- Medication type: Supplement
- Form: Powder, tablets, capsules, dog treats
- Availability: OTC
- FDA status: Generally Recognized As Safe
- Life stage: All life stages
- Popular brands: Chippin Pet, Wholistic Pet Organics, Purina
- Common names: Arthrospira platensis, spirulina, cyanobacterium
- Available dosages: 1/8 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of dog weight per day
- Expiration range: About 3 years for sealed powders, see manufacturer details for chews and other supplements
👉 Always talk to your vet before introducing a new supplement into your dog’s diet.
What is earthy green spirulina?
Spirulina is a green alga that grows in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other freshwater environments. This microscopic alga has been grown and used as a natural food supplement for centuries. It became a popular supplement in the U.S. during the 1970s.
This substance is made up of essential fatty acids and is high in protein and iron. It may have strong antioxidant effects. According to the USDA, 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder contains 1 gram of protein, 20 milligrams of phosphorus, and 30 milligrams of potassium.
Spirulina is also rich in vitamin B, magnesium, and manganese. It’s often considered a superfood, or a food rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
Is spirulina safe for dogs?
Yes, the FDA has listed uncontaminated spirulina extract as Generally Recognized As Safe — but not without some caveats. Spirulina can be contaminated depending on how it’s grown or harvested. It’s important to discuss the benefits, risks, and unknowns of spirulina with your vet before giving it to your dog.
👉 Traditional blue-green algae seen in algae blooms are toxic to dogs.
🚨 Spirulina isn’t suitable for dogs with existing health issues, like liver disease or autoimmune disorders.
Health benefits of spirulina for pups
There aren’t enough studies to show the health benefits of spirulina for animals. Existing studies show some promise, but scientists and vets need more research to prove legitimate benefits.
Spirulina may have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects, although there’s not yet solid proof that antioxidants lower the risk of cancer in animals.
Another small study shows that spirulina may boost a dog’s gut health and improve digestion. Spirulina may also strengthen a doggie’s immune system and help with allergies by acting as a natural antihistamine.
Side effects and risks
While studies are still ongoing about potential spirulina benefits, some of the risks are already clear. Always research the manufacturer and where a company sources its spirulina. Some companies grow spirulina in natural waterways without proper quality control. Unsafe growing conditions can contaminate spirulina with heavy metals, liver toxins, or harmful bacteria.
It’s also crucial to stick to supplements made for dogs. No, you shouldn’t buy a bag of human-safe spirulina and plan to split it with your furry best friend. One study reports toxicity after dogs consumed an OTC blue-green algae dietary supplement.
If your pup has an autoimmune disorder or is on other medications, you should never give your dog spirulina without consulting your vet. Too much spirulina may cause nausea, vomiting, thirst, diarrhea, weakness, fatigue, or rapid heartbeat in dogs.
🚨If you suspect your dog has ingested a large amount of spirulina, contact the Animal Poison Control immediately (888) 426 - 4435.
How to incorporate spirulina into your dog’s diet
Before including spirulina in your pup’s diet, you’ll need to discuss the benefits and any risks with your vet. Many pet owners don’t know the safest or most effective dose for dogs. You can’t just give your pup the same amount of spirulina that you like to toss in your protein smoothie.
Spirulina can be contaminated with toxic metals or bacteria, so be sure to purchase spirulina supplements from reputable manufacturers. Always follow the product label and your vet’s guidance before giving your dog spirulina.
There are several different methods of adding spirulina to your pup’s diet:
Supplements designed for dogs. Spirulina may come as a powdered supplement. No matter what form it’s in, you should choose spirulina specifically manufactured for dogs. Look for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal of approval. This seal means the product went through strict, documented quality control procedures and random testing. The ingredients have also been closely reviewed by the council. The seal means that NASC continuously monitors the supplement.
Dog treats. You can also find spirulina-infused dog treats in gummy or biscuit form. One of our favorite brands is the Chippin Spirulina Daily Treats.
Capsules. Like human supplements, spirulina supplements specifically for dogs can come in a capsule form. Just be sure to adhere to portion suggestions from your vet before giving your dog capsules.
Tablets. Alternatively, spirulina may come in low-calorie tablets, similar to dog treats.
👉 No matter the form of the supplement, always follow your vet’s guidance on dosages.
