There is a deadly algae that blooms in ponds and lakes in late summer (right now!) that can actually kill a dog who drinks that water!

This blue green algae can be anywhere and is a serious threat to livestock and to pets. I certainly paid attention when the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association issued a warning in my state about the dangers of cyanobacteria (the proper name for this algae “blue green algae) how it produces a poison that is deadly and has no antidote.

I asked Dr Donna Spector what she could tell folks about this on our radio show THE EXPERT VET and she said blue green algae is found across the country. It blooms on the surface of many types of water and looks cloudy, like foam or scum or forms mats on the water’s surface.

Dr. Donna explained that the poisons produced by cyanobacteria are some of the most powerful natural poisons that are known; while most blue green algae do not produce the toxin, it’s impossible to know which water is deadly. Because there is no known antidote, you cannot take the least chance of having your dog drink this water or lick herself if it gets on her. The signs of poisoning occur within fifteen minutes and survival is rare once a dog shows signs of neurological symptoms like weakness, stumbling, difficulty breathing or seizures.

Prevention is your only defense- which means if you are walking your dog with or without a leash, you absolutely need to have the “Leave it” command well ingrained. My book “The Dog Bible” and any dog trainer will tell you the vital importance of the “Leave it!” command, which gives you the ability to reliably call your dog away from anything she is approaching that you don’t want her near.

And what is the fundamental way that you can teach the “leave it” command and depend upon it? You have to be able to offer your dog something better – more tempting – more appealing – than the thing she is headed for. And that’s where the freeze-dried deliciousness of Halo Liv-a-Littles comes into the picture as your “life savers!” Whenever you leave your house, I recommend putting a little bag of Liv-A-Littles in your pocket, and at the beginning of your outing, ask your dog to “Sit” and give her a Liv-a-Little.

You are “priming the pump” – reminding her that you have something delicious-beyond-compare in your pocket and when you call her – or tell her to wait – or to sit – and most of all to “leave it” – she is going to do that with the happy expectation that she will get a pure protein, super tasty treat as her reward. Halo Liv-a-Littles are the true doggy Life Saver because there’s not really anything more delicious!

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.


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