This post may contain affiliate links.
This blog post was originally published in 2014; it has been updated with new information and republished. Please keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian or a nutritionist. If you are concerned about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
I always thought that our dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. But after switching to a raw diet, I began to wonder if dogs eat grass because there is something missing from their diet like veggies and chlorophyll. Or it could be a sign that something is up with my dogs' gut.
Grass Eating vs. Obsessive Grass Eating
My dogs eat grass daily and I don't give it much thought because it's not obsessive and we don't use chemical treatments on our property. But there was a time when I would take the dogs outside and they would just graze on the lawn. I couldn't tempt them to walk or play with me, they would just eat grass and I knew that this wasn't right. So I started doing my homework and learned that they may be eating the grass for the chlorophyll.
I learned that a great source of chlorophyll is spirulina and chlorella and not long after adding this to their diet (I don't recall how long) my dogs stopped eating grass obsessively.
Whenever our dogs start doing something differently, I examine their behavior (has it changed?) and their diet (has it changed?). This time I think the culprit was diet.
Benefits of Chlorella/Spirulina for Dogs
Chlorella is fresh-water algae and spirulina is a blue-green algae found in fresh and saltwater. Together, they make a powerful and nutritious supplement. In my research I found that this supplement has a lot of potential benefits for humans and our dogs:
- Chlorella and spirulina support a strong immune system.
- Chlorella and spirulina acts as a natural detox.
- Chlorella and spirulina support a healthy gut.
- Chlorella and spirulina is a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer.
- Chlorella and spirulina increase energy and stamina.
- Chlorella and spirulina lowers cholesterol.
- Chlorella and spirulina aids in weight loss and fat burning.
- Chlorella lowers blood sugar.
- Chlorella supports liver health.
- Chlorella supports eye health.
So it's a no-brainer that I should add Spirulina to my dogs' diet, right?
Vitamins and Minerals in Chlorella and Spirulina
Spirulina is considered a superfood and when you look at the vitamin and nutrient load, it's easy to see why people have such good things to say about this supplement.
Nutrients in Chlorella
Protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber
VITAMINS: B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
MINERALS: copper, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Nutrients in Spirulina
Protein, Omega 3 fatty acids
VITAMINS: B vitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A
MINERALS: copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc
Supplements I Give to My Dogs
When it comes to supplements, I'm picky about the products I'll give to my dogs which is why you see me recommending the same products over and over again and rarely trying something new. Sadly, the supplement market isn't as well regulated as others and when a supplement becomes popular, everybody and their cousin jumps into the game and ruins it for all of us. I saw this with turmeric, fish oil, probiotics, medicinal mushrooms, and spirulina.
I've tried several spirulina supplements and although they worked on decreasing the grass eating, I decided to switch to one that combined spirulina with chlorella when I learned about the benefits of the later. It's human-grade, so I add it to my shakes too.
How Much Chlorella/Spirulina Do Dogs Need?
I order a 1 pound bag online and split a spoonful between our dogs every other day.
Side Effects of Chlorella/Spirulina
I often get wrapped up in the benefits and place an order for a supplement without considering that there may be side effects. Nothing is perfect and the same goes for chlorella and spirulina.
- May not be good for dogs with an autoimmune disease – because chlorella and spirulina boost the immune system, it should be avoided with dogs that have a disease in which the immune system is attacking the body.
- Spirulina may slow blood clotting – if you're raising a dog with a blood disorder, speak with your veterinarian about any risks of adding spirulina to the diet. What I found interesting in my research is that chlorella promotes blood clotting
- Allergies may be present – believe it or not, a dog may have an allergy to spirulina or chlorella. I've never heard of this, but I met someone who has a dog that is allergic to kelp, so it's not unimaginable that a dog may have an issue with the algae I discuss in this post.
It's also important to buy from a quality source. Sadly, as I stated above, with the growth of the supplement industry, there are too many companies putting out low-quality products. So trust your source. The one that I give to my dogs (and add to my shakes) was recommended by a friend.