Can Dogs Eat Oysters?

Oysters are a delicacy to humans. They are powerful aphrodisiacs with numerous health benefits. But can dogs eat oysters?

Learning which delicious foods your dog can and cannot eat is overwhelming as you may not know the reaction after eating. If you love oysters, you might wonder, are oysters good for dogs? After all, they are safe and beneficial to us.

Well, dogs can eat oysters! But you must apply a few rules to ensure they are not harmful to your dogs.

Adding seafood to the dog’s diet is quite beneficial. You’ve probably faced similar questions. Can dogs eat catfish? Oysters, catfish, and Halibut are some of the best food to provide your pet with proteins and omega-3 fatty acids.

Join me below as I discuss more oyster diets for your pet. 

What Are Oysters?

Oysters are seafood under the ocean mollusks families that mostly feature highly calcified valves with irregular shapes. People in different parts of the world feed on Oysters as a delicacy. Some are consumed raw, with others preferring to cook them.

If you love seafood, then you’ll enjoy oysters. But because of the sea pollution, you’re left wondering, can dogs eat shrimp or oysters?

Let’s keep reading below to see whether oysters are harmful to dogs.

Are Oysters Harmful to Dogs?

Can oysters cause diarrhea in dogs? It’s a good question to ask if your pet has digestive problems. You want to be sure the oysters will not affect your dog.

person preparing oysters in the kitchen

Unfortunately, oysters can also harm your dog, like any seafood. Oysters are filter feeders. They eat by filtering materials under the sea and retaining food. Therefore, this simply means they can also filter toxins.

Such toxins can make your pet sick. When that happens, your dog will start vomiting. In addition, your pup can also have diarrhea after vomiting. That shows how dangerous oysters can be if not prepared well.

So, are canned oysters healthy? It’s a good question to ask since you’re not going to prepare canned oysters. Canned oysters are healthy since they have undergone a proper preparation process before canning.

What about smoking oysters in oil? Can dogs eat smoked oysters in oil? While dogs will always eat anything that tastes good, the high amount of fat on fried oysters is not good for your dog.

Some smoked oysters can contain additives that lead to allergic reactions. I’ll discuss more on how to prepare and serve oysters for your pet later in the article.

Oysters’ Health Benefits for Dogs

Oysters offer numerous health benefits to dogs. They are very low in calories but very high in nutrients. Oysters have a wide range of healthy fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins.

Adding oysters to your dog’s meal greatly increases the food’s nutrient composition. 

Let’s see some of the main nutrients found in oysters.


Oysters are loaded with high protein levels making them good for your pet. Generally, dogs need a lot of protein to grow lean muscles, which is why it is essential in the dog’s diet.

Oyster protein is important as some dogs can be allergic to traditional foods like chicken. In such cases, seaweed becomes a great alternative for such allergic dogs.


Oysters and other seafood contain loads of omega-3 fatty acids. There are different kinds of seafood with huge amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A good example is a mackerel. Like oysters, you may wonder, is mackerel good for dogs?

dog eating on his blue food bowl

While there are supplements that can boost your dog’s omega-3 fatty acids, giving it oyster food is the best way. Oysters pack a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. A single serving of oyster contains 500 – 1000mg of fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids boost your dog’s immune system and ease inflammation and arthritis. It also benefits the dog’s coat and skin.


Oysters are also a good source of vitamins. Below are some of the vitamins you can expect from oysters.

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12


Your dog needs a wide range of minerals for strong bones and teeth. Luckily, most dog commercial foods contain all the essential minerals that your body requires.

Some of the minerals your pet can expect from oysters include:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Calcium
  • Selenium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus

Minerals like zinc, selenium, and iron are crucial for old dogs suffering from arthritis. These minerals can help boost your dog’s health and reduce cases of arthritis.

Taking oysters is a great way to boost your dog’s mineral needs. The minerals are also important for your dog’s thyroid health.

The Danger of Giving Oysters to Dogs

The dangers of giving oysters to your dog include allergic reactions and poisoning from toxins. As mentioned earlier, oysters are filter feeders and can contain toxins. Such toxins cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

dog eating a treat from a persons hand

Some dogs are also allergic to certain seafood. You need some research on the type of seafood you serve your dog. For example, can dogs eat Halibut? Halibut, like mackerel, catfish, and oysters, is excellent seafood for dogs, but one that can be dangerous for your dogs.

You only need to feed oysters in moderation. Feeding oysters in excess can lead to excess calories and obesity.

Generally, avoid giving your dog raw fish.

Oysters Contain Toxins

Oysters contain toxins, dangerous for your dog. They are feeder filters and can absorb toxins.

When buying oysters, look for oysters that have undergone toxicity tests. You want to ensure the oysters are safe before serving them to your puppies.

Sodium Content of Canned Oysters

Canned oysters are also nutritious and come packed with several nutrients. A single-serving contains 56.7 grams. There are 80 calories, 3g fats, 35mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 20mg calcium, 6g carbohydrates, and 7g sugar.

However, most of the sodium levels given for raw oysters do not take into account cooking and preparation methods.

Generally, the sodium content in a canned oyster is higher than that of a raw oyster. A 50g serving of canned oyster contains 66mg of sodium.

Luckily, You can significantly increase the sodium content of your oyster or any other meal by dipping it into condiments and sauces.

How To Serve Oysters To Your Dog 

Raw oysters are not safe for dogs. So, how do you prepare and serve them? You must cook raw oysters thoroughly before serving your dogs.

Start by removing the shells from the oyster. Oyster shells are not edible and safe for your pet. You might have to call a vet if the dog eats the shell.

Next, place the oyster in hot water. Leave them there until the inner temperatures of the oyster reach 140 degrees F. This is the only way to make sure all the germs are dead.

You can steam the oyster, grill, and roast it. The aim is to ensure temperatures hit 140 degrees F.

people eating oysters

The next step is NOT adding spices. Some spices like garlic and oil can be toxic to dogs. If it’s the first time serving your dog oyster, start with small servings. You can then increase the amount gradually.

Serving oysters can be done by adding them to your dog’s food. Do it in small bits as the dog gets used to the new food.

Oyster Food for Dogs FAQS

How Many Oysters Should I Include in My Dog’s Diet?

You include a single serving of oyster in your dog’s diet. It’s always important to start small and gradually increase the amount.

The amount varies depending on your dog’s reaction to allergy or if there are digestive issues like diarrhea.

Why Is Zinc Good for Dogs?

Zinc is good for dogs as it plays a key role in proteins, enzymes, hormones, and canine body development. Zinc also helps boost the immune system and the function of the thyroid gland.

What Amount of Zinc Do Dogs Need?

There is no specific amount of zinc to give your dog. Generally, dogs require zinc. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 120mg of zinc dry matter diet is recommended.


Now you know dogs can eat oysters. Oysters are nutritious and a great source of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals for dogs. But oysters can also be dangerous for your dog. You must prepare oysters properly by grilling, roasting, or steaming them before serving your pet. Make sure you remove the shells and serve high-quality oysters.

Go right ahead and provide your dog with oyster food in small bits. You can increase the amount gradually depending on the reaction of the dog. 

Overall, oysters are great for your dog and should be included in your diet. It’s important, especially for omega-3 fatty acids, which are unavailable in most foods.

The high protein content, the main nutrient in the dog diet, is another reason to serve oysters.

Photo of author

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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