Can dogs eat squid and calamari?
“Calamari” comes from the Italian word for squid. Seafood is a popular choice in diet and has become increasingly popular in recent years.
So, perhaps you have found yourself wondering whether calamari may be suitable for our canine friends? Or maybe your pup has hoovered up some squid accidentally dropped from your plate? Is squid safe for dogs?
Typically, we are most familiar with this dish in its fried, pub-classic form. This type of calamari is not suitable for dogs.
However, there are a few ways that your pet may be able to enjoy squid as an occasional treat. Let's have a look at how to introduce squid to your dog safely.
You are cooking when, suddenly, your dog looks at you. You want to give him a little treat but you wonder if he can eat the food you are holding in your hand.
With our vet-approved magnet, you’ll know the answer at a glance! Plus, you can quickly scan our QR code to access the full article with all the explanations.
Is calamari bad for dogs?
Calamari can be safe for dogs if fed correctly, but there are some important rules to follow.
Firstly, if you decide to see if your dog likes calamari, always try to ensure it is fresh. Try to avoid frozen or canned preparations where possible as it is difficult to know exactly what's in these, and harmful preservatives may have been added.
Similarly, make sure you prepare the squid yourself at home – don't feed pre-prepared squid as harmful or toxic ingredients may have been used in preparation.
Be sure to avoid feeding them any leftovers of human food as it is easy to cook with various spices and herbs that can be harmful to your pet.
Calamari is best fed to your dog as an occasional treat or add-in for a bit of variety rather than a diet staple.
You should avoid fried or breaded preparations of calamari, as these can have lots of hidden calories and are too high in unhealthy saturated fats for your dog.
However, even with plain, freshly-prepared squid, there are some things you should be aware of.
Your dog may have an allergy
When introducing your dog to any new food, it is important to remember that there is always a risk they could have an allergy.
Therefore, when feeding anything for the first time, be sure only to feed a small amount.
It is also a good idea to keep a close eye on them so that you can act quickly if they react badly.
If your pet ever has a bad reaction to any type of food, seek veterinary attention if needed, and be sure to avoid that food in the future.
Squid may not be suitable for your dog
Squid may also not agree with their stomach and could lead to gastrointestinal problems. This can include vomiting, diarrhea, and making your pet feel lethargic.
In some cases, fatty foods can lead to something called ‘pancreatitis.' This is an inflammation of the pancreas and can cause abdominal pain, which can be severe and sometimes require hospitalization.
Some dogs are very prone to this, and if your pet has suffered from pancreatitis in the past, any non-low fat foods should be avoided.
Whilst squid is low in fat in general, calamari is often prepared fried, which could be enough to trigger pancreatitis in some dogs.
It might be undercooked
If you choose to introduce your dog to calamari, it is crucial to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. Raw seafood can be hazardous to your dog.
Uncooked seafood poses a potential infection risk to your pet as there are many types of bacteria (particularly salmonella) and even parasites that can be transmitted from eating raw or undercooked seafood.
It is best to either grill or steam seafood, and be sure not to add any spices or seasonings that could be potentially toxic to your pet.
It could be too salty
Calamari has a high salt content. Too much salt can affect your pet's health, and it can result in high blood pressure, which can lead to multiple health problems.
This is unlikely to cause problems if being fed as an occasional treat, but it is something to be aware of if you are routinely feeding your pet seafood.
High salt treats should be avoided in dogs with heart conditions.
What are the benefits?
High protein, low calories
Squid is high in protein but is low in calories, and this means it can be a good way to ‘pack a protein punch.'
This is particularly true for young dogs that are still growing, very large dogs, or highly active working dogs that require lots of protein. This helps them maintain muscle mass but without consuming too many calories, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Great source of natural healthy fats
Seafood is packed full of omega-3, which is great for maintaining a shiny, healthy coat, good nail quality, and healthy joints.
Squid is packed full of copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron. These are good essential minerals that help keep your pet healthy. They help the immune system function and can also help promote healthy blood cell production.
In summary, squid can be enjoyed as an occasional treat but only in moderation and only in certain preparations.
Remember to avoid the fatty preparations like the fried form usually known as ‘calamari' as this is likely to give your dog an upset stomach.
If in doubt, you're always best to avoid something you're not sure about, and remember that there are plenty of other tasty treat options for your pooch to try if they are not a seafood fan!
Charlotte graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2020 before travelling to Australia to complete an internship with Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital. Since returning home she currently works in first opinion predominantly small animal practice in Berkshire.