Can Dogs Eat Calamari? I’m pretty sure that at some point or another, this question popped into your head. And as with many of my clients, you want to make sure it’s safe for your dog before you throw a slice or two when preparing it for a dinner meal.
If you don’t already know, calamari is the Italian word for squid. And while it’s highly nutritious for dogs, it definitely can cause some serious health issues if you don’t know how, when, and when to feed it to your pooch.
That’s why, as a vet, I will share with you all you need to know about calamari and dogs, from the benefits to the downsides and whether you should feed it to your furry friend.
Hang tight, and let’s get started.
Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
The short answer to this question is: Yes, dogs can eat calamari. But, and there is always a but, it should be in moderation, in small amounts, and in distant occasions as it contains high amounts of fats which can cause obesity and some other related issues.
Also, I highly recommend that you avoid fried, grilled, sauteed, or breaded calamari, as it’s high in saturated fats that are not safe for dogs, and it loses all its nutritional benefits in the preparation process. So, better stay away from all these types of calamari.
Below, I will share with you some preparation methods that are totally safe for dogs in case you decided to introduce calamari to your furry pal.
Is Calamari Good For Dogs?
Yes, calamari is highly nutritious and can provide lots of benefits to your dog.
High-Quality Animal Protein
As with any other seafood, calamari is rich in high-quality protein that promotes healthy muscle growth, and since it comes from calamari – an animal source – it contains all the amino acids and building blocks that dogs need to build strong and lean muscles.
Low Calories and Fat Content
Calamari is very low in calories and fat, about 9% fat content, and is high in protein, around 30% protein content, this makes a great low treat for dogs. And the calories and fat content can even get lower depending on the preparation method.
Rich in Minerals
Calamari packs lots of minerals that dogs need for balanced and complete nutrition.
For starters, it’s rich in zinc that helps stop excessive bleeding and allows for wounds to heal faster, it also aids in cell division and promotes healthy growth.
It also contains iron and copper, two major components that enhance red blood cell formation, support healthy nerves and blood vessels, and strengthen the immune system.
Omega Fatty Acids
As fish, calamari is a natural source of omega fatty acids which support healthy skin, shiny and healthy coats, and prevent skin irritations and allergies.
Calamari is rich in antioxidants that, along with iron and copper, boost the immune system and strengthen dogs’ self-defense mechanisms.
These antioxidants, also, play a big role in fighting and preventing cancer, this is very helpful for most dogs as many breeds are very prone to it.
Is Calamari Bad For Dogs?
Feeding calamari to your dog definitely has some drawbacks if you don’t follow the right methods I will mention below, these drawbacks and health issues include:
As the majority of seafood, calamari contains mercury which is very toxic for dogs, it causes neurological and behavioral issues such as emotional stability, headaches, and insomnia.
If you notice that your dog is having any of these symptoms after you fed him some calamari, you should immediately seek medical help as high levels of mercury can be really dangerous for your dog.
Severe Health Problems
Yes, calamari can cause some severe health issues if the preparation method is wrong or unhealthy.
For instance, fried, sauteed, and breaded calamari contains high amounts of saturated fats that cause weight gain. Also, all the nutrients that calamari has are gone due to the preparation method which means that your dog will be eating pure fats.
The problem with that isn’t only the unwanted weight gain, but the fact that it can lead up to more dangerous health issues such as obesity, pancreatitis, depression, and nausea.
Calamari is seafood, and naturally, dogs aren’t used to eating sea animals especially raw ones, which may lead to some unwanted reactions like vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.
Also, fried, sauteed, and breaded calamari has high-fat content, plus all the spices and other ingredients which can cause stomach upset and digestion issues.
How to Introduce Calamari to Your Dog
You decided to introduce calamari to your four-legged friend, congratulations, that’s a bald move. Now, let’s make sure that they get the most out of it.
Unless your dog is on a raw diet, feeding raw calamari to your dog is somewhat risky if the vendor isn’t reputable. You want to make sure that the calamari comes from a reputable and trusted source. Also, it’s best to opt for fresh calamari and avoid frozen ones.
However, you can avoid all this by cooking calamari and as I already mentioned, not all cooking methods are good for your dog including frying, grilling, or breading.
When it comes to preparing calamari for your dog, I always recommend following one of these 2 preparation methods, either boiling or steaming. What I like about these 2 methods is that they are very simple, preserve the majority of the calamari’s nutrients, and don’t require adding any other ingredients or saturated fats and oils.
The First Time
If you are introducing calamari to your dog, you want to make sure that it’s good and beneficial for your dog, and not causing them any health issues.
The most common health issue that most first timers face is allergies and stomach issues.
So, my recommendation is that you always start with small portions and observe your dog’s reaction and situation after that, if they’re having one of these symptoms, they probably have calamari allergy: Red skin, itching, scratching, swollen face, and hives.
You should also keep observing their stool, if it’s not looking as it used to be, then that should be the last time your pal eats squid as it’s not worth the risk.
Calamari is totally safe for dogs, it’s both very tasty and highly nutritious. and in most cases makes a great low treat for dogs.
However, it always must be served in moderation: feed them smaller amounts from time to time. Don’t make it a daily treat or daily meal.
Also, whatever serving method you choose, either raw or cooked, I highly recommend that you mix it with your dog’s existing diet and avoid making it a meal on its own.
And, it’s always best to consult a vet who will tell you the right amount you should feed your dog for optimal health and benefit.