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Can Dogs Eat Clams? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat clams in moderation. Clams are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and various essential nutrients. Ensure that the clams are cooked and without shells before feeding them to your dog. Some dogs may not like the rubbery texture of clams. 

What are Clams? 

Clams are a type of shellfish similar to oysters. They are circular mollusks living under the sand in freshwater. There are more than 1000 types of clams available, varying in size. Some kinds of clams are knobbed clams with one pointed end, surf clams with blunt ends, and butter clams with round edges and deep indentations like dimples near their centers.  

Clams have internal organs such as the heart, circulatory system, digestive system. They have a rubbery texture with a fishy flavor. Clams are found worldwide, but they are more common along the coastlines of Australia and New England. 

Nutrition Facts 

Calories/Macronutrient Amount (kcal/grams) 
Calories 74 kcal 
Carbohydrate 2.6 g 
Fiber 0 g 
Sugars 0 g 
Fat 1.0 g 
Saturated Fat 0.1 g 
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g 
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g 
Omega-3 198 mg 
  Omega-6 16.0 mg 
Protein 12.8 g 
Vitamin (Per 100g) Amount % RDI 
Vitamin B12 49.4 mcg 824 % 
Vitamin C 13.0 mg 22 % 
Vitamin B2 0.2 mg 13 % 
Vitamin B3 1.8 mg 9 % 
Vitamin A 300 IU 6 % 
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg 5 % 
Folate 16.0 mcg 4 % 
Vitamin B5 0.4 mg 4 % 
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 3 % 
Vitamin E 0.2 mcg 2 % 
Vitamin D 4.0 IU 1 % 
Mineral (Per 100g) Amount % RDI 
Iron 14.0 mg 78 % 
Selenium 24.3 mcg 35 % 
Manganese 0.5 mg 25 % 
Phosphorus 169 mg 17 % 
Copper 0.3 mg 17 % 
Zinc 1.4 mg 9 % 
Potassium 314 mg 9 % 
Calcium 46.0 mg 5 % 
Magnesium 9.0 mg 2 % 
Sodium 1.4 mg 2 % 

Are Clams Safe for Dogs? 

Yes, clams without shells are safe for dogs. 

Why are Clams Good for Dogs? 

Clams are nutrient-dense, low- fat, high- protein diets making them good for dogs. The health benefits of clams include, 

Nutrients Benefits 
Vitamin B Optimal for the proper functioning of the nervous system, digestive system, brain function. 
Vitamin B12 Protein Synthesis, formation, and maintaining of DNA, production of red blood cells 
Iron Blood synthesis, transportation of oxygen and nutrients 
Vitamin C Good for dog’s skin, hair, bones, cartilages and strengthen the immune system 
Essential Fatty Acids Promotes heart health, maintains the coat, improves cognitive function, aids in eyes and brain development, decreases inflammation, treats chronic kidney disease and arthritis. 
Magnesium Helps in the absorption of other nutrients 
Zinc Strengthens the joints 
Selenium Improves metabolism, protects kidney, prevents cancer, slows down the oxidation of the cell 
Calcium Strengthens teeth, coat, bones, nails and improves nervous system 
Phosphorous Supports kidney function, energy transfer and storage, bodily function, bone, health, maintains normal heart rate. 
Protein Maintains healthy muscles 
Taurine Boosts cardiac function, immune system function, eye health 
Choline Benefits memory and overall brain function 

Why are Clams Bad for Dogs? 

  • Additives: Clams cooked with seasonings, garlic, or onions are bad for dogs. 
  • Shells: Shells can block your dog’s throat and digestive tract, leading to serious issues. 
  • Food Poisoning: Clams belong to the bivalve mollusks’ family that filters the water. The filtered toxins end up inside the clam’s tissue which can be poisonous for your dogs. One such toxic organism present in clams is dinoflagellates, and it cannot be destroyed by cooking. Food poisoning due to clams is very rare, and you can further avoid it by buying from a reputable source. Three potential food poisoning from clams are, 
  • Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning 
  • Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning 
  • Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning
  • Allergy: Clams can cause shellfish allergies. Though humans are more prone to shellfish allergies, some dogs might have allergic reactions to clams. Talk to your vet before feeding clams to your dog. 
  • Heavy Metals: Though rare, clams from Asian water can contain heavy metals, including mercury. These heavy metals can be dangerous for dogs if taken in large quantities. 

