Many people enjoy ordering and eating calamari as an appetizer and dogs have been known to like the flavor of the tasty rings as well. But, can dogs eat calamari? The answer is yes, they can, but only unfried and in moderation.
As a Veterinary Technician, I often hear owners expressing how they want to share some of their favorite foods with their dogs. Calamari is relatively harmless for them to eat, however, depending on how it was prepared can sometimes have an unwanted effect, leading to tummy upset or even pancreatitis.
If you’re really wanting to try giving your dog some calamari then you’ve come to the right place! This article will go over the nutritional values and how you can prepare calamari safely for your canine companion.
Calamari Vs Squid
So, what is calamari? Calamari is the Italian word for “squid”, so that’s exactly what it is. Squid meat! Typically calamari is referring to a dish or an appetizer that includes sliced, battered and fried rings served with a dipping sauce.
Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
Yes, dogs can eat calamari. The battered and fried preparation of the calamari can upset some dog’s stomachs, causing gastrointestinal upset like vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Have Calamari?
For the most part, feeding calamari is safe for dogs. However, it is important that you know your dog’s tolerance for new and fried foods before giving them calamari. Also, if your dog has a sensitivity to seafood or fish, then this food should be avoided!
If you would like to feed your dog calamari but want to do it safely, then it should be cooked with minimal added fats or oils and have little to no seasoning. Boiling the calamari in very lightly salted water is the best way to prepare squid for dogs.
In very rare cases is calamari bad for a dog’s health. Typically if there is an issue it is because they are allergic to the squid or the trans fats and oils from preparing it have upset their stomach.
Is Calamari Good For Dogs?
Calamari has several nutritional benefits that can be good for dogs if introduced in an appropriate way. This seafood is full of protein, omega-3’s and other powerful components that are great for your dog’s health.
Calamari actually consists of over 30% protein. Because it’s great for building and maintaining muscle, this makes it an excellent additional food for large and giant breed dogs or dogs that are very active.
Low In Calories
The calorie count for calamari is pretty low, especially if it wasn’t breaded and fried in oil. Because it’s lower in calories, this makes it an excellent food for chunky dogs that need to lose a few pounds.
Seafood is known for being a wonderful source of Omega-3’s, rendering shiny coats and healthier joints. Diets that are rich in Omega-3’s are great for dogs with dry skin and allergies.
Calamari has a healthy amount of vitamin B12 present, which keeps the digestive tract happy and functioning at its best.
Vitamin C is a wonderful antioxidant that is consistently found in squid and calamari. This vitamin is great at reducing inflammation and promoting overall brain health and functionality.
Did you know that calamari is not only packed full of vitamins and protein, but it is also rich in zinc, copper and iron?
Iron and copper work well together to promote red blood cell production. Copper is also known for keeping nerves, bones, blood vessels and the immune system healthy and functioning properly.
Zinc is also great at boosting the immune system while also improving wound healing times.
Clearly, feeding calamari to your dog isn’t going to cure or prevent all kinds of cancers or diseases, but it does help to lay a healthy foundation for the immune system to fight things off.
We can thank the antioxidants that are present in calamari for this effect. These powerhouses fight the free radicals in your dog’s body and increase the number of white blood cells, this leads to a stronger immune system that is cut out for preventing and combating cancer.
Is Calamari Bad For Dogs?
Every dog is different and some just can’t have anything other than their dog food. Also, the way that our foods are processed is not always consistent either, sometimes making it difficult to know if a certain food is bad for our pets.
While calamari is certainly a nutritious food, there are some reasons why it’s not always great for our dogs.
Just like humans, dogs can have allergies and sensitivities to certain foods and calamari is no exception.
When a dog has an allergic reaction after eating calamari it could be to the squid itself or perhaps one of the ingredients used to prepare it. It is not a good idea to feed your dog battered and fried calamari as it has no nutritional benefit at all.
Weight gain would be rare and typically only seen if owners are giving a large amount of the food, especially while it is fried.
Toxicity: Mercury Poisoning
Calamari’s inherent nature of being from the sea makes it a higher risk for increased mercury content. This toxic metal can cause neurological and behavioral problems such as emotional instability, convulsions, headaches and insomnia.
These symptoms are odd and unlike many other conditions, so if you notice these changes in their personality and you have been feeding a lot of calamari or seafood then it would be pertinent to test your dog for mercury poisoning.
Do Dogs Like Calamari?
The vote from dogs would probably be mixed. Dogs that enjoy trying new foods will probably jump on the opportunity while the pickier pups would turn their nose up at the fishy smell.
How To Feed Calamari To My Dog?
If you’re interested in introducing calamari to your dog, then how you prepare it will be very important. Also, please note that this is to be only given in moderation and not daily.
