Red Tide & Your Pets

If your pet swims in a red tide patch at the beach, a thorough freshwater rinse as soon as possible is essential. Most dogs lick themselves after swimming and they will consume any toxin/organisms on their fur.

Don’t let your pet play in any sea foam – the foam has been shown to be 10X more toxic than water.

If your pet has asthma, do not take him to the beach when red tide toxins are in the air. How do you know if it’s in the air? Go to www.mote.org/beaches or call 941-BEACHES.

If your animal is acting differently, experiences a seizure, is clumsy, has diarrhea, is shaking, loses his balance, appears confused or seems to not be able to see, seek veterinary care immediately. Red tide toxins can sometimes cause neurological symptoms.

If you live near the water and your dog or cat has asthma, be vigilant about giving daily medication (in consultation with your veterinarian) during red tide.

Do not let your dog or cat eat or play with dead fish. The toxins accumulate in the viscera (guts) and are very resistant to cooking and freezing.

Birds – if you live near the water and your bird lives outside on a lanai or porch, consider bringing him inside to air conditioning. Depending on wind speed and direction, the toxins can travel at least 1 mile inland.

Photo courtesy of Sarasota County

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