You may have caught a whiff about seaweed proteins over the last few years, especially regarding the environmental, animal welfare AND nutritional benefits. But in case you are still scratching your head about 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 of a meat-free diet, one of the most common health conditions for dogs includes 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 that offers equal nutritional value as meats such as chicken and fish. Delish…..
But why find alternatives to red meat?
Globally, it is estimated that pet cats and dogs consume 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 the land has been cleared or altered in Australia for agricultural production – of which livestock production accounts for 70%. This equates 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 experts? 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 great for your doggo!
There are many nutritional benefits for your furry friend. Seaweed is one of the most abundant and complex organic molecular categories on the planet! It offers proteins, amino acids peptides, glycans & macs, omega-3 & fatty acids, antioxidants, micronutrients, and vitamins.
Check out our sea chews and sea dreams for more specific nutritional benefits 🙂
This post first appeared on the AniPal website: Seaweed – A Super Swell Choice For Your Dog