Can dogs eat seaweed? It’s a question many dog owners have asked, and the reason is pretty obvious — we want our dog to enjoy the occasional tasty treat!
While dogs love their kibble and treats, it’s tempting to feed them from our own plates or get them a snack of human food. After all, they seem to enjoy it so much more! However, when doing this, it’s important to consider the fact that not every human food is healthy for dogs. Some of it is even downright dangerous.
So, can dogs eat seaweed?
Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?
The answer is yes. If it’s cooked, dogs can eat seaweed.
Is It Safe?
Cooked seaweed is safe for dogs. However, it must be unseasoned, as many common seasonings we use on food is very unhealthy or even dangerous for dogs.
Is It Healthy?
Between the protein, magnesium, and more, yes! Seaweed is healthy for dogs in the same ways it’s healthy for humans.
The Benefits vs. The Risks
Seaweed contains a number of nutrients that benefit both humans and dogs. These include:
This makes it very good for their skin and fur, keeping their coat healthy. Nori is also a great source of vitamin B-12, and dogs need vitamins just as we do!
The main risk is that if you feed your dog seaweed at home, they might want to eat it at the beach — or even if you don’t, some dogs just want to eat everything they come across. Seaweed that washes up on the shore is quite different from the cooked seaweed we have at home.
Wild seaweed is dried out, and if it gets into your dog’s digestive system, the water can make it expand. This means it can be very dangerous, as it can cause a blockage even if your dog was able to swallow it while it was dried out.
There are also pollutants that can be found in wild seaweed which can cause your dog some harm.
Although cooked seaweed is generally fine, make sure it’s unseasoned. Salt and pepper are bad for dogs, and garlic powder can be downright dangerous for them. So can onion powder. If you’re going to give your dog a tasty treat, you need to consider all of the ingredients that have been used or it can end up bad for your pup.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate Raw Seaweed
If your dog ate raw seaweed at the beach, you might be panicking. Don’t worry — there’s every chance it will be fine if it was just the one time. You should, however, make sure you keep an eye on them.
Signs they’ve ingested a pollutant can include:
- Excessive drooling
- Obvious pain or discomfort
When it comes to a blockage, these tend to be easier to spot but also more dangerous. If it seems like your dog can’t keep food or water down after ingesting seaweed, it’s time to take them to a vet immediately as these can become fatal fast.
If your dog ate seaweed that had onion or garlic powder on it, chances are, they’ll be fine — but these shouldn’t be ingested often, as they are toxic in large amounts.
How dangerous each of these situations is, depends on the dog. Small breeds and puppies under six months are more susceptible to problems because their digestive systems are smaller, so blockages can be created more easily. If your dog is small, keep an especially close eye on their food intake.
How Much Can They Eat?
Treats should make up 10% of your dog’s daily food intake, and no more, to ensure they stay healthy. You should also account for the treats they’ve taken in when measuring out their meals, instead of adding the treats on top. Obesity can be dangerous for dogs and cause a whole host of problems, so it’s better to prevent it from the start.
Seaweed likely shouldn’t make up that whole 10%.
How To Introduce It
When introducing seaweed to your dog for the first time, take it slow. Dogs can have a lot of sensitivities and allergies you didn’t know about, so starting with a very small piece and building up is always the best way to go. If your dog has a small piece, seems to enjoy it and doesn’t have a bad reaction, you can give them more.
You can sprinkle it in powder form on your dog’s food to make their meal more exciting, or give them it as part of a snack on its own. You could go even further and stick some inside of a KONG or snuffle mat to keep them busy for a while!
So, can dogs eat seaweed? Yes, but they shouldn’t be allowed to snatch it from the shore and it should be unseasoned. As long as these rules are followed, it’s a tasty and nutritious snack they’ll surely appreciate.
Additional Reading On Dog Health
Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.