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Edible seaweed or sea vegetables are becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious people, and for a good reason.
As someone who regularly eats sea vegetables in sushi, salads, and sandwiches, I started to wonder if dogs can eat seaweed and whether it’s safe to share some with my pooch.
Not only are sea vegetables safe for dogs to eat in moderation, eating seaweed is a great way to add extra vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet.
Seaweed contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including iodine, iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. All of these nutrients can do wonders for your dog’s overall health and also promote healthier skin and coat.
While there are numerous benefits of seaweed for dogs, there are also a few risks you should know about.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about feeding seaweed to your dog, how to do it right, and what are the potential risks.
What Is Seaweed?
Edible seaweed or sea vegetables are general terms used to describe many different types of algae and marine plants.
Seaweeds can be found in a variety of different waters and are classified by color. The most commonly eaten types of seaweeds are red, brown, green, and blue-green and will definitely not look like anything your pooch has ever tasted, so far.
With more than 10,000 different species of seaweed growing in rivers, lakes, and oceans, there is a variety of edible species you can choose from. The interesting thing about seaweed is that they tend to differ in taste, nutritional value, texture, and color depending on the type.
For example, some types of sea vegetables, like kelp, are high in iodine, while nori is an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is important for a healthy nervous system and brain health.
Can Dogs Have Seaweed?
If you are a seaweed-loving doggy parent, you’ll be happy to learn that dogs can eat seaweed and experience many health benefits.
As long as it isn’t seasoned with additional ingredients, like onions or garlic, or salted, sea vegetables are completely safe for dogs to eat in moderation.
Technically, dogs can eat all types of edible seaweed without experiencing any side effects, but you’ll need to be careful about how you are letting your dogs eat seaweed.
Processed seaweed is generally fine for dogs in small amounts, as long as you don’t overdo it. And if you decide to feed seaweed to your dog, opt for grounded seaweed as opposed to strips.
Feeding your dog unprocessed strips of seaweed can cause an intestinal blockage, which may require surgery.
To avoid the worst-case scenario, make sure you are using a seaweed powder supplement or you can ground dried seaweed at home before mixing it with the best dog food for Labradors.
With so many different species, you might have a hard time figuring out what type of seaweed has the most to offer to your pooch when it comes to nutrition.
To help you out with that, here are the healthiest and most nutritious types of seaweed to feed to your dog:
Nori is a type of red algae that is most commonly used in traditional Japanese cuisine as a wrap for sushi rolls or sushi balls. Most often, nori is sold as dry and brittle sheets of seaweed that are used for rolling sushi.
As long as it is plain and unseasoned, nori is completely safe for dogs to eat in moderation, and can even be a tasty and nutritious treat.
Nori is chock-full of essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, and vitamins A, C, and E. Furthermore, 44% of its dry weight is protein, which is an essential component of all best dog foods.
Kelp is a type of brown algae that is most often dried in sheets and then added to dishes during cooking. This edible sea vegetable offers numerous health benefits to both people and dogs and is a common ingredient in many natural dog foods.
When it comes to seaweed for dogs, kelp is hard to beat! It is 25% protein, 2% fat, and contains 60 different vitamins and minerals, and 21 amino acids. Kelp is also naturally rich in iodine, which helps support your dog’s glandular system and metabolism.
Wakame is a type of brown algae that is often used for seaweed salads, but it can also be cooked in soups and stews. As an edible sea vegetable, it has a slightly sweet distinctive flavor and is often sold dried.
This type of edible seaweed is low in calories, but full of valuable nutrients, which makes it an ideal treat for overweight dogs that need to shed a few pounds.
Even small amounts of wakame can boost your dog’s levels of iodine, manganese, folate, and magnesium and help them meet their nutritional needs.
Kombu is a type of edible kelp with a strong flavor. Mostly sold dried or pickled in vinegar, kombu is low in calories, but chock-full of vitamins and minerals.
If you decide to feed kombu to your pooch, stick to dried seaweed and avoid feeding anything that is pickled in vinegar.
A nutrient powerhouse, one seven-inch piece of kombu contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
And if that weren’t enough, this edible kelp also contains antioxidants that may help prevent obesity and other chronic conditions in dogs.
5. Sea Grapes
Sea grapes, also known as Umibudo seaweed, are a type of edible green algae that is made up of tiny balls. It has a slightly salty flavor like seawater and a crispy texture when you bite into it.
When it comes to nutrition, sea grapes pack a nutritious punch and are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, and K, beta carotene, calcium, iodine, and potassium.
Sea grapes are most commonly eaten raw on their own or added to salads.
Nutritional Benefits Of Seaweed For Dogs
Not only can dogs eat seaweed, but they can also experience all sorts of health benefits from eating it.
Taken as a whole, edible seaweeds are extremely healthy and a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. They typically contain high amounts of fiber, have zero fat, and are a surprisingly good source of protein.
Since seaweed grows in the sea, it is also richer in trace minerals like zinc and iodine than most fruits and vegetables grown on land. The particularly nutritious sea vegetables also contain high levels of iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, copper, iodine, and vitamin K.
Furthermore, seaweed also contains smaller amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, phosphorus, choline, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
Dried seaweed is more concentrated in nutrients, so sprinkling just one tablespoon of it over your dog’s food is enough to provide all of these essential nutrients.
Thanks to its nutrient-dense profile, seaweed can offer many health benefits to your pooch when consumed moderately.
First of all, seaweed can boost your dog’s overall health by improving its immune system. It also promotes healthy skin and tissues, and it may even improve your dog’s cognitive abilities.
Thanks to so many nutrients and a good amount of protein, sea vegetables can also keep your dog energetic and active throughout the day.
Eating dried algae can also support your pup’s endocrine glands, which are essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
If you want to include seaweed into your pup’s diet, you are probably wondering if dogs can eat seaweed snacks and supplements.
