Happy as a Clam: Can Dogs Eat Mussels?

The other day was the first time I went to the market with my dog Maxie. Some of you may be surprised when I tell you, but this one’s not usually into fish or seafood!

He doesn’t care for anything salty or fishy. Strangely, that morning, all he wanted to do was know where the mussels were. He could really smell them down there in the display case.

It was a little distracting while I was shopping because he was so intent on finding those mussels! Frankly, I don’t understand why he got suddenly interested in them, plus, can dogs eat mussels?

At the same time, my puppy seems to be equally intrigued by lobsters and crabs, and other shellfish as well! Apparently this means that I’ll have to start cooking shellfish at home. Can dogs have shellfish, too? Let’s find out together!

Where Did Mussels Come From?

Mussels are a kind of shellfish that live in the ocean. They’re known for having a very hard shell and a meaty, white body. They’re usually eaten steamed or raw, but they can also be cooked in other ways.

Mussels are mollusks, which means they’re relatives of clams and oysters. They’re also bivalves, meaning they have two shells. Mussels can be found in oceans all over the world, and they come in many different colors.

Most mussels are blue-ish green or brown, but some are red or purple, too. They’re often found near shorelines where there’s lots of sand and seaweed growing on rocks near the water’s surface, but some types live much deeper down in cold waters where there aren’t any plants around at all.

Mussels Health Benefits and Risks for Dogs

Are clams good for dogs? Let’s weigh the benefits and risks of feeding mussels to your dogs. Mussels are a great source of protein, and they’re also very easy to prepare at home. Your dog will love them, and you’ll love how easy it is to feed them.

a basket of raw mussels

Here are the different benefits of feeding mussels to your dogs:

  • Mussels are high in protein, which is good for animals with allergies or those who suffer from kidney disease. The amino acids in mussels can help improve muscle mass, skin health, and bone strength.
  • They’re low-calorie and low-fat—meaning they won’t pack on pounds or cause weight gain. They’re also full of vitamins (A and B12) as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
  • They’re easy to prepare—all you need is a pot or steamer! You can even buy them pre-cooked at the store if you don’t feel like cooking at home.

While there are these benefits, there are also risks. The main risk of feeding your dog some mussels is that they can get sick from it. Mussels are high in sodium and can cause dehydration, so if your dog eats too many, it may end up vomiting or having diarrhea.

Mussels also contain a lot of cholesterol, which is bad for dogs. If you give them too much cholesterol, it could lead to obesity and heart problems later on. Finally, mussels are very salty and can cause dehydration if eaten in large quantities.

How to Serve Mussels to Your Dog

Mussels are a delicious treat for dogs, but it’s important not to overdo it. For a snack, cut the mussel in half and feed your dog one half at a time. You can also cut the mussel into small chunks and give your dog one piece per day as a treat.

You can also add mussel pieces to their regular diet. Mussels can be added to your dog’s regular food once in a while, but do not overfeed them! Mussels are high in sodium and fat content, so always make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water when eating them.

Here are some more ways you can serve mussels safely and responsibly:

Steamed or Cooked

Can dogs eat cooked mussels? They surely can!

Mussels are a great dog food option. You can serve your dog mussels steamed or cooked, and if you’re concerned about whether or not your dog will like them, here are some tips for getting them to eat:

  • Start with small amounts of mussels until your dog gets used to the taste.
  • Hide the mussels in their regular dog food so they don’t know what’s in there!
  • Add some lemon juice or other flavors to the mussel cooking liquid before serving it to your dog.

Frozen or Fresh

Mussels are a tasty treat for your dog, but you may be wondering whether they’re safe to eat in large quantities. As long as your dog doesn’t have allergies or sensitivities to shellfish, you can serve mussels to your dog frozen or fresh.


Just don’t feed them too many at once—a small serving is all it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

Can dogs eat mussels frozen? If you have leftover mussels that you don’t want to waste, freezing them is a great way to make sure they don’t go bad. Just don’t forget about them and let them sit in the freezer for too long—it’s best if they’re eaten within two weeks of freezing.

