• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

A Guide To Shellfish In Raw Diets

Shellfish such as oysters, blue mussels, green-lipped mussels, and more are commonly fed in a raw diet. But there are a few essential points to understand before adding shellfish into the bowl.

Why Is Shellfish Added?

Certain types of shellfish are added to DIY raw diets to fill certain nutrient gaps. Feeding an animal source ensures that the nutrients are most bioavailable. Certain shellfish, such as green-lipped mussels (GLM), are not fed for essential nutrients but rather their health properties.

What Shellfish Is OK To Feed?

The most common shellfish fed are oysters, blue/black mussels, and green-lipped mussels. Other types may be fed but are less common.


All shellfish must be cooked before feeding. Shellfish can be susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii infection. Therefore, any mussel or oyster should be steamed/boiled before being fed to eliminate the risk. If mussels are out of the shell or in the half-shell, they will already be cooked. Remove the shell before feeding.

How To Feed

As mentioned earlier, shellfish are used to fill certain nutrient gaps. To learn more about nutrient gaps and ratio diets, click here.

  • Oysters: These are high in zinc. Oysters contain 25 mg of zinc per 1oz (28g).

  • Black/Blue Mussels: These mussels are very similar in nutrients and are used to fulfill manganese requirements. They contain 1.0mg of manganese per 1oz (28g)

  • Green-Lipped Mussels (GLM): GLM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They are usually fed for joint health and do not often factor into essential nutrients.


Shellfish can be found regularly in supermarkets, Asian markets, and online raw suppliers. If purchased in the whole shell (raw) or alive, they will need to be cooked before feeding. Pre-cooked shellfish can be purchased and fed immediately. Canned oysters can be easily found online or in grocery stores. Ensure that there are no flavorings, tomato, onion, garlic, etc. and that the sodium content is under 150mg per 4oz (114g) or close to that.

Sensitivities & Allergies

Shellfish sensitivities/allergies are very common amongst pets. If you suspect your dog has shellfish sensitivities/allergies, there are many supplement alternatives to supply essential nutrients.

For zinc (oysters), Zinc Picolinate or Zinc Chelate can be used. For blue/black mussels (manganese), tripe can substitute, or this Solgar Chelated Manganese supplement can be fed.

Shellfish are an easy animal addition to help fill in nutrient gaps. However, they can be hard to source and expensive, depending on the season. If you can't source them for whatever reason, there are always supplements to rely on.

Shellfish may seem like an odd addition to the bowl, but they have their unique uses. With any new food, make sure to introduce slowly and source as high-quality as possible.