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Spirulina for Dogs: Main Benefits, Uses & Tips

Written by: Keri-Beth Clur

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Dogster Team

spirulina powder and tablets in a wooden bowl

Spirulina for Dogs: Main Benefits, Uses & Tips

Everyone has heard of the benefits of plant-based foods, and this way of eating has become more popular among people and pets alike. New ways of safely adding protein to a dog’s diet are sought after for many reasons, one of which is to eliminate the allergic reactions that animal protein causes in some dogs. Alternative popular protein sources in dog food include lentils, oats, peas, chickpeas, barley, potatoes—and spirulina.

Spirulina is a supplement used every day by thousands of people because it’s rich in nutrients, has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and improves endurance.1 Due to all the benefits that it offers humans, dog owners have started giving it to their pets.

However, it’s important to understand what this substance is and what effects it has on our furry companions before jumping on board with this new trend, so let’s discuss it.

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What Is Spirulina?

Spirulina2 is microscopic blue-green algae that loves sunlight. It can grow in saltwater and freshwater in subtropical climates. The algae can grow in natural and controlled conditions; however, it can become contaminated by absorbing heavy metals from the water that it’s in when grown naturally. Spirulina produced for human use is grown in controlled conditions in large outdoor ponds. Always buy spirulina supplements for yourself or your dog from brands you trust to avoid any risk.

There are three main species of the algae that have undergone research: Spirulina platensis, Spirulina fusiformis, and Spirulina maxima. They all have high nutritional value and benefits for both people and dogs. They are used in supplements and as a color additive in certain candies and food.

Spirula is a superfood that contains proteins, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, iron, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These components are necessary for a dog’s diet to build their muscles and maintain their blood and organs. It’s also necessary for immune function, coat health, and skin hydration.

How to Use Spirulina

spirulina powder and tablets
Image By: pilipphoto, Shutterstock

Spirulina is available in many forms for easy consumption and to appeal to a variety of different dogs, including picky eaters. You can use the powdered form and sprinkle it over your dog’s food. You can purchase spirulina in treat form, which comes in a gummy or biscuit texture, suitable for puppies and adult dogs. You can also feed it to your dog as a tablet or capsule in dog treat paste. Spirulina is usually better received when mixed with food or treats because it’s not a very tasty supplement.

Only a small amount needs to be given to your dog per day, as it’s quite concentrated, but it can be given at any time of day. However, you should always discuss starting a new supplement on your dog with your vet.

Another point to note is that you cannot share your own spirulina supplement with your dog—they will need their own dog-friendly type that has been manufactured specifically for canines.

Advantages of Spirulina

Spirulina has become popular because of its many benefits. However, more research needs to be done on it. One of the biggest boons of this supplement is its benefit on the immune system. It’s full of antioxidants and produces antibodies, which strengthen the immune system to fight against infection and chronic illnesses. It may even fight against cancer and its recurrence, as well as offer healing properties to dogs that have had radiation treatment.

Just as this algae can absorb the toxins from the water it’s grown in, it can absorb the toxins in your dog’s body and pass them through safely, making it an excellent detoxifier. It’s also highly digestible and helps with digestion in your dog. It’s packed with essential fatty acids that hydrate itchy and dry skin and can bring the shine back into coats. It also has antihistamine properties that benefit dogs with allergies.

Disadvantages of Spirulina

Of course, good things rarely exist without a few risks. Thankfully, there aren’t too many serious risks surrounding spirulina. One is that the spirulina that you’re giving your dog might be contaminated and make them sick. Spirulina can absorb toxins from the water that it’s grown in, but if you’ve bought your dog’s supplement from a trusted brand, you won’t have to worry about contamination because the manufacturer would have taken the necessary procedures to ensure your dog’s safety and grown the algae in controlled conditions.

Avoid cheap spirulina supplements from small brands, as they’ve likely used fillers that could affect your dog negatively. Also, your dog might not be tolerant to spirulina and may experience vomiting or diarrhea from it.

Never give human spirulina supplements to your dog because these will possibly make them sick. Only use ones that have been specifically made for canines. Spirulina can also cause issues with certain medications and isn’t recommended for dogs with autoimmune diseases.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Spirulina Is Recommended per Day?

The exact, most effective dosage that a dog should receive of spirulina per day isn’t known at this stage. Per every 10 kg (20 lbs.) of your dog’s weight, a 1/8 teaspoon is suggested, but you may increase the dosage over time. However, it’s always safer to chat with your vet about starting your dog on a new supplement and the amount that they suggest for your dog, with them knowing your dog’s weight, history, and health conditions.

What Time Should I Give Spirulina to My Dog?

dog owner talking to vet
Image Credit By: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

When you choose to give your dog spirulina during the day is up to you, as time doesn’t play a role in the effectiveness of the supplement. It will work the same in the morning as it does at night.

What Will Happen If I Give My Dog Too Much Spirulina?

If your dog got ahold of more spirulina than their daily dosage, they would experience discomfort, but the signs should pass because it’s not a toxic substance, even in high amounts. The signs that you could expect will be mostly gastrointestinal, such as nausea, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If the signs get worse or don’t pass, reach out to your vet because there could be something more serious going on with your dog’s health.

Does Spirulina Work Straight Away?

Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any changes in your dog right away, as it can take as little as a week and as long as 3 weeks to see any improvements. Stick it out, and continue to give your dog their daily dosage. One of the first improvements you may notice in your dog is increased energy.

Final Thoughts

Spirulina has many benefits for dogs, as it can improve their digestion, provide them with protein, strengthen their immune system, and fight against cancer. It can be given to your dog in several forms, such as powder, treat, tablet, and capsule.

It can be mixed in or given with food to make it more palatable, but you should never share your own spirulina with your dog or start your pup on it without first consulting your vet. Only a small amount of this supplement is enough to make a difference in your dog.

Featured Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock

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