Save 20% Off With Repeat Delivery | T&C'S HERE

Free delivery over $79 | Click & Collect in 90 minutes | Offer ends Jan 22 | Learn more

Due to adverse weather conditions some of our Auckland stores, clinics and deliveries may be impacted. | Offer ends May 09 | CLICK HERE FOR NZ POST UPDATES

Napier, Hastings and Gisborne customers – please note we are currently expecting courier delays. | Offer ends May 29 | CLICK HERE FOR NZ POST UPDATES

New Zealand websites have been intermittently unavailable due to an outage | Offer ends May 30 | CHECK STATUS HERE

Credit card and Account2Account payments may be temporarily unavailable | Offer ends Oct 08 | CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Clearance Sale now on! | Offer ends Oct 18 | CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Back To Dog
Blue-green algae poisoning

Blue-green algae poisoning

Potentially toxic algae (also called Cyanobacteria) can make animals extremely sick when ingested. Knowing what to look for when visiting lakes, ponds and rivers is the best way to keep your dog safe.

Cyanobacteria are organisms that live in New Zealand waterways naturally. Some of them produce cyanotoxins, which becomes a problem when we have warm, dry weather with lots of sunlight, such as in Summer, as the Cyanobacteria thrive and form blooms that can be toxic.

Unfortunately, dogs love the musty smell of potentially toxic algae and are naturally drawn to investigating it – usually by licking or ingesting the material when out enjoying rivers and lakes across the country. It can be very dangerous to dogs and can even be deadly.


How to spot potentially toxic algae/Cyanobacteria

Affected rivers may contain brown, green or black slime or mats on the rocks (even submerged at the bottom), floating in the water or washed up on the edge of the waterway. They can be light brown or white when dried out. In lakes they are generally green and floating, like pea soup, or a green-red film or scum at the edge.

Blue-green Algae images

When this situation develops it is best to avoid the affected waterways as the toxin-containing water and blooms can be life-threatening if licked or swallowed by animals and humans alike. A 50c size piece is enough to cause serious illness.


Signs of poisoning

Signs of poisoning can include lethargy, muscle tremors, panting, paralysis and death within 30mins. Prevention is best, here’s how to keep your dog safe:

  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Keep them out of the water
  • Do not let them touch, lick or eat any algal mats in the water, on the water’s edge
  • Do not let them drink the water in affected areas
  • If your dog has been in the water do not let them lick their fur
  • Wash them with fresh water as soon as possible

Your regional council will provide regular updates on the state of the waterways, so be sure to stay informed. You should also learn what to look out for as blooms can develop rapidly. The LAWA website is a useful website to check whether the water is safe for swimming.


If you suspect your dog has been in contact with toxic algae, contact your vet immediately.

Find your local vet. Animates Vetcare

We also recommend
  1. Summer safety vetcare

    Summer safety

    The hot summer season in NZ can present some hazards for our pets.


    Here are the key watch-outs and safety tips to help keep your pets cool, happy and healthy this summer.

  2. How to keep your dog safe at the beach animates

    How to keep your dog safe at the beach

    As the temperatures rise, so too does our desire to set up for a day at the beach with our canine friends. In this article, we tackle everything you should consider when bringing your pooch to the beach and the hazards to watch out for.

  3. Outdoor hazards for pets vetcare

    Outdoor hazards for pets

    Just like children, pets love to explore and try new things. Dogs and cats often explore by tasting, smelling, chewing and rolling on things that they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, many of the common plants, flowers & fruit that can be found in our backyards and local parks have toxins or seeds that can be very harmful to our pets.