Yes, even if clams are safe for your dog, there are some issues you need to be aware of such as poisoning, ingestion of heavy metals and clamshells.
Clams belong to the family of bivalve molluscs, meaning, they are filter feeders. This means that clams also eat or absorb noxious substances called dinoflagellates, which, unfortunately, are not destroyed even in high heat.
In case your dog eats clams that have a high concentration of dinoflagellates, your dog will suffer from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). This type of poison is believed to be deadlier than cyanide.
For some, the effects are immediate, while for others, the symptoms are seen 2 to 3 hours after eating clams such as:
It’s worth noting that these are rare occurrences, and this is why it is safer if you only buy clams from reputable sellers.
Ingestion Of Heavy Metals
Though rare, there is a small probability that the clams that you feed to your fur baby contain unsafe levels of heavy metals.
Clams harvested from waters of the Asia-Pacific region are said to contain heavy metals like mercury. If ingested in large amounts frequently by your fur baby, this can cause damage to its nervous and cardiovascular systems, kidneys, and digestive tract.
Common signs of mercury poisoning can include:
- Abnormal behavior and chewing
- Abdominal pain
- Tremors, or full body shakes
Ingestion Of Clamshells
As we said earlier, one of the things you have to avoid is giving clamshells to your dog.
Depending on the size, small clamshells eaten by your dog would probably be excreted in the stool, so no harm done. However, if the size of the ingested clamshells is large, say the whole clamshell, then this could lead to blockage in the intestinal tract.
Worse, if the clamshells have sharp and uneven edges as this could lead to irritation and damage of the intestinal lining, causing ulcers.
In case you cannot take your dog to the vet clinic right away, soothe your dog’s stomach by giving fiber-rich food like banana and oatmeal. Fiber will allow the stool to soften and increase the chances of the clamshells getting excreted.