Most of us probably see octopus on television or in an aquarium. A few people may see them in the ocean. But octopus does appear on the menu in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. You can also find it served in some Mexican areas along the Gulf of Mexico. Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii. Similar in taste to lobster and squid, it’s a favorite with some people who enjoy seafood. What about dogs? Can dogs eat octopus? Let’s find out.
Like other seafood, octopus is low in calories and it’s are a good source of lean protein. It’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that’s good for your dog’s heart, skin, coat, and brain.
Octopus is also a good source of taurine which is good for the heart.
In general, 3 ounces of octopus (85 grams) contains 11 percent carbohydrates, 11 percent fats, and 78 percent protein.
It’s low in saturated fat and it’s a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It’s a good source of vitamin B12, iron, copper, and selenium. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium.
On the other hand, octopus is high in cholesterol and sodium.
Three ounces of octopus contains just 139 calories. It has 3.7 grams of carbohydrates and 1.8 grams of fat. It has 25.3 grams of protein.
You can see that octopus is loaded with nutrients.
For people who are concerned about mercury in seafood, the American Pregnancy Association lists octopus as having a low mercury level for sushi. The Environmental Defense Fund lists it as having a moderate level.
There is some controversy over eating octopus because some research has indicated that octopus feel pain.
In 2010, South Korean health officials charged that octopus heads contained dangerously high levels of the heavy metal cadmium. “After conducting their own tests, officials from South Korea’s Food and Drug Administration declared that it was safe to eat as many as two octopuses a day, heads and all.” Government officials recommended that customers remove the internal organs and ink sac to reduce any risk of problems.
Just to be safe, it’s best not to eat octopus while they are still alive. Eating live octopus is considered a delicacy in some countries. They can fight back which can lead to choking. The octopus purchased from fish markets and most other online sources are definitely already dead – whether they are fresh or frozen.
Can Dogs Have Octopus?
Yes, dogs can eat octopus if it’s cooked such as by boiling or steaming. You should not give your dog octopus that is breaded or fried since this method of preparing food can be harmful to your dog. Fried foods contain fats and salts that are bad for dogs. Grilled octopus would also be a suitable way to prepare the food for your dog as long as there are no spices or sauces involved.
If you have a puppy and you want to give him some octopus, it’s best to introduce a small amount very slowly. If you see any indication that the food disagrees with your puppy, stop feeding it.
In some countries octopus is eaten raw. However, it is not recommended to feed your dog raw octopus. Raw octopus is not one of the most dangerous foods when it comes to food poisoning but it can present other problems. A study in Greece in 2006 found a bacteria associated with urinary tract infections in some raw octopus. Another bacteria that has been associated with the canine disease called “Alabama Rot,” especially in the UK, was found in a large percentage of the octopus in the Greek study.
Octopus is also sold in cans and in dried form. Both of these forms can contain sodium, preservatives, and other ingredients that could be harmful to your dog.
How Much Octopus Can You Give Your Dog?
Only give your dog octopus in moderation. While it is a wonderful source of protein and other nutrients when prepared safely, it’s a very exotic food for most dogs. If you give your dog more than a small amount it can lead to digestive upset, especially if your dog isn’t accustomed to it.
It’s also possible for dogs to have an allergic reaction to octopus, especially if they are allergic to other seafood. If your dog has this kind of cross reaction, see your veterinarian immediately. If you keep Benadryl or other allergy medication in your home, you may need to use it.
Signs of a food allergy in dogs include:
- Red, inflamed skin
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eye lids
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
These symptoms would likely appear shortly after your dog eats the octopus. If your dog has an acute reaction, call your veterinarian right away.
Symptoms of a food sensitivity, which is slightly different, usually manifest as gastrointestinal problems:
- Belching, burping
- Loose stools
These problems should disappear after your dog expels the offending food.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Octopus?
Octopus is fairly expensive. We found it online for about $7.18 per pound with an average weight of the octopus 3.06 pounds for a cost of $21.97 each. That’s for octopus that was previously frozen, sustainably wild caught using eco-friendly catch methods. Expect fresh octopus to cost much more. The price alone might determine whether you want to buy it for your dog since it is costly. It might be something that you save for a very special occasion.
If money is no object and you have lots of octopus at home, as long as octopus agrees with your dog you could let him have a small amount once or twice per week.
If you love octopus, only share it with your dog if it’s boiled, steamed, or grilled without any added salt or spices. This is one food that it’s best not to give to your dog raw because of some of the bacteria that sometimes exists with it. A little goes a long way with octopus. This is a very exotic food for most dogs. Even if it’s prepared well, only give your dog a small amount until you see if he can eat it without any ill effects. If your dog has an allergy to other seafood it is possible that he could be allergic to octopus as well. Contact your veterinarian right away if your dog has an allergic reaction.