Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
After a meal, some dog owners may wish to give their leftovers to their pets. However, food preparation for dogs is not always the same as humans. Although many foods are perfectly fine for dogs, pet owners should be responsible for researching whether certain foods such as eggs and mushrooms are safe for their dogs to eat. Proper research would ensure that the dogs would not get harmful effects from whatever they ingest into their system.
Is Shrimp Safe for Dogs to Eat?
The short answer is yes, but only when it is well-cooked. This is according to Dr. Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian who works with Wellness Pet Food, who advocates for clean eating for pets.
Benefits of Shrimp for Dogs
Aside from being tasty, shrimp are packed with nutrients that dogs need, such as protein, Vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, Omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. In addition, shrimp are low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates. Although these make shrimp a good food choice for dogs, shrimp is also high in cholesterol. This means that dog owners must be wary of how much shrimp they feed their pets. Occasionally, shrimp is fine. If given too much, it could contribute to unhealthy levels of cholesterol for the dog.
Is Raw Shrimp OK for Dogs?
Raw shrimp or any other shellfish pose harm to dogs, as they contain harmful microorganisms or pathogens. Uncooked animal proteins like pork, fish, and shrimp, could also be contaminated with salmonella and listeria, especially when improperly handled. So that the dogs will be out of harm’s way from all these, it is best to properly cook the shrimp before feeding to the dog.
However, some shellfish may contain toxins that remain even after cooking. When ingested, it is still possible that the dog could have serious toxic reactions such as neurological symptoms and gastrointestinal problems. If this happens, go to the vet right away.
In short, never feed raw shrimp to dogs.
How Should the Shrimp Be Prepared? Shelled? Fried? Or Boiled?
The best way to prepare shrimp for dogs is to have them steamed or boiled. Use fresh shrimp. If in frozen packages, these should have no rips, tears, and frost/ice crystals.
The shrimp should be cleaned, deveined (take out the digestive tract), and peeled. Before cooking, remove the tail and the shell as these are choking hazards. These are difficult to digest and may get stuck in the dog’s intestines, most notably on small dog breeds. When fully cooked, the shrimp’s flesh is opaque and pearly white.
Humans love to add condiments when cooking shrimp or any other food for that matter. However, when cooking shrimp for dogs, do not add salt, garlic, onions, or any other condiments to avoid digestive upset. Seasonings and condiments on food such as almonds are harmful to dogs.
Fried shrimp or breaded shrimp are not very good for dogs. Although shrimp is nutritious, frying it reduces its health benefits. Fried shrimp or any fried food has a high-fat content, and the grease and oil may upset the dog’s stomach. It is best to limit the fried shrimp or any fried food in the dog’s diet, especially if the dog is in a low-fat diet or has high levels of cholesterol.
Can dogs be allergic to shrimp?
Proceed with caution when deciding how much shrimp to feed dogs, especially if it is a new food in their diet. Dogs react differently to foods. Some dogs may be perfectly fine with shrimp and some may be allergic to eat. Food sensitives, intolerance, and allergies are also found in dogs.
Usually, if the dog has an allergic reaction to foods, one common symptom is itchy, irritated skin. When feeding shrimp, if the dog has a bad reaction, eliminate the shrimp as soon as possible and observe if the symptoms would clear up. If the reaction only happens once, this could mean that the shrimp was contaminated or improperly cooked. However, if there is a reaction every time shrimp is eaten, this could mean food allergy or intolerance. It is best to not feed the dog shrimp, in this case. Call the vet right away if symptoms get worse.
How Much Shrimp is OK for Dogs to Eat?
The quantity of shrimp a dog should have greatly varies according to their size, weight, and training/activity level. For most dogs, one or two shrimp would suffice. For small dogs, however, only give a small portion of a shrimp as a precaution. It is not good to feed them whole shrimp as these could be choking hazards.
In a nutshell…
- Dogs can eat shrimp but only when it is well-cooked.
- Shrimp is rich in protein and other nutrients but is high in cholesterol.
- Plain boiled shrimp is the best preparation for dogs.
- Fried or breaded shrimp have oils and grease that could upset the digestive system of dogs.
- Always remove the shell, veins, and tail before cooking the shrimp.
- Do not add seasonings or condiments when preparing the shrimp for dogs.
- One or two shrimps is best for most dogs, a portion of a shrimp for small dogs.
- Discontinue shrimp in the diet if the dog has bad reactions to it. Observe the symptoms closely. Call the vet when necessary.
Always be cautious when introducing new food to a dog’s diet. Remember that moderation is always the key. It is always best to check with the vet first to discuss whether food, such as shrimp, is good for a specific dog.