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Can Dogs Eat Seaweed? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat packaged seaweed but must altogether avoid beach seaweed. Dog owners must be cautious while introducing their dogs to the beach. Packaged seaweed like wakame, kombu, sea grapes, nori, and kelp are good options for dogs unless it is seasoned with salt and spices. On the other hand, beach seaweed can trigger severe health issues in dogs.

What Is Seaweed?

Seaweed is also known as microalgae. They are typically marine algae and essentially a part of ocean bodies. They are from the family Protista, which implies, they are neither plants nor animals. It is because they do not possess vascular systems like a plant. 

Is Seaweed Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Seaweed is safe for dogs only if they are nori and kelp without seasoning. Any other kind of seaweed is toxic for dogs. Let us list out the unsafe seaweed for dogs to make it easier:

  • Seasoned nori/kelp/wakame/kombu/sea grapes: Seasoned nori has spices that include salt, pepperoni, garlic, onion powder, chili flakes, etc. These components are toxic to dogs and can turn out deadly. 
  • Dry seaweed: Dry seaweed is not a wise option to offer your dog! Providing half a spoon of dry seaweed may seem less. However, after the consumption, it expands due to the water content in the system and becomes toxic for dogs.
  • Wild seaweed (from the beach): Raw seaweed is the most dangerous. They carry sea salt, parasites, fungus, and bacteria. These elements can drastically affect your dog’s health. 

Why Is Seaweed Good For Dogs?

Packaged seaweed without seasoning is good for dogs. Vets recommend only a pinch of dusted seaweed is beneficial. There are types of seaweeds that are good for dogs:

  • Wakame
  • Nori (Seaweed Paper)
  • Kelp
  • Sea Grapes
  • Kombu

Let us check why and how packaged, unseasoned seaweed is healthy for dogs:

  • Iron: Iron is required to accomplish critical processes, including carrying oxygen throughout the body in the hemoglobin of red blood cells so that the cells can generate energy. Iron is also required to function various enzymes in the body properly.
  • Magnesium: At the cellular level, magnesium is involved in energy generation. Magnesium is required to allow the passage of energy whenever your pet moves a muscle, has a heartbeat or thinks.
  • Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acid helps puppies develop their brains and eyes properly. DHA may also help dogs with canine cognitive impairment and enhance their cognitive function. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have been proven in studies to aid in the treatment of canine arthritis and chronic renal disease. 
  • Protein: Protein helps in keeping the fur lustrous and healthy, keeps nails, and teeth strong, builds tissues, and helps in recovering dead tissues. 
  • Iodine: Dogs require iodine in their food to maintain regular bodily function. Fluid equilibrium, muscle and neuron process, and blood pressure stability are all aided by this electrolyte. 

Note: Excessive salts like iodine and sodium can disrupt bodily function in dogs.

  • Vitamin B12: Beginning with the neural system, vitamin B12 aids in the formation and improvement of protective tissues that cover the nerves in the brain, giving the dog greater control over all physiological activities. Additionally, your dog’s spinal health benefits from a healthy neural system.

Why Is Seaweed Bad For Dogs?

Seaweed may provide health benefits to dogs, and you may offer your dog seaweed as supplements. However, have you ever given a second thought to its side effects? Here is the break-up of why and how seaweed is bad for dogs:

Wild Seaweed

First, seaweed is addictive. Therefore, once your dog has smelled and tasted seaweed, it will be challenging for you to take him to the beach. He will get attracted to the wild seaweed and start demanding more to consume it. Now let us check the factors making wild seaweed consumption hazardous:

Pollutants: Pollutants can include anything you will grant as fringe elements for your dog to consume! It can be broken shell pieces to moss. Consuming these will be fatal for your dog leading to:

  • Congestion
  • Internal blockages

Salt: Salt is primary in the sea. In addition, wild seaweed has salt content that is toxic for dogs. Consuming excessive salt can lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Congestions
  • Convulsions
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking of head
  • Kidney issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle tremors
  • Fits
  • Coma
  • Death

Bacteria/Fungi/Parasites are common factors in wild seaweed. If your dog has consumed wild seaweed, it also implies that he has consumed bacteria, fungi, and parasites. These can lead to:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammation
  • Throat irritation
  • Face swelling
  • Rashes
  • Red paws
  • Loss of fur
  • Skin diseases
  • Lack of vision
  • Worms

Note: Organisms such as Jellyfish can also be found attached to seaweed which could be allergic and, in some instances, lethal to your dogs.