Our favorite spirulina products for dogs
If you have the OK from your vet to introduce spirulina to your pet’s diet, it can be overwhelming to find a trusted brand and product. These green treats, supplements, and chews are some of our favorite choices from reputable brands.
Plant-based treats packed with superfoods
Chippin Spirulina Daily Treats
Why we love it: We recommend the Chippin Spirulina Daily Treats because they’re a sustainable, nutritious treat and an excellent source of protein for pets. The treats are oven-baked and made in the U.S. The ingredients are entirely plant-based and packed with superfoods that are great for pups. These treats can easily be broken up and used for training. Another benefit? Even the packaging is eco-friendly and made partly from recycled materials.
What customers say: Many Chippin customers say they love that they are giving their dogs a treat with a short, clean ingredients list that’s also better for the environment than many mainstream treats. Dogs of all ages seem to love the spirulina treats, and they work great for training.
Ingredients: Oats, kale, flaxseed, carrots, parsley, sunflower oil, molasses, spirulina (Arthrospira platensis), rosemary extract.
A spirulina powder to boost overall doggie health
Wholistic Pet Organics Spirulina for Dogs
Why we love it: Wholistic Pet Organics Spirulina for Dogs is an organic spirulina powder supplement that focuses on overall health and wellness for dogs. It has the NASC seal of approval and is Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)- and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)-certified.
What customers say: Customers love that this powder supplement is easy to add to dog food. Dogs who take this spirulina supplement seem to have shinier coats, improved bowel function, and even boosted energy, according to their pet owners.
Ingredients: Organic spirulina.
Spirulina-infused treats meant to boost dental health in large dogs
Purina DentaLife ActivFresh Oral Care
Why we love it: The Purina DentaLife ActivFresh Oral Care chewy treats help fight bad breath. Made for dogs over 40 pounds, these sticks have defined ridges that will keep your dog occupied and satisfied all while getting added nutrients. They aren’t likely to break apart or splinter, either.
👉 These treats are also approved with the NASC seal.
What customers say: Some pet parents mention that they purchased these treats based on dental vets’ recommendations that the treats help improve dogs’ oral health. Pets seem to love these treats, and as an added benefit for human friends, they don’t have a strong odor, either.
Ingredients: Proprietary Blend (honey and spirulina)…547 mg, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, BHA (a preservative), BHT (a preservative), calcium carbonate, calcium propionate (a preservative), calcium stearate, chicken by-product meal, citric acid, gelatin, glycerin, malted barley flour, mono and dicalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, rice, salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium caseinate, sorbic acid, soy lecithin, sugar, water, wheat flour, wheat gluten, wheat starch.
Frequently asked questions about spirulina for canines
How much spirulina should I give my dog a day?
There’s not a recommended dosage of spirulina for dogs. Always talk to your vet before giving your dog a supplement like spirulina. Your vet can recommend the safest amount for your furry friend.
What are the dangers of spirulina?
Spirulina can contain heavy metals, bacteria, or microcystins, which are toxins produced by algae. Although there are ongoing studies about the benefits of spirulina, if these algae are contaminated, it could lead to serious health problems for humans or dogs, including vomiting, liver damage, or even death.
Is spirulina good for dogs with kidney disease?
Spirulina has been shown to potentially offer benefits for detoxifying the kidneys for dogs, but be sure to talk to your vet about offering your dog spirulina for detoxing purposes.
Is spirulina toxic for dogs?
Uncontaminated spirulina extract is considered Generally Recognized As Safe by the FDA, but it’s not suitable for dogs with autoimmune diseases or dogs with a history of liver disease.
Can dogs overdose on spirulina?
Large quantities of spirulina may cause gas, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs. Discuss the best dosage option for your pet with your veterinarian.
How do I put spirulina in my dog’s food?
Some spirulina supplements for dogs come in tasty treats or other easy-to-eat options for your pet. If you’re giving your pup spirulina pills or tablets, you may hide it in their food or in tempting human foods like xylitol-free peanut butter or cheese, just as you would give a dog pills. Some supplements also come in powder form, which you can add to your dog’s wet or dry food. Spirulina has a smell similar to seafood, so while it might not smell great to you, it often smells delicious to your dog’s keen nose.