Why I love adding spirulina to my dogs’ food
So, this content is a little out of the norm for me, but I kind of had to tell you about this bizarre discovery! Through a complete accident, I recently learned that all four of my dogs love spirulina- and apparently, spirulina loves them too. I’ll start at the beginning…
My husband recently joined the marketing team for an independent supplement brand IDIAS, specializing in organic spirulina. If you aren’t familiar with spirulina, it’s a blue-green algae (fancy way of saying it’s, well, pond scum) known for its high nutrition content. According to the FDA, Spirulina contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It also contains essential amino acids (i.e.: the building blocks of proteins)- in fact, more than 50% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein!
Among IDIAS’ many goals is to make high quality nutrition affordable and accessible for everyone! As such, they’ve been hard at work figuring out optimal shipping and packaging methods. During one of these trials, a full bag of spirulina fell over and spilled across my brick patio (unbeknownst to me). My husband cleaned up most of it, but didn’t think to scrub the whole patio down. About 20 minutes later, two of my dogs came in with green faces! After a moment of extreme confusion, I realized they had been licking every last trace of spirulina off of the bricks.
Shown above: Two dogs from my squad licking up some spirulina mixed with water. I typically mix it in with their food, but wanted to demonstrate how much they love the flavor!
“The dogs licked up the spirulina? But it’s…pond scum…” said my confused husband. “Yes baby, but they also eat worms and their own poop,” responded me. It’s not that spirulina is especially bad tasting (though I prefer it mixed into smoothies or taken in capsules), you just don’t usually see dogs going crazy for green, powdery supplements. Apparently, spirulina is the exception!
Okay so dogs like spirulina, but is it good for them?
Spirulina is usually known primarily for the superfood health benefits it offers to humans, but it can also be extremely healing and energizing for dogs! I’m not a veterinarian, but I spend a LOT of time researching nutrition for my pups, and I like to share what I’ve learned. These are just some of the studied and/or observed benefits of eating spirulina for dogs:
- Strengthens the immune system (and actually enhances the body’s ability to generate new blood cells)
- Improve gastrointestinal health (it suppresses bad bacteria and stimulates beneficial bacteria)
- Helps detoxification (on a personal note, I’ve noticed that spirulina greatly helps humans recover from hangovers, so I fully believe it has a similar effect on dogs)
Many experts believe that spirulina can also reduce the risk of cancer and reduce allergies! Even if it only accomplishes one of these goals, it’s worth it for the vitamins alone.
How should I feel spirulina to my dogs?
Here’s the easiest part- at least in my experience- they love it no matter what! I don’t know if it’s the smell or the flavor, but all four of my dogs get super excited when I open the bag. In fact, I’ve started mixing it with a little water and putting it at the bottom of their food bowls, because they’ll eat through everything else just to get to it!
Dosage wise, it’s recommended that you start with 1/8 teaspoon (per day) for every ten pounds of canine body weight. Over-feeding spirulina can result in digestive issues (trust me, as someone who initially thought, “whatever, it’s healthy, I’ll just throw some in,” about 12 hours before cleaning up doggy diarrhea), so keep in mind that less is more! Spirulina’s power is so concentrated, you really don’t need to overdo it.
Where should I get spirulina for my dogs?
Well, in my blatantly biased opinion, you should buy it from my husband’s partners at IDIAS (click here to order), because they’re committed to providing spirulina that is USDA certified organic, non-GMO, made in the USA, and priced with the average consumer in mind. If you buy it on eBay, you can get free shipping on many orders! (PS: it may very well be me who ships your order, because I love helping out)
That said, I’m most concerned about your pups’ health, so if you look elsewhere, make sure you confirm that it’s organic, non-GMO, free of added ingredients/colors, and not manufactured in countries without sufficient oversight (translation: avoid spirulina from China). If you can’t find this information on the packaging, reach out to the manufacturer to confirm.
Have you used spirulina for your own dogs, your other companion animals, or yourself? I’d love to hear about your experience! Let me know in the comments!