Can Dogs Eat Seaweed? (Discover the Truth)
Seaweed has been a supplement that has been highly touted human food supplement for years. Rich in nutrients and pretty tasty when properly prepared, it’s certainly something people have happily turned to for improved health. But do these well-known traits translate to the canine world?
Is the Seaweed in Question Actually Seaweed?
The term seaweed is actually a broader term than you may realize. Generally speaking, seaweed is a catch-all term for the marine plants and algae that are found within the various bodies of water. This term can be applied to massive leafy organisms to microscopic stuff.
When we talk about the seaweed that humans can ingest for health benefits, we’re most likely referring to kelp. This large brown type of seaweed thrives in shallow saltwater near the world’s coastlines. It’s not the only type of seaweed you can eat – the seaweed that wraps around sushi is different, for example – but it is arguably the healthiest.
It derives its healthiness because of where it grows. It naturally absorbs all kinds of nutrients from its environment. This process makes kelp abundant in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – stuff that translates to some impressive health boosters for people.
That’s Great for Us – But What About Dogs?
In recent years, the veterinary world has seen a greater advocacy for the use of kelp as a canine health supplement. This push for kelp usage also stems from a mindset of owners who desire to take a more holistic approach to caring for their canines. Plus, dogs don’t seem to mind the plant.
How Can Kelp Help My Dog?
The main benefit that kelp offers to canines is due to its steep levels of iodine. The presence of this particular mineral is well known to regulate the thyroid gland, which in turn makes it a terrific treatment for dogs that suffer from thyroid-related issues.
The other minerals associated with kelp combine with iodine to help stabilize a dog's adrenal glands and his pituitary gland. The latter gland is especially noteworthy since it acts as the de facto command center for a lot of your pooch's bodily functions.
Kelp has also been known to help dogs deal with various allergies. Studies have indicated that giving your dog a kelp supplement can quell the effects of skin allergies. By extension, this helps slow down the itchiness that tends to make such allergies worse.
Additionally, kelp has been shown to keep fleas and flea infestation at bay. Further studies indicate that a regular ingestion of kelp tends to sharply reduce the number of fleas on dogs suffering from infestation. This, too, can help control a pooch’s itching habits in the long-term.
For older dogs, kelp supplements can also help provide a boost to their immune system, which could help them stave off various diseases associated with longevity. Kelp is also theorized to make the process of recovery from surgery occur more efficiently. It’s also thought to potentially help your dog live longer.
Other Forms of Helpful Seaweed
While kelp tends to get the star treatment regarding promoting canine health, it's far from the only type of seaweed that has been shown to boost a dog’s healthiness. What’s more, these different types of seaweeds have been shown to provide a stronger form of aid in certain aspects than kelp.
For instance, red algaes such as nori and iris moss have a high concentration of a gelatinous substance called cargeena. This substance keeps its shape within a dog's intestines, and, in turn, helps pooches deal with the absorption of toxins that could otherwise cause them grief.
Green algae such as sea lettuce don't have as high as a mineral content as kelp, but it is considered to be a strong source of iron. This enables it to be a potentially essential supplement to fortify a dog's blood, which could in helps his heart pump with greater efficiency.
This particular form of algae also contains a compound known as cesium. This particular compound is known to bind with carcinogens within the digestive tract. When this binding occurs, the carcinogens get flushed out of the system by natural means.
Blue-green algae can also be a vital health supplement for your dog because it is rich in vitamins, particularly B12. It also contains other various minerals and beta-carotene that can further promote good health within your pooch. What's more, it contains substantial amounts of glycogen, which has been shown to enhance brain activity.
So…How Much Seaweed Should I Give My Dog?
Seeing as how kelp and other forms of seaweed are seemingly loaded with health benefits, you may feel inclined to load up your pooch on the substance. However, that is a wrong-headed move that could potentially do more harm than good.
The reason for this traces back to the notion that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. For example, too much iodine can produce iodine toxicity in your dog. This could produce symptoms in your dog ranging from runny, watery eyes to upset stomach and lethargy.
As a rule, the amount of seaweed you can give a dog depends on the actual size of the pooch. If you're dealing with a small dog, you'll want to give him no more than ¼ of a teaspoon. Medium-sized dogs can ingest ½ of a teaspoon, while, one full teaspoon works well for large dogs.
Consult with your Vet!
The most important thing you can do with your pooch if you decide to introduce him to the world of kelp or seaweed is to consult your veterinarian first. Your vet will be able to give your pooch a full assessment and use that information to set up a regiment that will be tailor made to his overall well-being.
With that being said, if you want to improve your dog’s health and well-being, seaweed is nothing to turn away from. After all, it has long been accepted as a health booster for humans. Why not provide those same benefits to your four-legged friend?