Diphenhydramine for Dogs – 7 Medical Uses

Diphenhydramine for dogs is an antihistamine used to treat motion sickness and the itch caused by mange, mites, and fleas. It can also be used to induce sleep, ease anxiety, and provide relief from general allergy symptoms.

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Dosage of diphenhydramine for dogs is 2 – 4 mg of Benadryl per kilogram of body weight. This should be administered two to three times a day.  Weight, health conditions, and other medications can affect how well this medication will work.

Benadryl contains diphenhydramine.  If you decide to use Benadryl, please read the ingredients.  Look for the tablet or capsule form.  Liquid Benadryl contains ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. Make sure there is no alcohol, acetaminophen, pseudoephedrine, or artificial sweeteners.  Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs.

The following tweet contains mature language. 🙂 

Diphenhydramine is also an active ingredient found in products like Anacin PM, Advil PM, Excedrin PM, Sudafed, and Robitussin, to name a few. 

These drugs contain other ingredients including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Never give your dog anything with these ingredients. Your dog’s metabolism cannot process the drug and it becomes toxic in the body.

This is Why You Need to Be Careful When Choosing Diphenhydramine for Dogs

Choose a product like Benadryl which ONLY has diphenhydramine as the main ingredient.  Added ingredients like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, alcohol, or xylitol (a sweetener), are toxic to dogs.  Consult with your veterinarian before administering over the counter medications to your dog.


Dogs who suffer from motion sickness are not fun to travel with. Dogs get motion sickness just like we do and, if you’ve ever had it, you know how miserable it is. 

The medication takes time to get into the dog’s system, so plan to administer at least a half hour to an hour before getting in the vehicle.

Diphenhydramine (in the form of Benadryl tablets or capsules) can be given to dogs. The appropriate dosage for dogs is 2 – 4 mg per kilogram of body weight.


Fleas are common in dogs and cats. If you see one flea on your dog, it’s safe to assume there are more.  Creams, lotions, gels, or diphenhydramine for dogs are good choices to ease itch, but they don’t solve the problem.

If your dog has fleas, make sure to see the veterinarian. Ask for a topical solution that can be applied between the shoulder blades. 

Topical flea prevention only works if you continue the treatment month after month. It takes at least 3 weeks for a flea to go through the life cycle. Each flea on your dog could be in a different life stage.  

Diphenhydramine for dogs is an antihistamine and antihistamines work to stop itch and inflammation. 

Number 3:  MANGE

Mange is normally found in puppies. Puppies are able to contract mange while nursing from their mothers. It can clear up on its own, but it can also become a full-blown problem.

what it does

Symptoms of demodectic mange include intense itching, patchy fur loss, skin infections, red and crusty sores (check the elbows, armpits, tummy, ears, abdomen and chest).

Diphenhydramine for dogs will help the itch and might even cause some drowsiness in your dog. 

An extremely itchy dog is an agitated dog.  Using diphenhydramine for dogs might help your dog sleep a little better.

Consult with a Veterinarian

Ask your veterinarian about diphenhydramine for dogs.  He/she will want to see your dog to check for signs of secondary skin infections.  Keep your dog’s immune system up with appropriate supplements.

A Note On Using CBD Oil for Dogs

There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet regarding CBD Oil for dogs.  It’s not a “miracle” drug or a cure for anything.  CBD oil use in dogs is relatively new.  Studies, however, have been conducted.  

Please read this article from Google Scholar on CBD oil for dogs.

Number 4:  Mites

Mites are a parasitic skin infection that can be very contagious. Dogs can get mites from the environment and from other dogs. Mites can be transmitted to humans as well.

If your dog has what looks like “walking dandruff”, suspect mites.  Other symptoms include excessive scratching, lesions on back, scaling skin, skin flakes that look like dandruff, and fur loss.

The use of diphenhydramine for dogs to reduce itch is a good “quick fix”. However, the product will not cure mites without further treatment. You will need to bring your dog to the veterinarian to confirm diagnosis.

Number 5:  Anxiety and Restlessness

If your dog can’t sleep, chances are you can’t either.  The aggravation of severe itch will drive your dog to dig at his/her skin.  Signs of anxiety in a dog include pacing, panting, vocalizing, hiding, tail between the legs, and sometimes aggression.

