The Ultimate Truth: Should You Feed Kelp to Your Dog?

Seafood is making a much-needed comeback, and we are all tempted. We devour everything the vast oceans bless us with, from shrimps to mussels, to sea veggies. Sea vegetables or seaweeds have become drastically popular among vegans. Commonly found in oriental cuisine, seaweeds like kelp are packed with everything good. At least for humans. But can your dog eat kelp too?

Kelp is a brown alga that grows in the salty oceans, particularly among the rocky shorelines. It is a type of seaweed just like its more famous cousin, nori. You might be wondering whether your four-legged furry friend can enjoy the deliciousness of kelp. Let’s find out together.

Can dogs eat kelp?

Yes, dogs can eat kelp just like you. The abundance of healthy nutrients in kelp makes it a perfect supplement. It contains 60 different minerals, 21 amino acids, and a whole lot of vitamins. Some of the nutrients in kelp may boost your dog’s health by ten folds.

That does not mean you should go overboard while feeding kelp to your dog. As someone wise once said, “half knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance.” Before deciding to feed kelp to your dog, you must know the types of kelp, how to feed it, and the safe quantities for your dog. Read on to know more about kelp and its wonders.

How much kelp can a dog have?

Dogs over 90 pounds can have 2 teaspoons of dried powdered kelp, while dogs less than 30 pounds should only be given half a teaspoon.

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Your pup’s weight should always be kept in mind while feeding it kelp.

Kelp overdose in dogs

If you overfeed kelp to your dog, it will experience the following symptoms:

  • Upset stomach
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy

Kelp Vs. seaweed

Kelp is a seaweed. But are all seaweeds kelp? Definitely not! Then what is the difference between regular seaweed and kelp?

Seaweed is a generic term used for almost all kinds of sea vegetation. They range from small plants to giant trees underwater. They also vary in color and texture. On the other hand, kelp is a large-sized seaweed, often brown in color. It grows up to 260 feet.

Kelp is only found in seawater and oceans. You will never find kelp in freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers. They grow along rocky shorelines – the constant movement of water is why they are packed with so many nutrients.

That doesn’t make other seaweed any less beneficial. Seaweeds like nori and kombu are equally popular among seafood enthusiasts. But kelp has the benefit of having extra iodine in it that is super helpful for both humans and dogs.

While kelp tastes salty, it contains very little sodium. But since kelp is always found in the salty oceans, experts always recommend commercially dried kelp over fresh kelp. This is because wild kelp has more salt content and is not really healthy either for you or your dog.

Benefits of kelp for dogs

Following are some of the key benefits of feeding kelp to your dog:

  1. The presence of iodine in kelp helps maintain activities in the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands. It also prevents hyperthyroidism in dogs which is equivalent to goiter in humans.
  2. Minerals and vitamins in kelp may help reduce dental issues in dogs. The natural enzymes break down tartar and plaque, resulting in healthy teeth and gums.
  3. Kelp boosts skin health and reduces itchiness. It repels fleas and lice off of a dog’s fur. With better skin, the coat also gets its natural sheen and softness.
  4. The presence of natural amino acids speeds up the wear and tear in a dog’s body. Japanese always believed that eating seaweed maintains tissue repair, which grants a longer and healthy life.
  5. High iron and calcium levels in kelp prevent iron deficiency and improve blood flow in the body. Older dogs who may suffer from arthritis and anemia may get the best from consuming kelp supplements.
  6. It improves gut health due to the presence of probiotics. These probiotics reduce pathogens in the digestive tract and control good bacteria’s growth in the gut.
  7. Bioactive molecules (proteins) regulate a dog’s body temperatures and stress levels. It also balances metabolism and reduces the chances of heat-related diseases.
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The dos and don’ts of feeding your dog kelp

Your dog can eat kelp, that’s for sure. And you can be a happy owner now that you know how beneficial is kelp for your dog. But then again, as a responsible owner, you must be cautious with everything.

Dos

  1. Always give dried kelp to your dog. Break the pieces into smaller ones so that they can be digested easily. It would actually be best to powder dried kelp on your dog’s regular meal. 2 teaspoons for a large adult dog are more than enough.
  2. Get good-quality dried kelp from an authentic place.
  3. Ask your dog’s vet before feeding kelp. They know your dog better than anyone else.
  4. Rush to a vet if you see adverse symptoms in your dog after feeding them kelp. The symptoms may include runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Don’ts

  1. Avoid feeding loads of kelp to your dog every day. Kelp is excellent for your dog’s health, but you still have to feed them other food too.
  2. Never give whole pieces of kelp to dogs. It will be hard to chew for your dog, and the chances are that the kelp will expand in the stomach, resulting in aches and vomits.
  3. Once your dog starts liking kelp, they’ll also like wild kelp on the beach as well. You must keep your dog away from eating the kelp from the beach. Not only is it polluted, but it is also high in salts and will make your dog sick.

Related FAQs to dogs and kelp!

Can dogs have seasoned kelp?

No, dogs must not eat anything with salt and spices. The kelp should be dry and unseasoned if you feed it to your dog.

Can dogs eat kelp at the beach?

It is better for your dog not to eat kelp at the beach. Dried up seaweed at the beach is particularly harmful to dogs.

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Can dogs eat human kelp?

In moderation, dogs can eat human kelp too. But make sure that it is not seasoned with salt and spices.

Is kelp good for dogs’ teeth?

Yes, feeding your dog a small dose of kelp every day can prevent plaque and tartar in most dogs.

What seaweeds are good for dogs?

Dogs can safely eat nori, kelp, kombu, wakame, and sea grapes. Make sure to consult a vet before feeding anything new to your dog.

Can iodine hurt dogs?

Overdose of iodine can cause hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism. Kelp contains natural iodine, so it is better to feed kelp to dogs in moderation.

Final verdict on whether dogs can eat kelp!

Nature has gifted us all with wondrous kelp and other seaweeds. More importantly, your dog can reap the benefits just as much as you. But as a responsible and sensible owner, you must never get greedy with anything. Kelp is good for your dogs, but they can only enjoy it in balanced quantities and with other important food items.

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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