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Can Dogs Eat Oysters? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat cooked oysters in moderation. This salubrious seafood is an excellent source of nutrients for your pet’s health. However, you have to serve them appropriately to make them beneficial for your dog’s health. On the other hand, this also makes the food you serve pretty safe for your pet’s consumption.

What Are Oysters?

Oysters are bivalve mollusks that thrive in marine or brackish waters. Therefore, they belong to the seafood category. There are only five edible species of oysters, and they belong to the family Ostreidae. Oysters are soft and slimy organisms enclosed within a rough, irregular shell. They are often attached to rocks or objects distributed across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean waters. Oysters are farmed for their pearls in bays and estuaries. They are available in abundance during the fall and winter seasons. Some of the different types of oysters include:

  • Eastern Oysters
  • Pacific Oysters
  • Olympic Oysters

The nutritional content in a cup of oyster includes the following: 

NutrientsContent
Proteins3 grams
Calcium28 mg
Magnesium8.6 mg
Phosphorus47 mg 
Potassium75 mg 
Selenium9.5 mg
Zinc 19 mg 

In addition, oysters contain a variety of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C,vitamin D, copper, and vitamin B12. 

Are Oysters Safe for Dogs? 

Yes, oysters are safe for your dog’s consumption, provided they are unshelled and cooked appropriately. Nevertheless, refrain from feeding raw, uncooked oysters to your pet as they harbor harmful bacteria or viruses. Besides, oyster shells are not safe for your pet to consume as they cause choking hazards in dogs: 

Symptoms of choking hazards in dogs: 

  • High-pitched squeaks or whistling noises
  • Cough
  • Gag
  • Have discolored gums or tongue
  • Panic
  • Paw at his mouth
  • Pant
  • Pace
  • Struggle to breathe

Why Are Oysters Good for Dogs? 

Excellent alternative protein source: Some dogs are allergic to meat proteins such as chicken and beef. For these canines, oysters can be an excellent source of alternative protein. Therefore, these dogs can get their required amount of protein without harm. 

Excellent source of antioxidants: Oysters constitute 3,5-Dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA), a rare antioxidant not easily found in other foods. Further, they contain vitamin B12, rich in antioxidants. 

Suitable for breeds prone to zinc deficiency: Dog breeds like Huskies and Malamutes don’t absorb zinc into their systems properly. Hence, their diet requires more zinc to avoid its deficiency. 

Symptoms of zinc deficiency in dogs:

  1. Hair loss
  2. Scaly skin around the face, head, legs, and paw pads
  3. Lesions around the mouth, chin, eyes, and ears.
  4. Dull and dry coat

Supports several bodily functions: As discussed above, oysters constitute ample minerals and are protein-rich. Therefore, its consumption enhances and supports the below bodily functions in your pet:

ProteinIt provides amino acids for your dog It promotes proper muscle development It aids in developing healthy skin and nails It promotes a faster healing time for tissuesProtein is also vital for the production of energy
Omega-3 fatty acidsThis nutrient supports cardiac health of dogsIt aids in reducing the inflammationIt ensures proper immune functionIt promotes overall health and wellnessIt promotes a healthy skin and coatIt has a positive impact on your pet’s mood and behavior
ZincIt is essential for :Immune system healthMetabolic functionHealing
Selenium It is essential for :Healthy reproductionThyroid healthCombatting free radicals Preventing oxidative stress
IronIt aids in oxygen transport throughout the bodyIt ensures your dog has good strength and energyIt aids in proper hormone functioning. 
PhosphorusThis mineral teams up with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth.Acts as a catalyst for bodily functions like growth, maintenance, and cell repair.
PotassiumIt helps in the proper functioning of your dog’s kidneysAids in maintaining cardiac and digestive healthIt strengthens your pet’s bonesIt regulates fluid levels and promotes muscle development.
MagnesiumPromote the absorption and metabolism of other minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassiumHelps in the utilization of B-complex vitamins and vitamins C and E.
CopperHelps in the formation and activity of red blood cellsActs as a cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactionsNecessary for normal skin and hair pigmentation.

Why Are Oysters Bad for Dogs?

Although oysters come with a rich nutritional profile, you must cook them appropriately to maximize their benefits for your pet’s health. Here are some reasons to consider why oysters can be bad for your dogs:

Allergies: Although not all pets are allergic to seafood like shellfish, you must exercise care when you are feeding these to your pet for the first time. Hence, always start small to avoid risks and to know your pet’s compatibility with oysters. 

Raw oysters can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses like dinoflagellates and salmonella. This condition can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in dogs. 

Symptoms of shellfish poisoning in dogs: 

  • Unstable walking
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Weakness 
  • Vomiting

Ingested toxins: Species like oysters are said to be filter feeders prone to pick up pollutants in water. Hence, any oyster that grows in unhealthy water can accumulate toxins. In turn, these toxins can affect your dogs if consumed. Therefore, it is always good to prefer canned oysters. 

Overfeeding: Oysters have to be fed in moderation to your pet. Too many oysters in your pet’s diet will make them sick. 

Oyster shells are pretty rigid and tough. However, ingestion of these shells could render gastrointestinal blockage for your pet.

Fried/Smoked oysters are inappropriate for a dog’s diet as they contain excessive fatty contents. Similarly, smoked oysters contain additives that, when consumed, can cause an allergic reaction in your pet. 

How Many Oysters to Feed Your Dog?

You can feed unshelled and cooked oysters as a treat occasionally to your dogs. However, if you are introducing, start with smaller quantities while noticing any adverse allergic reactions. In the absence of any allergic reactions, you increase the amount a little. Nevertheless, the actual quantity to feed your canine depends on its size and tolerance. 

How to Serve Oysters to Your Dog? 

Since raw oysters are bad for dogs, they are best served when dehydrated, boiled, or grilled. This way, you can mitigate the effects of harmful bacteria or toxins if present. 

Here are some safe ways to serve oysters to your dogs:

  • Deshell the oysters.
  • Soak the edible portion of the oyster in hot water until the inner temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Serve it plain devoid of spices like garlic, onion, and oil. 

Alternatively, you can buy canned oysters. But, ensure they are soaked in water rather than oil or brine devoid of spices. Other interesting ways of cooking include:

  • Roasting
  • Steaming
  • Lightly sauté
  • Baking

Further, refrain from smoking or frying as this can enhance the fatty contents.  

Homemade recipes

Here is a homemade recipe to prepare with oysters:

Ingredients

  • One jar of raw oysters – medium oysters are less expensive than small oysters
  • Dried parsley 
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil

Directions

  • Set your oven to 450 degrees F (232.222 C)
  • Place the oysters on a baking sheet
  • Sprinkle the dried seasonings over it (dried or fresh)
  • Bake it for 10 minutes
  • Allow to cool and transfer to a container and freeze.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Seafood?

Yes, dogs can eat seafood, provided they are not allergic to it. However, any seafood has to be thoroughly cooked or steamed before feeding them to your pet. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Oysters?

No, dogs cannot eat raw oysters because they can grow bacteria or viruses and can become harmful to your pet. 

Conclusion

Summing up, oysters are the nutrient-rich superfood you can safely feed your canine when cooked appropriately. In addition, they should be deshelled to avoid choking hazards. Nevertheless, you must always serve this food in moderation to avoid your pet from getting sick.

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