Using a product like Benadryl could induce drowsiness and reduce the itch enough to give your dog relief.  Diphenhydramine for dogs isn’t the only solution.  Dogs itch for many reasons. If it lasts for days and is causing sores on the skin, get your dog to a veterinarian ASAP.

Of course, the best situation is to get your dog to the veterinarian BEFORE your dog develops skin sores.

Number 6: Sleepy Time

There are times when your dog might need help with sleep. A healthy dog doesn’t need medication to induce sleep; however, a dog that has just come from surgery might. 

After surgery, your veterinarian might suggest that your dog take it easy for a few days. It’s hard to stop them from biting at the site. Elizabethan collars aren’t always easy to keep on a dog either.

If your dog needs helping easing into sleep, diphenhydramine for dogs may help.  

Always check with your veterinarian first because other medications could interact with diphenhydramine.

Use diphenhydramine for dogs to help them relax after surgery.

Number 7:  Mild Allergies

If your dog has mild allergies that cause the sniffles, sneezing, or red eyes, Benadryl might be a good choice.  Remember that diphenhydramine is an antihistamine. Antihistamines block the receptors that cause itch.

Dosage for dogs with allergies would be about 2 – 4 mg per kilogram.  You should also consider what might be causing the allergy. 

Wipe your dog’s feet after he/she has been on the grass. Bath your dog with anti-itch shampoo, and make sure to stay on top of flea eradication.

How to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills

If you are considering how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, you need to read this post.

There comes a time in every dog owners life when we realize our best friend is ready to say goodbye. It may be that they are suffering from illness, or from the effects of old age.

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Your dog could be in pain or have a serious case of canine dementia. Some owners want to put their pet to sleep themselves.

In good conscience, I cannot encourage the topic of how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills. There is an alternative. 


When the Day Comes

It is really hard to think about letting our dogs pass away. They are a part of our family, and it just hurts to lose them. If you are like me, you want to be beside your dog for the entire journey.

The Animal Humane Society is Ready to Assist!  Contact Them Right Now for End-of-Life Assistance.  

When the time comes, please call our Pet Helpline at 952-HELP-PET (952-435-7738) to discuss your needs.  ~Animal Humane Society

Euthanasia is a scary word. Many dog owners prefer to say they are sending their dog over the Rainbow Bridge, or putting them to sleep. But how do you know if it is time to let your dog go?

When is Euthanasia the Right Decision?

I can’t answer this question for you. Every dog owner has to decide for themselves when it is the right time to let their dog go.

The reasons for the decision will vary from person to person. You have to make the decision that is best for your family’s situation.

I can, however, give you some guidelines to help you make your decision.

Remember this tweet below.  The Humane Society is there to help you and your dog.

Consider Quality of Life and Consult with a Veterinarian.

Make a list of your dog’s physical problems. Consider things like pain and mobility, appetite or lack of appetite. 

Digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation should be considered. Is your dog having accidents in the house? Are there other unusual things going on with your dog’s health or state of mind?

Make a list of your dog’s current behaviors. How are they acting? Do they seem lost or confused? Do they bark nonstop or wander in circles? Are they acting aggressive or destructive?

Consider your dog’s quality of life. Do they still enjoy doing some of the things they use to?

Head to the Vet’s Office!

Once you have your lists, take your dog to the veterinarian for a consultation. Until a medical expert has taken a look at your dog, you don’t really know what you are up against.


Sometimes physical problems can be resolved by just adding an anti-inflammatory or CBD product. Don’t make any decisions until you have talked things over with the veterinarian.

If you want advice on how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, you should talk about this with your veterinarian as well. Your vet can explain why this is or is not a good option for your dog, and can give you information on alternatives.

Look at the Big Picture

Once you have your lists and have spoken to the vet, you will have a better understanding of your dog’s situation. That should help you make your decision. Even if you choose to wait for a while, you will have a better idea of when it is the right time.

How to Euthanize a Dog With Sleeping Pills

If your dog is sick and suffering, or has lost all quality of life, then the decision might not be hard for you to make. Sometimes, though, things are in a grey area.

It is perfectly ok to decide to euthanize your dog because of serious behavioral issues, even if they are otherwise healthy. If your dog is so lost to dementia that they are miserable to be around, think how unhappy their life must be for them.

Look at things from your dog’s perspective, and remember, dog’s don’t fear death. Humans have that fear, but our dogs just take things as they come. Whatever decision you make, your dog will know you are doing your best for them.

