As a dog owner, there are times when you’re tempted to share what’s on your plate with your furry friend. Known as a great immune booster, shrimp contains a high amount of healthy fats, protein, vitamin B16, and Omega 3 acid. Additionally, shrimp also provides antioxidants, phosphorus, and niacin that are good for brain health and blood circulations.
However, can dogs eat shrimp? While shrimp is not toxic for dogs, you might want to approach several things with caution before serving it to them. To answer your question, here’s a throughout guide for every curious canine owner.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Is it Good or Bad?
If you’re asking for an immediate answer, then it is yes, your dogs can eat shrimp. According to the American Kennel Club, eating shrimp regularly benefits your dogs’ health due to its amount of nutrients.
Moreover, since shrimp is low in fats, carbohydrates, and calories, it can be a healthy snack option in case your dog is undergoing a weight loss program. Vitamins, such as B16 and B3, increase your dog’s metabolism and enzyme production, whereas antioxidants help to fight free radicals.
However, shrimp is also high in cholesterol, meaning that its consumption should always be under a strict mediation. Cholesterol is dangerous for dogs as it leads to serious problems such as obesity, diabetes, and intestinal blockage.
What About Raw Shrimp?
Can dogs eat shrimp when it’s still fresh from the market?
It is important to note that you must not feed your dogs with raw or undercooked shrimp. Make sure to cook it thoroughly and cool it down before feeding it to your canines.
Why? While dogs’ insides are different from humans, it’s also prone to various diseases coming from raw meat. Raw or undercooked shrimp might bring toxic substances that can poison your dogs, and you surely won’t want to see them writhing sick on a hospital bed.
While poisoning cases due to raw shrimp isn’t quite popular, symptoms such as vomiting, gastritis problems, or paralysis are just as dangerous. If not medically treated, these symptoms may even lead to death.
How Many Shrimp Can Your Dogs Eat?
Generally, different breeds have different needs for nutrients. When it comes to giving shrimp to your dogs as an occasional healthy treat, it’s better if you stick with the medium serving—around one or two shrimps—or less for small breeds and puppies.
However, American Kennel Club noted that if you’re planning to incorporate it into your dog’s regular diet, you need to discuss it with a veterinarian or dog’s health consultant beforehand. They will help you to determine whether your dogs’ need to add shrimp into their diet or not, and if so, the amount they should consume within a period of time.
What About Allergy?
Similar to other kinds of meat, there’s a chance that your dogs are allergic or have a certain intolerance to shrimp. Allergic reactions vary from each dog, but the common symptoms include rashes, itchy skin, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Therefore, always make sure that your dog is not allergic by giving them a small, fully-cooked bite and wait for a negative reaction. If there isn’t any reaction, you can feed them further. However, if their skin begins to itch or their behavior gets anxious, be prepared for a trip to the vet.
You can always test your dog for a shrimp allergy, but a study in 2017 shows that these test results aren’t exactly reliable to determine your dog’s extent of food allergy.
Do Your Dogs Need to Eat Shrimp?
Leave the “Can dogs eat shrimp?” question behind. The real question is: do they need to eat it at all?
The answer is no. The protein and nutrients you found in shrimp actually exist in store-bought dog foods. Thus, your dogs don’t have a specific need to add shrimp into their diets. Some commercial dog food brands such as Chewy and Happy Dog have a selection of shrimp-induced foods and treats that are cheaper and easier to prepare.
Which Parts Should You Feed to Your Dogs?
Do you know that there are parts of shrimp that are dangerous for your furry sidekick? Knowing which part to cook and to throw away will avoid you from unwanted trips to the veterinarian.
Safe to Eat
As aforementioned above, you should only feed your canines with shrimp meat, not their tails nor shell. Additionally, the meat must be cleaned, deveined, and cooked thoroughly to kill all bacteria and other dangerous substances, such as listeria and salmonella. It’s better if you keep it flavorless, away from oil, salt, and spices as it could be dangerous for your dog’s digestive system.
Not Safe to Eat
Shrimp head, tail, and shell must be completely cleaned and removed prior to cooking. Why? Dogs’ teeth are not designed for grinding food into pieces. Thus, giving them shrimp head, tail or shell will lead to choking hazards and hurt their intestines.
Moreover, due to its sharp edges and hard texture, shrimp tail and shell are hard to digest within the dog’s body. During the worst cases, your dog may suffer from constipation or bleeding during their bowel movements.
Can Dogs Eat Fried or Battered Shrimp?
The answer for both is no. Both fried and battered shrimp consists of a high amount of oil, fats, and cholesterol, which can be dangerous for your dogs.
The way fried or battered food isn’t good for dogs is similar to how it’s not the best choice for humans. Still, while humans’ digestive systems can easily break grease and carbohydrates, there’s a chance that your dogs will experience gastritis problems or constipation upon consuming it.
The rule of thumb is to keep it plain and well-cooked, and you’re good to go!
Can Shrimp Treat Obesity in Dogs?
Generally known as healthy seafood, some people believe that shrimp can treat obesity in dogs. Unfortunately, this is not true. While shrimp contains a high amount of protein with low calories, consuming it regularly for a long period of time will only result in a surge of cholesterol levels in your dogs.
Shrimp is a great option for an occasional healthy treat, but you must not use it as a substitute for your dogs’ staple diet.
When a curious dog owner asks you “can dogs eat shrimp?” after this, you can explain it to them: yes, your dog can consume shrimp, but only in the amount of occasional treat. Shrimp is not toxic to dogs. However, overconsumption will lead to cholesterol, which is just as worse and dangerous for your dogs’ lives.
Finally, don’t forget to thoroughly clean the shrimp prior to boiling, and make sure that it is well-cooked before serving it to your dogs. You’re their owner, and you know them best, so make sure that you only give what keeps them happy and healthy!