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 Are Shellfish Added?
To fill specific nutrient gaps, certain types of shellfish are added to DIY raw diets. Feeding an animal source ensures that the nutrients are most bioavailable. Certain shellfish, such as green-lipped mussels (GLM), are not provided for essential nutrients but for their health properties.
What Shellfish 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 Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a worldwide "protozoan parasite that infects humans and other warm-blooded animals." The organisms are killed with heat at 67°C (152.6°F). Therefore, any mussel or oyster should be steamed or boiled before being fed to eliminate the risk. No shells or half shells usually indicate they are cooked. And remember to remove the shell before feeding.
How To Feed
As mentioned earlier, shellfish are used to fill specific nutrient gaps. To learn more about nutrient gaps and ratio diets, click here.
∙ Oysters: Highest whole foods source of 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 fed for joint health and do not often factor into essential nutrients.
Shellfish are regularly found in supermarkets, Asian markets, and online raw suppliers. They will need to be cooked before feeding if purchased in the whole shell (raw) or alive. Pre-cooked shellfish can be bought 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 around.
Sensitivities & Allergies
Shellfish sensitivities and allergies are widespread amongst pets. Many supplement alternatives supply essential nutrients if you suspect your dog has shellfish sensitivity or allergies.
For zinc (oysters), Zinc Picolinate or Zinc Chelate can be used. Tripe can substitute for blue/black mussels (manganese), or a supplement such as Solgar Chelated Manganese 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 location. If unable to source for whatever reason, there are always supplements to rely upon.
Shellfish may seem like an odd addition to the bowl but have unique uses. With any new food, introduce it slowly and source as high-quality as possible. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!