These are completely safe for dogs and are the easiest way to let your dog experience all the benefits seaweed has to offer.
Is Seaweed Bad For Dogs In Any Way?
Dogs can eat seaweed in moderation and regularly as long as it is an edible variety. Mixing kelp supplements, dried nori, or ground seaweed with your dog’s food won’t put your pooch in harm’s way, as long as you stick to recommended amounts and don’t go overboard.
The only type of seaweed that is bad for dogs is the one found on the beach. If you like to take your pooch to the beach, make sure to keep them on the leash and well away from any wild seaweed that has been washed on the shore.
Wild seaweed that is commonly found on beaches during summer can be extremely dangerous for your dog in several different ways. First of all, wild seaweed that is found on the beach can contain pollutants or lead to salt toxicity in dogs.
Don’t forget that all sorts of critters can be lurking in the seaweed, patiently waiting for their next victim, which might end up being your pooch.
Jellyfish and shellfish that might be mixed with the seaweed can cause a severe allergic reaction in some dogs if ingested. Not to mention that ingesting dead critters mixed with seaweed can cause all sorts of tummy problems for your pooch.
However, the biggest issue with wild seaweed is that it will expand in your dog’s stomach once it is eaten.
It’s natural for beach seaweed to dry up while lying in the sun, but it will quickly expand to its full size once it comes into contact with the juices from your dog’s stomach. When expanded, wild seaweed can cause a potentially life-threatening intestinal blockage.
The consequences of eating wild sea vegetables can escalate very quickly, so you’ll need to observe your dog carefully if you suspect that they ate some.
Be on the lookout for any symptoms of intestinal obstruction such as vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
If your pooch exhibits any of these signs after eating beach seaweed, take them to the vet immediately! Depending on the amount of ingested seaweed and the severity of your dog’s condition, your vet might decide to perform surgery.
How To Feed Seaweed To Your Dog?
Although dogs can have seaweed and experience many health benefits, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
As always, you should consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, including feeding them seaweed.
Your veterinarian will also know to tell you how much seaweed to feed to your dog and whether the high iodine count can interact with any medication your pooch is currently on.
Sprinkling seaweed supplements or adding ground seaweed to your dog’s regular food is the easiest way to add sea vegetables to their diet. And although seaweed might taste salty, it’s actually low in sodium making it perfectly safe for your dog to eat on a regular basis.
If you decide to feed seaweed snacks to your dog, make sure that they are made without salt, added spices, onions, or garlic, as these ingredients are toxic to dogs.
Make sure to read the label first to check for harmful ingredients before feeding sea vegetables to your pooch.
One more thing to remember is to keep fresh water in your dog’s water at all times, especially when feeding seaweed to your dog. Having free access to clean water will allow your dog to wash away the food and help with digestion.
FAQs About Seaweed For Dogs
Can dogs eat crispy seaweed?
Despite what the name might suggest, crispy seaweed isn’t actually seaweed; it’s a dish made of cabbage that has been dried and then fried.
While dogs can eat cabbage and experience all sorts of health benefits, eating crispy seaweed, or should I say fried cabbage, isn’t particularly healthy nor beneficial for dogs.
How much seaweed is too much for a dog?
How much seaweed is too much for a dog to eat depends solely on its size and will vary greatly from one dog to the next.
Generally speaking, large dogs can eat ¼ of a teaspoon, and small dogs ⅛ of a teaspoon of powdered seaweed daily. Anything more than that’s fed regularly can put your dog’s entire well-being at risk.
Can seaweed kill dogs?
When a dog eats dried-up seaweed that’s lying on the beach, they are putting themselves in life-threatening danger.
Dried wild seaweed will expand as it absorbs the moisture and fluid from your dog’s stomach. Eating wild seaweed puts your dog at risk of a potentially life-threatening condition called intestinal obstruction.
If not diagnosed or treated in time, an intestinal blockage can prove fatal, so your dog might end up dead after eating seaweed.
What should I do if my dog eats seaweed?
Call your veterinarian right away if you suspect that your dog has eaten dried, wild seaweed that lies on the beach. The effects of eating wild seaweed and the first symptoms of intestinal blockage can escalate from mild to deadly in a matter of a few hours.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested wild seaweed or shows any signs of obstruction such as diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, call your vet right away or take them to an emergency veterinary clinic.
Will seaweed make my dog sick?
Small amounts of mixed seaweed supplement or ground seaweed with dog food shouldn’t make your dog sick.
However, if this is your dog’s first time eating seafood, start slowly and give their tummy some time to adapt. On the other hand, eating wild seaweed that has been lying and drying on the beach can cause digestive upset, intestinal blockage, and make your dog very sick.
Is seaweed good for dogs’ teeth?
Studies have shown that adding a small amount of kelp powder to your dog’s food can help reduce and prevent tartar buildup on their teeth.
Kelp contains a multitude of trace minerals that have viscous properties and an antibacterial effect on the mouth. Kelp also contains beneficial bacteria, which releases an enzyme that breaks down bacterial biofilm that causes plaque and tartar.
If you are wondering if dogs can eat seaweed, the answer is yes! Edible seaweed can be a delicious and nutritious treat that can improve your dog’s overall health and serve as a source of essential vitamins and minerals.
On the other hand, dry, wild, beach seaweed is dangerous for dogs to eat and can cause intestinal obstruction. If your dog manages to eat some you should:
- Call your vet right away
- Observe your dog for signs of intestinal obstruction
- Take your dog to the clinic if they experience abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea
In the end, sprinkling and mixing seaweed supplements or ground seaweed with your dog’s food can have a major effect on their overall health and happiness.
How about you and your dog?
Do you give your dog seaweed?
Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.
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