Seasoned Nori/Kelp/Wakame/Kombu/Sea Grapes

Second, seasoned nori, kelp, wakame, kombu, and sea grapes are toxic for dogs. Dogs are strictly prohibited from consuming anything that is seasoned. Seasoned seaweed contains ingredients that can be life-threatening to dogs. Let us check how does it affect your dog:

Garlic/onion/chives: Garlic, onion, and chives are from the allium family. Dogs cannot consume garlic, onion, and chives as it is deadly, and symptoms begin within minutes of consuming them. Therefore, consuming seasoned nori and kelp triggers:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Increased heart rate
  • Respiratory issues
  • Kidney issues
  • Liver issues
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Internal inflammations
  • Muscle tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

Salt: Seasoned seaweed has a high concentration of salt! Consuming excessive salt can lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Congestions
  • Convulsions
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking of head
  • Kidney issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle tremors
  • Fits
  • Coma
  • Death

Pepperoni/Chili Flakes: Pepperoni and chili flakes are also present in seasoned seaweeds. Consumption of these can cause:

  • Throat inflammation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning rectum and anus
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Sneezing
  • Lack of coordination

Dry Seaweed

If your dog consumes dry seaweed, it will expand with moisture or water content present in your dog’s body and make havoc on health issues. Apart from the seaweed expanding, it might also have moss clung to it, which too will expand and add to the risk. Here are the symptoms which will come on display if your dog consumes dry seaweed:

  • Throat or intestinal blockage
  • Inflammation
  • Rashes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Wobbly movements
  • Unconsciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

How Much Seaweed To Feed My Dog?

Moderation is the key! Only a pinch of edible powder once a month will be perfect for your dog. 

How To Serve Seaweed To My Dog?

If you prepare food for your dog at home, mix a pinch of seaweed powder in the preparation and serve it. If you offer your dog high-quality dog food, add a pinch of the powder and serve it! Remember, do not ever overfeed seaweed to your dog. 

Homemade Dog Seaweed Recipe

Turkey-Kelp Delight (A recipe from Pet Plan)

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups – Diced, boiled white turkey meat
  • 1 cup of sliced broccoli
  • ½ cup of chopped apples
  • 1 ½ cups – boiled quinoa
  • 1 tbsp – kelp powder
  • 1 tbsp – powdered turmeric

Method

  1. Blend broccoli and apples to a fine paste.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix them thoroughly.
  3. Make patties out of the mix and serve these treats to your pet.
  4. In addition, you can store the patties in the refrigerator or freeze them for the long term.

What If My Dog Ate Seaweed?

If your dog eats unseasoned or wild seaweed accidentally, or consumes the edible seaweed beyond the suggested quantity, immediately take him to the vet. Symptoms of seaweed poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Blockages
  • Rashes
  • Inflammations
  • Internal infections
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty in bowel movements

Always keep your dog under supervision if you and your dog are on the beach or have seaweed at home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can puppies eat seaweed?

No, puppies cannot have seaweed. This is because their stomachs are more vulnerable than an adult dog. Therefore, seaweed can be havoc on puppies.

Can dogs have beach seaweed?

No. Dogs, under any circumstances, should not have beach seaweed. Nothing is more dangerous than beach seaweed. 

Can seaweed kill dogs?

Seaweed may or may not kill dogs. Still, they cause harm to your dog if not provided in proper proportion. 

Can seaweed help a dog’s dental health?

Yes, little amounts of seaweed help a dog’s dental health due to Ascophyllum nodosum. 

Are seaweed rice crackers good for dogs?

No. Seaweed rice crackers have seasonings that are toxic to dogs. 

Final Thoughts

Cutting a long story short, only a few types of seaweed are suitable for dogs, although in a small quantity and occasionally. This is because they have a few essential nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, a large amount can be deadly. So, keep an eye on your dog’s food to ensure a healthy and happy life for your dog.

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