You’ve likely heard of blue-green algae in the news, especially in the summer, when harmful blooms emerge in stagnant lakes and ponds and you’re warned to steer your furry friends clear so they don’t drink contaminated water and become sick. But there are many kinds of blue-green algae, and not all of them are toxic. In fact, certain species of blue-green algae are downright healthy for dogs and cats. In this post, Dr. Laurel offers her take on the bad and good algae.
What is Blue-Green Algae?
Blue-green algae is not actually a species of algae at all but rather a bacteria called cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms that use photosynthesis to absorb energy from the sun and live typically on the surface of fresh water and saltwater.
When Blue-Green Algae Becomes Toxic
There are some species of cyanobacteria that produce toxins in warm, stagnant lakes and ponds, usually in the summertime. Toxic algal blooms occur when high concentrations of certain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are introduced to the water, usually as a result of human activities like agricultural runoff or septic tank overflows. These harmful blooms are the blue-green algae that make news headlines. And for good reason! You should definitely heed those warnings and avoid taking your furry friends to lakes or water sources experiencing toxic algal blooms.
But not every blue-green algae is a bad bacteria. Most, in fact, are very good.
Benefits of Blue-Green Algae
The species of blue-green algae unimpacted by human activity are true marvels. Blue-green algae are at the beginning of the food chain. In other words, every single living creature in that lake or pond depends on blue-green algae for survival. Because of that, Blue-green algae is teeming with good nutrients, including:
- Omega 3s
- Vitamins: B and E
- Minerals: Magnesium, Zinc, and Selenium
By supplementing your dog or cats diet with blue-green algae, you may see the following benefits:
- Healthy skin and coat
- Strengthened immune system
- Reduced inflammation and improved mobility
- Improved healing and recovery
- Improved digestive health
- And more.
The Edge Blue-Green Algae Supplements for Dogs and Cats
Dr. Laurel heavily vets any supplement we carry in Sunvet’s Critters Choice Store. We carry a blue-green algae supplement called The Edge, a 100% certified organic and wild-crafted blue-green algae called Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA).
The Edge blue-green algae are harvested from the beautiful, pristine, and robust Klamath Lake in Oregon. Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater body west of the Rocky Mountains. Along its northwest shores, the Upper Klamath Wildlife Refuge protects 15,000 acres of freshwater marsh that protects waterfowl like the American white pelican, heron species, bald eagles, osprey, and more.
Klamath lake supports a great variety of fish, waterfowl, and birds of prey. The variety of species supported further communicates the health of the lake.
The Edge also takes extra steps to ensure their blue-green supplement is pure by regularly testing during harvesting to ensure no toxic cyanobacteria is present, which means you can feel good about the safety of this blue-green algae supplement for dogs or cats.
How to Administer Blue Green Algae for Healthy Pets
Dr. Laurel advises initially giving dogs and cats just a quarter of the blue-green algae dosage amount. Then you can gradually increase the dosage over the course of one or two weeks, which allows your furry friend’s body to become used to the new supplement.