Can Dogs Eat Calamari?

By John Martin - June 3, 2022

Fried Calamari

Sometimes we want to give our dogs fancy treats and that’s not a bad thought. But when you want to give foods that are typically meant for human consumption, there are a few things to consider.

Obviously, dogs don’t have the same digestive systems as humans. It’s not as simple as whether they are more delicate or not.

With respect to calamari, here’s what you should know.

What’s in Typical Calamari Dishes?

The word ‘calamari’ is Italian and it’s just another name for squid. In the US, it is typically consumed as an appetizer in bars and restaurants for humans.

So, the dishes are deep-fried and gently battered. Sometimes, it is a side dish or small addition to rice dishes, pasta, soups and more.

It is created with the tentacles and rings of a squid that are then sauteed, grilled or deep-fried.

Common ingredients used to make fried calamari:

  • Baking powder
  • Black pepper
  • Buttermilk or milk
  • Calamari tubes or rings
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chopped parsley
  • Cornstarch
  • Dry oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Flour
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil (to fry)

You can clearly see that in about 30 ounces of calamari, there is about 6 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, about 150 calories and 360 mg of sodium.

This might be great news for humans who like dirty fried food but it can be a problem for dogs.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Cornstarch?

Advantages of Giving Calamari to Your Dog

Now, calamari in some forms is not without its advantages. So, let’s take a look at what we are getting ourselves and our canines into.

The important thing to remember here is how much calamari you are feeding your dog, how is it made and how often are you giving them this treat.

Low in Calories

In some forms, calamari does not have a lot of calories or fats, which can be good for dogs.

In these cases, that’s about 9 percent fat, which is a good thing, especially if you are trying to contain obesity in your dogs.

High in Protein

Calamari also has about 30 percent pure protein, which is a great thing if you are looking at balancing the amino acids in your dog.

Calamari can clearly be a good source of protein that helps your canine build and maintain muscle mass.

In fact, dogs that are very active and large in size can actually benefit from this addition to their diet.

Good Source of Omega-3s

We’ve mentioned earlier that calamari is low in fat content, but it does have omega-3 fatty acids, which are good.

Just about 3.5 ounces of calamari contains 0.02 ounces of omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for healthy skin and joints and heart health.

Could Prevent Cancer

Calamari also has a lot of antioxidants which is a good thing in the fight against free radicals which cause aging and the problems that come with it, not to mention cancer.

They increase the white blood cell count in the body which gives the immune system a good boost.

Lots of Minerals

Calamari also has a lot of zinc, copper and iron, which are all essential minerals for the body.

Minerals like copper and iron are important in the formation of healthy red blood cells.

Copper is also good for blood vessels, the immune system, bones and nerves and has an important role to play in the fight against anemia.

Zinc is important when it comes to gene and DNA expression, healing wounds quickly and proper cell division in the body.

All of these are excellent properties that you want your dog to have. But as mentioned in the beginning, it is important to watch how much calamari you are giving your dog and in which form.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Durian?

Problems with Giving Your Dog Calamari

It is important to answer those questions because a lot of times, the calamari humans eat is extremely processed.

That means it can contain a lot of salt or cause allergies or toxicity. Here’s what you need to know on that front.

High Sodium Levels May Lead to Salt Poisoning

Fried calamari, which is the most common dish, is an easy one to eat, not just for us but for our dogs too.

They will easily finish off about three ounces of it. That might not seem like a problem but just that much fried calamari contains about 260 mg of sodium.

And dogs can handle only about 0.05 ounces of salt for every 3.5 ounces of their body weight. So, if they get more than that in just one serving of calamari, you can’t give them anything else.

Ideally, they should be getting this salt from food that is healthy and balanced. If they get more than what they can handle, it can cause sodium poisoning.

Symptoms of salt poisoning include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excess urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Loss in appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Swollen tongue and lips
  • Tachycardia (or unusual increase in heart rate)
  • Vomiting
  • Walking with a limp
  • Weakness in the body

In severe cases, it could lead to

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Seizures

If you see any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten a lot of calamari, you should take them to a vet as quickly as possible.

Sodium poisoning is not something to take lightly and it requires swift medical attention.

Usually, vets conduct a physical exam, urinalysis and blood tests which will reveal the sodium levels in your dog’s body.

Sometimes, a cardiac exam is also conducted through:

  • CT scan
  • EKG to measure the electrical pulses in the heart
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays or radiographs

If the vet concludes that your canine has suffered sodium poisoning, they might recommend fluid therapy via IV and give oxygen and electrolytes to make sure the dog is not dehydrated.

High-Fat Content May Lead to Pancreatitis

Fried calamari is also very rich in fats and not the good kind. The dish has a lot of saturated fat too which doesn’t make it any better.

Since dogs are not meant to eat food that is high in fat content, this sudden intake will upset their system.

What it does is it causes inflammation in the pancreas, which not only causes a lot of pain to the canine but might also lead to pancreatitis.

If you suspect that your dog might have pancreatitis, you should look for symptoms like:

  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Regular diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Calamari is bad for dogs in general, but it might be worse for dogs that are obese or part of a weight management program because the calories will derail them from the plan like nothing else.

About 150 calories is a lot when it comes to dogs. And diarrhea might also be the result of eating fat like they are not used to.

There are certain dogs that should always avoid a diet with a high-fat content. That is applicable to dogs with conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • High-fat content in the blood
  • Pancreatitis

High in Carbs and Bad for the Digestive System

Dogs are carnivores and as such, they don’t need a lot of carbs in their system.

So, their diet should have a lot of good fats and protein but not so many carbohydrates.

And guess what is high in carbs? Ding, ding, ding! Calamari, when it is fried with flour and vegetable oil.

They also don’t have the enzyme that breaks down starch in food. The enzyme is called amylase and is usually in the saliva but not for dogs.

So when you give them fried calamari, the digestive system gets overwhelmed and can cause a lot of health problems like obesity, diabetes and possibly cancer too.


There are many ways of preparing calamari.

You could fry it, grill it, steam and boil it. But no matter how you do it, the nutritional profile gets depleted to a point where not much of it is useful to the canine system.

So, you could give it in its raw form to your dog if you want to reap the benefits. But it does come with the risk of parasitic infections, not to mention allergies.

Dogs that consume seafood can also experience diarrhea, vomiting and constipation.

Needless to say, none of that is a good end result.

Could Be Toxic

It’s also important to remember that seafood like calamari contains a lot of mercury, which is not good even for humans.

But in dogs, the presence of toxic metals apart from mercury is worse because they can cause behavioral as well as neurological problems.

It can lead to issues like insomnia, emotional instability, headaches and convulsions.

So, if you think your dog has had too much mercury, you must get them tested and treated appropriately.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Mustard?

The Bottom Line

Calamari is delicious in most forms. And while it is a great snack for humans, the same does not apply to dogs.

It could cause allergies, lead to toxicity, sodium poisoning and behavioral problems too.

Whatever health benefits might come of it are quite limited and not worth the risk.