Sea moss is commonly considered a superfood, and is growing in popularity with people looking for a nutrient boost. Animals can ingest sea moss as well, and for many it may even have health benefits. We all want our pets to be as healthy as possible, and a good diet is paramount. Sea moss might be an opportunity to get your pet some nutrients they’re otherwise lacking.
Sea moss isn’t actually a moss, but instead a form of algae. It absorbs vitamins and minerals from the sea. These are reported to have benefits for the heart, bladder, kidneys, and lungs. The two most popular types are Gracilaria sea moss, and Irish moss. Both are safe for consumption, but exercise caution when introducing them to your pets diet.
When buying sea moss for your pet, you want to be sure you’re getting them the best thing possible. You may think this means buying Irish sea moss. Irish moss is generally considered to have a higher nutritional benefit. However, it’s also rarer. This means it’s priced higher.
Due to the similarities of sea moss, sometimes other varieties of sea moss are mislabelled as Irish. This can lead to situations where you can’t be sure of what you’re buying. If buying for your pet, or for yourself, you want to be confident of what you’re getting.
While all commonly sold sea mosses have a similar level of health benefits, purchasing from a reputable seller means avoiding any other nasty things.
Can my dog eat sea moss?
Dogs can eat sea moss, but as with any nutritional supplement it needs to be done with care. Dogs are an important member of the family, so we want to do what we can to look out for them. This means providing the best diet possible.
Sea moss and Irish moss are both safe to be eaten by dogs. It’s a type of algae, one that’s rich in nutrients and can support a dog's bladder and kidneys. It may also have benefits for dogs suffering from dry skin conditions.
The moss comes in different forms, including fresh and dried. When feeding to a dog, be sure to give them dried and powdered sea moss. About ¼ of a teaspoon, depending on your dog's size, is enough. Sprinkle it into their food once a day. Don’t use wet sea moss. Wet sea moss forms a gel, and this can cause blockages in your dog’s intestine.
Before incorporating anything new into your dogs diet, you should consult a vet.
Be careful with sizing. A large amount of supplements can end up causing harm. Remember that dogs are much smaller than us.
What might seem like a light sprinkle to you is much heavier on a dog's stomach. Discuss with your vet what would be best for your dog.
If you think you see sea moss on the beach don’t let your dog eat it. Beach seaweed isn’t safe because it can absorb any number of harmful pollutants.
Is sea moss a plant or animal?
Sea moss is a plant, not an animal. Sea moss is a form of algae that grows underwater and absorbs nutrients from the sea. Algae is a simple plant organism that photosynthesizes.
Some sea moss can be farmed, and will grow on both ropes and rocks. It’s become popularly used as a supplement, due to the concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Sea moss is suitable for consumption by both vegetarians and vegans. It can be sold dried, in gel form, or as a powder. For vegans interested in a supplement, sea moss is a fantastic option.
Sea moss falls under the umbrella term ‘seaweed’, but not all seaweed is sea moss. Seaweed refers to thousands of types of underwater plants - sea moss is just a small part of that. Nevertheless, the term seaweed indicates that something is a plant. Despite the name, sea moss isn’t a moss at all. It simply grows in a way very similar to moss.
As a plant, sea moss is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. However, it is often used in non-vegetarian food, which has left some wary. Sea moss is a common source for carrageenan, a popular food supplement.
Carrageenan is used as a thickening agent across a range of products, including dairy and meat based items. This has led some to confuse it with gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animal parts, and therefore isn’t vegetarian. Carrageenan itself is vegan, and is extracted from red algae.
What animals eat sea moss?
Sea moss is a form of algae, so is most likely consumed by fish and other creatures that consume algae. This includes zooplankton, which is the smaller larvae of larger fish.
Other forms of zooplankton such as adult worms and crustaceans look for sustenance in algae as well. Some larger fish, such as herring, also use algae as a food source. It can even be eaten by very large mammals such as the Baleen whale. This whale feeds by filtering food from the ocean, which can include algae.
There are many herbivores in the ocean, and some of these do consume algae. Even some very large ones. For example, the parrotfish can grow up to 4 feet in length, and eats algae. They have large teeth that are used to rip the algae away from the rocks.
Algae itself feeds by absorbing nutrients from the surrounding water, and via the process of photosynthesis. It has to grow close enough to the surface for the sun to penetrate, leaving it out of reach for some large predators.
Sea moss has been eaten by humans for a long time, as has other forms of seaweed. Irish moss in particular is known for its history of consumption by humans. During the Irish potato famine it was a valuable food source, due to the high nutrient content and abundance.
Sea moss and other types of seaweed are most commonly consumed in Asian countries, such as China, Japan, and South Korea.