You may have caught a whiff about seaweed proteins over the last few years, especially around the environmental, animal welfare AND nutritional benefits. But in case you are still scratching your head on what this means for your pets, we've decided to give you the scoop.
Firstly... is seaweed a suitable food source for dogs?
Surprisingly, dogs don’t need to eat as much meat as you’d think. While cats are obligate carnivores, dogs have evolved with humans, adapting to a diet requiring less meat. Their amylase genes allow them to digest plant starch – an adaptation believed to have developed during prehistoric times, when they were companion animals fed off campsite food scraps which were often plant based.
As further evidence for a meat free diet, one of the most common health conditions for dogs include food allergens from proteins, especially those from dairy products, beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy or gluten (from wheat). Alternatives such as insects and seaweed offer a complete, hypoallergenic protein which offer equal nutritional value as meats such as chicken and fish. Delish.
Nutritious & delicious seaweed
To name just a few of the nutritious benefits found in the type of seaweed we use in our Sea Chews, Sea Dreams and Sea Horses treats:
- It's a complete hypoallergenic protein, and our seaweed contains all the essential amino acids dog's require. These are important in growth and maintenance of muscle, coat and nails, transporting nutrients around the body, immune system function and production of hormones.
- Seaweed is a sustainable and plant-based source of omega 3’s which are essential for healthy cardiovascular, brain and joint function. Omega 3 is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and great for coat health
- Our seaweed is bursting with micronutrients, vitamins and fibre. These include iron, iodine, magnesium, and selenium to name a few. These nutrients, vitamins and fibre are essential for gut, bone and immune system health
But why find alternatives to red meat?
Globally, it is estimated that pet cats and dogs consume between 12-20% of meat and fish. If America’s pets alone were a nation, they would rank fifth in global meat consumption, following only behind Russia, Brazil, the U.S. and China. These consumption trends are echoed in Australia, where two-thirds of households own a pet, and counting!
It is widely accepted that reducing our consumption of animal products – both humans and pets - will help mitigate the damaging effects of climate change, by decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Traditional livestock farming has far reaching environmental consequences. To date, 50% of land has been cleared or altered in Australia for agricultural production – of which livestock production accounts for 70%. This equating to a staggering 30% of the earth’s land surface. These production patterns lead to land, soil and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain and coral reef degeneration.
So why is seaweed better than beef?
Seaweed boasts many environmental benefits, offering a great alternative to other red meat proteins. Below is a snapshot outlining the benefits:
- A whopping 50 x more seaweed can be produced in a hectare than wheat
- 10 x more protein is produced per hectare than a cattle farm
- Significant reduction in greenhouse gases and water stresses comparatively to agricultural land (seaweed absorbs carbon dioxide)
- Seaweed absorbs and sequesters a huge amount of carbon dioxide
- Seaweed doesn't rely on freshwater as part of its production, nor does it need arable land
- Seaweed farming requires no fertilizer or chemicals
Want to learn more from industry leading expert? Check out the brilliant work of Dr Pia Winberg talking about the benefits of seaweed farming on the BBC here.
But most importantly.... it's just great for your doggo!
As we've outlined, there are many nutritional benefits for your furry friend. Seaweed is one of the most abundant and complex organic molecular category on the planet! It offers proteins, amino acids peptides, glycans & macs, omega-3 & fatty acids, antioxidants, micro nutrients AND vitamins... Need we say more?
Check out our Sea Chews and Sea Dreams for more specific nutritional benefits.