However, if your dog does come into contact with potentially toxic water, be sure to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • repeated vomiting
  • diarrhea or bloody stool
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of eye whites
  • dark urine
  • stumbling, seizures, convulsions, paralysis
  • excessive salivation
  • disorientation, inactivity or depression
  • difficulty breathing
  • skin rashes/hives
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Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has let the world know that Donald Trump does not represent America in his choice to drop out of the Paris climate agreement.

Despite the president's lack of support for the environment, the rest of America will continue to work towards a brighter and greener future, as Schwarzenegger makes clear in the video above.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has let the world know that Donald Trump does not represent America in his choice to drop out of the Paris climate agreement.

Despite the president’s lack of support for the environment, the rest of America will continue to work towards a brighter and greener future, as Schwarzenegger makes clear in the video above.

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Worried about the future of the Great Barrier Reef? If so, you're not alone.

Many publications have already written obituaries for the reef, despite the fact that it is not completely dead. Thanks for this video via Vox for sounding the alarm on this critical issue, before it's too late.

Worried about the future of the Great Barrier Reef? If so, you’re not alone.

Many publications have already written obituaries for the reef, despite the fact that it is not completely dead. Thanks for this video via Vox for sounding the alarm on this critical issue, before it’s too late.


According to water quality expert Jon Brodie, the Great Barrier Reef is now in a “terminal stage.” Warming oceans are causing large bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef for the second year in a row, new aerial surveys have shown.

Climate Nexus reports that reef scientists are worried that the “shocking” back-to-back bleaching gives the reef little chance to recover and that increasing frequency of bleaching events could be ultimately devastating.

“The significance of bleaching this year is that it’s back to back, so there’s been zero time for recovery,” Professor Terry Hughes, who led the surveys, told the Guardian. “It’s too early yet to tell what the full death toll will be from this year’s bleaching, but clearly it will extend 500km south of last year’s bleaching.”

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