Once You Have Decided to Euthanize

I hope you have discussed this with your veterinarian, but once you have made your decision it is time to get prepared.

Make sure that everyone in the family gets time to say goodbye to your dog. There is nothing worse than feeling like you didn’t get to spend those last happy moments with a family member.

Why Use Sleeping Pills?

When people ask me how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, I always ask them why they want to do this? I totally understand the desire to euthanize your dog at home, avoiding the stress of a vet visit. But there are other ways to accomplish this.

You could get a sedative to give your dog before the final vet visit. This will make them relaxed and sleepy instead of being agitated.

You could have a vet come out to your home, and do a euthanasia there. Many vets these days will travel for situations like this. You just need to ASK.

If cost is the primary reason, then know that many shelters and emergency vets will perform a humane euthanasia at a low cost or for free.

You may not get cremation services, but it likely won’t cost very much. Check around. There are many better options than sleeping pills.

Using Sleeping Pills for Euthanasia is a Bad Idea

There are many reasons why trying to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills is a very bad idea.

“Sleeping pills” is a generic term that covers many different medications. The most common one used in medicine for euthanasia is Pentobarbital.

Phenobarbital is a fast-acting barbiturate. It is also used in anesthesia and as an emergency medication to stop seizures.

In lower doses, it suppresses breathing and circulation, but in high enough doses it can stop the heart entirely. It is usually given as an injection along with other tranquilizers.

Are You Sure You Want to Know How to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills?

It is much harder to euthanize a dog using oral sleeping pills than many people realize. Most of the time, it doesn’t work, and it creates more suffering for the dog instead of ending their suffering.

There is a reason that veterinarians euthanize dogs by directly injecting the medication into the vein.

Sleeping pills are likely to make your dog vomit. Even if the pills stay down, it takes time for the pills to get digested and enter the bloodstream. Because these medications are fast acting, they are quickly removed from your dog’s blood.

This means that you could give an overdose, but the medication doesn’t hit your dog all at once. Instead of peacefully passing in their sleep, your dog is more likely to vomit, have seizures, foam at the mouth, act severely agitated and generally suffer a great deal- and survive!

Requires a Prescription

The only way to get a hold of a medication like Pentobarbital is as a prescription from your doctor or veterinarian.

These medications are strictly controlled and accounted for. They can be very hard to get a prescription for.

Not all sleeping pills will work for euthanasia, and many will simply cause serious distress and suffering. Don’t just give a dog a bunch of random sleeping pills.

It’s AGAINST the Law!

In many places, it is illegal for a person to euthanize a dog unless they have a veterinary license.

If things go south, you could find yourself arrested and in the news.  The internet never forgets.

The real question isn’t how to euthanize a dog with sleeping pills, it is why would you want to try it when the alternatives are easier on your dog?

Please Do Not Attempt to Euthanize a Dog with Sleeping Pills!

Have your vet euthanize your dog for you. Then you can focus on saying goodbye in a peaceful, quiet setting, and making your dog’s last moments perfect.

Thank you for reading this post and reconsidering this option. Your dog deserves a dignified death.  A lot can go wrong with sleeping pills, leaving you and your dog in a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Author:  T.R. O’Connell – Guest Post

I’d like to thank the writer for a fantastic job of writing on this very sensitive topic. 

Comments or Questions?  Please feel free to leave comments in the form below. You can also email me directly:  latheriault@hugspetproducts.com 

Take a minute to read my story and find out more about who I am by clicking HERE.

15 Remarkable Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs

Prednisone side effects in dogs vary.  They depend on the dosage given and the length of time the dog is expected to continue on them.  Some of the short-term side-effects in dogs include increased thirst, hunger, panting, and loss of energy.

Prednisone is a steroid used to decrease inflammation in mast cell tumors.  In fact, it’s used to treat a wide variety of conditions as you’ll see further on in this post.  Dog owners have strong opinions on whether prednisone helps or hinders their dog’s health.

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Increased appetite is one of the potential prednisone side effects in dogs. However, this could be a good thing for sick dogs experiencing weight loss and lack of appetite.

On the other hand, some people end up stopping the medication.  One of the biggest complaints among dog owners is the immune-suppressing function of prednisone.

