Why You Should Give Oysters to Your Dog

Why You Should Give Oysters to Your Dog

Author WDF Staff


Humans consider oysters a delicacy and a powerful aphrodisiac. If you love oysters and you have a dog, you might have wondered, “Can dogs eat oysters?” If they’re healthy and beneficial for us, they have to be good for our dogs as well, right? Well, the truth is, your dog can eat oysters. However, some rules to feeding oysters to your dog apply. Here are a few things dog owners should know about giving their dogs oysters.

What exactly are oysters?

Before we go into details about feeding oysters to dogs, we need to understand what oysters actually are. We all know they come from oceans, which makes them seafood. If we are completely honest, we can tell you we are absolute suckers for seafood. There is nothing we wouldn’t eat from the ocean... if rocks were edible, we’d probably eat those too. Unfortunately, commercial fishing is destroying our oceans, so we had to abandon our slight seafood addiction and focus on different things.

oyster portion

The good news is that we still allow ourselves to enjoy an occasional delicacy like oysters. If you like to prepare them at home, you should know how to safely give some to your dog. There are five edible species of oysters. The main difference between them is their habitat and the type of water they filter. All oysters safe for humans are safe for dogs as well.

Are oysters safe for dogs?

Like we already said, dogs can safely eat oysters. However, you should follow a few rules or guidelines to make sure your dog doesn’t have any complications. Oysters should never poison your dog, but they can cause a gastrointestinal upset if fed wrong. The main thing to remember is to try your dog out first and make sure their stomach can handle oysters without getting upset.

Are oysters beneficial to dogs?

Not only are oysters safe for dogs to eat, but they are also beneficial. They contain a lot of nutrients you might not find in traditional dog food. Those nutrients are healthy and can improve your dog’s overall health. Mind you, high-quality dog food should contain everything your dog needs. If you give your dog high-quality dog food, there is usually little to no reason why you should include different things in their diet. Nevertheless, an oyster every now and again will be beneficial for your dog. Here are some of the best things oysters can offer our dogs and us;

Omega-3 fatty acids

One of the best things about seafood, in general, is that it contains loads of omega fatty acids. You probably heard that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are healthy. There are even supplements that can boost your dog’s omega fatty acid intake. Oysters pack a real omega-3 punch. A usual serving can contain 500 - 1.000 Mg of this fatty acid. It is beneficial for your dog’s skin, coat, immune system, and it can ease inflammation and arthritic pains.

oysters closeup


You probably already know that the most essential nutrient in your dog’s diet is protein. However, some dogs can be allergic to traditional protein sources like chicken. If that happens, seafood can make a great alternative protein source. In fact, more and more dog owners are actively looking for dog foods based on fish and other seafood. Oysters contain plenty of protein, which is beneficial for your dog’s muscle mass. Plus, proteins are responsible for building and repairing all body tissue.

Essential minerals

While traditional, high-quality, dry dog food should contain all essential minerals your dog’s body needs, oysters can provide them that extra boost they might need. Oysters contain selenium, iron, and zinc, which are highly beneficial for senior dogs with arthritis. Their joints might be affected, and these minerals will help “smooth” things out and help your dog regain some of their previous health. Plus, these minerals are great for thyroid health.

Can oysters ever be bad for dogs?

Unfortunately, like with any other food you’re considering for your dog, there are a few risk factors you need to consider. While oysters offer many benefits, they can pose some risks as well. They are “Filter feeders,” which means they can filter toxins that can make you or your dog sick. If you ever had the distinct pleasure of getting shellfish poisoning, you probably know how unpleasant and painful that can be. If that happens, your dog will start vomiting repeatedly. When they stop vomiting, they will probably get diarrhea. Oysters need to be adequately prepared and stored to prevent them from going bad.


The other potential problem is overfeeding your dog on oysters. If your dog’s digestion doesn’t seem to have issues with oysters, you might give them a bit too much, especially if your dog seems to love the taste. If that continues, the dog will undoubtedly gain weight. Dog obesity is not something that should be taken lightly. It can significantly shorten your dog’s life and cause all sorts of physical problems.

VET TIP: While seafood allergies are somewhat rare in dogs, they can still happen. The first time you give your dog oysters, make sure you give them a tiny piece. Check if they have an allergic reaction. If everything seems OK, you can include oysters in your dog’s diet.

How can I give oysters to my dog?

Raw oysters are not safe for dogs to eat, so make sure they are thoroughly cooked before you give some to your dog. Remove the shell because that part of the oyster is not edible. Place them in hot water, and you need to make sure the inner temperature of the oyster reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Only then can you be sure you eliminated harmful bacteria. You can grill them, steam, or roast, as long as you ensure the temperature gets to 140.

The second thing to remember is - avoid adding spices. Spices like oils, garlic, or onions can be toxic to dogs, so you want to serve your dog oysters that don’t contain dangerous things for them. Another thing you can do is buy tinned oysters. However, make sure you get oysters stored in water and not in oils or brined. Also, make sure they don’t contain spices.

World Dog Finder team

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