Can Dogs Eat Seafood?

small scruffy dog looking over edge of picnic table looking at plate of seafood.

Seafood can be healthy as well as harmful to your dogs. The exact effect is dependent on your dog’s medical history and the type of seafood. If your dog has some food allergies, the addition of seafood in his/her diet can be a risky proposition. Similarly, certain types of seafood (fish oil, large fish, etc.) are not suitable for your canine partners.  

What Seafood Can Dogs Eat?

variety of seafood on black background.

Knowing the tendency of dogs to develop different allergies, it is important to observe their diet, closely. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, seafood can be divided into three categories. Some of the seafood items are safe for dogs while others should be avoided. In between these two extremes, there are some ingredients that can be used, but in controlled quantities.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Fish can be a useful addition to your dog’s diet because it contains healthy amounts of protein and fatty acids. However, you need to ensure that the fish you are feeding is deboned before cooking. Likewise, it should be fresh and free from any kind of seasoning. Below are some of the fish that can be included in your dog’s meal. 

Tuna

chunks of tuna on white background

Although Tuna has a reputation for having high levels of mercury, it can be fed to your dog in moderate quantities. You must cook the fish well and remove all its bones as they can stick in your pet’s throat. Ideally, you should choose skipjack or albacore species of tuna for your dog. This is because they will have accumulated less mercury due to their smaller size.

Salmon

Raw salmon on white background

Raw salmon can be dangerous for your dog because it can have infectious parasites in it. On the contrary, well-cooked salmon can be a delicious and healthy treat for your pet. This excellent source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals offers a lot of nutritional value. However, moderation is the key as too much fish can be troublesome.

Small Oily Fish (Sardines, Mackerel, etc.)

open can of Sardines on white background

If you are looking for an ingredient that could add some essential fatty acids in your dog’s meal, sardines are an effective option. Similarly, mackerel are rich in omega-3 and have lower levels of mercury in them.

Another benefit of sardines is that they can be fed in the raw form (should be deboned). According to Pebby, it prevents any unwanted oxidation and is a healthy option for your dog.

White Fish (Cod, Haddock, etc.)

2 cod filet on a white background

Just like all the other fish on the list, whitefish are a good source of protein. In addition to that, it is an incredible alternative for obtaining B vitamins. Fresh white fish are perfectly safe for your dog if you cook them well and remove their bones.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

a single de-headed shrimp on a white background

Shrimp is a low-calorie diet that can offer a lot of useful nutrients (especially proteins) to your dogs. According to Ann Hohenhaus, a staff veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center, shrimps are an ideal pill pocket. Simply open a shrimp and place a pill inside it. Your dog will fall for the tasty treat and the medicine will be dispensed naturally.

The only problem is that a lot of shrimp farmers use antibiotics and pesticides. These chemicals can be extremely harmful to your dog. Therefore, always purchase your shrimp from a reliable place.

Can Dogs Eat Crab and other Shellfish?

3 red crabs on white background

If the crab is properly cooked (without any seasonings), you can serve a small quantity to your dogs. Considering the fact that crabs can induce an allergic reaction in dogs, you should look for the symptoms. In case you observe excessive scratching and paw-licking, it is highly recommended to visit your vet.

Cooked shellfish are generally safe for dogs, provided the shells were removed. The issue with shells (if cracked) is that they can damage your dog’s digestive tract. Shellfish like crustaceans carry a lot of essential minerals like zinc and magnesium. However, excessive quantities of protein mean that fish can only be fed occasionally to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Kelp and other Seaweeds?

dried and fresh seaweed in wooden bowls

Kelp is a specific type of seaweed that is generally sold as a powdered supplement. Not only is this seafood safe for your dogs, but it is actually quite beneficial. Given the variety of minerals and vitamins, kelp is good for the oral health and coat of your dog. Similarly, it is very useful for tackling inflammation and pain in the case of arthritis.

In addition to kelp, a lot of seaweeds are available in the market. For instance, dulse and Irish moss offer a lot of advantages to your dog’s health. Seaweeds can be amazing for your pet as they support a range of body systems including thyroid, kidney, and liver. You can add optimal quantities of these powdered seaweeds to your dog’s meal.

Can Dogs be Allergic to Seafood?

husky on vet table being examined

Although the cases of fish allergy are very rare, it is possible for your dog to be allergic to seafood. A lot of dogs are allergic to common sources of protein (beef and chicken). In order to counter this problem, the parents of these dogs use fish as an alternative. Following this trend, more and more people are introducing fish in their dog’s diet, which is increasing the number of seafood allergy cases.

The symptoms of a fish allergy are pretty much similar to what we get with other allergies. For example, your dog may develop itchy skin or suffer from repeated ear infections. If seafood is causing an allergy, the signs should start disappearing once that ingredient is removed from the diet. It is best to discuss the situation with your vet if the symptoms persist.

Can Dogs Eat Seafood Sticks?

seafood sticks on white background

A lot of people believe that imitation crab meat sticks can be fed to their dogs. Unfortunately, that’s NOT true. As the name itself suggests, these sticks don’t have real crab meat (very expensive) in them. Instead, they are made from Surimi, a white paste made from fish (usually Pollock) meat. In addition to fish, these seafood sticks include a handful of seasonings and artificial colors that can harm your dog.

The digestive system of a dog is not as strong as that of a human. These imitation crab sticks have synthetic additives that can induce an allergic reaction in your dog. The most obvious sign will be the swelling and reddening of your dog’s eyes. For this reason, you should avoid these imitation sticks even if your pet is not allergic to seafood.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.