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Safety Guide for Red Tide and Dogs

By May 8, 2020 May 21st, 2020 4 Comments
Dog Running on Beach
Southern California is currently in the midst of one of the most memorable Red Tides in recent years.  A Red Tide offers a stunning nighttime bioluminescence in our waters, and our light show is not to be missed.  During the day, however, this phenomenon looks (and smells!) much different.  
According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Pacific Ocean currently has a bloom of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, also known as a common member of the Southern California Plankton community.  This plankton has a microscopic “sunscreen” of sorts, giving it its brownish-red color.  While some humans with respiratory issues experience breathing problems from Red Tide, dogs may feel the effects as well.  Below are notable points regarding Red Tide and Dogs:
  • If you do take your dog to the beach during a Red Tide, it is advised to wash them with freshwater immediately after leaving the sand, as well as give them plenty to drink.  Dogs tend to lick their fur after spending time in the water and will consume any toxins which remain on their coat.  
  • Do not let dogs near the sea foam, as studies have shown this foam is ten times more toxic than the water.
  • Never allow your dog to eat or play with dead fish on the shore. Toxins inside these dead fish may make your dog sick.
  • If you notice your dog acting differently and experiencing loss of balance and/or diarrhea, call your Vet immediately.
Besides having your Veterinarian’s contact information stored on your phone, also include a 24-hour Emergency Vet number on your contact list.  Alternatively, ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control phone number is 888-426-4435.  Knowledge on effects of Red Tide and Dogs could help avoid a situation where we need these above numbers!  Be safe, have fun and enjoy the temporary nighttime light show!

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