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Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?

Golden retriever walking on a beach with seaweed in it's mouth

Can dogs have seaweed? This is a question a lot of dog owners ask, especially if they like to go to beaches. Canines will often smell much of what comes their way because this is how they explore their surroundings. Hence, they are quite likely to find seaweed on a beach and may even be tempted to eat it. Seaweed contains many nutrients, like protein, iron, iodine, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Read on to learn about all the benefits and risks of seaweed for your pup.

Is Seaweed Good for Dogs?

Seaweed is high in a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to your dog. Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, iodine, and magnesium are some of the most notable ones. Kelp, a type of seaweed, has been discovered to aid in the restoration of your dog’s skin and tissues. Similarly, Nori (commonly used in sushi) is high in vitamin B12 and improves your canine’s cognitive ability.

The typical seaweed has around 25% protein and barely 2% fat. Combine that with other nutrients and seaweed can provide more energy, strengthen the immune system, and support the endocrine glands of your pooch. Despite its salty flavor, seaweed has low sodium content, which makes it a delightful and safe treat for pups.

The easiest method to add seaweed into your dog’s diet is to sprinkle it on top of his/her meal. The following are some types of seaweed that are beneficial for your dog.

Kelp

View looking up from in the ocean towards the surface with kelp swaying in the current

Kelp is one of the best natural sources of amino acids. This is because it has a protein content of 25% and a fat content of 2%. These sea vegetables are high in bioavailable vitamins and minerals, including iodine and iron. Iodine is necessary for good thyroid function while iron helps with the circulation of oxygen. The iodine concentration in kelp also aids in the support of your dog’s glandular system and metabolism.

Although there are several edible sea vegetables, kelp is the most nutritious for dogs. It contains are 60 vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, as well as 21 amino acids. It is also a natural source of many growth hormones. Likewise, kelp supplements have been demonstrated in trials to decrease dental plaque and tartar build-up in dogs (within weeks).

Wakame

Pile of Wakame salad on a white background.

This edible seaweed is low in calories but high in nutrients, making it an excellent treat for overweight dogs. Wakame is high in omega-3 fatty acids and eicosapentaenoic acid. This means that it is one of the world’s most nutrient-dense plants. Even a modest amount of wakame can help fulfill the nutritional needs of your pup.

Wakame provides iodine, manganese, folate, and magnesium that are critical for the health of dogs. However, it includes a trace quantity of arsenic and cadmium. Therefore, you should always feed your doggo small doses of wakame.

Is Seaweed Bad for Dogs?

Poodle mix with its head tilted

Too much seaweed can be dangerous for dogs. In this case, your pooch might become critically ill and require immediate medical attention. Hence, if you’re going to give your dog kelp supplements, be cautious about their quantity.

Arsenic poisoning is the biggest concern when feeding seaweed to your canine friend. If you are giving Nori to your dog, similar concerns are there for mercury poisoning. The good news is that poisoning is only a concern if your fury friend consumes too much.

Although all seaweed strains are deemed edible for dogs, you should use caution when feeding them to your pet. Most experts advocate crushed seaweed as the best alternative for dogs. However, processed seaweed (like Nori) can also be used in tiny amounts. Unprocessed seaweed strips are a little dangerous because they can produce a clog in your dog’s intestines. Hence, caution is recommended when adding this nutrient powerhouse to your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Dried Seaweed?

Sheets of seaweed on a rectangle stoneware plate on a white background.

No, they can’t. Dried seaweed becomes enlarged in your dog’s intestines and can cause a blockage that can be fatal. Therefore, if you suspect your dog has eaten dried wild seaweed, you should call your veterinarian right away. This is because the consequences can go from minor to fatal in a couple of hours.

You should always keep an eye out for signs of wild seaweed poisoning in your pet, especially when on a beach. This is because areas, such as the high tide line, can often contain dried seaweed and other harmful foods. Hence, you must keep your furry friend on a leash or near to you while exploring these regions.

It’s not so much that the sun-dried seaweed you see on the beach is harmful in itself. Instead, it’s because the seaweed has naturally dried out. The seaweed is shrunk when your canine consumes it and expands dramatically in his/her stomach and digestive tract. This can result in obstructions, which can be deadly. You should look out for symptoms, like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, to seek medical assistance.

Can Dogs Eat Roasted Seaweed?

Sheets of nori on a white plate resting on a wooden table.

Roasted seaweed is called Nori, and it is entirely safe for dogs to consume in moderation. Just make sure that it is plain and unseasoned (free from salt, onion, garlic, or other spices). It may even be a pleasant and healthy treat for dogs that is full of many useful nutrients.

Roasted seaweed is packed with several nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, and vitamins (A, C, and E). Similarly, protein accounts for 44% of its dry weight, which is an essential component of all high-quality dog meals.

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