Seaweed is loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Numerous varieties exist, including kelp, spirulina, arame, nori, dulse, kombu and many more. Seaweed is an appropriate and nutritious addition to your dog's diet, providing her a natural source of minerals and other nutritive support throughout her life.
Seaweed Is a Nutritious Accent
Seaweed is high in nutritive value, but low in calories. Kelp, for example, has only about two calories per tablespoon. It would take an awful lot of kelp to satisfy your dog's hunger, and seaweed isn't a dog's ideal main course anyway. Serving seaweed to your pup is less about filling her belly with these ocean veggies, and more about offering smaller quantities with big nutritive value—a lot of nutritive bang for your buck.
Kelp as a Seaweed of Choice for Dogs
Kelp contains over 60 minerals, elements and plant hormones. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, Ph.D., author of Dr. Pitcairn’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, suggests kelp can help dogs with with arthritis, heart disease, skin and respiratory problems, cancer and more. Further, a study by veterinarian Alfred J. Plechner study that showed dogs fed kelp experienced fewer food allergies, glandular imbalances and scratching issues. If you suspect your pup has a medical problem, though, visit your vet.
Consider the Source
When choosing a seaweed, determine where it originated. Seaweed absorbs environmental components, including toxins. If you're using kelp, Norwegian kelp is a good choice. The Norwegian coast offers an ideal environment for kelp to grow. Further, when the cold ocean water combines with mineral-rich fresh glacial water found on this coast, the result is a nutritive-rich plant. If you're not using kelp, check the source and make sure you are getting a clean, high-quality product.
Using Seaweed in Your Dog's Food
Seaweed is available in whole form, powder, capsule and other versions. If your dog has never tried seaweed, start with a tiny amount. For example, if you buy kelp in its whole form, tear off a small piece and offer it to her. Or you're using a powder form, sprinkle a bit on a plate. If your pup is a seaweed fan and her tummy agrees, add small pieces to her food, or sprinkle a spoonful of powder on her meals.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.