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What Are Scallops?
Scallops are a type of shellfish common in numerous cuisines around the world. The fish is yummy, nutritious, and incredibly easy to prepare.
As with all shellfish varieties, scallop shells are fairly hard and typically inedible. It’s the adductor muscles located inside the shells that are used for food.
Scallops have a slightly sweet and tender taste, and a buttery texture when cooked. Of course, the final taste will depend on the types of seasonings added.
Since scallops are a common item on millions of kitchen shelves around the world, it’s not uncommon to find a pet parent comfortably sharing this shellfish with their dogs. But can dogs really eat scallops?
This article will attempt to answer that question conclusively.
Can Dogs Eat Scallops?
Dogs can eat scallops the same way they can safely eat most seafood.
Scallops are not only yummy and delectable. The shellfish also packs nutrients that your pooch could benefit from. Examples include protein, healthy fats, B-complex vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
But while scallops are generally safe and potentially useful to dogs, the food is best served cooked and in moderation.
Like most seafood, uncooked scallops could harbor harmful microorganisms like bacteria and parasites, as well as heavy metals like mercury. Besides, scallops rank among the top seafood known to cause allergic reactions. There are also choking risks to beware of, among other inherent dangers.
How Might Scallops Benefit Your Dog?
1. Scallops May Aid Weight Loss
Scallops are remarkably high in protein but low in calories. That combination is useful in aiding weight loss.
Protein-rich foods are famous for their filling effects. Adding such foods to your dog’s diet can help control the portions the animal can eat while also keeping hunger pangs at bay.
Protein also has positive effects on metabolism. The nutrient can help your dog burn more energy, resulting in weight loss.
2. Scallops May Promote Overall Growth and Development
The protein content in scallops is not only useful for weight loss. It can also promote normal growth and development.
Protein serves as the building blocks for the development of muscles, bones, skin, hair/fur, tissues, and organs. That makes it the most important nutrient dogs require in their diets.
3. Scallops May Rejuvenate Your Dog’s Skin, Coat, And Fur
Like all seafood, scallops are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids are noted for their positive effects on the skin, coat, and fur.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The compounds can work synergistically to protect your dog from various chronic illnesses, especially anti-inflammatory conditions like skin cancer.
4. Scallops May Improve Your Dog’s Bones
Scallops contain phosphorus and calcium, minerals that support the formation and development of healthy bones.
Calcium is particularly useful in promoting stronger teeth while phosphorus plays a role in enhancing bone density.
Feeding scallops to your dog occasionally is a proactive way of keeping osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases at bay.
5. Scallops May Promote a Healthy Heart
Scallops are high in nutrients that can promote a healthy heart. Notable ones include potassium and magnesium.
Both potassium and magnesium play a huge role in dilating constricted blood vessels. Expanding narrowed arteries has direct positive effects on blood pressure.
Note that high blood pressure is a major risk for heart disease. Therefore, it’s easy to see why scallops or any food rich in potassium and magnesium can protect your dog’s heart.
6. Scallops May Boost Your Dog’s Cognitive Function
Scallops are also loaded with nutrients that could aid the development of your dog’s brain and nervous system. Examples include vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
These nutrients can boost your dog’s brain’s performance by inducing neurogenesis (the regeneration of damaged neurons). That might help boost various aspects of cognitive functioning, including attention span, memory, and learning abilities.
How Might Scallops Hurt Your Dog?
a) Scallops May Cause Allergic Reactions
Various types of seafood can cause allergies in humans and carnivorous pets alike. And scallops are no exception. In fact, reports indicate that many dog breeds are allergic to scallops.
Scallop allergy in dogs will likely present as gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion. Your dog may also exhibit one or more of the following symptoms;
• Localized or generalized hives
• Skin paleness
• Swollen tongue and lips
• Tight throat and difficulty swallowing
• Respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and sneezing
• Drowsiness and disorientation
Depending on the quantities of scallops consumed relative to your dog’s age and body mass, the animal could go into anaphylactic shock.
b) Scallops May Harbor Pathogens
Raw scallops will almost always harbor pathogens, including bacteria, parasites, and even viruses. Ingesting these microorganisms could cause life-threatening infections.
Common bacteria you’ll find in uncooked scallops include Salmonella spp, Escherichia coli, and Shigella. Parasites often found in raw scallops include tapeworms, roundworms, and trematodes. As for viruses, you can expect astrovirus, norovirus, and parvoviridae.
c) Scallops May Accumulate Heavy Metals
Heavy metals are another problem with seafood like scallops. Depending on their natural habitat, these shellfish may accumulate mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium.
Long-term exposure to heavy metals is linked to certain cancers and organ failure. The situation is bleaker when you consider that your dog has no way of excreting these compounds from his body.
d) Scallops May Present Choking Hazards
Scallop muscles commonly used for food are soft and digestible for most dogs. But we cannot say the same about the shell.
Attempting to swallow scallop shells might cause choking and intestinal blockage. The shell could also splinter and tear through your dog’s alimentary canal.
What’s The Best Way to Prepare Scallops for Dogs?
Removing scallop shells is the first step in preparing this shellfish for your canine friend.
Rinsing scallops in clean water helps remove dirt and dust from the fish’s skin. It may also eliminate certain chemicals.
This is the most important step in preparing kratom for dogs. As we’ve already pointed out, dogs should never eat raw scallops.
But perhaps the key thing to note here is that there are multiple ways to cook scallops for human consumption. Unfortunately, some of those cooking methods could be harmful if preparing the fish for your dog.
The best way to cook scallops for dogs is to boil or steam the fish. Avoid using excess fat, butter, salt, or spices in the allium family, such as onions and garlic.
Fat and butter can cause unhealthy weight gain while also predisposing your dog to lifestyle diseases like obesity and heart disease. Excess salt can lead to sodium poisoning in dogs, a condition that may damage the animal’s kidneys. Lastly, onion and garlic might cause Heinz-body anemia in dogs, a type of hemolytic anemia marked by the destruction of red blood cells.
Once the scallop is ready, chop the food into small pieces and serve it to your dog either as a standalone meal or mix it into his regular food.
Just be sure to begin with the lowest portions possible, increasing the serving amounts gradually and in small increments.
Dogs can safely eat scallops. The shellfish contains numerous nutrients that your pooch might find useful. However, scallops are only safe for dogs if cooked and served as an occasional snack.