You’re in the middle of an amazing seafood dinner, when suddenly one of your tasty pieces of calamari falls to the floor. Quicker than you can say ‘go fish!’ your pup rushes in and gulps it down before you can blink. “Uh oh…” you think. “Can dogs eat calamari?” Good question. Truthfully, the answer is: it depends on a few factors.
Calamari is a type of edible seafood made from squid (a soft-bodied mollusk). Eaten in many countries around the world, it’s prepared raw, steamed, baked, grilled, or, as North Americans most commonly eat it – fried. When it’s not battered or fried, it’s a great source of protein that’s low in fat, making it a popular addition to many delicious ‘people food’ dishes. Some dog owners – particularly those who feed raw diets to their pups – even use uncooked squid or octopus to add occasional variety to their dog’s daily meals too.
The Concerns of Feeding Your Dog Calamari
There are some concerns with feeding specific kinds of calamari on a regular basis. First, cooking calamari often involves breading and frying it, which adds a significant amount of calories, saturated fats, and salt; these will definitely add extra pounds onto your pooch’s frame over time and might have negative effects on their heart health, especially for senior pups.
Second, introducing a new and unusual food to your dog could also result in some rather alarming digestive disturbances, especially for our canine companions that have sensitive stomachs.
The fat content of sautéed, breaded or fried calamari is another major concern for dogs. High fat foods could cause a painful inflammation of the pancreas (called pancreatitis). Dogs that develop this difficult disease can have symptoms that could range from vomiting and diarrhea, to intense abdominal pain, fever and depression. Some cases are so severe that they mean days or weeks of hospitalization, leaving some dogs with chronic damage that often requires special dietary care for the rest of their lives to prevent another episode.
Finally, like many types of seafood, squid can contain higher amounts of toxic metals like mercury and copper than other, more commonly used pet food proteins like chicken and beef, so a daily squid diet is not a good idea for most furry pets, including your favorite tail-wagging friend.
So What’s the Bottom Line? Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
While giving small amounts of squid as a treat isn’t necessarily bad for your dog, feeding calamari to your dog has some risks; fried or breaded calamari should be avoided entirely, and dogs that have allergies, sensitive stomachs or other digestive problems should stick strictly to their regular diet and treats.
If your dog does happen to sneak a piece here and there, (or if you give some as a treat) watch them closely for a day or two. If you notice that it doesn’t agree with them or they seem to be feeling sick, give your vet a call – and make a point of keeping your pooch away from the seafood buffet in the future!