Is River water safe for dogs? Here’s What to Expect

Some of the RisksHere’s just a sampling of what can lurk inoutdoor water sources:

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We love taking our dogs swimming during the hot summer months! They’ve enjoyed trips to lakes and rivers as well as the beach and always enjoy swimming.

For all the fun that swimming with your dog brings, though, it also means you need to take some dog swimming precautions when taking your pooches swimming in your local river or lake. Wherever your dog is swimming, keep these points in mind:

Taking your dog to a river or lake can be a great way to make summer memories…and you’ll wind up with one cool canine on these hot summer days!

Reasons #4-6: Cryptosporidium, Escherichia Coli, and Pythiosis

Cryptosporidiosis like Giardia is caused by a protozoa. This one is called Cyrptosporidium. It is shed in the stool of wild and domestic animals and can also contaminate water sources, like lakes and rivers. Dogs generally develop diarrhea when infected with Cryptosproidum. This is a treatable illness.

Escherichia Coli is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and stomach pain. The bacterium is spread through fecal-oral transmission. And just like the other organisms listed above, an infection can occur if a dog drinks or swims in contaminated water. E.coli can also cause urinary tract infections, ear infections and other problems in dogs.

Pythiosis is caused by a water mold called Pythium insidiosum. If you live along the Gulf of Mexico this is an extra risk to add to your list. Dogs suffering from pythiosis commonly loss weight and have vomiting/diarrhea. Some can also develop skin disease with draining wounds that don’t heal. High-risk areas include swamps, bayous, or ponds. The prognosis for dogs infected with Pythium is poor with fewer than 10% of dogs cured with medications alone. More information about Pythiosis can be found at

What to Know if Your Dog Drinks Water From Lakes and Rivers

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Marissa Busch is a Content Marketing Specialist that gets to combine her love of animals and writing to contribute to the Preventive Vet blog. She lives in Seattle with her husband and miniature Goldendoodle Mary Berry. When shes not working, Marissa can be found training for half marathons, exploring dog-friendly breweries, or experimenting with a new baking recipe.