Calamari when being prepared for a dog should only be unbreaded and steamed or boiled. You can add a very small amount of salt to the water but otherwise it should be unseasoned and only given as a supplemental protein source.
Do not give your dog raw squid as it can contain harmful Salmonella and E. Coli.
How Much Calamari Should I Give My Dog?
A small amount of calamari (spoonful) is all your dog will need. If your pet has never had this food or any other type of mollusk, then only give one or two pieces at first and watch for any signs of a reaction such as fever, facial swelling, vomiting or diarrhea.
Do not give calamari by itself in a bowl. Instead, add a few pieces to their regular diet.
Signs Of A Calamari Allergy
Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis are extremely rare in dogs. Symptoms of a bad allergic reaction to calamari will look like:
– Facial swelling (ears, eyes and mouth)
– Scratching and itching of the face and eyes
– Difficulty breathing
You should contact your veterinarian right away if any of these signs are noticed.
Allergies do not always have to manifest in the form of a reaction like facial swelling or hives, but it can also cause other symptoms as well:
– Abdominal pain
These are all commonly seen when a dog is having an adverse reaction to a new food. If this response is seen when introducing calamari, then it would be best to avoid giving it again in the future.
How To Cook Calamari For Dogs
Cooking calamari for dogs is simple. Cut it into small bite sized pieces and boil or steam it. You can add a very small amount of salt to the water, but remember that dogs don’t need much sodium in their diets.
Always avoid frying calamari if you’re going to be giving any of it to your dog. Fried calamari is heavy in fats which can lead to pancreatitis and obesity.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Too Much Calamari
The only way to do this is to control the amount of calamari that you are giving your dog. Don’t get your dog addicted to eating that instead of their own food, so only provide a few small pieces to their normal diet.
Dogs really only need a few pieces at a time, given sparingly.
Can Puppies Eat Calamari?
Technically a puppy could probably eat a piece of calamari and be fine, but it isn’t suggested to give young dogs human food as their baby tummies can be quite sensitive. It is also much scarier if a puppy has an allergic reaction to something than an adult dog, so it’s best to avoid foods like calamari that might insite an adverse response.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Calamari?
Dogs should not eat fried calamari as the addition of wheat (flour), salt and oil is unhealthy for your dog.
Is Fried Calamari Bad For Dogs?
Fried calamari is indeed not good for dogs to eat. Foods with high trans fats are not good for pets as it can cause upset stomachs such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and pancreatitis.
Risks Of Fried Calamari Fats And Salts
While calamari is an excellent source of protein, when it is fried, virtually all of the healthy proteins and antioxidants are cooked out of it. The oils that the calamari is fried in is too much and quite unhealthy to dogs, potentially causing vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.
The salt content in fried calamari is also too much for canines. Typically when calamari is prepared that way, we season it with a human’s taste buds and nutritional requirements in mind. Dogs cannot have a diet with excessive salt as this can lead to heart disease and kidney damage.
Carbohydrates Put Pressure On The Dogs Digestive System
Excessive amounts of carbohydrates are not good for anyone. Dogs that ingest a high amount of carbohydrates are at risk of digestive issues like gas, bloating, weight gain, constipation and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea.
Avoid Deep Fried Foods
Deep fried foods should not be given to your dog. The high trans fats, oils and carbohydrates are not good for their gastrointestinal tract or overall health.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Calamari?
Yes, as long as it was steamed or boiled with minimal to no seasoning. Do not deep fry calamari for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Salt And Pepper Calamari?
Dogs do not need their calamari to be seasoned with salt and pepper. As a matter of fact, it’s best to avoid adding additional salt and pepper to any food that you give to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Calamari?
Dogs may eat dried calamari as long as it was washed off thoroughly to ensure there are no harmful bacterias present on the surface.
Can Dogs Eat Calamari Tentacles?
Dogs can eat calamari tentacles as long as they are washed and prepared in a way that is safe for canines.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Calamari?
Raw calamari will have the most nutritional benefits as nothing has been cooked out of it yet. However, raw calamari can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. It is important that if you are going to feed your dog raw calamari that you have purchased it from a reputable source.
Can Dogs Eat Calamari Rings?
Calamari rings are the traditional way that squid is cut, prepared and cooked. They may have calamari rings if they are cooked with the intention of being fed to a dog.
Can Dogs Eat Calamari Steak?
A calamari steak is typically also heavily seasoned and fried in oil, meaning that this should not be fed to your dog.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
Yes, dogs can eat calamari as long as it is prepared and cooked with the intention of being fed to a dog. This protein packed mollusk is a tasty and nutritionally beneficial food. However, it is important that calamari that is fed to a dog should not be fried, seasoned or cooked in any way other than boiled or steamed.