How about fresh mussels? Fresh mussels are even better for dogs than frozen ones because they contain more nutrients and vitamins that are good for their health (and yours).

To prepare fresh mussels for your furry friend, simply scrub off any dirt and rinse under cold water before cooking according to package directions with some butter or olive oil.


Dehydrated mussels are a great way to add some extra flavor to your dog’s food. They are high in protein, low in fat and calories, and full of vitamins and minerals.

They’re also a great way for dogs to get more fiber into their diets without eating too much meat or other high-protein options.

Here are some ways you can serve dehydrated mussels to your dog:

Mix them into their regular food – You can mix the mussels in with your dog’s regular kibble or wet food. This will give them a nice crunchy texture that they’ll love!

Add them as an ingredient – If your dog likes eating fish or seafood, then this is an easy way to get some extra vitamins into their diet without having to worry about overloading on protein or fats. Just add some of these little guys into whatever meal you already make for them every day!

Crumbs / Powder

Yes, mussels can also be served to your dog in the form of crumbs or powder. Here are some ways you can do it:

  • Use mussel crumbs as a topping for your dog’s food or mix it into his food bowl
  • Add mussel powder to your dog’s wet food
  • Mix mussel powder with warm water and stir until dissolved

How Much Mussels Can a Dog Consume?

Mussels are very high in protein, which makes them great for dogs who are trying to gain weight (or even just maintain their current weight). They’re also full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, zinc, copper, iron and magnesium.

However, mussels contain a lot of salt—which can be harmful if you eat too much of it. So we recommend that you limit your dog’s consumption of mussels to no more than 2 or 3 times per week.

Mussel Memory: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

dog eating food on a persons hand

Can Mussels Give Dogs Diarrhea?

Yes, mussels can give dogs diarrhea, but it’s not a problem as long as you’re careful about when and how you feed them.

Mussels contain astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is good for dogs (and humans) because it has antioxidant properties that help neutralize free radicals in the body. However, since mussels contain high amounts of this substance, they’re not always safe for dogs to eat.

If you want to give your dog mussels, do so only on occasion and only after consulting with your vet first—especially if your dog has other health issues like heart disease or diabetes. In addition to potentially causing diarrhea, astaxanthin can also cause liver damage in dogs who are sensitive to it.

Mussels, whether fresh or preserved, can cause diarrhea in dogs because they also contain high levels of bacteria called “bivalve protozoans,” which are found in all mollusks. These protozoans can cause stomach upset and diarrhea in humans and pets alike.

What Happens if My Dog Consumes Shellfish?

If your pup has eaten a few mussels and seems to be OK, you don’t need to worry too much about it. But if he’s eaten the whole dish, or if he seems ill, then you should contact your vet right away.

Shellfish can cause illness in dogs because they’re often contaminated with bacteria. These bacteria can usually be found on the outer shells of mussels and oysters, so if your dog eats them raw or undercooked, he could get sick.

Symptoms of shellfish poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting that lasts for several days after the ingestion of shellfish. Your dog may also seem lethargic or weak while he’s sick with shellfish poisoning—but again, this is just something to watch out for if he’s been eating large amounts of mussels or oysters in one sitting.


Are mussels bad for dogs? No, if fed to them correctly, and yes, if we neglect careful preparation and add this to their food.

Mussels will be safe for your dog as long as a few precautions are taken. They can make for a delicious addition to your dog’s diet if handled with care, but feeding them improperly could result in a stunning variety of side effects both short term and long term.

So be sure that you understand exactly how to prepare them for your dog before making the decision to give them mussels regularly.

Feeding your pup some fish? You might be interested in two other posts that I wrote, is tilapia good for dogs, and can dogs eat raw trout.

Keep tuning in for more posts like these, and together, let’s make it a colorful and happy life for our furbabies!

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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