By the time you’re finished reading this post, you will have a good sense of the side-effects to watch for, and why the side-effects occur in the first place. 

Short-Term Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs.

Prednisone is a synthetic steroid (corticosteroid) used to treat inflammatory conditions in low dosages and act to suppress the immune response in high dosages.

Side effects vary from the most common to the most severe and rare.  Most dogs will only experience the mild and more common side effects listed below.

1. Increased Hunger

I’ve read countless articles from scientific journals and haven’t been able to tease out exactly how prednisone (or other drugs) cause the feeling of hunger. 

Prednisone is just one drug of many that cause an increase in hunger signals. 

My educated (layman’s) guess would be that there is a correlation between the increase in blood sugar and hormones that signal hunger. 

That is only my guess and could be the furthest thing from the truth.

2. Increased Blood Sugar

Increased blood sugar is one of the prednisone side effects in dogs.  This is dangerous in dogs with diabetes. 

If your dog was on the cusp of getting diabetes (whether there were symptoms or not), can develop the disease while on prednisone.  Dosage and time are two factors that contribute to how severe side effects are.

3. Increased Thirst

Water should be readily available to dogs on prednisone.  The increase in blood sugar stimulates sugar secretion by the liver. High blood sugar strains the kidneys and forces frequent urination.

Frequent drinking and urination crease a vicious cycle.  Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.

If you’re interested in alternatives to prednisone, make sure to watch this video!

4. Terrible Panting

One of the more common prednisone side effects in dogs is abnormal panting.  Again, it was hard to find any hard science on why this happens.

I’m not a veterinarian.  If you’re very interested in more scientifically detailed information on this topic, I suggest asking your veterinarian for some resources. 

I suspect (again, I have no medical background) that most prednisone side effects in dogs relate to the suppression of the immune system and the increase in blood sugar.

5. Increased Urination

Dogs on prednisone need to take bathroom breaks more often. The increase in thirst leads to more water intake which, of course, leads to increased urination.

6. Decreased Energy

Sleepiness or decreased energy is a side effect of prednisone.  In some cases, a reduction in dosage might help. 

Ask your veterinarian if these symptoms clear up over time or get worse.

7. Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs Can Cause More Infections

Prednisone suppresses the adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands are responsible for secreting hormones (from the red and white blood cells) that help the body fight infection.

8. Vomiting & Nausea 

Unfortunately, prednisone can cause your dog to feel sick a lot.

Dogs are prescribed prednisone for various reasons, including:

Anaphylactic shock (allergic reactions)



Central Nervous System Disorders 


Skin Diseases

Endocrine Disorders (Cushings, for example)

Respiratory and Bowel Diseases (Inflammatory)

Special thanks to Loved at Last Dog Rescue, British Columbia, for the following photo.  

Prednisone side effects in dogs
Prednisone side effects in dogs include sleepiness.

Long-Term Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs

9. Urinary Tract Infections

30% of dogs on long-term prednisone get more urinary tract infections.  

READ THIS POST BY THE AVMA:  Your Dog’s Medications

10. Bad Skin

Prednisone (long-term) can cause thinning of the skin along with other dermatological issues.

11. Non-Healing Wounds

The immune-suppressing function of prednisone can create problems where wounds are unable to heal.  When this happens, a serious secondary infection can occur.

12. Mange, Fungal Infections, & Plaque

The adrenal glands play a big role in secreting the hormones that activate the immune system. Without it, a dog’s body can’t find things like mange. He/she may develop fungal infections.  Your dog can also develop hard plaques or spots on the skin.

13.  Obesity

Increased hunger is one of the short-term prednisone side effects in dogs.  The increase in calories over time can cause weight gain.

14. Cushing’s Disease (Medically Induced)

Signs of Cushing’s Disease include a sagging belly (pot belly), increased urination, increased thirst, skin and ear infections.

15. Muscle Weakness/Breakdown

When a dog is on prednisone for a long time, the muscles weaken.  This can happen as a result of a secondary (medically induced) condition such as Cushing’s. 

Muscle weakness can also occur directly as a result of prednisone. 

How to Wean Your Dog off of Prednisone

Medications like prednisone can cause serious withdrawal if stopped suddenly. This is especially true if your dog has been on them for a long time.

Weaning your dog off of prednisone should only be done with the veterinarian’s guidance. 

Pet owners should always bring pets for follow up appointments and following weaning instructions carefully. 

