The Mighty Kelp
Kelp is a recognized food supplement for humans. Now vets and advocates of an holistic approach to pet health recommend it for dogs and other animals. This seaweed is rich in natural salts and minerals, and it has a number of benefits for your dog’s health.
Thyroid, Adrenal and Pituitary Glands
Kelp is known for being iodine-rich. Thyroid problems are often associated with an iodine deficiency, and kelp as a natural source of iodine is a long-standing medical treatment for people with thyroid problems. The rich mix of iodine and other minerals in kelp makes it an ideal supplement to keep your pup’s entire glandular system, particularly the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, in healthy working order. This in turn ensures your dog’s metabolism works efficiently, which is an important element in maintaining a healthy weight. If your pet has hypothyroidism, where the thyroid function slows down, kelp is recommended as a supplement to the standard thyroxine treatment usually prescribed by vets.
Allergies and Fleas
Anything which helps flea control is good news for dog owners. Diane Stein, in her book “The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats,” says after three weeks of kelp supplementation there is a noticeable reduction in fleas on animals who have an infestation. This suggests that kelp repulses fleas and that using the supplement regularly is a useful addition to chemical flea treatments. Kelp also reduces itchiness in those dogs with skin allergies and improves the overall condition of your dog’s skin and coat.
Kelp also supports many of your dog’s other body functions. It cleanses the digestive system and keeps its juices balanced. Because it is high in iron it fortifies the blood, which then helps the heart to pump more efficiently. In older dogs especially it is recommended for strengthening the immune system, which can protect them from a range of diseases. Also, dogs on kelp supplements are thought to heal faster from surgery, because the amino acids in the seaweed support tissue repair. And it could help you and your dog to live longer. The Japanese have long maintained that eating seaweed is a source of their longevity.
In her book “The Pet Lover’s Guide to Natural Healing for Cats and Dogs,” Barbara Fougere warns that levels of iodine in kelp are not always consistent. Too much iodine can give your dog iodine toxicity with symptoms such as watery eyes and nose, stomach upsets and lethargy. She says that kelp must be given in measured doses and not freely added to your dog’s food. The dosage should be according to your dog’s size. Maximum daily doses by size are 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs, 1/2 teaspoon for medium-sized dogs and 1 teaspoon for large dogs. Avoid kelp harvested along the U.S. coastline as it probably contaminated with industrial pollutants. Deep ocean kelp and Norwegian kelp are considered the best sources.