In recent years, we have started to hear more and more about the many health benefits of seaweed for humans. Whether we are talking about kelp, kombu, or many other forms of seaweed or "sea veggies", they are full of flavor and loaded with nutrients. In fact, many different forms of seaweed are considered to be a superfood. While it might seem like a new idea, scientific evidence shows we as humans have been eating seaweed for at least 10,000 years.
This is great for us, but what about your four-legged friend? Is it safe for him to eat? In recent years there has been a lot of information released regarding the health benefits of green vegetables for a pet. Of the many "green" foods out there, seaweeds such as kelp are considered to be the ultimate. One of the reasons for this is that seaweed does not use cellulose to enclose the cell walls, which makes it much easier for your dog to digest.
Seaweed contains a wide range of nutrients that are extremely good for your dog. Among these are Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, iodine, and magnesium. Kelp has been found to help restore the health of your dog's skin and tissues. Nori, which is typically used to make sushi, contains plenty of vitamin B12, which has been found to help your dog's cognitive abilities.
The average seaweed is made up of approximately 25 percent protein and only 2 percent fat. With so many nutrients in high quantities, it can help produce more energy, enhance your dog's immune system, and support his endocrine glands, which are vital to the function of the thyroid gland.
Something you might not be aware of is, that although seaweed might taste very salty, it is actually very low in sodium. It is the large quantity of other minerals that give it a salty taste.
While so many of the commercially available forms of seaweed, including fresh, dried, capsules, and other supplements are considered to be safe for your pup, wild seaweed is a different story. It is not so much that the seaweed you find dried out by the sun on the beach is in and of itself toxic. Instead, it is because the seaweed has dried out naturally. This causes the seaweed to shrink, however, once your dog eats it, it will end up expanding significantly in his stomach and digestive system. This can lead to blockages that can prove to be fatal.
If you plan to give your dog kelp supplements, you need to be very careful with how much you give him. Giving too much can lead to arsenic poisoning. The same applies to nori, but in this case, it is mercury you have to worry about. The good news is that the worry about poisoning is only there if you overdo it. Be sure to talk to your vet about giving your dog seaweed supplements and have him advise you regarding how much you should be giving him to ensure you are not overdoing it.