Dogs’ swimming hole in Prospect Park is toxic • Brooklyn Paper

Dogs’ swimming hole in Prospect Park is toxic

Ewwww: Algae in Prospect Park Lake makes its waters dangerous to dogs and their human friends.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Get outta the water!

A popular swimming spot for Brooklyn dogs to cool off in Prospect Park Lake is riddled with toxins that can kill pups that ingest them, and pet owners are being warned to keep their pooches out of the water during the hottest month of the year.

Doggone it!: A furry friend enjoys a dip in Dog Beach in Prospect Park — a beach that is still a-ok for doggy paddlers, according to most recent tests, though one vet recommends owners be wary of the watering hole.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Prospect Park Lake, including the peninsula where park-goers often let their dogs take a dip, is filled harmful algal blooms — a pea-soup like substance atop the water that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties in dogs and humans, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Swimming by humans, of course, is not allowed in the pernicious waters, but for years mans’ best friend have enjoyed the lake as a place to cool their paws during the summer in the city.

Warning: A sign warns residents of the dangers of Prospect Park Lake.
Photo by Jason Speakman

The Blue-green algae grows in warm, stagnant bodies of water and is common in Prospect Park Lake during the summer months, but the volume of the toxin-causing blooms and the high levels of toxins are cause for alarm, according to the department’s report.

Park Slope vet Christopher Gaylord, in a recent interview with Brooklyn Bark, recommended that pet-owners keep their pooches out of the lake and all surrounding bodies of water, including the leash-free oasis Dog Beach, though a spokeswoman for the Prospect Park Alliance said the toxic blooms have not been identified at Dog Beach and the canine watering hole is still open for business. Gaylord said that dogs are extra sensitive to the toxins, and could die if they consume the algae bloom, and said that if dogs are exposed to the algal bloom their humans (wearing gloves) should wash them thoroughly with soap and fresh water and prevent them from licking their fur.

Green slime: Don’t touch this stuff — and certainly don’t eat it.
Photo by Jason Speakman

A spokeswoman for the Prospect Park Alliance said the organization is working with the department to monitor the waters on a weekly basis to check for any updates on water quality.

In the meantime, the Alliance has posted warnings around the lake’s peninsula telling locals to keep there pooches high and dry.

No!: A child on a log reaches into the toxic waters of Prospect Park Lake. The State of New York says not to do this.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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