Lobsters have played an important role in the human diet since prehistoric times. They have been included in cookbooks since the middle ages. For many people today, lobster is a delicacy because of the price. Can dogs eat lobster? Yes, dogs can eat lobster but only a small amount for several reasons. Read on and we’ll tell you more about the pros and cons of giving your dog lobster.
Many of us drool over a lobster main course, with a cup of butter on the side. But how healthy is that lobster (minus the butter)? You’ll be glad to know that North American lobster, and related species, is very good for you. And, it can be good for your dog – in small amounts.
North American lobster is made up of 89 percent protein, 6 percent carbohydrates, and 5 percent fats. It’s a very good source of protein, zinc, copper, and selenium. And, it’s a good source of vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s also low in saturated fat.
On the down side, it’s high in sodium and very high in cholesterol.
Lobster has an estimated glycemic load of 2.
One lobster (145 grams) has just 142 calories but it contains more than half of your daily recommended serving of protein.
So, lobster is a source of lean protein even though it’s high in cholesterol. Some of the fat in lobster is in the form of long chain fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which may protect the heart. These fatty acids are also good for growing puppies who need them for brain and eye development.
These long chain fatty acids may also reduce inflammation and help prevent atherosclerosis.
The copper and selenium in lobster are also important. Copper helps with energy and DNA production. Selenium is an anti-cancer agent that can help protect against chronic degenerative diseases. Selenium is also good for people with autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Lobster is also rich in all essential amino acids for humans. This makes lobster one of the best of all protein sources.
High protein foods, such as lobster, may also help you feel full and assist in weight loss. Your body actually burns more calories while processing protein than it does when processing fats or carbs.
Diets that are rich in DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in lobster, may have a lower risk of health problems associated with the brain and mental health later in life. DHA and omega-3 fatty acids found in lobster may help lower the risk of stroke, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
The B12 in lobster may also help with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
There are concerns about eating lobster. It is high in cholesterol. The cholesterol in lobster increases both LDL and HDL so it maintains the same balance without making it worse (or better). But about ¼ of people are sensitive to cholesterol so eating lobster could be bad for them. More studies are needed.
Lobster goes bad quickly so it must be handled and cooked with care. Raw or undercooked lobster can make you ill. It is especially susceptible to bacteria such as Vibrio species, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella species, and Shigella species. Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps, and headaches.
If you are eating or cooking lobster, make sure that you boil or steam it completely.
Allergic reactions do occur among humans and they can occur in dogs. The major allergen in lobsters is the protein tropomyosin. This is the same protein found in other crustaceans and mollusks so if you or your dog have had a reaction to another kind of seafood, you can expect a similar reaction to lobster.
If you are concerned about heavy metals in seafood, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies lobster as a low mercury food. They consider it safe to eat two or three servings of lobster per week.
Can Dogs Have Lobster?
Cooked lobster can be very nutritious for your dog, in small amounts. It’s a very good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and phosphorus.
Lobster is sometimes included as an ingredient in kibble and canned dog food. You can also give it to your dog as a special treat. Lobster usually appears slightly more often as an ingredient in canned cat food than in dog foods.
Like other raw seafood, raw lobster can carry bacteria and parasites so you always need to boil or steam it before sharing any with your dog.
Lobster does tend to be high in sodium. Approximately 5 percent of the lobster is made up of sodium. If you plan to give your dog any lobster, make sure you don’t add any other salty foods to his diet on that day. He should have plenty of fresh water available.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the mean level of mercury in North American lobster is 0.107 parts per million. This is considered to be a safe level of mercury and compares favorably to many other kinds of seafood.
As with humans, it’s also possible that a small percentage of dogs can be allergic to shellfish. If you give your dog lobster you should watch carefully for any signs of an allergic reaction. If you notice any side effects, contact your veterinarian right away. Keep in mind that with a true allergy your dog won’t have a reaction to something the first time he eats it. However, his immune system may react after eating the food at a later time.
Can Dogs Eat Lobster Shells?
No, dogs cannot and should not eat lobster shells. The shells can be a choking hazard for your dog. Some of the shells can be very hard and sharp when broken so they could be dangerous to your dog’s esophagus and gastrointestinal system when he swallows them.
If you have lobster shells in your trash, be sure to put them away so that your dog cannot get to them. If your dog does manage to chew or eat lobster shells, watch for any signs of discomfort. Contact your veterinarian if your dog is in distress.
How Much Lobster Can You Give Your Dog?
Unless you live on the coast and you’re catching your own fresh lobster, most of us have to pay a pretty penny for lobster of any kind. At the time of this writing (June 2021), you can buy good fresh Maine lobster meat starting at $44.50 per pound with a 2-pound minimum. Prices generally range from $35/pound to $120/pound . That means that cost alone may keep you from giving your dog a lot of lobster, even if he loves it.
If money is no object, you can give your dog a couple of bites of lobster meat that have been cooked in plain water.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Lobster?
Because of the cholesterol and sodium that come along with lobster (and make it tasty), it’s best not to give your dog lobster very often. Once per week would be often enough to give your dog this delicious treat (the meat only) as long as he doesn’t have any signs of an allergic reaction or any problems digesting it.
Most dogs love lobster. It’s about 9/10 protein – and one of the very best sources of protein available because of the amino acid profile. It also has omega-3 fatty acids and some good vitamins and minerals. If you want to give some to your dog occasionally, make sure you cook the lobster thoroughly (boiling or steamed in most cases); and don’t give your dog the shell since it can be a dangerous choking hazard. Your dog will love you for it. But don’t give your dog too much lobster. It is high in sodium and cholesterol. Consider it a luxury item.