Reducing prednisone too quickly can cause:

Joint pain

Body aches

Nausea and extreme fatigue.

Supplement Alternatives to Prednisone in Dogs

Again, I’m not a veterinarian.  There are plenty of sites dedicated to alternative supplements for dogs.  I don’t feel confident enough to promote any of them; however, that doesn’t mean they don’t work. 

If you are considering weaning your dog off of prednisone, you might want to talk to a holistic veterinarian.  He/she will be much more educated on alternative therapies and the safety factor.


I’m not a veterinarian and I always suggest discussing medications and/or your dog’s health condition with your own licensed veterinarian.

The most common side-effects in dogs taking prednisone seem to be panting, extra thirst, and increased hunger.   It’s up to you to discuss the pros and cons of prednisone with the veterinarian.

I think it’s fair to say that most veterinarians would prefer to see a short course of prednisone.  There are lots of reasons why a longer-term approach is necessary.   In that case, talk about the expected outcomes and what to look for in terms of more serious side effects.

Comments? Please leave them below. 

I love hearing from readers like you so please don’t hesitate to send me your experiences with prednisone side effects in dogs.

You’ll see the little comment form below this post.

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How to Stop a Dog’s Toenail from Bleeding

I wish I had known how to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding before I cut my dog’s nail too short.  I had no idea it would bleed that much, nor did I realize it would traumatize my dog forever.  Sound a bit too dramatic?  It’s the truth.  My fully grown pit-mix is a total baby who hides when I bring out the nail clippers now.

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How to Stop a Dog’s Toenail from Bleeding with Styptic Powder

Nails cut too close to the “quick” cause pain and excessive bleeding. I think we’ve all had our nails cut a little too short at one time or another and we know how much it stings.

The quick is the layer of skin that lies beneath the nail bed.   The medical term is hyponychium, but everyone I know calls it the quick. If you’ve ever trimmed your dog’s toenails, you know what I’m talking about.

FACT: “Quick” is an archaic term once used to refer to anything living (alive). The tender skin under the nail contains nerve endings

 In a dog with white nails, you can look beneath and see where there is a darker line.  That dark line (sometimes pink or reddish) is where the quick is.

It ‘s hard to see where the quick begins on a dog with black nails.  For that reason, I only clip a tiny bit at a time.

Watch for a circle that appears in the nail. You’ll know you’re getting too close when a greyish circle becomes apparent.

I love the following video because it’s short, informative, and adorable.  Watch it!

Don’t Do What I Did!

I panicked when figuring out how to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding.

The amount of blood coming out if that little cut shocked me. If I had taken a doggie first aid course, I would have been better prepared.  As it turns out, I had to rely on instinct.


I remembered the Styptic pencil in the washroom and went to get it. First, I used a damp washcloth to clean the area, then I applied the Styptic to the wound in a twirling motion. It stung.  My dog yelped and pulled his still-bleeding paw away from me. At this point, I hadn’t quite figured out how to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding and I felt like a moron.

How to Stop a Dog's Toenail from Bleeding

I knew I needed to apply more, but at this point, my dog was losing his mind and blood was going everywhere.  I didn’t know I could have tried cornstarch, baking soda, or a bar of soap.

Instead, I crushed a bit of the Styptic pencil and made a powder from it.  My dog wouldn’t put his paw down so I turned the powder into a paste and applied a thick layer to his paw.

I put a piece of non-stick gauze on his paw and quickly wrapped a bandage around it. Finally, I secured the whole thing by wrapping A LOT of medical tape around it.

What is a Styptic Pencil?

The main ingredient in a Styptic pencil is anhydrous aluminum.  This compound constricts the blood vessels and will eventually stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding.

Where Can I Find Styptic Pencils?

You can find Styptic pencils in the grooming section of most drugstores, or in the first aid department. Your veterinarian will be able to offer further advice on how to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding. He/she may even have styptic powder on hand.

A Styptic pencil comes in a clear plastic tube. It looks a bit like a thin piece of chick or a fake candy cigarette.

The instructions are easy, just wet the stick and dab it on the cut.  It stings for a second but should coat the opening enough to block it from bleeding.

How to Stop a Dog’s Toenail from Bleeding with Items From your Kitchen


Cornstarch is a good alternative to Styptic pencils or powders. Cornstarch turns itself into a thickening agent when mixed with water.

