Red Tide Affecting Dogs

Some residents on Florida’s suncoast have noticed their dogs are coughing and sneezing more.  Turns out the looming red tides could be the culprit.


Mote Marine Laboratory’s Hayley Rutger says it’s common for red tide to cause people to cough and sneeze, and it can have a similar impact on pets… especially if a dog suffers from asthma.

Rutger says it may be best to keep pets off the beach during red tide.

Red tide is often indicated by dead fish on the beach.  The blooms, however, are still present even when the dead fish aren’t.

8/13/12:  The Knop family from Bastrop, Texas try to enjoy their vacation on Jamaica Beach, Texas even though thousands of Shad fish washed ashore. Cleanup crews are expected to converge on Galveston's West End beaches Monday to remove hundreds of thousands of dead fish that washed ashore early Sunday, an official said. Peter Davis, chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, said the small shad fish likely were killed by low oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico. Shad fish are sensitive to environmental changes, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. "It's a lot of fish É we're talking about in the hundreds of thousands," Davis said. "I live in Bermuda Beach and I didn't see anything (Saturday) night. When I woke up this morning, the beach was covered with dead fish. This is the worst I've seen" since joining the Beach Patrol in 1983.  For the Chronicle: Thomas B. Shea

If you still decide to take your dog to the beach, Rutger says you should always wash your dog after a dip in the gulf and make sure they never ingest fish or sea foam when red tide blooms are present.  If the dogs consume the toxins, they can get very sick.

But Rutger stresses that not every dog is affected by red tide.  So it’s best to just watch your pet and look for any strange symptoms.

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