In a food-first approach, we want to meet our dog’s nutritional needs through food, before supplements.
One oyster meets my 20 pound Boston Terrier’s zinc requirements for that meal.
Bioavailability: Oysters have the highest amount of zinc. Zinc is absorbed from food up to 6 times more than if it’s from chelate.
Oysters are the best way to add zinc to your dog’s diet but it must be cooked. Dehydrating it at 155 degrees or cooking it – makes takes care of this issue.
Raw Or Cooked?
Frozen oysters are extremely cheap when you find them at your Asian store. They are $13 for a bag that has 60 oysters. But most of the time they are coming from Korea. So in this case I recommend you cook your oysters instead of feeding them raw even though they do not have thiaminase. Learn all about thiaminase HERE.
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I used the Cosori Dehydrator:
- What I love about it: It has a timer and variable temperature setting
- What I learned the hard way: ALWAYS use the mesh tray when drying oysters. If you don’t the oysters fall through the cracks and don’t dry as well.
Caution Feeding Oysters
In spite of this article teaching you how to dehydrate oysters, I do want to mention that not all dogs do well with shellfish. Some have adverse reactions that become apparent either immediately or within a few hours. These adverse reactions look similar to allergies:
- Redness around their muzzle
- Redness on their bellies
- Licking paws
- Throwing up
- Soft stool
What Happens If You Don’t Feed Enough Zinc?
Deficiency: Anorexia, decreased growth, alopecia, parakeratosis, impaired reproduction, vomiting, hair depigmentation, conjunctivitis
Another scenario occurs when you feed too much copper-yielding liver but don’t feed enough zinc. In this case, dogs will have persistent diarrhea, skin issues occur, hyperkeratosis develops, infections can happen and behavioral issues pop up.
These dehydrated oysters are a practical way to prepare oysters so that meal prep is easy. Oysters provide a whole food source for zinc and copper. Drying time will take less than 24 hours but keep in mind that your kitchen may very well smell like the ocean during that time.
Thaw out oysters
Your oysters will be frozen from the grocery store. Let them thaw out overnight in your fridge.
Arrange oysters in dehydrator
Oysters will droop through the grates so it's best you use a silicone tray that has smaller holes or no holes so that the oysters remain intact. Be sure to use coconut oil to grease the tray first.
Dry at 130 degrees for 24 hours
They should be crispy when they are done. Some climates might require a longer drying time up to 36 hours.
Dry at 155 degrees for 1 hour
Dry the last hour at 155 degrees to fully cook the oysters.
Store in the fridge
Store the dried oysters in either pyrex or plastic container in the fridge.
Your kitchen will smell like the ocean.