How to keep your dog safe from deadly algae at Kansas lakes on Labor Day weekend

The “spilled paint” appearance often associated with a harmful blue-green algae bloom.
The “spilled paint” appearance often associated with a harmful blue-green algae bloom. Kansas Departments of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Kansas health officials say there are 15 bodies of water you should avoid swimming in over Labor Day weekend.

The lakes — include Lake Afton in Sedgwick County — have harmful algae blooms that can kill pets that drink or swim in the water, state officials said.

Boating and fishing may be safe at lakes under a public health warning for blue-green algae, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism officials said in news releases. But direct contact with the water — including wading, skiing and swimming — is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

“Dogs can become seriously ill or die if they swim in, drink or retrieve a bird from water affected by a (harmful algae bloom),” state wildlife officials said. “They can even be sickened if they lick their fur after exposure or eat dried algae along the shore or floating in the water.”

A harmful algae bloom may look like a foam, scum or paint floating on the water and have a strong musty odor or smell of sewage or petroleum, KDWPT officials said. A bloom can be blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms may float around the water.

Health officials say you can eat only the fillet portion of fish as long as you rinse the fish with clean water.

Signs of illness from blue-green algae in a dog are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, convulsions, difficulty breathing and general weakness, state officials said. Symptoms in humans include rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat and headaches. It is recommended that you immediately rinse with clean water any area that comes in contact with algae and call your physician or veterinarian if you or your dog show signs of illness.

Bodies of water with a public health warning for blue-green algae:

  • Atchison County Park Lake, Atchison County

  • Township Lake, Rawlins County

  • Carbondale West Lake, Osage County

  • Central Park Lake (Pond), Shawnee County

  • Frazier Lake, Grant County

  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County

  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County

  • Lake Wabaunsee, Wabaunsee County

  • Lakewood Park Lake, Saline County

  • Marais Des Cygnes Wildlife Area, Linn County

  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County

  • Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Osage County Closure – Visitors can utilize Coeur d’ Alene Park Swim Beach which sets on the main body of the lake, located west of the U.S. Army Corps. Of Engineers Project Office.

  • Overbrook City Lake, Osage County

  • South Lake Park, Johnson County

  • Webster Lake, Rooks County – Beach is closed. Webster State Park remains open. Drinking water and bath house facilities are not affected by the algae bloom.

Bodies of water under a public health watch for blue-green algae:

  • Cottonwood River, south of Emporia

  • Hodgeman County SFL, Hodgeman County

  • Mary’s Lake, Douglas County

  • Melvern Lake, Osage County

  • Pomona Lake, Osage County – Beach is closed.

  • Rock Garden Pond, Gage Park, Shawnee County

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