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Can Dogs Eat Clam Chowder? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQs

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat_clam chowder

Can Dogs Eat Clam Chowder? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQs


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If you have prepared a hearty bowl of clam chowder, you will undoubtedly notice your dog’s nostrils flaring and tail wagging at the irresistible smell. And while it’s cold out, you may wonder if it’s okay for your companion to enjoy a bowl of clam chowder with you.

Basic clam chowder is safe for your dog in small quantities, and clams can be a healthy addition to your dog’s meal. However, if the dish includes onion or garlic, sharing your clam chowder with your dog is off the table.

divider-pawWhat Is Clam Chowder?

Clam Chowder is a dish developed in the Northeastern United States. It piqued the interest of French and British settlers in the region looking for ways to use the vast number of clams they discovered while fishing out at sea. New England clam chowder is the most common variety.

It is a popular winter dish, cooked in fireplaces and stovetops as a hearty soup. Other common ingredients include diced potatoes, bacon, onions, and clams. Manhattan clam chowder is a variation that uses a tomato-based sauce instead of cream and potatoes.

Can Dogs Eat Clam Chowder?

Typically, dogs shouldn’t consume human food because their bodies are different, and they may react differently. The main ingredients in clam chowder (New England) are clams, bacon, flour, milk, and potatoes. While none of these ingredients are hazardous to dogs, some elements, like garlic and onion, are highly toxic.

Your dog can enjoy the leftovers in your bowl with no problem, as long as there is no garlic and onion. You may not know the ingredients if you have bought clam chowder from a restaurant or store. Clams can benefit your dog’s health, so if you want to feed your dog clam chowder, you should make your own up at home, so you are in control of the ingredients and the portions.

Clam Chowder
Image Credit: JumpStory

Is Clam Chowder Safe?

The question of safety when feeding your dog clam chowder will depend on the ingredients. Clams are safe for dogs and can be beneficial to their health. They are a great source of protein and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Clams are part of the marine and freshwater mollusk family. They filter the water they live in, and some of the filtered toxins may collect in the clam’s tissues. Cooking, unfortunately, doesn’t get rid of these toxins.

This is extremely unlikely, but there is a chance that the clams you feed your dog may contain trace amounts of metals. Heavy metals such as mercury have been found in clams from Asian waters. These heavy metals can negatively impact a dog’s health in large quantities. Some dogs may be allergic to clams or other types of seafood. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:

Signs of an allergic reaction may include:
  • Stomach pain
  • Obsessive licking
  • Running eyes and nose
  • Skin or ear infection
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • In severe cases, anaphylactic shock


Potatoes are safe for dogs, but any potato fed to a dog must be cooked. You should also limit their intake because of the high levels of starch.

Clam Chowder
Image Credit: JumpStory


Bacon is safe for dogs in small amounts. The only concern with bacon is the salt content, but the amount of bacon used in clam chowder is usually minimal.


Milk is safe in small quantities. Milk is high in natural fats, but too much can lead to pancreatitis or obesity. Flour is mixed with the milk to create the chowder sauce, and it is safe for dogs.

Seasoning & Spices

Some of the common seasonings used to prepare clam chowder include onion and garlic, which are both toxic to dogs, even in powdered forms. They contain a substance called N-propyl disulfide, which is harmful to red blood cells. Signs can appear quickly or slowly over several days. Warning signs to look out for are:

Warning signs to look out for are:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Pale Gums
  • Hypersalivation
  • Increased heart rate

If your dog presents any of these symptoms, get to your vet immediately.  It’s hard to tell how much of this ingredient goes into the clam chowder recipes, so it’s best to avoid giving it to your dog.

a border collie dog looking sick covered with blanket on couch
Image Credit: Lindsay Helms, Shutterstock

Healthy Alternatives to Clam Chowder

Along with feeding your dog a high-quality, balanced diet, there are some alternatives to feeding your dog clams without the chowder. You can occasionally feed cooked clams as a treat, perhaps while making your clam chowder. Some pet stores manufacture dried clam treats that your dog will love!

You add the goodness of clams to your dog’s diet by adding broth to its meal. Some companies also make meal toppers which are more of a sauce consistency that you can drizzle on top of your dog’s food. Broths and toppers made for dogs are usually safely prepared and safe to feed your dog.

You could also make a healthy soup for your dog, including other vegetables that are healthy and safe, such as carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, peas, and chicken.

divider-pawSumming Up

Dogs will most likely enjoy the taste of clams and a bowl of hot clam chowder. While most ingredients are safe, too much clam chowder may affect your pup’s health. Clams can benefit your dog but are best given to them as a treat or meal topper in the form of a broth or sauce. If the clam chowder is prepared with onions and garlic, consider it unsafe for your pet. If you want to share your clam chowder with your dog, do so in tiny amounts and prepare your own to ensure you control all the ingredients that go into it.

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