What’s good for us is – in the case of Chlorella – also good for our canine companions
Along with spirulina, alfalfa, bee pollen, turmeric and other natural supplements, chlorella can give your canine fur baby’s health a serious boost. Because chlorella is so high in protein, fat and vitamins, it has been used a human food source for generations. Paul Pitchford states, in his detailed essay, that “Chlorella detoxifies, stimulates the immune system, improves bowel function, enhances tissue repair, guards cellular integrity, and promotes longevity without undesirable side effects. What more could we ask? In regard to food, many people use chlorella as the basis of a weight loss program, since it is high in protein and vitamins and minerals.” Just as chlorella benefits humans, it has also been found to provide significant benefits to our canine companions.
What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a green freshwater microalgae packed with nutritional value and providing serious detox, immune and digestive function and anti-aging benefits for your favorite pooch. Although some sources have also claimed that chlorella is effective in preventing and treating cancer, Onpets could not find any reliable source to support that claim.
According to Nutrition Data, one ounce (28 grams) of chlorella contains the following:
- Calories = 115 with 23 from fat
- Protein (from chlorophyll a and b) = 16g
- Carbohydrates = 6g
- Vitamin A = 287% RDA
- Vitamin B1 = 32% RDA
- Vitamin B2 = 71% RDA
- Vitamin B3 = 33% RDA
- Iron = 202%RDA
- Zinc = 133% RDA
Chlorella also contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates and at least 19 amino acids and a whole alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper. Based on this data, chlorella has been found to be more nutrient-rich per ounce than most green vegetables, including spinach, kale and broccoli.
How can Chlorella benefit your dog?
Even remaining conscious and vigilant about what you feed your dog, what you use for pest and parasite control, and what you use to clean your home, your dog will inevitably be exposed to a wide variety of heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals and toxins. Without getting too paranoid, it is safe to say that toxins are in many foods, in the water that runs into our homes, in the air we all breathe and all around us – and our animal companions – in the environment.
Accumulated toxins can cause fatigue, generalized aches and discomfort, digestive problems, depression, inhibited blood sugar regulation, lowered immune function and greater susceptibility to illness and other complications. Our fur babies, like us pet parents and other animals, have some ability to naturally detoxify their bodies of certain toxins. Unfortunately, our pups can’t completely eliminate or process the toxic buildup that occurs in our modern world without some help – this is where chlorella comes in!
Chlorella is a potent natural detoxifying agent. It binds to heavy metals and other toxins in your dog’s body, facilitating easy expulsion of the undesirable toxins from the body. Note that chlorella does not bind to beneficial minerals and other nourishing compounds found in your dog’s body so no worries that the good will go out with the bad. This binding mechanism means that chlorella is a great supplement to add to your dog’s diet to boost her built-in mechanisms for toxic buildup prevention and elimination.
- High Nutritional Value
Much of the benefit of chlorella supplementation for our pups results from the fact that chlorella is so rich in chlorophyll a (and b) protein. This compound, responsible for the vibrant green colors of plants and algae, can provide significant health benefits for your dog. Chlorophyll replenishes red blood cells, enhances immune function, removes toxins from the digestive tract and liver, fights infections, heals wounds, promotes digestive health, and can even improve bad breath.
Dried chlorella is made up of 45% complete amino acid protein, making it an excellent non-animal source of this essential nutrient. It also contains 20% healthy fats.
- Additional Benefits
Besides detoxification and nutrition, you may want to give your pooch chlorella supplements for one or more of the following reasons:
- Weight loss aid – in concert with the right food and exercise, of course;
- Improve immune function;
- Improve digestive function;
- Nutritional support for skin, digestive, liver, and kidney disorders; and
- Slowing or easing the effects of aging.
How do I give chlorella to my dog?
Chlorella comes in several forms, including powder (either alone or in combination with other supplements), wafers, tablets, capsules and treats. If you add the chlorella powder directly to your pup’s food keep in mind that it can taste and smell strong – it does come from seaweed, after all – so start with the minimum recommended dose (see below). Dried chlorella is highly concentrated, so introduce it in a small amount and gradually increase the dosage if your pup tolerates it well. The gradual introduction, along with ensuring that your pup drinks plenty of water, should help prevent or minimize any temporary digestive discomfort that can accompany new supplementation. As always, you should consult your pup’s veterinarian before beginning any supplementation regimen.
If you use the powdered chlorella, follow the instructions on the package or, if you share your own chlorella stash with your best friend, start by adding 1/8 teaspoon of dried chlorella powder per day to your pup’s wet or dry food and increase the daily dose by an additional 1/8 teaspoon weekly. Do not exceed ½ teaspoon for a 50-pound dog or 1 teaspoon for a considerably larger dog, and stick to ¼ teaspoon per day for a smaller dog. You may also mix the chlorella powder into some water or broth and give it to your dog to drink before the meal.
Chlorella is generally grown in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China but the quality can vary considerably. When deciding which chlorella to purchase, consider the following:
- Do you just want to give your pup some of the chlorella powder you use for yourself? If so, follow the dosage guidelines above.
- Do you want to buy a chlorella product marketed for canine consumption? If so, do you want just chlorella or a mixture of supplements which includes chlorella?
- Once you decide on human vs. canine product, you may want to consider the following conclusions in a 2013 study done by Natural News as part of its launch of its own Chlorella product line (so take this with a grain of salt):
- All commercially-grown chlorella is virtually free of mercury, according to NW’s lab tests. There may be extremely trace levels such as parts per billion, but this is well below the detection limit.
- Chlorella grown in China is the most contaminated with aluminum and other metals.
- “Organic” chlorella from China is more contaminated than non-organic chlorella from Korea.
- Taiwan produces the cleanest outdoor (sunlight) chlorella using spring-fed water, but most chlorella purchased today that’s made in Taiwan is not from this certified organic producer.
- “Certified organic” does not mean free from contamination.
- The aluminum contamination level of chlorella is only a fraction of the aluminum contamination levels found in everyday foods like celery, corn and beans.
- Chlorella marketing claims have no correlation to the actual quality of the chlorella being sold.
- Some companies “cut” their chlorella with cheap calcium filler. This is visible on the tablets when inspected closely.
- There is no commercially-grown chlorella in North America.
- Chlorella in capsules can cost significantly more than chlorella in tablets.
- Cell wall “cracking” to achieve “broken cell wall” or “open cell wall” status is pushed heavily in marketing text, but in truth the more important question is the digestibility of the chlorella, not how it is “cracked.”
Regardless of the form and source of the chlorella you choose to give your pooch, it appears that the potential health benefits are legion. Introduce chlorella very gradually and let us know if you notice any improvement in your pup’s general health or specific conditions for which you are giving the chlorella.
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