Spirulina is a known superfood for humans, but what about dogs? What are the benefits of spirulina for dogs? And how do you find a good product? Let’s find out!
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae that has gained significant attention due to its high nutritional content and potential health benefits. Classified as a cyanobacteria, Spirulina thrives in warm, alkaline waters across the globe and has been a source of nourishment for various cultures for centuries.
Renowned for its dense nutrient profile, it boasts an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, along with a high concentration of protein. In addition to its nutritional value, Spirulina has been the subject of numerous scientific studies investigating its potential to support the immune system, combat inflammation, and improve overall well-being.
Nutritional Benefits of Spirulina for Dogs
Considered by some to be the most nutrient rich food on earth, it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins and minerals! It is being used to fight malnourishment around the world and was even declared an excellent space food by NASA! It is extremely nutrient dense while being easy to digest making it a good nutritional supplement.
- Protein: Once dried, spirulina is about 60% protein! Spirulina even has more protein than meat per gram!
- Amino acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your dog’s body will use them for growth and digestion, among other benefits. Spirulina contains 18 amino acids, including all 10 that are essential to dogs!
- Chlorophyll & phycocyanin: Chlorophyll and phycocyanin are what give plants their green and blue color and lets them turn sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. They’re also known to replenish blood cells, improve digestion, and assist with healing infections.
- Vitamins & minerals: Spirulina is packed with thiamine, riboflavin, iron and calcium, in addition to other valuable vitamins and minerals.
- Essential fatty acids: Spirulina has all of 5 essential fatty acids for dogs.
Dogs That Benefit the Most
You should never supplement just to supplement. Not all dogs need supplementation. When the body has too much of certain vitamins and minerals, they will be released through urine or bowel movements, or both. Here are a few examples of dogs that would benefit the most from spirulina:
- Obese Dogs: Adding spirulina to your dog’s meals can provide more energy and supply nutrients without added calories.
- Senior Dogs: Aging contributes to liver inflammation which can lead to liver disease. One study finds that feeding spirulina to aging mice increases healthy gut bacteria, promoting balance in the gut, and activating the immune system. This helped to reduce liver inflammation, which can help prevent liver disease.
- Diabetic Dogs: A study shows diabetic mice who were fed spirulina had an increase in insulin, lower glucose levels, and an improvement in liver enzyme markers.
- Dogs Who are Ill: Since spirulina doesn’t contain cellulose, it is extremely bioavailable. Its nutrients are easily absorbed right into the digestive tract. This is ideal for dogs who are sick and unable to obtain the nutrients they need through food. Your dog’s digestive tract won’t need to spend a lot of energy to digest spirulina. This will free up energy your dog needs to continue healing or returning to balance.
Spirulina should never be used as a food replacement.
- Dogs with Allergies: This study on humans showed that people experienced significant improvements in histamines (the allergy compound) when taking spirulina. This suggests that spirulina could help dogs with allergies, too.
- Dogs with cancer: A 2016 study broke down the proteins in spirulina into individual polypeptides (chains of amino acids) and tested them against five types of cancer. Liver, lung, breast, gastric and colon. 15 polypeptides inhibited tumor growth.
Choosing safe products
Spirulina is a supplement and, as we have talked about before, most supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA.
This allows poor quality products to be on the market, confusing dog lovers who want their pup to be healthier. It’s important to take a closer look at the product and buy reputable products from brands you trust.
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing spirulina for your dog:
- USP verified mark: This independent third-party company checks that the ingredients match what is listed on the label. Additionally, they look for contamination, absorption rates, and clean manufacturing procedures.
- Very cheap products: You don’t need to spend an obscene amount of money on a supplement, but you should be a little suspicious of products that are overly cheap. The reason they’re cheap could be because they aren’t what they say they are.
- No certificate of analysis: If there’s no COA, there’s a lack of transparency. Sometimes, a company won’t have them on their website and that’s okay. But, they should be ready to provide it when asked.
We recommend EverPup for dogs. We have personally worked with this supplement and have seen results.
How to Feed Spirulina to Your Dog
To introduce Spirulina to your dog’s meals, it is essential to start with a small dosage and gradually increase it to the recommended amount based on your pet’s size and dietary needs. Typically, the recommended dose ranges from 1/8 teaspoon for small dogs to 1 teaspoon for larger breeds.
Spirulina is most commonly available in powder or tablet form. To feed it to your dog, you can simply mix the appropriate amount of Spirulina powder into their wet or dry food. If you prefer using tablets, crush them into a fine powder before mixing with food.
As with any dietary supplement, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian before adding Spirulina to your dog’s diet to ensure it is suitable for your pet and to avoid any potential adverse reactions or interactions with other medications.
If you purchase a high-quality product, like EverPup, that contains other ingredients, follow the directions on the label.
Spirulina is Beneficial to Dogs
Although it may seem to just be pond scum, spirulina is beneficial to your dog. The list of benefits is definitely worth giving it a try! Remember that natural supplements work from the inside out, so you might not see results immediately. But over the next month or two, you should notice a difference. TIP: Keep a notebook to notice subtle differences.