While most dogs don’t care much about seafood, you may be curious to see if your pooch would like a bite of shrimp. But before you feed shrimp to your dog, it’s wise to learn whether or not shrimp is safe for dogs to eat.
So, can dogs eat shrimp? Yes, dogs can eat small amounts of cooked shrimp. This shellfish is a good source of protein, antioxidants, and vitamins that dogs need. However, dogs should only eat cooked shrimp, since raw shrimp can contain harmful bacteria. If you want to feed your dog shrimp, cook it and feed it as a treat.
In this article, we’ll explain all the benefits and downsides of feeding your dog shrimp. Continue reading if you plan on including shellfish into your dog’s diet!
Is Shrimp Good for Dogs?
Shrimp is one of those human foods that will either be a complete hit or a total miss with your dog. But, if your pooch likes the taste, cooked shrimp can be a good treat and a source of valuable nutrients.
Shrimp is a good source of protein, fatty acids, and also contains vitamin B12, niacin, and phosphorus. Shrimp are also low in fat, calories, and carbs which makes them a suitable treat choice for dogs who are on a diet.
However, shrimp is high in cholesterol, and eating too many shrimp can lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels in your dog (source).
Benefits of Shrimp for Dogs
When properly prepared shrimp may offer certain health benefits to your dog if fed as an occasional treat. Please note, shrimp is only safe for dogs as long as it has been shelled, properly cooked, and deveined.
The biggest benefits of feeding shrimp to dogs are:
1. Shrimp Contain Antioxidants
Shrimps contain astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that is also a red pigment that gives shrimp their pink color. Antioxidants from food help fight free radicals which cause damage to your dog’s cells which leads to age-related chronic diseases and cancer.
The astaxanthin in shrimp also boosts the immune system, improves joint health by reducing pain and inflammation, and eases conditions like the dry eye in dogs (source).
2. Shrimp Can Increase Your Dog’s Energy
Shrimp is an excellent source of vitamin B12 which is an essential nutrient that is beneficial for your dog’s entire body. Vitamin B12 can boost your dog’s energy, improve their memory, helps prevent anemia, and supports the normal function of nerve cells.
3. Shrimp Supports Bone Health
This type of shellfish is also a good source of phosphorus which is an essential mineral in your dog’s diet. Proper levels of phosphorus are crucial for bone health and support the proper functioning of your dog’s entire musculoskeletal system.
4. Shrimp Is a Good Source of Protein
As mentioned earlier, shrimp is a good source of protein that helps build lean and strong muscles and keeps your dog energized throughout the day. Feeding shrimp as a treat can boost your dog’s protein levels and be a nice way to supplement their regular diet.
Risks of Shrimp for Dogs
While shrimp isn’t toxic to dogs, all dog owners should be aware of all the risks of feeding shrimp to dogs. Truth be told, although shrimp can be good for dogs, you may find that the risks of feeding shrimp outweigh the potential benefits.
The downsides of feeding shrimp to dogs are:
1. Choking Hazard
You should never feed shrimp shells or shrimp tails to your dog since they pose a huge choking hazard. Small dog breeds are especially at risk of choking and can also develop intestinal blockage or perforated intestines from eating shrimp tails.
2. Bacterial Infection
Fresh shrimp can be a source of all kinds of bacteria, including listeria and salmonella that can give your dog shellfish toxicity. Eating raw shrimp can make your dog seriously ill, and cooking the shrimp is the only way you can make it safe for your dog to eat.
To avoid serious bacterial infections, never feed raw shrimp to your dog. And if your pooch manages to steal some, call your vet and ask for advice.
3. Allergic Reaction
Some dogs, like people, can develop food allergies from eating shellfish. If after eating shrimp your dog experiences any signs of an allergic reaction, stop feeding them shrimp and call your vet.
The most common signs of allergies to shrimp include vomiting, diarrhea, gas, red and itchy skin. To minimize the chance of an allergic reaction, give your dog a tiny piece of shrimp first and wait to see whether they will develop an adverse reaction or not.
How Much Shrimp Can a Dog Eat?
Dogs should eat shrimp as treats, and only once in a while. Generally speaking, one or two shrimp are usually enough for most dogs and shouldn’t trigger a reaction.
But, as stated above, to be on the safe side, give your dog a small bite of shrimp first and see how they react. And as always, if you have any questions or doubts talk to your vet or canine nutritionist.
How About Other Seafood?
Generally speaking, dogs can eat lobsters, crab, and fish which were thoroughly cleaned of shells and bones and properly cooked. Keep in mind, only the meat of the shellfish and fish should be offered to dogs, and only when it is fresh and properly cooked.
How to Feed Shrimp to Your Dog?
When it comes to feeding shrimp to your dog, cooked plain shrimp is the best and safest option. Don’t feed breaded or fried shrimps to your dogs since they can contain too much oil.
When cooking shrimp for your dog don’t use salt, garlic, or any other spices since they can cause digestive upset in dogs. Also, make sure that the shrimp has been deveined and completely cleaned of shells and tails.
Popular ways to feed shrimp to dogs include:
- Cook the shrimp and serve it as a treat
- Boil the shrimp and mix it with your dog’s food
- Chop the cooked shrimp into pieces and use it as a topper for your dog’s food
Properly cooked and cleaned shrimp can be a healthy and delicious treat for dogs. Rich in protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, shrimp can boost your dog’s immune system and keep them energized through the day.
Don’t forget, feeding shrimp to dogs can be risky, especially when you don’t do it right! If you decide to feed shrimp to your pooch, make sure to remove the shell and shrimp tails, devein, and properly cook the shrimp before serving it to your dog.