If you like to spend a lot of time on the beach and your dog is always at your side, you need to be on the lookout at all times. Beach can be a dangerous place for your four-legged friend, especially if he or she likes to explore and try out new things.
There are quite a few hazards you should be keeping an eye on – dead fish, jellyfish, lost fishing hooks, and other foreign objects. What about washed-up seaweed? Can dogs eat seaweed?
Seaweed is often championed as a source of beneficial minerals and vitamins. However, dried seaweed can be dangerous for your canine pet. Other options are much safer for dogs, such as ground seaweed or seaweed supplements you can find in almost any pet shop.
If you want to find out more, stay with us to the very end! We’ll help you keep your beloved pet safe and healthy!
Is It Safe For Your Dog To Eat Seaweed On The Beach?
We said it once, we’ll say it again – your dog should not eat the dried up seaweed washed up on the shore.
Besides the possible pollutants that are often found in shore seaweed, there is an issue of high salt concentration that could potentially lead to salt poisoning in dogs. Sometimes jellyfish and critter stowaways get mixed in with the seaweed on the beach too. They can cause an allergic reaction when eaten by your dog.
Unfortunately, there is an even greater danger than all the hazards listed above. Namely, dry seaweed can expand once it gets into your dog’s intestines and cause a dangerous blockage that can lead to the death of your pet.
If your dog ingests a significant amount of wild dried seaweed, we highly recommend that you do not wait for the symptoms to appear but rather go to the vet immediately. The situation can escalate pretty fast and become deadly in only a matter of hours.
If you have taken your dog to the beach and you notice him or her behaving out of the ordinary, look for the following symptoms of wild seaweed poisoning:
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these signs of poisoning, contact your vet ASAP!
Considering how dangerous dried seaweed can be, you should better be safe than sorry and take all the precaution measures when taking your furry companion on a beach tour. It would be best to keep your dog on a leash when walking near any area that may have dry seaweed, primarily if he or she is known to eat things when out and about.
Should Your Dog Eat Commercial Seaweed Products?
Commercially produced seaweed treats and snacks are perfectly safe for your dog. Still, it would be best to make sure that the ones you buy are free of added seasonings.
If there is too much garlic or onions in your dog’s seaweed snacks, your beloved pet can end up with anemia or Heinz body formation. Even though cats are more prone to developing Allium toxicosis, dogs can also be sensitive to it. If your dog ingests onions and garlic in large or chronic amounts, look for the following clinical signs:
- Pale mucous membranes
Of course, contact your vet if you recognize any of the mentioned symptoms. Once again, better be safe than sorry and choose plain seaweed snacks instead of the ones seasoned with garlic or onions.
What About Seaweed Supplements?
Supplements go through a more strict control than snacks and treats and are generally safe for dogs. Seaweed supplements are no exception.
Nevertheless, it is best to be moderate and control the amount of any seaweed supplement you give to your dog. Too much of any food, seaweed included, can disrupt your pet’s digestive system. As a result, your furry friend can end up with diarrhea or vomiting.
Moreover, seaweed supplements are most often made of two types of seaweed – kelp, and nori. Both of them contain trace amounts of harmful substances. To be more precise, trace amounts of arsenic are typically found in kelp supplements, while nori supplements contain trace amounts of mercury. It is thus best to limit your pet’s intake of any seaweed supplement.
Why Should You Give Your Dog Seaweed?
After all, we have said so far, you might be wondering why give your dog seaweed at all if it can be so dangerous for him or her?
There are numerous benefits seaweed brings to the table, or in this case, to your dog’s bowl. It is highly nutritious and rich in multiple vital compounds.
First of all, seaweed is an excellent “green food” to balance the meat-packed diet of your canine companion. Sea veggies are incredibly easy to digest and packed with protein our furry friends need.
Seaweed is also rich in:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Nori seaweed is an excellent source of vitamin B12 too.
Some scientific studies suggest that high levels of tryptophan found in seaweed can help prevent cancer or even reduce existing tumors. Seaweed supplements are believed to help fight heavy metal accumulations as well.
Introducing seaweed to your dog’s diet should help him or her by strengthening their immune system and keeping their energy levels high. It will also keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy and good-looking. If your four-legged friend is suffering from a chronic infection, the natural antioxidant power of seaweed should help too.
There is one more way that seaweed can benefit your dog. Namely, besides being food and working from the inside, seaweed is often part of skin or coat care products for dogs. After all, what we put on our pets’ outside is almost as equally important as what we put on their inside. In or out – seaweed will prove highly beneficial for your canine friend.
If your dog has itchy patches or hot spots on its skin and coat, you can try using a seaweed shampoo or soap. Dogs prone to an allergic reaction or those with overly sensitive skin should avoid using care products that contain harsh chemicals and turn to natural ingredients such as seaweed to prevent irritations or itchiness.
How To Incorporate Seaweed Into Your Dog’s Diet?
There are numerous different ways to introduce seaweed into your pet’s regular diet. Just remember not to let him or her have it while roaming on the beach!
It would be best to buy edible seaweed at a health food store or a pet shop. You can usually find two versions of seaweed in such stores:
- Seaweed that is in flakes
- Seaweed powder
Logically, all commercially produced seaweed supplements and snacks made for human consumption are OK for our canine friends too. That means that it is perfectly safe to share your seaweed snacks or supplements with your best friend.
The easiest way to do that is to add a sprinkle of a seaweed supplement to your dog’s regular food. Never give your pet large pieces of seaweed, though; it can be dangerous.
If your dog learns to love this new addition to his or her favorite meal, you can move on to introducing seaweed snacks and treats. In this way, you will supply your best furry friend with numerous vital nutrients that he or she needs to live a long, happy life. And we all want that for our beloved pets, don’t we?