Sea algae in the diet of dogs

Published by Renata

Sea algae, also known as kelp, (macroalgae) are saltwater plants that live on the coasts of cool oceans (mainly the Atlantic Ocean – northern regions and the Arctic). A. nodosum is the largest representative of brown algae, its “leaves” reach up to 2 m in length, creating dense underwater meadows. They attach to the substrate with the help of a rhizoid (the equivalent of roots, which is not used to absorb substances, as is the case with terrestrial plants). Kelp absorbs substances dissolved in water with its entire surface, thanks to which the elements reach high concentrations. Sea algae therefore contain the most nutrients of all plants in the world – up to 10x more in the same volume as land plants!


Sea algae do not contain high amounts of salt, which might seem logical since they grow in salty waters. Their salty taste results from the content of magnesium and potassium compounds, as well as sodium, phosphorus, iron and other elements dissolved in ocean waters and absorbed by the alga. Sometimes, for this reason, kelp is used as a substitute for traditional salt 🙂


How do sea algae work on the dog’s body?


Sea algae are much easier to digest than land plants. The proteins contained in kelp are a source of exogenous amino acids – that must be supplied with the diet, because the body is unable to produce them on its own from the supplied nutrients. The high content of minerals allows you to supplement deficiencies in the diet and thus regulate metabolic processes in the body. Kelp also provides many substances with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and antiviral properties.


Kelp contains high amounts of calcium and iron. Thanks to this, it can be used in dogs with anemia, problems resulting from calcium deficiency: muscle tremors, blood clotting problems, weakened bones. Sea algae are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on the functioning of internal organs, the nervous system, and reduce inflammation. What’s more, sea algae provide a compound – sodium alginate, which binds heavy metal elements, allowing them to be removed from the dog’s body.

Improving immunity with kelp

Sea algae have a positive effect on the immune system of dogs. This translates into a more effective fight against infections and cancer cells by the body. This is due to the content of fucoidans. Fucoidans stimulate the immune system, have an anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antibacterial, anticancer effect – they stimulate the production of a factor that destroys cancer cells.

Anti-inflammatory properties of marine algae

The high content of antioxidants (flavonoids, carotenoids, other compounds) reduces inflammation, reduces the formation of free radicals as a result of the oxidation of compounds. This property can be used to reduce ailments caused by inflammation, e.g. skin allergies, joint diseases, inflammation in the digestive system. Reducing the formation of free radicals (oxidation products), slows down the aging of body cells.

Sea algae helpful with allergies

Kelp reduces itching and inflammation associated with skin allergies, and the richness of nutrients improves the condition of the skin and coat. The content of proteins, vitamins and minerals accelerates the regeneration of tissues, the healing of epidermis damage, and prevents excessive hair loss.

Reduction of plaque and tartar with kelp

Scientific research proves that kelp helps reduce plaque, slowing down the formation of tartar. The mechanism of this phenomenon is not fully understood, research is still ongoing. It is suspected that the addition of sea algae in the diet of dogs creates unfavorable living conditions in the oral cavity for bacteria that contribute to the formation of tartar.


Sea algae supplementation in diabetes and obesity in dogs

Fucoidans and other biologically active compounds lower cholesterol in the blood, so they can contribute to improving the health of obese dogs and those with problems with hyperlipidemia. Carbohydrates supplied to the diet along with supplementation with sea algae help to lower blood glucose levels, hence it is an addition worth attention in the case of a dog with diabetes.

Sea algae as a support for the dog’s thyroid gland

Seaweed is known for its high iodine content. This supports the proper functioning of the thyroid gland (it regulates the metabolism of the whole body). Iodine makes up about 65% of thyroxine and about 58% of triiodothyronine, the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. The iodine contained in kelp is in the ionic form that is best absorbed by the body.

A few words about iodine deficiency in the diet of dogs

Too little or too much iodine in the diet can cause health problems, including: thyroid problems, fertility problems, metabolic disorders, neurological problems. Excess iodine can be toxic, so do not oversupply this element, and supplementing the diet with sea algae should be carefully controlled in terms of iodine content in a given product. Enriching the diet with sea algae to supplement iodine is especially important in the case of raw and homemade diets, because they are very poor in this element.


Minimum Iodine Needs for Healthy Dogs (FEDIAF 2016):

adults: 0.03 mg / kg b.w. (approximately 0.036 g Barfer Kelp per 1 kg dog’s body weight)

reproduction, puppies: 0.15 mg/100g of dry food weight

The most common symptoms of long-term iodine deficiency in the diet of dogs:

  • hypothyroidism: slowing down the body’s metabolism, which generates less heat – the dog is cold, weight gain, regulate lactation (influence on the development of the mammary glands – thyroid hormone deficiency will weaken the process),
  • impaired mental and physical development (problems with slow body growth, epileptic seizures)
  • disorders during pregnancy: risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, higher mortality of young,
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland thyroid goiter, causes pressure on the organs in the neck


Sources of iodine in the diet of dogs:

sea fish, sea algae, eggs, offal (especially kidneys, because iodine is excreted in the urine), blood, meat of wild animals, especially those living in coastal areas. Caution about giving the throat and necks with thyroid (with a raw diet) – their excess can lead to hyperthyroidism in the dog – because thyroid hormones are eaten along with the piece.


Contraindications to supplementation with sea algae

We do not give sea algae (kelp) to dogs:

– having hyperthyroidism,

– showing intolerance or allergy to algae,

– in the diet of which there is an excess of calcium, iodine.

With pharmacologically treated hypothyroidism – the use of sea algae is allowed, unless the attending physician recommends otherwise.

When choosing sea algae as a dietary supplement, you should make sure of their origin, quality and content of impurities, e.g. heavy metal elements. You should also check the levels of key ingredients contained in the product, as the nutritional profiles will vary depending on the area in which the algae grew and when giving the same amount of different products, we will provide different concentrations of nutrients, minerals and vitamins.



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