In this article you will find:
Can dogs eat seaweed? These are vegetables, so shouldn’t the answer be automatically a “Yes?!”
Well, it can be, but we should not forget that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs to eat. And again, not because a certain food is great for us, humans, means that it’s also good for our canine companions.
Seaweed or sea vegetables are not just a favorite food source for marine life but are also a well-loved ingredient in many human foods from soups and stews, salads, sushi rolls, and a lot more.
With their high nutritional value, it’s also not surprising why there’s a high demand for seaweed supplements.
We get it, these sea veggies are beneficial for humans and ocean life alike, but as dog owners, we can’t help but wonder if we can also share seaweed with our furry friends? Is edible seaweed safe for them? How about the seaweed on the beach?
We know you have a lot of questions, and knowing the rich nutritional benefits of seaweed, you could only hope that this ocean vegetable is also perfectly safe for your four-legged friend.
Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?
Yes, seaweed is a healthy additonal to any dog's diet as long as it doesn't contain any toxic ingredients such as onion or garlic. It is a good source of iodine, magnesium, omegas, iron and protein.
It’s also safe to sprinkle seaweed supplement into your dog’s food. However, you should never feed or allow your dog to eat dehydrated or dried seaweed.
So, if you are a beach person, and your dog also loves running and walking along with you on the shoreline, you should keep your eyes on him at all times. Make sure that he won’t end up eating seaweed that catches his attention.
This is very much likely to happen if your dog has eaten seaweed before because by then, he has already developed a taste for it. So, when he sees dried-up seaweed on the beach, it can automatically translate to him as a tasty treat.
And when he never had a bad experience in eating store-bought dry seaweed, he can easily think of the wild sea veggies as equally safe dog food.
So, if you often go to the beach with your dog, it would be safer not to introduce seaweed in his diet to prevent accidents with wild seaweed on your next beach getaway.
Health Benefits of Seaweed in Dogs
We’ve always heard about the health benefits of green vegetables not just for us humans, but also for our canine companions. And the good news is that, of the many green foods out there, seaweed is one of the best that you can feed to your dog.
Sprinkling this ocean vegetable on top of your pup’s favorite pet food won’t just add taste, flavor, and texture to it, but it’s also an effortless way of boosting his intake of important vitamins and minerals.
Seaweed contains a wide array of nutrients that are extremely beneficial for dogs. And there’s no doubt, why it’s considered a superfood.
It contains proteins, and it is low in fats. Seaweed is packed with 61 essential vitamins, minerals, and trace amounts of 21 amino acids. It’s also rich in iodine, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Nori, the type of seaweed used to wrap sushi, is loaded with vitamin B12. And the other forms of seaweed also contain a good amount of this B vitamin.
All of these benefits, however, can simply go to waste if your dog can’t digest the seaweed properly. However, this shouldn’t be much of a concern because it turns out that this sea veggie does not use cellulose to enclose its cell walls. Hence, dogs can easily digest seaweed than other plants.
Seaweed also contains a wide range of antioxidants that can help with tissue repair, protect your dog’s body from cell damage, and help fight free radicals that can cause cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It is also an excellent source of fiber that is essential for your pup’s gut health.
Moreover, because of its high fiber, low-calorie, and low-fat content, seaweed can also be helpful for dogs that are trying to lose weight. This ocean veggie can help make your pup feel fuller, so, he won’t crave more foods that can result in unhealthy weight gain.
Overall, seaweed can help improve your dog’s cognitive abilities, prevent dry skin and fur loss, as well as restore your dog’s skin to its heydays. It can also help boost your dog’s energy levels, strengthen his immune system, and promote thyroid health, and joint health.
Also, while seaweed taste salty, these sea vegetables have surprisingly low sodium content. Considering that these veggies are from the ocean, it’s easy to assume that it’s the main reason why they are salty and that they are high in sodium.
However, in reality, they are very low in sodium, and their salty flavor comes from the large quantities of other minerals that they naturally have.
Can Dogs Eat Wild Seaweed?
No, they can’t. In fact, this is where the dangers come from when feeding seaweed to your furry friend. While the commercially available seaweed, including the dried, fresh, capsules, and supplements are considered safe for dogs, wild seaweed is not.
When your dog eats the ground seaweed that is lurking by the shoreline, he can suffer from salt poisoning. Your pup can also be exposed to the dangers from other pollutants, as well as waste products in the ocean.
Aside from that, jellyfish, or the sea creatures that contain dangerous toxins, can also be mixed with the seaweed. So, when your dog eats even the dead ones, he would most probably need emergency treatment from a nearby veterinarian immediately.
You should also watch out for signs of wild seaweed poisoning if you suspect that your dog ate a significant amount. Below are some of the symptoms that you should watch out for:
- Loss of appetite
The dried wild seaweed offers another set of problems. The hot heat of the sun on a beach, especially during summer, can easily dry up this sea vegetable. After drying up naturally, the seaweed shrinks to a fraction of its size.
So, dogs that have been exposed to the safe commercially sold seaweed sheets can mistake this dried-up seaweed for their favorite treat.
When your dog ingests dried wild seaweed, it will expand inside your dog’s stomach and cause gastrointestinal obstruction, as well as other problems in his digestive system.
Once these seaweeds absorb liquid inside your dog’s body, they will start to expand and block your dog’s intestinal tract. This can impede the blood supply in his intestine and can cause it to rupture.
Can Dogs Eat Nori Seaweed?
Although they look different than the other seaweeds, both nori and kelp are considered as such, and both are also safe for dogs to eat.
However, make sure to only give your pooch unseasoned seaweed and those free from other spices that can be harmful to them.
How to Add Seaweed Into Your Dog’s Diet?
If your dog has never eaten seaweed before, it’s best to ask for veterinary advice. In general, as with any new food that you add to your dog’s diet, simply give it in moderation. And don’t forget to watch out for allergic reactions, and other side effects.
You should also observe the appearance of your dog’s stool, his energy levels, behavior, and overall condition. Don’t hesitate to ask for veterinary guidance when you sense that something is wrong.
When you are ready to go, the easiest way to add seaweed into your dog’s diet is by sprinkling seaweed supplements into your dog’s food.
You can also break the seaweed into pieces, and add them as toppings, or you can also give them as treats, especially during training.