From crab meat to shrimp and scallops, seafood makes a great addition to anyone’s diet. But is it the same for pets, especially dogs? Yes, dogs are allowed to eat mussels so long as they are cooked thoroughly.
In today’s article, we’re looking at anything from the benefits that this food has to offer to the potential risks involved in feeding mussels to your dog.
Benefits for dogs
Even though some people like to say that dogs are omnivorous, and they might be, especially compared to cats, most of their diet should be composed of whole protein and fats.
Mussels contain a good amount of protein to the point that this nutrient represents approximately 65% of a mussel.
Omega fatty acids
EPA and DHA are the two primary omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in mussels. There have been many studies performed on omega 3s and their beneficial effect on health.
Although they are fatty, they sustain the brain and heart function, and they’ve also been linked with supporting the immune system on the whole. They are also excellent for the nervous system and for a dog’s joints, meaning they can partly prevent arthritis.
Minerals are indispensable when it comes to keeping your dog’s bone system in good health.
Besides osteoarticular conditions that show up as your pet gets older, minerals can prevent rickets, a condition that affects puppies and that makes it impossible for them to have good bone health when they grow up.
Mussels contain a variety of minerals, from magnesium and potassium to iron, phosphorus, and even calcium.
The most important vitamin that can be found in mussels is vitamin A, an essential nutrient that supports good eye health but also red blood cell functioning and skin health too.
Low in calories
Given the highly processed diet that most dogs receive nowadays and the availability that they have to snacks and treats, many can become obese. If you’d like to prevent this, you can add mussels to your dog’s diet as it is a low-calorie snack.
How much to feed
There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about how many mussels or how much green-lipped mussel powder you should give to your dog. The table below showcases the guidelines for feeding cooked and unprocessed mussels.
Like any other kind of seafood, mussels can be carriers of a variety of germs. For this reason, it is forbidden to feed them to your dog in their raw state. Make sure to boil them properly for at least 15 minutes before putting them in your dog’s bowl.
Heavy metal exposure
Farmed mussels are a better choice than those collected from the ocean or the sea as these days, the world’s waters are polluted with potentially dangerous heavy metals. These range from lead and arsenic to mercury and cadmium.
Heavy metal poisoning causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, chills, and lethargy. Dogs are at a higher risk of developing this health problem due to their size.
Their smaller bodies are less equipped with the mechanisms that make them withstand the abuse of heavy metals, especially compared to our larger human bodies.
Preparing the food
Mussels are now available in three major forms: fresh or frozen, freeze-dried, and powder. With the powder and freeze-dried varieties, all you have to do in the way of preparing the food is making sure that the amount you give your dog is safe. Fresh and frozen mussels have to be cooked properly. You have two major options – steaming or thoroughly boiling them.
Most dog owners find that feeding mussels in their natural state to their dogs is the best way of going about things. However, if this doesn’t work, you can get a little creative.
Create a mussel paste
If your dog is reluctant when it comes to eating cooked whole mussels, you can boil or steam them and then use your blender or food processor to create a paste. This paste can be added to your dog’s canned food or as a topper to their kibble.
Make mussel nuggets
As weird as it might sound, you can mix the mussel paste and a bit of peanut butter to create nuggets that you then throw into the oven for several minutes. This makes them a little crunchy. Most dogs appreciate not just the flavor but also the texture.
If your pet seems to be a great mussel aficionado, you should know that they are completely safe so long as they are completely cooked through.
If you do not want to deal with the hassle of cooking them by yourself, you can always get the freeze-dried option or some green-lipped mussel powder.
All of these have tremendous health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties to supporting your dog’s immune system. Make sure you talk to your vet before deciding to feed mussels to your dog.