Can Dogs Eat Lobster? What You Need to Know!
Do you enjoy the occasional lobster meal as a delicious and healthy delicacy? Does your dog look at you with longing when you partake of this special dish, and you’ve wondered if it would be okay to slip some lobster morsels to him?
Is lobster safe for dogs to eat? The short answer is a cautious yes! Lobster is a safe and healthy food for your dog but with some warnings.
Lobster is a shellfish known for being expensive to prepare and eat and is used in a wide variety of dishes. They are typically steamed or boiled and are consumed as the main meal dipped in butter or used in pasta, rice, salads, or sandwiches.
Lobster is high in protein and selenium as well as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, omega-3, and vitamins A, E, and B12.
Some of the health benefits of lobster can include:
- Excellent source of protein
- Benefits mental health with omega-3 and selenium
- Helps to prevent anemia; lobster has the highest copper content of all food
- Decreases the risk of heart disease
- Helps with diabetes
- Assists with obesity
- The selenium in lobster keeps the thyroid healthy
Clearly, eating lobster is not only tasty but has quite a number of health benefits. However, you should avoid lobster if you have any allergies to shellfish, and pregnant women should consider avoiding lobster as it can contain mercury.
Lobster and Your Dog
Does lobster have the same health benefits for dogs as it does for humans? To some degree, it does:
- A good source of protein.
- Iron can help prevent anemia in dogs.
- Phosphorus makes your dog’s bones healthy.
- Omega-3 can decrease illness and inflammation.
- Zinc is good for your dog’s joints.
Lobster is generally good for your dog with enough essential vitamins and minerals that your dog needs but there is a downside to giving lobster to your dog.
The Downside for Dogs
Lobster is tasty and healthy for both people and dogs, but there are disadvantages for dogs that need to be considered.
There are bacteria and internal parasites found in raw lobster, so it is recommended to only give your dog cooked lobster. The best method is to steam or broil the lobster until it is properly cooked without any added ingredients or seasonings.
Dogs, just like people, can have food allergies and could be allergic to shellfish. When you give your dog lobster for the first time, you should only give him a tiny amount to start and observe him for a few hours for an adverse reaction.
Signs of an allergic reaction could include:
- Excessive licking and scratching
- Itchy skin and bald spots
- Hot spots
- Reddened and infected skin
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Gas and stomach cramps
- Ear infections
If your dog appears to be okay after several hours, you can rest assured that he probably isn’t allergic to lobster. If he starts exhibiting any of these symptoms, do take him to your vet immediately. However, this does not mean you should feed him large amounts of lobster.
While lobster does have many healthy vitamins and minerals, it is also full of sodium. Too much salt will make your dog very thirsty and eventually leads to excess sodium and sodium ion poisoning and kidney damage.
Signs that your dog may have ingested too much salt include:
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- High temperature
If your dog displays any of the above signs after eating a lot of lobster or any other food, take him to your vet as soon as possible.
Cholesterol and Fat
Lobster may have beneficial aspects, but it is also full of fat and cholesterol. High fat in your dog’s diet can lead to pancreatitis, which can result in death if left untreated. High cholesterol can contribute to obesity, which can bring about more serious health conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Avoid adding any extra seasonings to your dog’s lobster. Onions, garlic, and even butter are not good for your dog and should not be cooked with the lobster you give to your dog.
The one part of the lobster you should absolutely avoid is the lobster shell. The shell is hard and can turn into small, sharp pieces that could injure your dog’s gums, mouth, and teeth. The shards of the lobster shell, when swallowed, could cause damage all the way down. They can potentially tear your dog’s esophagus, the stomach, and even perforate his intestinal tract. If you suspect your dog has chewed and swallowed any lobster shell, you should take him to the vet immediately.
All seafood, including lobster, tends to contain a quantity of mercury that would prove very dangerous for your dog in large amounts.
Signs of mercury poisoning include:
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody diarrhea
- Numbness in paws
- Tremors and convulsions
- Kidney damage
- Stomach pain
- Lack of coordination
Again, if you suspect your dog may have ingested too much mercury, take him to the vet immediately. Unfortunately, mercury poisoning doesn’t exhibit symptoms until a few months after exposure.
So, can you feed your dog lobster? The short answer is, yes, you can give your dog lobster, but there are quite a few issues around it. Therefore, to be safest, it’s best to avoid giving lobster to your dog. Lobsters do provide a number of health benefits, but most of the ingredients that are good for your dog can be found in his usual diet.
Anytime you decide to add anything new to your dog’s diet, you should absolutely discuss it with your vet first. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Giving your dog lobster as an occasional small treat, as long as he’s not allergic, of course, should be fine. Feeding your dog a lobster as a meal, however, is not recommended. Therefore, while eating your own lobster, perhaps keep it for yourself and think about your dog’s health and well-being as more important than giving in to your dog’s puppy-dog eyes.
Featured Image Credit: Angelica_Online, Pixabay