Abalone are a kind of marine snail. They are large, edible mollusks. The thick inner side of the shell is made of nacre or mother-of-pearl which is often used in jewelry. In many cultures the flesh of abalones is considered edible and is eaten either raw or cooked. Wondering if your dog would enjoy abalone? Keep reading!
Abalone is considered a luxury item in many cultures. It is enjoyed in China, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, France, and parts of Latin America. Most abalone sold today is commercially farmed in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, though they are also raised in Australia, the U.S., and some other countries.
In Asia, abalone is served as sushi. It’s also steamed, boiled, chopped, and served with soy sauce. It’s used in soups and porridges. It can also be pan-fried as a steak and served with butter.
In California you can find it on pizza or in steak form.
Taste-wise, abalone is buttery and salty. It’s also chewy, like calamari.
As for nutrition, 3 ounces (85 grams) of abalone contains about 161 calories. It has 5.8 grams of total fat with 1.4 grams of saturated fat. It has 16.7 grams of protein and 9.4 grams of carbohydrates. (These numbers vary depending on the variety of abalone.)
It also contains 502.4 mg of sodium and 241.4 mg of potassium. Abalone provides a lot of vitamin B12, copper, and iron. It also has sizable amounts of vitamins B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, choline, and lots of selenium.
Abalone is also a source of iodine. An average abalone provides about 95 mg of bio-available iodine. Iodine is a trace mineral but it’s essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland. Worldwide, it’s believed as many as 1.8 billion people may be deficient in iodine. Iodine deficiency can result in hypothyroidism along with impaired growth and motor development in children. Adults require 150 mcg of iodine per day which is mainly found in food and iodized salt.
Abalone is also a source of omega-3 fatty acid. Humans need about 250 mg of the DHA and EPA found in omega-3. Nutritional surveys have found that the average American only consumes approximately 84.3 mg of DHA and EPA per day. Fish such as salmon and tuna provide more omega-3 but a 100-gram serving of abalone provides 49 mg.
There are some potential risks with eating abalone. If you have a shellfish allergy, abalone could be a problem for you. Allergic reactions to mollusks. such as abalone, clams, and oysters are less common than reactions to crustaceans such as shrimp but they are still possible.
Shellfish allergies may produce the following signs:
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps
If you have a reaction, you may need an emergency injection of epinephrine (adrenaline). If it seems serious, go to an urgent care center or to a hospital emergency room.
In general, mercury and other heavy metals are not a concern with abalone. However, you may want to try to avoid abalone that comes from some Chinese abalone farms. Research suggests that abalone from these sources can be more likely to be exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, and silver.
Make sure you purchase your abalone from a trusted source. Abalone can pick up bacteria from contaminated waters. If they are stored or handled improperly they can also have problems. Buy abalone from dealers who store the mollusks. at the correct temperature. When it is cooked, make sure it is cooked thoroughly. Food poisoning in any kind of food is rare but you should always be careful.
Can you give your dog abalone to eat?
Abalone is as safe for your dog to eat as it is for you. That said, it’s also one of the world’s most expensive seafoods. According to information we found online, wild abalone (not farm-raised) can sell for about $500/kg. They are relatively rare today and require divers to harvest them. Even farm-raised abalone tends to be expensive.
In the U.S. you can buy abalone fresh at fish markets (or in some fish sections of supermarkets), canned, frozen, and dried. We found a 1-lb abalone for sale online for $39.00. That includes the shell. The shell is the heaviest part so you won’t have a full pound of meat to eat.
Abalone is full of nutrients from protein to trace minerals. It can be good for your dog. We do recommend that you cook the abalone to reduce any risk of bacteria.
Also, it should go without saying, do NOT let your dog chew on the shell. It can crack, your dog could swallow parts of it, choke on it, or other disastrous things could happen. So, NO SHELL. Only give your dog the soft abalone flesh to eat after it has been cooked.
How much abalone can your dog eat?
Considering the price of abalone, most people probably won’t be giving their dog a lot of this seafood. If you have a small dog you could try giving him one ounce of abalone or about 30 grams. A medium-sized dog could eat two ounces. And, a large dog should be able to safely eat up to three ounces.
We don’t recommend giving your dog more abalone than this, especially if this is the first time you have given him some.
If money is no object and your dog has no ill effects from eating the abalone, you may be able to give your dog more in the future.
Do keep the abalone plain when you cook it. Don’t add butter and seasonings to it since these could upset your dog’s stomach.
To prepare an abalone, you need to clean it thoroughly. Remove the meat from the shell by sliding a spatula or other flat tool between the abalone and the shell. Then remove the guts, viscera, and skin.
Many people like to pan-fry the meat in oil. You can also steam the abalone.
If you are giving the abalone to your dog, keep it simple. Don’t add any seasonings.
How often can you give your dog abalone?
If you give your dog abalone once and it goes well, you could try it again in a week. Allow enough time after the first meal to make sure he doesn’t have an upset stomach from the food. This is an expensive food so you really don’t need to give it to your dog very often. Consider it a special treat.
Abalone is usually considered a luxury food around the world despite the fact that humans have been eating it for eons. It has to be harvested underwater by hand so it is expensive whether the abalone comes from the wild or is farm-raised. It’s also very nutritious. There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t let your dog have some occasionally. We recommend cooking the abalone before sharing it with your dog. Keep it plain. Make sure you buy from trusted sources.