What Can Dogs Drink? Learn The Dangers Of Drinking Lake Water

It is a warm day outdoors, and depending on where you live, it may even be rather hot. Even your dog is having a good time participating in all of the fun summer activities outside. Everyone has the opportunity to travel to the park, where they may go hiking, camping, to the lake, the beach, etc. However, with all of this time spent outdoors, it is essential to consider the quality of the water that your dog consumes.

In the event that you are out trekking and come across a puddle, stream, or river, or if you are at the lake home down by the water, your dog will naturally want to drink that water. But did you know that your dog should not drink from such kinds of water sources since it may be quite harmful to their health? There are hazards waiting in the shadows of outdoor water sources that may make your dog extremely ill, and perhaps even make you sick as well!

What’s the Problem?

Even while dogs will consume just about anything and everything, this does not always indicate that it is beneficial to their health to do so. The creatures found in outdoor sources of water, such as parasites, bacteria, poisonous algae, or even chemical discharge, have the potential to cause your dog serious harm or even cause his or her death.

After a dog becomes infected with parasites, some of those parasites may even be passed on to people. This implies that if your dog becomes sick, there is a chance that you may as well.

Microscopic Protozoan Parasites

A protozoan is a tiny creature that consists of a single cell and may take the form of an amoeba, sporozoan, ciliate, or flagellate. There are several types of protozoa, and one may discover them in almost every environment imaginable. Protozoa can even be discovered within human cells. These teeny-tiny critters are far too little for the naked sight of a human being to detect them.

Ingesting protozoans like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which are widespread in outdoor water sources like rivers and lakes, is a frequent way to get these diseases. These pesky organisms are able to make their way into the digestive tract, where they may cause:

  • stomach upset
  • weakness/exhaustion
  • severe diarrhea and vomiting
  • intestinal bleeding
  • weight loss
  • lethargy

Dogs that are otherwise healthy may often carry these parasites without displaying any symptoms; however, if a dog is sick, has an underlying medical problem, or is elderly, the presence of these protozoans can be rather hazardous.

Blue-Green Algae

When blue-green algal blooms appear in lakes and ponds, this is an absolute warning sign! Dogs should stay away from this algae because of its potentially lethal toxicity. Blue-green algae are a kind of bacteria that may be found in freshwater streams, ponds, and lakes. These bacteria are quite small. These bacteria have the potential to create toxins, which might have a negative impact on animals who drink the water (that means humans, dogs, livestock, etc.).

When blue-green algae are abundant in an area, the water takes on a color similar to that of pea soup or a bluish-green hue. There is also a possibility that the water’s surface may seem to have green or blue paint on it. These floating algae are often carried nearer the coast by the wind, where they are then readily accessible to both humans and dogs.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the concentrations of blue-green algae fluctuate throughout the year; however, the Pet Poison Helpline reports that the blue-green algae is at its highest concentration during the warm weather months of the middle to late summer and in waters that are rich in nutrients.

Although not all blue-green algae are poisonous, it is hard to know which ones are without conducting tests in a laboratory. Because of this, it is recommended to think of any and all blue-green algae as having the potential to be hazardous and to keep away from them.

Some animals may be fatally poisoned by even a very low dose of exposure, such as drinking only a few multiples of water infected with blue-green algae. This can happen even when the dose is extremely low.

Toxic exposure to blue-green algae may cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stool of a woman, tarry and black
  • Pale mucous membranes, jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Coma \sShock
  • Neurological problems
  • Having trouble with one’s breathing
  • Excessive secretions (salivating, lactating, etc.)
  • darkening of the skin and mucous membranes with a blue hue
  • Death


Outdoor water sources that have been polluted with excrement are likely to have a wide variety of bacteria species. Salmonella, E. coli, Leptospira, and Campylobacter are some of the bacterial strains that fall within this category.

Cases of infection that are not severe Some of these bacteria are known to cause diarrhea, while others have the potential to cause more severe symptoms.

The bacteria that cause leptospirosis, called Leptospira, are more likely to be found in murky, still, or slow-moving waters. This bacterium is often carried by rodents and rodent-like animals such rats and mice as well as raccoons, opossums, and skunks. These animals expel the organism in their urine, which then contaminates the water and the soil in the area around the water sources.

It is possible for the organism to be passed on to other animals or to people if they come into contact with polluted water or soil. If your dog is sick, it will likely carry the germs into the house with it and urinate on it, which will cause the bacteria to spread throughout the house and might infect other members of your family.

If the infection is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it may lead to kidney and/or liver damage, as well as death.

There is a vaccination available for canine leptospirosis. Talk to your veterinarian about getting this vaccine for your dog if you live in an area where there is a greater chance of your dog being ill from the act or if you live a lifestyle that increases the possibility of your dog becoming ill from the act.

It’s also possible for humans to get E. coli from their pets or other animals, and vice versa.


Be on the lookout for the flatworm species Heterobilharzia americana, which is most often found in mucky or marshy environments, as well as bayous, in the warm Southern states.

This flatworm may enter a dog via its skin if the dog is in polluted waters. After entering the dog, the flatworm will go through the dog’s lungs (potentially causing bleeding), and then it will migrate to the liver. After completing its metamorphosis into the adult form in the liver, the parasite travels to the intestines, the rectum, the bladder, the liver, and/or the veins that bring blood from the intestines to the spleen and the liver.

Infection symptoms are sometimes difficult to differentiate from those of other disorders, however they include the following:

  • Diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Anemia

However, the organism may create a skin rash that is generally known as swimmer’s itch. Humans are unable to host the organism.

Hazardous Chemicals

Everything is being treated with chemicals thanks to us people. The flow of these pollutants into puddles, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water is unavoidable. Some of these substances, like pesticides, may become very harmful to a person’s health when they accumulate in their body over time.

Bring Fresh Water

The summer is a great time for having fun and being outside, but it is essential that you pay attention to the water that your dog consumes during this season. Because of the possibility of tiny beasts hiding in outdoor water sources, the safest course of action would be to bring some clean and safe water for your dog to drink from your vehicle. You may put water in any kind of covered container you have, such as one of your travel mugs, a bottle of water from the refrigerator, or any other container you have. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your dog will have access to clean water to drink.

In addition, there are a lot of containers and canisters designed specifically for dogs to drink out of.

I raise my glass to enjoyable times spent in the water!

Have you ever had to take your dog to the vet because they got ill from drinking polluted water?

In the comments section below, please share your experience.

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