Is it Safe for Dogs to Swim in Chestermere Lake?

Is it Safe for Dogs to Swim in Chestermere Lake

Chestermere lakes water quality is tested by Chestermere Public Works weekly from May to October, or when the water levels are high. The water is only tested at the 4 beach areas in Chestermere. The water quality is tested for the safety of humans swimming in the lake.

When it comes to dogs however, there are a few more things to consider:
First is that many dogs will not only swim in the water but will also drink the water. The water is not considered suitable for consumption. So if you choose to allow your dog to swim in the lake, do bring fresh water along with you and encourage them to drink frequently, and discourage them from drinking the lake water.

Secondly, most dogs are very furry, and have nice floppy ears! When the lake water settles into the fur and the dog is not bathed and thoroughly dried after swimming, you have some potential for trouble.

Yeast can grow wherever moisture remains. Ears and in-between the toes seem to be perfect places for this to happen. To avoid this problem, give your dog a very good bath after his swim, and dry him well. To get those ears dry, a cotton cosmetic pad swiped in the ear works very well to absorb any excess water that a towel may leave behind, this cotton pad can also be patted in-between the toes. Symptoms of a yeast infection include discharge, odor, redness or swelling, crusting of the skin, hair loss or hair discoloration, head shaking, scratching, and licking between toes. Treatment by your veterinarian will be required.

There are also other organisms living in the water that if left in your dog’s fur after swimming can cause skin rash, or that your dog may ingest when he licks his fur to clean himself. Again, if your dog drinks the water, he may also ingest these organisms. Of most concern are bacteria like E. Coli, Salmonella, Leptospira, Campylobacter, cyanobacteria like Blue-green algae, protozoa like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and single-celled organisms like Coccidia. All these generally cause diarrhea and sometimes vomiting except for Leptospira (which is rare) which starts with fever and then progresses to liver and kidney damage. Some of these are also transmissible to people. The majority are treatable in healthy dogs, with a good prognosis with treatment.

A doggie life jacket can also be a good investment for your swimming companion.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for many dogs. We are lucky to have Chestermere Lake right in town to take advantage of for our recreational enjoyment. Just be sure to swim safe and have fun! If your dog does become sick after swimming in the lake or at any time, or if you have any questions, please contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic (403) 272-3573 or visit us on Facebook!

NOTE: Swimming is not currently advised due to high levels of enterococcus faecalis (fecal matter) present in the water. Fecal bacteria are often found elevated at several lakes in Alberta during heavy rain events,” read a press release from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the City of Chestermere.
According to AHS, contact with the water could result in gastrointestinal illness, and you could also get skin, eye and ear infections.

As reported today (June 17, 2022) here:

PS: The swimming advisory put in place on Friday, June 17 for Chestermere lake is lifted effective immediately.

“Repeated test results have shown a significant improvement in the water quality,” says Interim City Director, Cameron Wong. “After consultation with Alberta Health Services, we can safely open these beaches, park areas, and the water for the enjoyment of the public.”

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