If you are a pet owner, you’ve probably been tempted quite a few times to give your dog the scraps off your plate, at the end of a meal. However, it’s important to be aware that dogs have different food preparation requirements from humans. While there are some snacks that you and your furry friend can enjoy together, when it comes to food like shrimp, it should be approached with caution.
So can dogs eat shrimp? Yes, dogs can eat shrimp in small amounts if it is cooked plain. One of the best ways to serve shrimp to your dogs is by steaming it. Fried and breaded shrimp should be avoided at all costs since it contains oils and fats that can be harmful to your fluffy friend.
Although shrimp is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, it is also high in cholesterol. So this means that it is occasionally a healthy treat for your dog and too much can lead to some toxic levels of cholesterol in your canine’s diet. So keep reading as we discuss some of the benefits of feeding shrimp to Fido in moderate amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?
Have you ever wondered if your dog can eat raw shrimp? Well, unfortunately, raw shrimp should be avoided at all costs. This is because uncooked shrimp contains dangerous pathogens that can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
It’s also a wise idea to totally remove the shell from the shrimp as it may present a choking hazard and cause obstructions especially when it comes to tiny breeds of dog. Steamed shrimp, on the other hand, is best for a dog since this is when it is in its most natural form, or at least without unhealthy fats, oils and seasoning.
How Much Shrimp Can Dogs Eat?
When introducing any new food to your dogs’ diet, the key is in moderation. All dogs are not the same and some canines could react in a different way to shrimp than others. So that said, one or two shrimp is adequate for the majority of dogs and it’s a good idea to offer a small piece of a single shrimp to smaller dogs to be on the safe side.
However, if you are planning on introducing shrimp or other types of shellfish to your dog’s diet on a daily basis, it is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian before doing so. They can offer you expert advice regarding the proper quantities that should be served and also advise you of potential health risks of adding shrimp to your furry friend’s diet.
In the event that your dog shows symptoms of illness or intestinal discomfort, you should immediately stop serving him shrimp and contact your vet if the symptoms worsen.
The Risks of Feeding Your Dog Shrimp
As we mentioned earlier, serving steamed shrimp to a dog in small quantities is perfectly acceptable, however, feeding raw shrimp or the tail or shell of a shrimp to a dog can present a lot of health risks. So let’s discuss that a bit more.
Raw shrimp is, unfortunately, a source of all kinds of bacteria including two of the most dreaded kinds called Salmonella and Listeria. Undercooked shrimp has the potential to make your dog sick so in the event that your pooch ever gets a hold of some raw shrimp, ensure that you monitor his symptoms closely and if things seem to be getting out of hand, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Shells and tails of the shrimp present a huge risk for dogs. While lots of people have admitted that their dogs have consumed some shrimp tails and were perfectly fine afterwards, not every pooch may be as lucky. Some tails and shells could cause our dog to choke and can make a mess out of your dogs’ intestines.
Also, the tails and shells are made of Chitosan which is extremely difficult to digest and contain a sharp, brittle texture making it easy to block or stick inside the digestive tract and possibly even cause injury to the intestine walls.
So for this reason, we insist that you never feed your dog shrimp shells or shrimp tails.
The Benefits of Adding Shrimp to a Dog’s Diet
So you already know that steamed shrimp is perfectly safe for dogs, however, what you didn’t know is that shrimp meat actually contains vitamins and minerals such as niacin, vitamin B-12, antioxidants and phosphorus. In fact, fresh, steamed shrimp can have positive health effects when added to your dog’s diet. So how exactly do these nutrients provide health benefits to dogs?
Niacin: This vitamin serves the role of balancing various critical body functions such as energy and fat production, regulating enzyme functioning and chemical signals.
Vitamin B-12: This vitamin plays a crucial role in maintaining maximum gastrointestinal health and therefore impacts the metabolic process after the food is eaten.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants fight free radicals and may delay brain aging.
Phosphorus: This vitamin is responsible for providing ideal nutritional value that keeps articulations and bones in good shape.
Seafood is probably one of the riskiest food groups for dogs in general. Aside from allergies and toxins, Fishbones and shells present a choking hazard and could possibly even cause internal injuries.
So when in search of healthy, protein-rich treats for your dog who loves to eat seafood, there are lots of alternatives to shellfish. Here on some delicious dog treats for your furry friend:
Sardines: Small, affordable and rich in protein, these little fish are an excellent source of proteins as well as omega-3 for dogs. Salmon: Serve it boneless and cooked thoroughly. It is not only delicious and wholesome but cooked salmon is an amazing treat for your canine. Green-Lipped mussels: Packed with the essential fatty acids as well as glycosaminoglycans, these New Zealand muscles are known by canine experts for their so-called pain-relieving properties in dogs with arthritis.
Of course, there are lots of other nutritious options that you can choose from including store-bought goodies as well as home-cooked food based on vegetables or meat. Ultimately, it depends on what your pet’s divine pallet is most accustomed to.
Is Deep-Fried Shrimp Good for Dogs?
Shrimp is okay for dogs in moderation, however, this seafood is also rich in nutrients such as phosphorus, vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acids and they are also rich in protein. However, some dogs may not take a liking to or even stomach fried shrimp due to the high-fat content. This is something to be aware of if your dog has high cholesterol or is on a low-fat diet.
Other Seafood that Dogs Can Eat
It is safe to feed your canine friend other types of seafood such as prawns, crab and lobster. However, you should ensure that it’s fully cooked and served without the crustacean shells because your dog could choke on them and they may hurt your dog’s gums.
Perhaps the only time when you shouldn’t consider feeding your furry friend seafood is if you have a Pomeranian for a pet. Pomeranians are known for their sensitive stomachs so it’s not recommended to add seafood to their diet.
Lots of pet owners find themselves asking if their dogs can eat salmon? Well, the answer is yes, dogs can consume fish meat like salmon however, as always, it needs to be thoroughly cooked and ideally steamed. Introducing your dog to fish is generally a smart thing to do because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and will keep your dogs coat shiny and healthy.
Salmon is great for reducing inflammation and supporting your dog’s immune system. So this additional protein added to your dog’s regular diet may be healthy for your dog especially if they have high physical activity and training.
Pros and Cons
So shrimp can be good for dogs, however, it does pose some health risks if it’s not served to the dog appropriately.
- Rich in protein
- Great source of omega 3 fatty acids
- High levels of antioxidants
- High in fat
- May cause an allergic reaction in some dogs
- May cause internal blockage
- May present a choking Hazard if served with the shells
- Bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria may be present if not thoroughly cooked
What should I do if my dog ingests shrimp shells or tails?
You should contact your vet immediately. There’s a possibility that the tails and shells are blocking your dog’s digestive tract or could’ve caused some internal damage that you’re not able to see. There’s always a possibility that your dog will be okay, however, there’s also the possibility of serious injury that can possibly be fatal.
Can my dog eat prawns?
Yes, it is safe for dogs to eat prawns, however, they should be de-shelled and thoroughly cooked before serving it to your dog.
Can my dog be allergic to shrimp?
As is the case with humans, dogs can also be allergic to shellfish. Some of the symptoms of this allergy include vomiting, loss of hair, diarrhea, itchy skin as well as anaphylactic shock.
So eating shrimp is safe for your dog as long as they’re not allergic to crustaceans and you do not serve them the shrimp shell and tail. To be on the safe side, also start with smaller portions and search for products that contain similar nutrients and are easier to administer.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.