How to protect your dog from harmful algae

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wants to make sure you know how to keep your dog safe from harmful algae blooms.

With several blue-green algae warning out in lakes and ponds all across the state of Kansas, it's important to make sure you know what to do to keep yourself and your pets from getting sick.

The Central Park Lake in Topeka is a popular spot for fishing, but some choose to avoid it.

Charles Detwiler, a local fishing enthusiast said,

"I used to fish here but after the alga bloomed, I never really fished here again.”

He avoids it because it's easy to catch toxins lurking in the lake.

The lake is one of many on a state warning list for blue-green algae growth.

Ron Kaufman with KDWPT said, "The water might look fine but it's got toxins in it."

It can be hard to spot, but there's a clear difference compared to fresh water.

Harmful algae growth can look like a paint-like scum colored blue, bright green, brown or red on the surface of the water.

Contact can make humans sick, and it can be lethal for man's best friend.

Kaufman said, "Dogs are more susceptible to the effects of blue-green algae and it's toxins partly due to their size, they're much smaller, and partly due to the fact that they tend to get in the water or drink it, or lick it off their fur or paws, whereas people don't do all that."

It's also important to make sure pets don't eat or lick anything along the shoreline.

If you do have an animal that gets in the toxic water, KDWPT recommends having clean water on-hand to wash their fur as soon as possible.

It is still safe to fish in lakes with harmful algae growth, you’ll just need to make sure you clean the fish well – only eating the fillet - and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.