Pour a small amount of cornstarch into a plate or bowl and press your dog’s paw directly into it.  Remove the paw, wrap it up with gauze and strap it with medical tape to keep it in place.

TIP:  You can buy a specialized version of the tape at pet stores. It has a bitter taste that, theoretically, stops your dog from chewing it off.

My dog still chewed it off, but it took him a lot longer and, during that time, the nail bed was starting to heal.

Try a Pinch of Baking Powder to Stop Your Dog’s Toenail from Bleeding

How to Stop a Dog’s Toenail from Bleeding with Baking Powder 

Baking powder is another home staple that can be used to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding.

You can stop your dog’s toenail from bleeding using the same method as the cornstarch tip above.  It doesn’t happen immediately, so be prepared to immobilize your dog for at least 5 to 10 minutes. The longer your dog can stay off the paw, the faster it will heal.

Be Prepared to Stop a Dog’s Toenail From Bleeding

It’s important to always have a first aid kit in your house.  Know what’s in it, where to find it, and when it needs to be stocked.

Dog paw injuries are very common and notoriously slow to heal. Minor injuries can be handled at home with the right supplies.

The Bare Basics of A First Aid Kit for Dogs


Learn how to safely remove porcupine quills from your dog.

-non-stick gauze

-Benadryl for allergies and it helps with itch

-medical tape

-Styptic pencil or powder


-antiseptic wipes

-sterile cloth

-a blanket

I prefer to buy a pre-made first aid kit to keep things simple.  A few of my favorites include:




Stopping a dog’s toenail from bleeding usually requires a clotting agent and firm pressure on the wound.  Expect it to take several minutes to slow down.

At the end of the day, it’s normal to panic when we see a lot of blood.  If the bleeding continues for a long time or you feel worried, by all means, contact your veterinarian for advice.  The amount of blood and the time it takes to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding is going to depend on how deeply you’ve cut into the quick.

Keep in mind that certain medications, particularly blood thinners, could turn an otherwise normal event into something more dangerous. Always check with your veterinarian, especially if your instincts are telling you that something isn’t right.

I hope this post has given you ideas on how to manage a nail bleed. It’s not pleasant, but it can be controlled. Having at least a basic first aid kit on hand will help. Make sure to keep the kit in a place that’s easy to access. 

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you’ll come back for more because I’ve got a ton of articles ready to publish and I know they’re going to be helpful to you!  

Before you go, please take a minute to share with your social media followers.  Every dog owner loves information on dogs! 

17 Hawaiian Spirulina Benefits for Dogs

Hawaiian spirulina is getting a lot of attention lately. In fact, pet nutrition in 2018 is a HUGE business.

Both dog and cat owners are paying more attention to what they feed their pets.  People are looking into alternative diets and supplements to maximize their pet’s health and wellness.

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Trendy SuperFood

While spirulina is grown all over the world, the safest and highest quality product is produced in man-made reservoirs on the island of Kona.

In this post, we outline 17 Hawaiian spirulina benefits for dogs.  Whether you have a specific health concern in mind or are just looking for a high-quality nutritional supplement, Hawaiian spirulina has something to benefit your dog’s health.

Hawaiian Spirulina 

Hawaiian spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is the domesticated form of the common blue-green algae trademarked under the name Spirulina Pacifica.

Spirulina is actually a type of bacteria that gets its energy from the sun. Just like a plant, spirulina uses photosynthesis to turn sunlight into energy the cells can use for food.

Hawaiian spirulina is cultivated in freshwater ponds and then harvested and dried to a powder. This powder can be taken in capsules, or mixed into other foods for consumption.

It is an especially nutrient-rich supplement that is eco-friendly. It is also gluten-free and is certified vegan, kosher, halal and non-GMO!

Spirulina has been used as a source of nutrition for humans and livestock for thousands of years.  NASA even sends spirulina energy bars into space for our astronauts! Check out the nutritional profile for spirulina below:

17 Benefits of Hawaiian Spirulina for Dogs

One Tablespoon (7 grams) of Spirulina Contains:

1. Protein

Spirulina is about 60% protein and contains 18 different amino acids. It has all 10 of the essential amino acids dogs require from their diets.

Unlike other plant-based protein sources, such as soy, the proteins in spirulina are highly digestible without further processing.

