Can Dogs Eat Clams? Is It Safe?
Your dog’s health largely depends on what it eats. As caring owners, we must always be watchful about what our pets eat. At the same time, we must also be sure that their food is always safe and healthy.
Today, there’s a great number of high-quality dog foods, both dry and wet, that can usually meet the general nutritional needs of a dog. But there are probably few owners who don’t give their pets small morsels of food they themselves eat. Clams, fish, and seafood are no exception.
But how safe is it for a dog to eat clams? And what about other types of seafood and fish? Let’s talk about it.
Can dogs eat clams?
The good news is yes, clams are pretty safe for your dog to eat. Clams and seafood contain easily digestible proteins, Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin A, D, E, phosphorus, iodine, and other essential nutrients. Feeding seafood to animals has a positive effect on the condition of hair, skin, promotes weight control, and strengthens the joints.
However, the amount of this type of food must be very small and it must be cooked. Raw clams and seafood come with a number of unpleasant additions, from worms to substances like trimethylamine oxide or histamine.
Iron is an essential nutrient that can be found in clam chow. It has the second most concentrated nutrient of any element after B12.
The former binds iron and renders it in an indigestible form. As a result, an animal may develop iron deficiency (anemia). The latter can cause the symptoms of food poisoning.
The bottom line is this: whenever you want to treat your dog to clams, some seafood, or fish, make sure it’s properly cooked.
What about allergies?
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to clams and seafood. If that is the case with your pet, it might get sick after consuming even the tiniest amount of these types of food. Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, the first signs might show up immediately or about half an hour after they eat.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Skin irritation or rash
- Ear or skin infection
- Excessive hair shedding
- Runny nose
What are other types of seafood you can give to your dog?
Not all pets like seafood, some eat only certain types of fish, others happily eat delicacies, but remember that raw seafood causes diarrhea. Therefore, squid, crabs, crayfish, and oysters can only be given to dogs when cooked and in very moderate quantities.
Cooked crab meat can be included in your pooch’s diet, but only a little bit, and if the pet has no allergies. Crab sticks must be avoided because there’s hardly any crab meat at all. In the best case scenario, they’re made from white fish with added soy and starch, as well as synthetic flavors, colors, and preservatives. All of these components can be quite dangerous for dogs.
Lobsters are a complete no-no because of the high cholesterol and sodium content. Regular inclusion of this type of food in your dog’s diet might cause kidney problems, and too much of it will lead to poisoning. In severe cases, it can lead to more serious consequences like coma and death.
Puppies don’t need this type of food at all.
General rules of introducing seafood in your dog’s diet
When done right and in reasonable quantities, the inclusion of seafood in your pet’s menu might be quite beneficial. Shrimp, mussels, squid, and crabs are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal functioning of the canine body. Like any other food, however, seafood should be eaten correctly by following a few simple guidelines:
- Cook it. Raw seafood can cause diarrhea and gassiness. Only cooked clams (steamed or boiled).
- Keep it moderate. Some seafood, particularly shrimp and lobster, contains high amounts of cholesterol. In small amounts, this organic compound shapes the endocrine system and speeds up cellular regeneration. However, excess cholesterol negatively affects the health of pets, especially older animals.
- Be careful. All seafood without exception contains strong allergens, so introduce it into your dog’s diet gradually, carefully observing its reaction to it. And when it comes to puppies up to 6 months of age, it’s better to avoid giving them seafood altogether
- Combine. For better digestion, it’s recommended to combine seafood with vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower) or a small amount of porridge (steamed rye flakes, brown rice). It’s not recommended to give seafood and fish in combination with meat and/or dairy products.
- Keep it to a minimum. To keep your dog happy and healthy, offer them 1 to 2 pieces of boiled or steamed clams as a treat. Though these may have numerous health benefits do not serve them on daily basis because too much can be bad for dogs’ stomachs.
- If you buy canned clams make sure to check the expiration date before giving it.
The benefits of fish & seafood diet
By introducing seafood into our dogs’ diet, we don’t just diversify their menu and give them the chance to try something different. We also improve their health and appearance, because fish and seafood are a real treasure trove of essential nutrients. So what are the main benefits of feeding seafood to your pup?
- The low cost of fish compared to meat makes it possible to significantly reduce the cost of keeping a pet without reducing the caloric content and usefulness of the menu.
- The phosphorus and iodine in fish improve dental and bone health, stimulate muscle activity, improve hair and reduce the likelihood of reproductive abnormalities.
- Unlike meat protein, the protein in fish and seafood contains a large amount of methionine, an amino acid that has a positive effect on the liver and other internal organs. Moreover, this kind of protein is easily digested which improves the absorption of important nutrients.
- The high nutritional value of this type of food combined with a low amount of fat makes it preferable for animals prone to obesity and older animals with gastrointestinal problems.
- Most parasites found in saltwater fish don’t live in warm-blooded animals, which means they are not dangerous to dogs. In addition, almost all of them are killed by freezing or during cooking.
- B12 is essential for your dog’s nervous system and brain function, as well as helps with the dog’s digestive system. The best source of this vitamin is clams which can be found in almost any diet on Earth.
- Essential fatty acids are found in clams, which help keep your dog’s coat smooth and silky. These healthy fats can also promote heart health.
What are the symptoms of shellfish allergies for dogs?
Symptoms of shellfish allergies for dogs include skin irritation and scaling.
A dog’s mouth will often become red, itchy, or swollen with fluid-filled blisters if they have a sensitivity to seafood products like lobster meat; however, some breeds are more susceptible than others so your pup might not show any signs at all!
Is clam juice safe for dogs?
Bottled clam juice is made from boiling or steaming clams with salt, which makes it toxic for dogs. The high sodium content can cause an electrolyte imbalance and lead to other complications in your dog’s body if ingested.
You should avoid giving bottled clam sauces found at grocery stores as they contain added ingredients that will affect how your fur baby does internally (such as sugars). To ensure the safety of this treatment, we recommend making homemade clam juice without any extra salts added; these recipes usually call on tomatoes sauce instead.
How to avoid food poisoning?
There are two common reasons why your dog can get food poisoning after eating clams. The first has to do with the preparation method, but you should never feed them raw seafood anyways.
It is important to note that clams can contain toxins caused by dinoflagellates. These microscopic algae cannot be destroyed through cooking, but these organisms are extremely rare in your diet if you follow our recommendations on how much meat and breading should go into each dish- so there shouldn’t really be anything else for concern!
In the case your dog eats clams infected with paralytic shellfish poison (PSP), he or she will suffer from a serious illness that can be life-threatening.
Can Dogs Eat Clam Chowder?
While there are some ingredients in clam chowder that can be toxic to dogs, such as garlic, onions, bacon.
Dogs can definitely eat clams. What’s more, they can eat various kinds of seafood and fish too. The important thing to remember is to keep the quantities moderate. You can’t completely substitute meat in your dog’s diet with seafood. It will inevitably lead to health issues. But a well-balanced diet will do the trick.