What is Spirulina? Spirulina is a blue-green algae. It is best grown in a moderate temperature fresh body of water that has a high alkaline content. It is named a superfood because of its numerous health benefits for humans AND for dogs. Spirulina is high in antioxidants, protein and omega-3's (contains the essential fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat). It is also anti-inflammatory, so if your dog suffers from allergies or sensitivities such as hot spots, or if your dog suffers from frequent joint pain, spirulina is said to help alleviate that. It is also concentrated with a beneficial amount of chlorophyll. If your dog is prone to yeast or bacterial infections, has nutritional deficiencies or needs extra immune support, like my dog Flik, then spirulina is said to be a good choice to feed supplementally.
"Spirulina has between 55 and 70% protein, 8 essential and 10 non-essential amino acids, as well as high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), beta-carotene, linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, iron, calcium, phosphorus, nucleic acids RNA & DNA, chlorophyll, and phycocyanin, a pigment-protein complex that is found only in blue-green algae" (source) & (source).
"Spirulina is easier on the digestive system than chlorella and other types of blue-green algae. Spirulina offers the highest level of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a "good fat" that is vital for the health and function of the brain, heart, and other body organs and systems" (source) & (source).
Although spirulina has a plethora of health benefits, not all spirulina is created equally. It is important to make sure that you are sourcing your spirulina from a reliable company/source. Spirulina, if not obtained from a responsible and reliable company/source can contain numerous contaminants including heavy metals. Spirulina is most commonly found in the powdered or pill form.
Dosage. Every dog is different when discussing dosage. Usually when you start out on any supplement it is 1/4 tsp per pound of food or if you feed dry food, it is 1/8 tsp. for smaller dogs, 1/4 tsp. for medium sized dogs and 1/4-1/2 tsp. for large dogs.
Green Goat Milk: I used 1/2 -1 tsp per 16 oz of goat milk ((I give one green goat milk stick every other day to my 45 and 60 pound dogs. I give a third of a green goat milk stick to my 10 pound dog.
Coconut Oil & Spirulina Hearts: I used 1/8 tsp per 1 tbs. of coconut oil (I give one heart every other day to my 10, 45, and 60 pound dogs)
*I do not give both of these supplements in the same day, as that would be a double dose of spirulina, choose one or the other and alternate accordingly.
This dosage seems to work great with my dogs, but since every dog is different, it is important to monitor your dogs when you are feeding any new supplement, as some dogs will have positive results using a lower or higher dosage than the ones mentioned above. You do not want to give your dog too much of anything. Always make sure you look for signs of allergies due to supplementation (even though spirulina is relatively safe to use). This supplement can be added to raw, kibble, or wet food diets.
I recommend using All Natural Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica from the brand Nutrex. This is the best spirulina I have found to include in my diet as well as my dog's diet.
1. Green Goat Milk
Goat milk has many nutritional benefits. Most commonly known, it is great for your dog's gastrointestinal health and to keep your dog's gut balanced.
I used half the bottle of primal pet foods goat milk (which is about 16 oz). Mix 1/2 tsp. - 1 tsp. of Hawaiian Spirulina in with the goat milk (don't worry if it doesn't fully incorporate into the milk).
Fill ice molds of your choice and pop them in the freezer for one hour.
2. Coconut Oil + Spirulina
Coconut oil is great for your dogs skin and coat health! It is anti-bacterial AND anti-fungal. So for dogs prone to yeast and bacterial infections, especially from allergies, coconut oil is a good choice for them. For my dogs, this is a great supplement to include in their diet once a day or intermittently throughout the week
Fill each heart mold with 1/8 tsp. of Hawaiian Spirulina.
Melt your coconut oil and fill the molds with 1 tbs. of melted coconut oil each. Pop them in the freezer for one hour. After they are frozen, store them in ziplock bags in the freezer!
IMPORTANT: It is always important to do your own research first in regards to raw feeding and supplements for your dog. Every Dog is different! What may work great for some dogs may not work great for others. It is important to know that if you are giving supplements to your dog for the first time, to make sure and monitor your dog for an upset stomach or allergic reaction. Starting out can be difficult, so if you do your research accordingly (I researched for about 5 months before I started my dogs on a raw fed diet and I continue to research to this day), then you'll have more knowledge about EVERY aspect of raw feeding (including supplementation if your dog needs it). Utilize the help of holistic veterinarians, experienced raw feeders, read books geared towards a holistic dog diet and gain knowledge from all of your research so you can effectively give your dog the nutrition it needs to thrive. There are also a few amazing raw-feeding consultation services, which help you in the areas of raw meal prepping that are specific to your dog's needs. Check out theprimalpet.com for custom raw meal plans!