The other amino acids in spirulina can also be beneficial to your dog. Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, and Glycine are all neurotransmitters that help keep the brain and nervous system working properly.

Tyrosine assists in melanin production, and Cystine is necessary for taurine synthesis within your dog’s body.

2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine is a vitamin that is essential to canine health. It promotes organ function (including the brain) and can help your dog maintain a healthy nervous system. Thiamine is also necessary for their bodies to metabolize carbohydrates.

Unstable When Exposed to Heat

While thiamine is added to all commercial pet foods, the challenge is that it is unstable when exposed to heat, air or moisture.

Since commercial foods are cooked and stored for lengthy periods of time, you have no idea whether these foods contain the amount of thiamine that is labeled on the bag.

There have been multiple pet food recalls in the last several years due to a thiamine insufficiency. Adding Hawaiian spirulina to your dog’s diet can ensure they are not missing out on this essential vitamin!

3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

If there is one vitamin you really want to be sure your dog is getting enough of, it is riboflavin! This vitamin works with other enzymes in your dog’s body.  Riboflavin regulates their metabolism.

Riboflavin also plays a role in the production of red blood cells, and in the function of the immune system.

Riboflavin is found in many animal and plant sources, including Hawaiian spirulina. Interestingly, riboflavin is required for the uptake of many minerals which are found in Hawaiian spirulina as well!

This one’s for you! Check out the smoothie recipe below:

4. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is another essential B vitamin for dogs found in spirulina. This vitamin is required for the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Niacin helps maintain your dog’s skin and coat and supports their gastrointestinal health.

Niacin, like thiamine, is sensitive to heat and moisture. Commercially prepared foods may not actually contain the amount of niacin that is stated on the label.

Niacin is found naturally in animal meats, eggs, and legumes. While cereal crops like wheat and corn contain niacin, our dog’s bodies can not extract the vitamin from these sources. Spirulina, on the other hand, contains a bioavailable form of niacin!

5. Copper

You may think of the pretty metal when you see the word copper, but it is also a trace mineral that dogs require in their diet. Copper assists with the development of collagen, bone and connective tissue. It also helps with the absorption of iron and plays a role in the formation of red blood cells.

Spirulina is a good source of copper, especially since it contains iron (see below) and does not contain a lot of vitamin C (which prevents copper from being absorbed).

Some dogs have a genetic condition that disrupts their body’s ability to process and store copper. If your dog has liver disease related to copper, check with your veterinarian before starting him/her on spirulina supplementation.

6. Iron

Along with copper, iron is a major component of hemoglobin, the primary protein found in red blood cells. Iron works in tandem with other enzymes in your dog’s body as well. Insufficient iron in the diet can cause anemia, or a lack of red blood cells. Dogs should receive iron in their diet every day, especially puppies and growing dogs.

Spirulina is a rich source of iron and, as mentioned above, it also contains copper to ensure the iron is absorbed.

7. Magnesium

Another trace mineral that dogs require, magnesium is essential for the nervous system to function properly. It is involved with the transfer of energy throughout your dog’s body. Along with sodium and potassium (see below), magnesium is necessary for your dog to walk, run and jump. Pretty much all movement requires magnesium.

Dogs with insufficient magnesium appear weak and lethargic. Their muscles may twitch, and they often have difficulty walking.

Here’s a little slo-mo picture for you! This little dog seems to love his spirulina treats.

Magnesium deficiency can cause their heart to beat erratically and is considered very dangerous if left untreated. Dogs with kidney disease, diabetes and IBD may benefit from the magnesium in spirulina.

8. Potassium

Potassium is a trace mineral that plays an important role in fluid and electrolyte balance in dogs. As mentioned above, all muscle activity requires potassium (and the other electrolytes), and a deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, heart arrhythmias and other serious health problems.

Most dogs can get sufficient potassium through their normal diet and treats. However, dogs with diabetes, kidney disease or IBD may become deficient in potassium.

Even an otherwise healthy dog who refuses to eat, or has diarrhea for a few days, might develop problems with low potassium. Using Spirulina may help keep your dog’s potassium levels in the proper range, although you should check with your veterinarian first if your dog has any major health problems.

9. Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

You have probably read a lot about omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and their benefit to our dog’s health. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are an essential part of our dog’s diets, since their bodies can not produce them.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids support a healthy coat and immune system, and when the ratio is balanced correctly can also have anti-inflammatory effects.

