Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Kelp

Share Button

kelpWe now move to the letter “k” in our ingredient A to Z series and are featuring kelp as our ingredient of the day.


What is kelp?

According to Wikipedia, kelp as a large seaweed belonging to the brown algae family.   Kelp grow in ocean “kelp forests”.


Common names for kelp

The most common name variations for kelp are seaweed, bull-kelp, and “Laminariales” which is the scientific name.


Why is kelp included in dog food?

Kelp is added to dog food for three key reasons: 1) it is a good source of minerals and amino acids, 2) it is a rich source of iodine which can help support a well functioning glandular system, and 3) it is a good fiber source.


Is kelp a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

Kelp is a  very common dog food ingredient.  We found it in 21% of all dog foods in our database.


Common benefits or risks of kelp

There are many benefits of kelp.  Because of its high iodine content, kelp can help regulate glandular systems for optimal health.  Kelp is also high in fiber which can help keep a dog’s digestive track clean and healthy.


Because kelp is packed with vitamins and minerals, kelp is also a low calorie ingredient to ensure a balanced diet.  Three and one-half ounces of kelp are only 43 kcals and contain almost 2 grams of protein, along with B vitamins, Vitamins C, E, and K, and magnesium, sodium, and zinc, among others.


The rich iodine content and high levels of other nutrient minerals and vitamins in kelp make it an herb of choice for regulating and balancing glandular systems. In particular, dogs suffering from hypothyroidism can benefit from the iodine in kelp. One of the functions of iodine is the stimulation of the thyroid gland.


Because of kelp’s high levels of iodine and sodium,  some dogs with thyroid problems or with salt restrictions should not be fed kelp without veterinarian approval.

As with all seafood products, kelp can be susceptible to water pollutants.


Miscellaneous facts about kelp

There is a body of research that suggests that using kelp as a supplement can help diabetic people in secreting insulin, thereby lowering the blood sugar levels.

Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M, has reported that kelp can help control fleas.

Kelp is a fast growing algae and can grow as fast as 1 ½ feet per day.


Sources and further reading
image We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

Share Button


  1. I’m wondering if humans would benefit from seaweed…er, kelp
    jan recently posted…Finally…a breakthrough in the sports world, the El Paso ChihuahuasMy Profile

  2. I love sea weed, it’s tasty! 😀 Thanks for the info on how kelp can benefit a dogs diet, I’ll have to talk to my vet to see if I can feed it to Nailah!
    Nailah Bone recently posted…Jerky Treat Recalls: Taking the Initiative and Making our own Chicken JerkyMy Profile

  3. I’ll have to check and see if there’s any kelp in Kayo’s food – I’m surprised to know that so many brands are using kelp!
    BoingyDog recently posted…The Hurry Up and Wait Walk – Work the Walk, Day 3My Profile

  4. I have a tooth cleaning powder I sprinkle on Chester & Gretel’s food. It softens the plaque on their teeth so it scrapes off easier when they chew. The thing is, the only ingredient in it is Kelp. It may be a “special” kind of kelp but I have never figure out how just kelp can softer and help get rid of plaque. Do you guys know?
    Jessica recently posted…When You Feed Frozen Raw and Your Fridge Craps OutMy Profile

  5. Many years ago when I had Shelties I heard that kelp was supposed to help keep black coats from browning off. I used to sprinkle kelp powder on my 2 tricolours meals but I can’t remember if it made any difference. I know it’s good stuff for dogs and humans – in moderation. I could probably OD on it with Sushi though 🙂
    Greyhounds CAN Sit recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Awww, Look At Asher 🙂My Profile

    • If you are going to OD on anything, Sushi and Seaweed is probably not a bad choice!
      steve recently posted…Give Cancer the PawMy Profile

  6. Very interesting. I have seen kelp as an ingredient in foods. It is nice to find out why certain ingredients are included.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–Happy RunMy Profile

  7. I wonder if kelp is increased in the veterinary diets that are prescription diets for diabetic animals like Purina DCO. Interesting stuff.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Follow-Up Friday/FitDogMy Profile

  8. Kolchak and Felix get a special kind of plaque that is supposed to help break down plaque on their teeth. It could be a placebo effect, but I SWEAR I see a difference when I use it on a regular basis!
    Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted…Fetch Friday: Nom Nom Nom EditionMy Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.