DOG owners are being asked to take extra care when walking their dogs near water this summer after a pet died after coming into contact with deadly algae.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has become concerned about an increase in toxic blue-green algae in locations across the UK following a spell of hot weather.

Blue green algae, or cyanobacteria, can contain dangerous toxins which can potentially be fatal to pets, livestock and birds if ingested even in small quantities.

The algae may appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water. Dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected lake, river or pond or while licking their fur after going for a swim.

British Veterinary Association senior vice-president Daniella Dos Santos said: “The majority of blooms are toxic and it’s impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so prompt veterinary treatment is the only way to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for your pet.

"If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae, seek emergency veterinary treatment as soon as possible.”