Robyn Anderson claims that her labradoodle Jess almost died after drinking from the South Esk River at Hadspen.
And she wants something done as it could be a child next.
Mrs Anderson said yesterday she let Jess have a swim in the river at the town's off-lead area on January 6 as a treat for the dog's third birthday and their lives have not been the same since.
''She had a little paddle in the river because she does not swim and she drank the water from the river,'' Mrs Anderson said.
''That afternoon Jess was lethargic and had vomiting and diarrhoea.
''It was definitely the water, it came on really quickly within a couple of hours of drinking the water.''
She said Jess got worse and she took her to the veterinarian after five days when she had not recovered, to be told that Jess's kidneys were shutting down and she was close to death.
She said it was distressing that her dog was so sick, plus it had cost $2389 in veterinary bills, but it would be worse if it was a child.
On Friday, Mrs Anderson said she saw Meander Valley Council general manager Greg Preece and asked for more warning signs.
That day the council advised against swimming in the South Esk River at Lions Park, off Main Street at Hadspen, and the Liffey River at The Esplanade, off Louisa Street at Bracknell, due to high bacteria levels.
Mrs Anderson said she also asked for better wording.
She said existing signs said the water was ``not deemed suitable for recreational use'', but that could mean the river was too deep or too cold. Mrs Anderson said instead, the signs should say the river was polluted and could make people sick.
Mrs Anderson, who is a dog trainer, said she was last year promised a sign at the river beside the off-lead area, which had not happened.
She said she knew of other people who had rung the council but had been fobbed off.
Mr Preece said the council tested recreational swimming areas regularly in summer under the direction of the Director of Public Health, who also decided wording for signs.
He said the testing was done for humans, not animals, and there was no proof river water had made Jess sick.
He said his staff would this week check to see if the Hadspen off-lead area needed a sign.
He also said he had no knowledge of people being fobbed off.