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Can dogs eat cuttlefish?

I’ve seen cuttlefish on National Geographic, but it never occurred to me that they are also food. I’m a seafood lover, and I’ve had my fair share of calamari, or squid. Turns out that cuttlefish are a cousin of the squid and octopus, and they are edible. Once I learned that I could eat them, my next question was, can my dog? 

Can dogs eat cuttlefish?

Yes, your dog can eat cuttlefish. There are a few caveats to be aware of before you indulge your dog in this seafood treat, however. 

What is a Cuttlefish?

The cuttlefish is a cephalopod. It has an internal shell, which is known as a cuttlebone. Technically, it’s not a bone. It’s made of similar material to mollusk shells. 

It has 8 arms and two long tentacles. This differs from the octopus, which has 8 long tentacles. They range in size from 4-20 inches, depending on the species. 

Are Cuttlefish Poisonous?

Many species of cuttlefish have a venomous bite. Encounters with humans are rare, but some species venom can be fatal to humans. There’s no data about cuttlefish venom and dogs, but it’s safe to assume the venom can be deadly to them as well. 

Once the cuttlefish is dead, there’s no risk of a bite. Most species are safe to handle or eat as long as they aren’t alive. However, that’s not true for the flamboyant cuttlefish. 

The flamboyant cuttlefish gets its name because it changes color. It’s absolutely breathtaking to watch this chameleon in the water. However, you don’t want to find it on your plate. The flamboyant cuttlefish is the only species known to have a toxin in its flesh. Again, there’s no information about its effect on dogs, but it’s assumed it would be toxic or fatal to them as well.  

Eating Cuttlefish

Yes, your dog can eat cuttlefish safely. Cuttlefish can be eaten raw or cooked. If you choose to cook it, it’s best to cook it very quickly or very slowly. Improper cooking can result in a very chewy texture. Of course, your dog might enjoy the challenge. 

Cuttlefish Nutrition

Cuttlefish are surprisingly nutritious. One serving of cuttlefish has 20 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, and no fat. It’s an excellent high-protein snack. 

However, not all dogs need a high protein diet. Dogs with kidney issues must limit their protein intake. Most dogs do best with a balanced diet that includes protein and carbs. Cuttlefish is a safe snack, but it shouldn’t make up the bulk of your dog’s diet. 

It’s very high in vitamins B 12 and B2. It’s also high in selenium, phosphorus, iron, and copper. These vitamins are important for your dog’s health, just as they are for yours. 

Risks of Cuttlefish

The biggest risk of eating cuttlefish is allergies. Just like people, some dogs are highly allergic to seafood. Most people and dogs who are allergic to cuttlefish will have a mild to moderate reaction. Breaking out in hives is common. 

However, a few people and canines will have a severe reaction known as anaphylactic shock. This is life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment. This type of reaction is rare, but it’s something dog owners should be aware of. 

Can dogs eat dried cuttlefish?

Dried cuttlefish seems like a great convenient snack for your pooch. However, there are some issues. The first is heavy metals and contaminants. 

Dried cuttlefish samples have been shown to have levels of cadmium that exceed regulations. Other studies have discovered high levels of arsenic. It’s thought that these toxins occur due to them being released in the environment. They find their way to the ocean, and are consumed in the cuttlefish’s diet. 

Dried cuttlefish is essentially concentrated, which can also concentrate the levels of contaminants. 

Dried cuttlefish often contains high levels of sodium and sugar as well. A diet high in sodium and sugar isn’t healthy for your pet. 

Dried cuttlefish might be ok occasionally, but frequent consumption probably isn’t a good idea for you or your dog. 

Can dogs eat cuttlefish bones?

Yes, cuttlefish bones are actually good for dogs. It’s made of aragonite, which is a form of calcium carbonate. The cuttlefish bone is a solid smooth piece that is oval-shaped. It’s very high in calcium and mineral salts. 

Cuttlefish Bone for Pets

Cuttlefish bones are most often given to birds, turtles, and tortoises. These animals require a high calcium intake. The shell also helps keep a bird’s beak sharp. 

When it comes to your dog, the calcium and trace minerals can be beneficial. Just as it keeps a bird’s beak sharp, the bone can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. 

Finding and Using Cuttlefish Bone

If you live near the ocean, you may find cuttlefish bones washed up on the shore. You can actually give these to your dog. However, you’ll need to boil it for 15 minutes, and allow it to dry in the sun. 

You’ll need to store unused cuttlefish bones in an airtight container, because they absorb moisture. This can cause them to grow mold, bacteria, or fungus over time. 

It’s a good idea to change your pet’s cuttlefish bone if it’s not consumed within a few weeks to avoid bacterial or mold growth. 

What to do if my dog eats cuttlefish?

In most cases, eating cuttlefish is safe and requires no action from you. However, there are some situations that require action.

Beach Cuttlefish

If your dog ate a cuttlefish at the beach, it’s wise to call your vet. There’s a small potential it could be the toxic variety. Rotting seafood can also contain bacteria that can make your dog very sick. 

If your dog shows no signs of sickness, they are likely OK. Keep an eye on them. If you notice lethargy, excessive thirst, nausea, or vomiting, take them to the vet. 

Cuttlefish Allergy

If your dog experiences a cuttlefish allergy, you’ll need to seek veterinary care. Hives and a swollen mouth or muzzle need to be evaluated by a vet. If your dog is having breathing difficulty, turning blue, vomiting, or disoriented, you’ll need to seek emergency care. 

What types of fish can dogs not eat?

Fish is known around the world for its health benefits. It’s generally a healthy choice for you or your dog. However, there are some fish that your dog shouldn’t eat. 

Fish to Avoid

When it comes to fish, you should generally avoid feeding your dog large fish. Large fish usually have a higher level of mercury. This occurs because they live longer, and because they consume smaller fish with mercury. 

Large fish to avoid feeding your dog include shark, tilefish, swordfish, King mackerel, and albacore tuna, particularly canned. You should also avoid feeding your dog fish bones, skin, and tail. 

Shellfish and Seafood

Most shellfish and seafood is safe as long as it is thoroughly cooked and the shell is removed. The shell and tail must be removed from shrimp as well.

You shouldn’t feed your dog oysters. They have a higher chance of contamination with bacteria or algae. Algae toxins are not completely removed during cooking, making oysters off limits for dogs. 

Canned Fish

Canned fish makes for a tasty convenient meal for you, but it’s not always a good choice for your dog. Fish are often canned in oil, and they can have lots of added sodium. Some spices that can be found in canned fish, like onion and garlic, are also harmful to dogs. 

If you want to feed your dog canned fish, it should be canned in water and contain no added ingredients or spices. 

Raw Fish

You shouldn’t feed your dog raw or undercooked fish. Sushi is safe for you, but not for your dog. Salmon  and trout carry the biggest risk. They can carry the parasite Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Infection with the parasite is  called Salmon Poisoning disease. Unfortunately, it can kill your dog within two weeks of ingestion. 

Other raw fish and seafood should be avoided as well. Many can carry parasites or algae that can harm your dog.