Two weeks ago Dr. Chris Gaylord of North Slope Veterinary shared the DEC warning about the algae bloom in Prospect Park Lake and suggested keeping your dog out of the water until the agency sounded an "all clear". That All Clear came today and we are thrilled to share it here.
BBark: We understand there has been an update about the algae in the Dog Beach in Prospect Park.
Dr. Chris: Yes. I’ve spoken with the Department of Environmental Conservation several times this week. Today, I learned that the most recent testing from the Department of Environmental Conservation has shown that the water at the Dog Beach (lower and upper pool) area of Prospect Park is free from Harmful Algal Blooms and the associated toxins.
Prospect Park Lake, however, still contains a widespread algal bloom with high levels of toxins.
BBark: Does this mean it is safe for dogs to swim at the Dog Beach again? But not in Prospect Park Lake?
Dr. Chris: Based on the most recent testing, yes. However the situation can change so people should continue to exercise caution. If there are visible algae mats or “pond scum” coating the water it is probably best to keep your dog out, and dogs should definitely be kept out of Prospect Park Lake until it is declared clear of toxins.
BBark: Is the Dog Beach water tested regularly?
Dr. Chris: The good news is that moving forward the dog beach will be regularly tested in the same way as Prospect Park Lake. This has not been the case in the past. A listing of all lakes with harmful algal blooms is posted on the DEC website. http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/83310.html
They list only the lakes that have or are suspicious for harmful algal blooms. Dog Beach is always listed separately, so if the Dog Beach is not listed you can assume it is safe based on the latest testing.
BBark: So you would be comfortable waving the checkered flag and shouting "All Clear" at this time?
Dr. Chris: It looks like it is safe to resume taking your pup swimming at Dog Beach and I wouldn't hesitate as long as there is no visible sign of algae bloom. Although the algae is often called "toxic" it is mild. A visual check should provide sufficient safety for a healthy dog.
If you want to be extra certain, give your pup a bath after he swims so that there is no residue for him to lick off. This shouldn't be necessary but it is a good precaution.
Christopher Gaylord, DVM, is the practice owner of North Slope Veterinary, 207 6th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217. A graduate of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gaylord practiced in Manhattan and Jersey City before opening his practice in Park Slope. He can be reached at info@NorthSlopeVet.com To make an appointment with Dr. Gaylord, call 718-789-7170, M-F: 9am-7pm or Sat: 9am-3pm. House calls available on request.