Dogs can eat squid in small amounts occasionally. The squid must be cooked to ensure that there aren’t any food-borne illnesses in the squid. Seasonings should also be avoided, as many are toxic to dogs. Squid itself is completely fine, though, as long as it is prepared correctly.
Squid contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, including fatty acids. It is very similar to other fish, nutritionally speaking.
However, squid doesn’t contain everything your dog needs. For that, you’ll have to feed your dog a commercial complete and balanced food (or a carefully formulated home diet with supplements). Too much squid can also cause stomach upset, especially if your dog isn’t used to it.
Squid can be a good treat, though, and may provide extra omega fatty acids into your dog’s diet. We highly recommend being cautious with feeding your dog too much squid, though.
Potential Health Benefits
There are many potential health benefits of squid. When fed in moderation, squid can provide your dog with some benefits. However, the benefits your dog gets mostly depend on what the rest of their diet is.
Squid is very high in protein. In fact, it is mostly protein. Not all dogs need high amounts of protein; it largely depends on their breed and activity level. In many cases, a commercial diet has plenty of protein. However, dogs that are very active (like working dogs) may need some extra protein. Squid and other meats can provide this.
However, too much protein isn’t a good thing. Moderation is key, as excessive protein can lead to health issues.
Fatty acids are extremely important for dogs. Omega-3s are used for all sorts of different purposes. For instance, they can alleviate joint problems and inflammation. There are several studies pointing to other benefits, too. Plus, these fatty acids have few side effects (though some do exist).
Squid also contains several other nutrients. For instance, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B12 are all contained in squid.
Of course, nothing comes without risks. Squid does provide a few risks, though it isn’t outright toxic to dogs. No food is perfect, after all.
Since the industrial revolution, all seafood has contained a level of mercury. However, different fish do have different mercury levels and luckily, squid does not have one of the highest mercury contents. Still, they do have some level of mercury. Where the fish comes from matters, as some waters contain more mercury than others. Chronic ingestion of mercury can result in health problems.
There is always a risk of potential allergic reactions to food. Dogs can become allergic to foods even if they previously had no problems with that food. Therefore, feeding your dog large amounts of squid for a long time can lead to an increased risk of allergies. A varied diet is useful to prevent this.
Like all foods, squid can contain dangerous bacteria such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Luckily, cooking the squid usually kills these bacteria. For this reason, we highly recommend cooking the squid before feeding it to your dog. Raw squid isn’t the safest food to eat.
Cooking Squid for Dogs
Preparing squid for dogs isn’t complicated. The most important thing to do is cook the squid thoroughly to ensure that bacteria aren’t present. It doesn’t particularly matter how you cook the squid—just that it is cooked through. Steaming, boiling, and baking all work.
You also don’t want to use any seasonings. Many spices are toxic to dogs, including garlic and onion. There are some seasonings that are safe, however, the safest option is to avoid seasonings altogether. Your dog will likely consume the squid so fast that it won’t matter, anyway.
You should avoid feeding your dog fried food, as these foods are very high in fats. Not only do dogs not need these fats, but they can also cause stomach upset. Therefore, fried calamari and similar foods aren’t recommended in the least.
What Seafood Can Dogs Not Eat?
While squid is safe, not all types of seafood are. Most types of seafood are not toxic to dogs but some are very high in mercury. Because dogs are much smaller than us, it takes much less mercury to cause side effects. You have to be much more careful with dogs.
Larger fish are typically higher in mercury. All seawater has mercury in it and fish absorb this mercury from the water. However, if fish also eat other fish, they’ll absorb the mercury in those fish, too. In the ocean, bigger fish often eat smaller fish. This leads to larger fish having a mercury level many times higher than smaller fish.
The largest fish in the sea that you should avoid are shark, tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna. Skipjack is safe, though, as these tuna are actually very small. Today, most canned tuna is skipjack. However, you should still double-check the can before serving it to your dog.
Dogs can eat squid in moderation. It isn’t terribly high in mercury like other fish, and it does contain many amino fatty acids and other nutrients. Therefore, it’s a great option for dogs that need a little more protein in their diet or as an occasional treat.
However, squid doesn’t contain everything your dog needs and should only be fed as an occasional snack.