Can my dog eat oysters?

Yes, but they should be steamed or cooked, but not fried.

Dogs should never be given any fried foods as the frying process can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Also, oysters are filter feeders and as such they can be poisonous to mammals – dogs and humans – if they consume contaminated dinoflagellates. The toxin in dinoflagellates does not die when cooked, making the contaminated oysters dangerous to eat. Sickness from dinoflagellate poison is uncommon, however.

Uncontaminated oysters are fine for dogs to consume, however, they have little to no nutritional value so the risk to your pet has to be weighed against possible sickness. Additionally, it’s suggested to limit the number of oysters to just one or two as the soft-bodied meat of oysters tends to give dogs diarrhea.

Oyster shells: made mostly of calcium, oyster shells are often ground into a coarse powder that is used to improve the acid levels in farming soil. Consequently, oyster shells will not harm your dog due to their composition, but the sharp edges of the shells can cut the internal organs and cause internal bleeding that will kill your dog quickly. Alternately, the oyster shells can block the digestive tract due to their large size, which will cause serious long-term problems if not addressed. In short, oyster shells are dangerous to your dog because of their size and shape, not for any poisons they may contain. If your dog has eaten any oyster shells you should call your veterinarian immediately and talk about the options.

Smaller, rounder shells, such as snail shells, can pass through the digestive tract more easily and because they are rounded tend not to cause any internal bleeding they tend to not cause the problems that large oyster shells do. If you do not see the small, rounded shell in your dog’s poop within 24 hours, call your veterinarian to discuss options.


American Kennel Club


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