Dogs are members of the family and it's scary to think that taking them swimming, to spend time with their family could end up the last memory you have together.

If you have a dog, then you know how important they are to the family. Imagine taking the dog on a nice outing, on a hot day, allowing them to swim, and ending up in the vet's office with them unresponsive. That's what happened to some dog owners in North Carolina, according to Patch.com.

Were these cases in North Carolina, far from the Capital Region, yes, but that doesn't mean our pets aren't in danger. These dogs came in contact with a toxic algae that they're calling "blue-green algae." Blue-green algae is toxic to both pets and humans but because pets ingest it, it affects them more and faster, according to the New York Times.

A lot of lakes across the country are being shut down because of the toxicity of this algae but sometimes it can go undetected. Officials are saying to look out for lakes that may be murky or have a strange odor. One way it thrives is from the fertilizer runoff and sewage that escapes into waterways.

I know what you're thinking. This is a terrible story but what does algae growing in North Carolina have to do with us here? Because we're not immune from the algae growing in our lakes either. The Department of Environmental Conservation has put together an interactive map that reports hazardous algae blooms and some are here in the Capital Region and North, in lakes you and your pets or your kids frequent often.

Make yourself aware of the signs of blue-green algae and potentially how to catch it. You don't want what happened to these pet owners to happen to you!