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Washed up 'by-the-wind sailors' pose threat to dogs at beaches

Washed up 'by-the-wind sailors' pose threat to dogs at beaches
Posted at 6:18 PM, May 17, 2024

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — Mike Henke and his dog Ziggy are the Del Mar Dog Beach regulars and have been visiting the beach for ten years.

According to Henke, Ziggy starts crying in excitement as soon as the pair head west towards the dog beach. But something has been different about their beach trips lately.

"This is the first time I actually noticed them, [and it] was this year," said Henke.

They are joined by jellyfish-like creatures known as "by-the-wind sailors," Velella Velellas- or blue blobs.

But by now, they've lost most of their color, which could mean trouble for distracted dog owners.

"They can be so hard to see, you may not even see your dog contact them,” said Dr. Brieana Sarvis, the Hospital Director of San Diego Humane Society's Escondido Campus.

While somewhat harmless to humans, dogs with an appetite are a different story.

"If you notice that they are pawing at their face or hyper-salivating, there's a good chance that they might have licked one or eaten it,” said Dr. Sarvis.

ABC 10News spoke with many people at the dog beach who didn't even know the Velella Velella was bad for dogs. If a dog ingests the by-the-wind sailor, it could mean vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

Dr. Sarvis recommends ice-cold water for a stinging mouth and a bland diet for an upset stomach. If vomiting continues, a vet visit is a good idea.

As for Ziggy, Henke isn't worried.

"He doesn't really eat things off the ground and stuff. All he cares about is throwing his bumper and going in the water and that's it,” Henke said.

According to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Velella Velella patterns are somewhat hard to predict, but they usually show up in late spring and early autumn.

So, your furry friend should be fine for those hoping to take the dogs to the beach this summer.