While spirulina is only about 8% fat, the balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids is usually right around the target of 1:1.

Your dog’s overall diet will have a much greater impact on their Omega intake than a supplement like spirulina. Still, the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in spirulina can help maintain the health of your dog.

The Benefits of Hawaiian Spirulina

Now that we have covered 9 health benefits of Hawaiian spirulina for your dog’s health, let’s look at the bigger picture.

What superpowers does spirulina bring to the table?

10. Antioxidant

Spirulina contains several antioxidants, such as phocyanin and beta-carotene. In fact, spirulina has more beta-carotene by proportion than a carrot!

These antioxidants help protect cells and the cellular DNA from being damaged, which can lead to inflammation and even cancer.

Eating foods high in antioxidants is associated with a reduction in cancer rates, and while the research is still in progress, there are good reasons to think that spirulina antioxidants provide some protections when consumed every day.

11. Anti-Inflammatory

The antioxidants in spirulina can have an anti-inflammatory effect in your dog’s body. This can help prevent heart disease, reduce the pain associated with arthritis and even improve your dog’s intestinal function!

Chronic inflammation is associated with several diseases common to dogs, and spirulina may help prevent your dog from developing them.

12. Lower LDL

Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL’s, are the “bad fat” associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Several animal studies show that consuming spirulina lowers the amount of LDL’s in the blood, and some recent studies have indicated that spirulina may also have this effect in humans.

While specific research on dogs still needs to be done, there is good reason to believe that this will hold true to them as well.

13. Lower Triglycerides

High triglycerides are also associated with the development of heart disease. Human studies have shown that consumption of spirulina can lower triglycerides in the blood by 10-28%!

Several animal studies have also shown this result, although not all of them have. While we still need to wait for this research to be done in dogs, it is likely that spirulina will have some positive impact on the total number of triglycerides in your dog’s blood.

14. Raises HDL

High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, are the “good fats” in your body. They are associated with healthy hearts and arteries.

Taken as a whole, you want low numbers of LDL’s and triglycerides, and higher numbers of HDLs. Studies on spirulina in both animals and humans consistently shows that its consumption increases HDL’s even as it lowers LDL’s and triglycerides.

Overall, there is good evidence that spirulina supports cardiac health in many mammals, and will probably have this effect in dogs too.

15. Anti-Cancer

Spirulina may have anti-cancer effects in dogs. There is some evidence to show that animals given spirulina are less likely to develop cancer.

Since we know that spirulina is an antioxidant and that it has anti-inflammatory properties, it follows that it might also protect against some forms of cancer. Several studies have shown that it is particularly useful in protecting against oral cancers in humans.

Since spirulina is especially beneficial to the immune system and digestive tract, it may be that it also helps protect against cancer in these locations. More research is needed, especially in dogs, but the preliminary reports show promise!

16. Reduces Allergy Symptoms

Taking Hawaiian spirulina can relieve the effects of seasonal allergies. As mentioned above, it can reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system.

One of the ways Hawaiian spirulina does this is by reducing the amount of histamine in the body.

These histamines are one of the things that trigger your immune system to react, or overreact in the case of “hay fever.”

If your dog suffers from “hay fever” or other seasonal allergy symptoms, try adding spirulina to their diet! Not only will their coat be bright and shining, their skin shouldn’t itch as much.

17. Anemia

Since spirulina contains copper, iron and B2 vitamins, it is an excellent supplement to prevent anemia! Puppies and senior dogs are especially at risk of anemia, and may benefit from spirulina supplementation.

There are several studies in humans that show seniors and immunosuppressed people have higher levels of red blood cells when given spirulina every day.

Adding Hawaiian spirulina to your dog’s diet will help protect them from anemia, and will support their overall health.

We hope you have enjoyed this post about the 17 Hawaiian spirulina benefits for dogs! While more research needs to be done, there are many reasons to believe this superfood has superpowers our dogs can benefit from!

As always, check with your veterinarian before starting spirulina supplementation. Some dogs may have upset stomachs when they first start taking it, and it can react negatively with some medications.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post!  You should have a pretty good understanding of the benefits of spirulina in your dog’s diet.  

I hope you’ll come back often.  There’s a lot to read and you’re not going to want to miss out on some of the #1 posts.