Many of us probably consider lobster one of the ultimate indulgences. It’s one reason it appears on anniversary menus and date night meals. One taste tells you why. It only makes sense that we’d want to share it with our canine best friend, too. There are two questions we have to answer to get to the truth…
Is it safe to feed our dogs?
Is it a nutritional addition to our pup’s diet?
Let’s Talk Safety
Many of the same issues we will consider are ones we have to find out for ourselves, too. After all, dogs and people share 84 percent of their DNA. The obvious concerns with lobster are:
- Foodborne illnesses
- Shell bits
All are worth investigating. Let’s delve into each one and see if there are any red flags.
Parasites and Bacteria, Oh, My!
Parasites aren’t a significant problem with lobsters. The risk for them and bacteria is greatly reduced by cooking it. The latter may be an issue in an unsanitary kitchen, which can likely affect both you and your pet. We suggest refrigerating the seafood you buy promptly. Don’t leave it on the counter while you prep.
One time it may become an issue is with the digestive gland of the lobster, the tomalley. It can potentially contain parasites that the living animals got from their prey. However, that only applies to this organ and not the entire lobster. Skip giving it to your pup to play it safe.
Dogs have lived with humans for over 11,000 years. Their diet and physiology have evolved with us. The most common allergens are animal proteins. However, your pup is more likely to have a problem with beef or chicken instead of lobster because of the lack of exposure. Bear in mind that a diagnostic test doesn’t exist for canines.
Shell Bits and Other Nasties
Cooked lobster comes out fairly clean from the tail. The concern rests with the rest unless you have one of the so-called naked lobsters. However, we’d suggest checking for shell bits no matter if you get a frozen tail, whole one, or seafood out of a can. You’ll notice there’s a warning label on the latter as a precaution.
Your Dog’s Health Powered by Lobster
The nutrient value of a food is the kicker when it comes to whether to add it to your pup’s daily intake. That’s what makes commercial diets such a value. They provide complete and balanced nutrition if they have adequate amounts of the necessary ones in the correct proportions. Let’s see how lobster stands up to these criteria.
A 3-ounce serving of steamed lobster contains over 16 grams of protein. The minimum amount an adult dog needs is 20 grams per day. It is also a rich source of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Lobster doesn’t have any sugar or carbs. Things are looking good so far. The other thing to weigh is its calorie count. It only has 78 per that 3-ounce portion. Obesity isn’t a significant risk.
Cholesterol’s Bad Rap
Our same serving size has 124 mg of cholesterol. For a long time, the medical community thought was responsible for heart disease. It turns out that dietary cholesterol isn’t the culprit at all. More on that tidbit later. The fact remains that this organic compound is a significant component of your and your dog’s body structures, including the brain.
The Dark Side of Lobster
We understand your love for your pet. You only want to provide him with the best. Let’s do a deep dive to see if there are things you should know before giving your pup cracking open some lobster for him.
We mentioned a potential problem component of animal-based foods. While cholesterol doesn’t present a health risk, it’s a different story with saturated fat. It can increase your pup’s chances of obesity and pancreatitis. However, the problem isn’t the source as much as it is with the fat itself. The total fat content of our 3-ounce serving is less than 1 gram.
Juxtapose that against the recommended fat intake for adult dogs at a minimum of 13.8 grams. Lobster isn’t going to hurt your dog.
The Other Ingredients
Now, we have to address the elephant in the room. We talked about how luxurious a lobster dinner is. Many people may attribute it to the gobs of yummy melted butter we have with it. That’s where the problem lies for your pup—and you. It contains mega calories and saturated fat, the very things we’ve pointed out as being problematic.
Of course, there are healthier alternatives that you can enjoy. Frankly, your dog probably doesn’t care if the lobster isn’t served with a tasty, albeit better sauce. Remember that even though we share a lot of our DNA with our pups, it doesn’t mean that they can eat everything you can. Think onion and garlic, ingredients you’d likely have in that other preparation.
The takeaway is that the lobster you give your pup shouldn’t have the accompaniments. Save them for the dinner table.
Serving It Raw
We’d be remiss if we didn’t address another critical issue. Some may think that one way to avoid the problems with giving your dog lobster is to serve it plain and raw. Unfortunately, that increases the risk of problems with parasites, bacteria, and other issues. Moreover, the American Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t recommend feeding your pet any raw or undercooked animal protein.
The health risks don’t just exist with your pooch but you as well in the case of foodborne illnesses.
Giving Your Dog Lobster
The short answer is that you can give your dog lobster. Just make sure to check it for shell bits before cooking it. Also, serve it plain and save the sides and condiments for you. While lobster isn’t as expensive as it has been in the past, it’s not cheap nor is it a complete food for your pup. If you want to give him a nibble, just make it an occasional treat and not a significant portion of your pet’s diet.