I’ve always been a bit of a seafood buff. My mom loves to tell a story about how I would gobble up crab meat faster than my parents could shell it as a toddler. I was lucky to enjoy fresh crab, shrimp, scallops, and even my fair share of mussels growing up.
It was almost always for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s, so never once did I even consider if my dog could enjoy the same delicacies I looked forward to.
It turns out that when properly prepared, mussels are not only safe, but beneficial to dogs.
Benefits of Mussels for Dogs
Green Lipped Mussels have a green hue around the edge of their shell (aka the “lip”). They are the largest mussel and can only be found near New Zealand. They have been used in New Zealand for years because of the health benefits they offer, but their appearance in Western diets of both humans and dogs is much more recent.
The Omega-3s and other fatty acids commonly found in mussels are the source for many of the health benefits that these shellfish offer. The high concentration of of Omega fatty acids give mussels pain reducing properties and the glucosamine and chondroitin found in these shellfish help reduce inflammation. Because of these properties mussels are useful for pets who may be suffering from joint problems such as arthritis. Mussels can also be used as a preventative to help prevent your dog from experiencing these joint problems later in life. They pair very nicely with glucosamine supplements and fish oil.
Your dog’s joints will not be the only thing that improves or is supported with mussels. These same fatty acids help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. A healthy skin and coat will keep your dog feeling soft while also reducing any irritations or itching that they may experience. Introducing Omega-3s into Ralph’s diet when we first adopted him made a HUGE difference.
Mussels are also considering to be a superfood because they contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes on top of the the Omega-3s. All in all they are a great supplement to be adding to your dog’s diet.
Because mussels are a natural food source, there are no negative side effects unless you are allergic to shellfish of course. And if so, I would steer clear of mussels and other shellfish!
How to Feed Mussels to Dogs
Mussels are safely available for dogs in a variety of different forms.
Fresh or Frozen
When thawed, these can be added directly to your dog’s meals. Just remove the meaty part from the shell and serve. If you aren’t comfortable feeding raw mussels, then you can steam the mussels prior to giving them to your dog. This requires a bit of freezer space and can get costly depending on where you live or what season it is.
Some dogs who are a bit pickier with their food choices may not willingly eat raw or cooked mussels. If you have a dog like that, then you might want to consider one of these other options.
Another common option is to add a bit of Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) Powder to your dog’s meals. The powder is just a converted form of the raw mussel, so it still has the same health benefits. Currently, there are many different GLM powder options on the market today. Before purchasing one for your dog, make sure all the ingredients are pet safe.
If you are looking for a super easy way to introduce mussels into your dog’s diet or if you think your dog would prefer them as more of a treat, then freeze-dried mussels might be the way you want to go.
Last year one of our favorite brands – The Honest Kitchen – launched a brand new functional treat product called Nice Mussels. They even sent the pups a sample to try. When I received our sample package, I was intrigued. I had heard of GLM Powder and knew it could be beneficial to dogs, but I never once considered feeding my dogs whole mussels raw or freeze-dried.
The first thought that crossed my mind was – Will my dogs eat these? The short answer is yes. They gobble them up.
Although I have heard reports that the dogs of some pet blogging friends were not big fans. I think mussels are just that kind of food. Some people and dogs just love them while others would rather leave them. Perhaps it’s the pungent smell or the slightly odd texture. If you dog is picky, you could crush the freeze-dried mussels over their meal or look into the GLM powder which might be more palpable and easier to hide among the rest of their meal.
Nice Mussels are an even mix of freeze-dried blue and green lipped mussels that originate on the shores of New Zealand. The Honest Kitchen perused these new single ingredient treats because they are a natural protein-rich source of Omega-3s, which means they will help support your dog’s healthy skin and coat. Just like all The Honest Kitchen products, these treats are human grade!
With all the health benefits that mussels can offer dogs, the answer is yes. Yes, dogs can eat mussels and one might argue that they should. No matter which method of mussels fits your lifestyle best, adding them to your dog’s diet will help keep them happy and healthy.
Disclaimer: I was sent a bag of Nice Mussels free to spread the word about The Honest Kitchen’s Nice Mussels. Affiliate links are used in this post and I may receive a commission if you click and/or purchase from the link to help support this blog. Don’t worry! These links do not affect the price of products. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.