How Much Clams to Feed My Dog? 

One or two small clams can be given to dogs on rare occasions as treats. Do not feed more than 3 small-sized clams to small dogs. Never feed your dog large quantities of clams. It is advisable to buy clams from reputable sources. You can identify contaminated clams with the tainted odor and taste. While buying, always opt for clams canned in water without salt and avoid smoked clams or clams cooked in butter. 

Clean the clams thoroughly without any shell fragments. Cook them adequately to avoid potential contaminations. You can mix cooked clams with your dog’s regular food. You can also mash clams to change the texture according to your dog’s preference. 

What If My Dogs Ate Clams? 

A single clam won’t harm your dog. If your dog is sensitive to clams, check out for the following symptoms, 

  • Vomiting 
  • Stomach Pain 
  • Diarrhea 

When a dog with shellfish allergies eats clams, he/she might exhibit some visible symptoms within 30 minutes or so after eating. Symptoms of shellfish allergy include, 

  • Skin Infection 
  • Itchy Skin 
  • Hives 
  • Ear Infection 
  • Chewing & licking the feet 
  • Stomach Pain 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Runny Nose
  • Runny Eyes  
  • Hair loss 
  • Anaphylactic Shock (in severe cases) 

If you notice these symptoms, immediately contact a veterinarian for medical attention. 

Alternatives to Clams 

  • Scallops 
  • Crabs 
  • Shrimps 
  • Fish 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can Dogs Eat Clam Shells? 

No, dogs cannot eat clam shells because of the choking hazard. Shells can block or damage the digestive tract. Immediately contact a vet if your dog has eaten any clam shells. 

Can Dogs Drink/Eat Clam Juice? 

Dogs can consume steamed or boiled clam juice cooked without seasonings in moderation. Do not feed bottled clam juice to your dog as it includes some toxic ingredients. 

Can Dogs Eat Clam Chowder? 

No, dogs cannot eat clam chowder. Chowder consists of onions, garlic, high sodium, bacon that are toxic to dogs. Dairy products used to make chowders such as butter, cheese, ice cream, and milk might cause digestive disorders in lactose-intolerant dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Clam Cakes? 

No, dogs cannot eat clam cakes due to the harmful ingredients. Ingredients such as flour, salt, leavening agent, and milk are dangerous for dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Scallops? 

Dogs can eat non-fried, cooked scallops in moderate quantities. Scallops are safe for consumption, but restrict them to a bite or two. 

Can Dogs Eat Shellfish? 

Dogs can eat cooked shellfish without shells. The term covers a wide range of creatures living in water including mollusks and crustaceans. However, all shellfish do not have shells. Even if the shell is thin or tough, it has to be removed before giving shellfish to dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Shrimps? 

Yes, dogs can eat shrimps under certain conditions. The shrimp’s tail, legs, and shell should be removed. After cleaning, cook the shrimp adequately without any seasonings. 

Can Dogs Eat Crabs? 

Dogs without shellfish allergies can eat crabs. Crabs should be well cooked and without any shells. If you are giving crab to your dog for the first time, start with small quantities to check for allergic reactions. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Fish? 

Yes, dogs can eat properly cleaned, deboned cooked fish. Feed cooked fish in moderation as high quantity consumption can lead to thiamine deficiency. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish? 

Yes, dogs can eat raw fish, but it has to be cleaned properly. Even though raw fish is nutrient-enriched, it can also contain tapeworm, roundworm, or flukes. Therefore, the safe way to feed raw fish is by freezing it for a few weeks before feeding it to your dog. 

Can Dogs Eat Farmed Fish? 

No, it is better to avoid feeding farmed fish to dogs as they are dosed with pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones in huge quantities. You can give farmed fish with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council seal to your dog. 

Can Dogs Eat Fish Bones? 

No, dogs cannot eat fish bones. Fish bones are hard, sharp, and brittle, so they are dangerous for dogs to eat. It can cause serious injuries and sometimes it could even be fatal. 

Conclusion 

Clams have both nutritional benefits and health risks associated with them. Therefore, dogs can eat small amounts of clams once in a while without any harm. Before feeding clams to your dog, remove the shells and properly cook the clams. 

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