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Red Algae Bloom in Jamaica Pond? No. But If There Were, What About Dogs?

Jamaica Plain News was recently contacted by a reader who said she had been approached by a Boston park ranger at Jamaica Pond and warned of possible red algae blooms and the effect they may have on dogs. Red algae blooms, or red tide as they are commonly called, may release toxins and cause harm to humans and animals. But thankfully, as of June 16, officials report there did not appear to be a red algae bloom at the pond.

Sunset over Jamaica Pond

“We have not identified red algae, but usually in past cases with algae blooms, the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife have tested,” said Ryan Woods, director of external affairs for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

Woods added that swimming is not allowed at Jamaica Pond. But it is common to see dogs cooling off in the pond, so we inquired what dog owners should do if their pooch swims in a water source affected by red algae.

“For some dogs, the algae can pose a problem, particularly if they tend to drink the water while swimming in it. If by chance a dog is swimming and emerges covered in algae, the best course of action is to hose them down and monitor them,” said Dr. Kiko Bracker of Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain. “If they exhibit symptoms such as malaise or skin irritation, then a check-up by a veterinarian is warranted. These blooms are common in hot weather and tend to dissipate after a few weeks. As an extra precaution it’s best to just avoid swimming when there’s a bloom.”

The lack of red algae is especially good news considering the first-ever Boston Police Kids Fish Derby is occurring this weekend.