You and your dog may not be aware that in the underwater ocean grows a type of marine algae known for its remarkable health benefits. A type of brown seaweed, kelp makes a nutritious addition to Rover's diet. It's imperative though that you consult with your vet for dosing amounts and that you know the source to avoid poor-quality products potentially full of toxins.
Source of Nutrients
Among the vast array of sea vegetables, kelp is one of the most nutritious sources of vitamins and minerals. Few resources on Earth can match the goldmine of nutrients found in this seaweed. Kelp contains more than 60 minerals, amino acids, Vitamin B, C and E and simple and complex carbohydrates. The algae's outstanding nutritional value to dogs has many holistic vets have promoting its use as a supplement.
Source of Protein
Rover may care less about showing off his beautiful coat, but you may love to see him boasting a glossy, healthy hairdo. The protein in kelp helps dogs better assimilate its amino acids, which are the building blocks for a healthy coat and effective tissue repair. Many choose kelp for dogs with skin problems such as allergies and dry skin. Additionally, kelp may give a helping hand in in flea control, making dogs less attractive to these pesky parasites.
Source of Fiber
If Rover needs help to keep his digestive system in check, he'll appreciate the high fiber content of kelp. The fiber content of this brown algae is helpful in keeping the digestive tract clean and preventing the absorption of harmful toxic metals. With increased fiber intake and better digestion, Rover may be better equipped to fight medical conditions such as rheumatism and inflammation while keeping the development and growth of tumors at bay.
Source of Iodine
Kelp is cherished for its rich iodine content, making it a herb of choice for owners of dogs suffering from hypothyroidism and weight problems -- yet it's important to note that dogs with underlying thyroid abnormalities may develop hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism when consuming excessive amounts of iodine. The main problem appears to be the fact that the recommended daily allowance of iodine in animals remains for the most part unknown, with supplements sometimes greatly surpassing what's appropriate.
Source of Problems
It's imperative to feed kelp with caution, avoiding over-supplementation, especially in dogs with underlying thyroid problems. Play it safe and consult your vet for advice and dosing instructions. Also, be vigilant, because not all kelp is created equal. Avoid using kelp harvested along U.S. shorelines, as it's likely to be contaminated. It's best to choose kelp originating from deep ocean waters such as off the Norwegian coast, where the deep arctic ocean water meets glacial freshwater that is rich in beneficial minerals.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.