Is it safe to feed dogs clams?

No matter how careful you are with your dog’s diet, there are certain situations when you have a loose foot.

A basic example is having guests over dinner who accidentally feed your dog with food that should not have been fed. Well, that’s exactly what happened when I had guests over last month.

While I was busy serving dishes to friends that came over, my pooch’s pleading eyes made Erica feed him with some baked clams. Yes! Clams.

I only noticed it when she was on her way to offer him a fourth bite. However, as soon as I saw this, I pleaded with her to stop! I was horrified that I would have to visit the vet late at night, but to my surprise, it all went well. 

My dog gets pretty grumpy with new foods, so seeing he was on his way for a fourth bite made me conspicuous. I never fed him with clams or any shellfish ever before! But if he loved how clams tasted and keeping in mind clam’s immense health benefits definitely made me carry out thorough research on the topic. So, if you are wondering if clams will be good for your pooch’s health, here’s all the needed stuff that convinced me enough.

What really are clams? 

You might already have a sweet corner for some American shellfish favorites like oysters and mussels. But how about clams? They are not really much different from shellfish and most people add clams to the shellfish category itself. When clams actually are bivalves that come with hinged shells. Clams are mostly found near a seafloor or riverbed region. They bury themselves halfway in the sand in case of freshwater and usually deep down in case of marine environments and salty water bodies. Differences in turbidity of water and locations highly contribute to the availability of varied species of clams in a region. 

Clams highly variable in size, shape, and texture. They have a heart, an efficient digestive system, and a circulatory system as well. A popular edible clam suggestion would be razor clams. Razor clams are distinguished with their parallel positioned side shells.

It is important to note that as a filter feeder shellfish clams will filter out food and water before consuming it. This trait makes them a valuable source in the web of life. They filter out toxic types of microalgae that could cause paralytic shellfish poisoning and other mercury side effects in canines and humans. They have a high nutritious value that overpowers this low-risk factor. They are a superfood for the ones non-allergic to it. 

You should also be aware of the age of clams you are consuming. Why? Because clams can have a lifecycle ranging from 1 year to around 507 years too. The higher the age, the higher source of heavy metal and toxin contamination it will house depending upon the marine environment.

Although clams are a popular cuisine ingredient on the eastern coast in the US, a lot of people assume that only hard-shell clams exist. But soft-shell clams such as strawberry cockle can definitely make a considerable option for your pooch’s diet apart from your own. Clam strips made out of bamboo clam are so delicious that it would be hard to part from them. Just so you know, you can eat clams raw, steamed, boiled, fried, and baked. They also make a popular broth and soup ingredient.

Should you serve your dog clams? If yes, then how much is good enough?

Wondering whether to serve your pooch clams? Well, my advice will be to go for it. A very limited serving of clams is meant to do much more good to your dog than harm. The next time you have prepared clams for yourself, prepare a serving for your dog too. But limit it to 1-2 clams only. They will make the perfect occasional treat for your pet dog with some awestruck worthy health benefits. 

How will the addition of clams lead to the formation of a perfect diet plan for your dog?

The list of benefits that a dog can gain from eating clams are immensely high. 10 benefits that your dog can reap from a clam rich diet are as follows: 

  • Low-Fat Diet: Dogs are no different than humans when it comes to gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, a history of pancreatitis, and high levels of fat. Vets prescribe a low-fat diet for dogs suffering from such conditions. A low-fat diet is good for their health and sometimes it can fall into the category of even a lower-fat diet for dogs in need of therapeutic diets. Save your pooch’s day, and feed them two-three average-sized clams to reap the benefits of a low-fat diet.
  • High Protein Food: High protein food acts as a powerhouse of health benefits for your dog. Dogs can benefit the most when such a diet is taken as per the recommendations administered by a vet. Adding clams to your dog’s regular diet plan can lead to healthier and shinier hair and skin, a stronger immune system, and improved skin health among other benefits. Senior or aged dogs can make the best out of a high protein diet like clams.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids consists of DHA, a component that focuses on improving eye development and brain memory of your canine. Omega-3 fatty acids are also present in clams. Older dogs can also reap benefits such as improved cognitive function with the addition of clams in their diet. Diseases like chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis can also be treated by adding a very limited portion of clams to your dog’s diet plan.
  • Magnesium: Improving your dog’s body and mind health is in your hands. Offering a diet that includes magnesium can help maintain his or her energy levels to the maximum. Thanks to the energy being at the basic cellular level. From maintaining a regular heartbeat level to reducing chances of depression, there are a lot of clams can do due to the presence of such a major mineral in their diet plan. Clams can also help in maintaining good bone health as magnesium present in clams improves the calcium uptake of bones in your dog’s body.
  • Zinc: Just like humans, dogs can’t really produce all the vitamins and minerals the natural way. They have to consume vitamin and mineral-rich diet too. Clams make a great supplement for all the missing vitamin and mineral sources in a dog’s diet plan. Consuming clams once or twice a week can definitely go a long way for your dog’s health. Eating clams will improve dog fur, skin, hair, thyroid function, and is likely to promote a healthy immune system.
  • Iron: Clam is an iron-rich diet. Eating clams can outsource a dog’s bodily iron needs to the maximum. The presence of enough iron in the body will make it possible for better oxygen supply throughout the blood system. And lead to improved levels of energy in your dog. Certain enzymes also require iron to function best, and clams make a good source of iron.
  • Selenium: Clams also contain a trace element called selenium. Having a diet rich in selenium leads to better thyroid hormone metabolism, a stronger immune system, and anti-oxidant protection in the dog’s body.
  • Vitamin B: Vitamins B is seen to benefit a dog’s coat health, nervous system, and health to a great extent. A vitamin B-rich diet like clams will also support the healthy development of babies being born in the womb of a pregnant canine. It will also lead to higher growth of red blood cells in the dog’s body and act as a precaution to lung-specific diseases. 
  • Phosphorous: Canine diets are incomplete without the addition of a mineral-rich diet plan especially clams will make a great source of phosphorous. Phosphorous plays a necessary role in improving bone health in a canine.
  • Calcium: Clams also contain necessary amounts of calcium. Calcium, in short, can do a lot for your dog. Apart from supporting regular teeth health, it also reduces the chances of any blood clot formulation. It also improves muscle strength.

Can clam lead to any noticeable health concerns for your dog?

Clams won’t be much cause of concern for your dog’s health. Mostly they make a beneficial and safe diet food for your dog. But it is always good to know about how far things can go wrong with clams.

  • Allergic Reactions
  • Heavy Metals
  • Food Poisoning

Make sure you keep all clamshells at bay and particularly serve clam meat only. Stick to small amounts once in a while instead of every day. And go for freshwater clams for your dog instead of the marine water clams.

Conclusion: 

Clams can make an essential part of your dog’s diet plan. Serving a limited portion of clams can open the way for immense short-term and long-term health benefits for a canine. Clams can easily fall into the superfood category too. Although, having clams is beneficial but it is also associated with only a limited range of health concerns. Eating clams will certainly make a nutrient-rich addition to your dog’s diet plan any day. 

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