Algae Oil for Dogs, Let's Talk About It.
With the population of humans and pets growing, demands for aquaculture and meat have boomed along with it.
If you’re an environmentalist like us, you already know that this isn’t sustainable. Increased demands for fish and meat products will lead to overfishing and overexploitation of these resources. So, what are some alternatives?
Don’t despair, There’s HOPE!
That wasn’t that corny, was it? Because there really is hope! Science and innovation have an emerging sustainable alternative: microalgae. If you want to get more familiar with algae and the difference between Micro and Macro, you can here!
Microalgae for Dogs: Lets Look at the Facts
Microalgae can provide essential nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These PUFAs are usually found in fish products. So, microalgae can provide this essential nutrient in a healthy way and without endangering fish and animal resources! Double win.
It’s known that fish don’t synthesize or create PUFAs, like DHA and EPA. They instead get these omega-3s from their diet in the form of plankton and single-cell algae. So when we’re extracting oils for essential nutrients, why not go straight to the source?
Fermentation allows for the fish to be taken out of the equation. We can go straight to the source of these omega-3s and produce a reliable and consistent supply of algal oil or dried algae rich in PUFA’s.
Several studies have been performed to display the safety and efficacy of using algal oil produced from Schizochytrium sp (a type of microalgae) as a replacement for traditional sources of long-chain omega-3s.
These studies were done using different doses of oil. The algae oil was then fed to mating, pregnant, and lactating beagles, as well as puppies. This was to demonstrate the safety and bioavailability of algal oil for reproduction, development and growth.
What We Need to Know From These Algae Oil Studies:
The algal oil was well tolerated by the dogs at all doses, and there were no changes in overall health or changes to hematology (blood test) parameters compared to the control group fed a diet containing fish oil.
One difference between the beagles fed algae oil compared to fish oil was cholesterol levels in the dogs. The dogs being fed the high dose of DHA algae (3%) were observed to have lower cholesterol levels, compared to the fish oil group.
The diet containing DHA and EPA from algae oil also had high bioavailability and was comparable to the diet containing marine oil (Dahms et al., 2019).
Lets look at some other results of Algae Oil For Dogs:
Another study found a diet containing algae oil was chosen more often as the dog’s first choice! So, the algae oil is palatable for pooches when compared to a diet with anchovy oil.
The same study also investigated the digestibility of the inclusion of algae and found it increased the digestibility of nutrients and energy of the diet (Souza et al., 2019). We’re not saying Microalgaes a superfood… but, we’ll let you draw your own conclusions!
Another study investigating the benefits of algae for ageing dogs found that DHA supplied by dried algae supports healthy brain function in older dogs. In this study, older dogs (aged 8 or older) performed a cognitive test. They were asked to perform a test they had previously been trained to do. The dogs consuming the diet containing DHA from dried algae had a better performance than dogs consuming a diet without DHA or algae (Hadley, Bauer, & Milgram, 2017)!
Okay, maybe we are saying algae is a Superfood!
What Does this All Mean for Algae Oil for Dogs?
Current research available investigating the use of Schizochytrium sp. as a source of DHA in dog diets display its bioavailability and safety as a more sustainable alternative to fish! Basically, we’re team algae oil for dogs, and we think you should be too.
Some More Fascinating Algae…
Some research has also shown evidence of brown algae, Ascophyllum nodosum, improving the oral health of dogs! They’ve seen a reduction of plaque and tartar formation (J. Gawor, Jank, Jodkowska, Klim, & Svensson, 2018; J. P. Gawor, Wilczak, Svensson, & Jank, 2021).
Researchers have also investigated the potential of sourcing certain amino acids usually found only in animal products, in plant-based sources like algae. Some research has been done to investigate amino acid concentrations in different types of algae, but research is limited when it comes to the bioavailability and safety of using these sources of amino acids in animal or human diets. So, the future of more algae in our foods looks promising, and honestly, we’re here for it.
Want to get to know our resident Algae Protein Scientist Check out co-founder Sofia Bonilla!
Berry Buglicious Oven Baked Dog Treats with KELP!
Kelp is a kind of large brown algae that has some pretty cool benefits too!
We love kelp because is it has almost 7x the amount of calcium that milk does. It’s also rich in potassium, iron, magnesium and has some manganese in there too!
Studies Referenced in This Blog
Dahms, I., Bailey-Hall, E., Sylvester, E., Parenteau, A., Yu, S., Karagiannis, A., … Wilson, J. (2019). Safety of a novel feed ingredient, Algal Oil containing EPA and DHA, in a gestation-lactation-growth feeding study in Beagle dogs. PLOS ONE, 14(6), e0217794. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217794
Gawor, J., Jank, M., Jodkowska, K., Klim, E., & Svensson, U. K. (2018). Effects of Edible Treats Containing Ascophyllum nodosum on the Oral Health of Dogs: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Single-Center Study. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5(July), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2018.00168
Gawor, J. P., Wilczak, J., Svensson, U. K., & Jank, M. (2021). Influence of Dietary Supplementation With a Powder Containing A.N. ProDenTM (Ascophyllum Nodosum) Algae on Dog Saliva Metabolome. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 8(June). https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.681951
Hadley, K. B., Bauer, J., & Milgram, N. W. (2017). The oil-rich alga Schizochytrium sp. as a dietary source of docosahexaenoic acid improves shape discrimination learning associated with visual processing in a canine model of senescence. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 118(November 2015), 10–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2017.01.011
Souza, C. M. M., de Lima, D. C., Bastos, T. S., de Oliveira, S. G., Beirão, B. C. B., & Félix, A. P. (2019). Microalgae Schizochytrium sp. as a source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Effects on diet digestibility, oxidation and palatability and on immunity and inflammatory indices in dogs. Animal Science Journal, 90(12), 1567–1574. https://doi.org/10.1111/asj.13294