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Can Dogs Eat Calamari? Vet Approved Reasons & Facts

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

Can Dogs Eat Calamari

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a dog owner, you know that your average canine will eat all sorts of stuff, from bananas and bread to dead critters on the side of the road. Dogs also like seafood, especially the smell of fish and crab meat. However, many people wonder if dogs can eat calamari. While your dog can eat calamari in small amounts, veterinarians and dog experts recommend against feeding your dog calamari for several reasons. Read on to find out what they are and get tips and advice about feeding other types of seafood to your canine companion!

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Why Should You Avoid Giving Calamari to Your Dog?

While calamari is full of protein, it also contains several ingredients that are harmful to dogs and can cause various health problems. The reasons below are why vets recommend shying away from giving your dog this type of seafood.

High Levels of Mercury

Sadly, many species of sea life today contain high levels of the metal mercury, which, as you might already know, is highly toxic to dogs and humans. Calamari contains mercury, unfortunately, as well as selenium and several other metals that are also toxic to dogs. These toxic metals can affect various organ systems including their nervous system, heart, intestines, and kidneys.

Mercury chemical element
Photo Credit: BeataGFX, Shutterstock

Butter, Garlic, Onion, and other Seasonings

Most people add ingredients to the squid and then deep-fry it to perfection. For you, it’s a delicious treat, and your dog might feel the same, at least at first. But onions and garlic are toxic for dogs and can cause severe gastrointestinal (GI) problems and worse. Fried foods containing garlic and onions can cause painful GI pain for your dog and diarrhea, vomiting, and other health concerns.

Saturated Fat

Deep frying anything adds significantly to its fat content, especially saturated fat. Dogs do need fat in their diet, but too much fat can be a problem. Indeed, if they eat too much fried squid, your poor pup could develop a severe case of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. Also, they will likely become obese and have joint pain and inflammation from eating calamari.

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Can Dogs Eat Fried Squid Rings?

Fried calamari in a small plate
Photo Credit: AkOcKoyPhotoGraph, Pixabay

Squid rings, a delectable dish served at many seafood restaurants, are fried calamari by another name. Therefore, feeding your dog fried squid rings is also not recommended, as they cause the same health issues as calamari. Plus, some dogs have allergies to squid and other seafood, which can cause an allergic reaction.

Can Dogs Eat Small Amounts of Calamari?

Although vets recommend against it, calamari does offer some nutritional benefits for your dog, so giving them a small amount from time to time isn’t a bad thing, per se. As mentioned earlier, calamari has a lot of protein and several essential fatty acids your dog needs. You must keep in mind that any calamari you give your dog should be cooked correctly.

How to Cook Calamari for Your Dog

If you want to give your dog some calamari (and they want to eat it), the best way to cook it is to steam it. That way, it won’t be deep fried or have all of the problematic ingredients that most fried calamari rings contain, like onions, garlic, salt, etc. Steam the calamari for a few minutes until it’s well-cooked, and then either give it directly to your dog (once cool) or mix it in with their regular kibble.

What Types of Seafood Are Okay for Dogs?

jack russell puppy on a fishing trip
Photo Credit: wwwarjag, Shutterstock

Although calamari might not be a great choice for your dog, the fact is that fish, in general, provide several nutritional benefits. Fish is high in protein, is filled to the brim with omega-3 fatty acids, and has several vitamins, including riboflavin (B2) and vitamin D. Most fish also have phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, iodine, potassium, and several other minerals and nutrients. Below are the best types of fish to feed your dog.

All fish above should be cooked without spices and other ingredients to be safest for your dog. Also, the fish should be deboned and cooled down before giving it to your dog.

Which Seafood Cause the Most Allergies in Dogs?

Although dogs have far fewer allergies than humans, some types of fish can set their allergies off. Technically, the seafood that causes the most allergic reactions in dogs is shellfish. Crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, oysters, and other shellfish cause a much higher number of allergic fractions in dogs (and humans) than fish. For this reason, most vets recommend against feeding your dog shellfish, as an allergic reaction can be painful and, in some cases, deadly for your dog.

Remember the 90/10 Rule of Dog Snacking

No matter what type of food you give your dog, if it’s a snack, you should always follow the 90/10 rule. This rule says that 90% of your dog’s daily food should come from kibble or wet food. That leaves 10% for snacks like calamari, bananas, and dog treats. On any given day, even if you give them several snacks, the amount should not equal more than 10% of their daily food intake. For example, if your dog eats 1 pound of food a day, 1.6 ounces of snacks is its daily limit.

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Final Thoughts

Dogs can eat calamari, but it’s not a recommended snack for dogs. That’s because most calamari products made for human consumption contain toxic ingredients for dogs. Also, calamari contains high amounts of mercury, fat, “bad” cholesterol, and salt. Those ingredients are unhealthy for your dog and can make them ill or cause them to become obese if you give them too much. Yes, you can steam a small amount of calamari for your dog with no condiments like butter or onions, but only in small amounts following the 90/10 rule of dog snacking.

We hope the information provided today answered your questions about if, when, and how to feed your dog calamari. Best of luck keeping your faithful, furry companion healthy, happy, and full in the tummy, no matter what type of seafood you decide to feed them!

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Featured Photo Credit: pixel1, Pixabay

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