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Can Dogs Eat Shellfish? All You Need to Know

Is it alright to offer the leftovers to your dog (who, let’s be honest, has probably been staring at you hungrily while you eat!) after you’ve just finished a lovely shellfish dinner but couldn’t quite finish those last few mouthfuls?

Yes, dogs can occasionally consume shellfish. It must be cooked properly and should never account for more than a third of their daily calories. Let’s learn more about this cuisine to see if it’s something you’d like to feed your dog and, if so, how to safely prepare it.

What’s good about shellfish for dogs?

Shrimp, oysters, mussels, lobster, scallops, clams, and crab are examples of shellfish.

Shrimp has a low fat content but a high protein content. They have a pleasant taste for your dog and can be used as a pill pocket to conceal medication.

Clams, mussels, and oysters are high in protein and include a variety of nutrients, including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Because these shellfish are near the bottom of the food chain, they are less contaminated with heavy metals than other seafood like tuna.

Green-lipped mussels have been found in the ingredients of certain high-quality dog meals and treats. This specific mussel strain is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your dog’s coat and skin stay in great shape. Because they’re a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine, they can also help with joint pain and mobility.

What’s bad about shellfish for dogs?

Bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella, listeria, and vibrio can be found in raw shellfish. If you feed your dog raw shellfish, they are at a greater risk of having major gastrointestinal problems.

Seafood is filtered through the shells of bivalve shellfish. This means they can absorb toxins from algae on occasion. If you or your dog eats incorrectly cooked shellfish containing this neurotoxin, it can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). It’s crucial to get shellfish from a source who screens for contamination.

Shrimp can be farmed intensively, and disinfectants, antibiotics, and pesticides are frequently used to aid farmers in reducing disease and increasing productivity. Because farmed shellfish isn’t usually clearly labeled, it’s important asking whoever sells you shrimp whether they can confirm it was raised in the wild.

Lobster is high in fat and sodium, which are both detrimental to your dog’s health. Crabmeat has a lot of iodine, which is another nutrient your dog doesn’t need in large amounts.

Can dogs be allergic to shellfish?

Shellfish isn’t one of the most common dog allergies. Chicken, beef, dairy, and egg, according to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. Shellfish allergies are exceedingly uncommon in dogs, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility of your dog developing one.

Itchy or inflamed skin, as well as gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting or diarrhea, are warning signs to watch for.

How to prepare shellfish for your dog

Before giving any shellfish to your dog, make sure it’s completely cooked. Raw shellfish, as previously stated, can include bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella, listeria, and vibrio.

If you’re thinking about giving your dog some table scraps, avoid any seafood that has been seasoned with oil, salt, pepper, or other seasonings.

Make sure the shell, legs, and tail are all removed before feeding your dog cooked shrimp, crab, or lobster. Sharp edges on these items may irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Cook shellfish well before feeding a small portion to your dog, such as mussels, clams, or scallops. Oysters are frequently eaten raw by humans, but don’t do this with your dog. We recommend ignoring this item entirely unless you want to thoroughly boil the oysters.

Shellfish that has been pickled or otherwise preserved in cans or jars should never be fed to your dog.

When it comes to shellfish, how much should you feed your dog?

If you do want to give your dog some cooked shellfish as a special treat, keep the portions minimal.

As a treat, one shrimp, mussel, or little bit of crabmeat is plenty. After that, keep an eye on your dog for the next 24 hours to make sure they don’t have an allergic response or gastrointestinal troubles.

Buying dog-specific treats or food with shellfish as an ingredient is the best method to give your dog shellfish. Instead of going to the trouble of preparing green-lipped mussels yourself, you may buy freeze-dried entire green-lipped mussels and feed them to your dog!

Alternatively, you can choose a dog food like Gentle Giants, which contains a variety of high-quality ingredients, including green-lipped mussels. Supplements, such as the Super Snouts Joint Powder Supplement, can be added to your dog’s current diet.

Final thoughts

Shellfish isn’t a vital part of your dog’s diet, but if they eat a piece of cooked shellfish that falls to the floor, it won’t hurt them. If you choose to give your dog shellfish, make sure you get it from a reputable source, fully prepare it, and feed modest amounts.

Green-lipped mussels are an exception, as they contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as chondroitin and glucosamine. This can be a great addition to your dog’s diet, especially if they have painful, inflamed joints or if your vet has recommended that you add something to their diet to improve their coat and skin condition. The good news is that green-lipped mussels can be found in treats, nutritional supplements, and dog food.

We consider that this is the safest approach to give your dog shellfish while also knowing that it has been prepared safely and will make your dog look and feel fantastic from the inside out!