Maybe you fed your pup some shrimp before checking out this article, or maybe you are doing your due diligence before offering Fido one of these savory crustaceans. Shrimps are not only full of meaty protein goodness, but they are also tasty and full of nutrients. So can you feed your dog shrimp, and what happens if you do?
The short answer is yes, it’s safe for most dogs to eat shrimp in moderation. But there are some things that you’ll want to consider before feeding this to your dog. There are going to be some limitations due to some pups having a more sensitive stomach, as well as how the shrimp is cooked. It’s also possible for some animals to have shellfish allergies with severe reactions, so that’s something to keep in mind.
While shrimp is a healthy snack, it should only be fed to dogs in small quantities as it can be harmful in large amounts. Before you dive straight in and add Shrimp to your dog’s diet, read this comprehensive guide about the do’s and don’ts of Shrimp.
Shrimp offers dogs protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals that help him achieve a healthy oxidative state. Because it’s nutrient-dense, it can be used in limited quantities on a regular basis in most adult dogs’ diets. Because it is low in fat and carbohydrates it makes a perfect alternative to commercial dog treats. With only 7 calories per Shrimp, it is perfect for those chunkier dogs who find themselves on a diet.
This means that shrimp can be a great source of low-calorie protein for just about every dog. Obviously smaller dogs have lower nutritional needs than larger dogs. You’ll want to feed your dog appropriately according to their size. It’s hard for dogs to get the nutrients they need on dry kibble alone, so feeding them raw natural foods like shrimp for protein, and feeding them fruit like pineapple for carbohydrates is a good idea.
Cooked, Raw or Deep-Fried?
While you can feed your pup most raw meats, seafood is a little different. When served raw and uncooked, shrimp contains harmful bacteria that may have a negative impact on your dog’s digestive system. For this reason, we’d recommend that you only feed your dog shrimp that’s been cooked.
Deep-fried shrimp is something we don’t recommend that you feed your pup. While it may be super tasty, it is a processed fatty food that he could do without. Deep fried foods in excess can cause your pup digestive problems, and you’ll likely be cleaning up loose stools as a result.
If you are cooking Shrimp for a curry or in something saucy, then be sure to cook it separately as he shouldn’t be given any spicy or seasoned Shrimp. So fresh, plain, cooked Shrimp is the only type that we would recommend you feed your pup.
What Parts Can They Eat?
Just like us humans, dogs should only eat the fleshy muscular tails. Be sure to remove the head and the shell. These parts are sharp and can irritate his digestive tract and can sometimes cause choking.
Once you are left with the fleshy tail, ensure that you cook it thoroughly. Check that it is completely cooked through until it is pink in color, and slightly opaque.
How Much Shrimp Can Dogs Eat?
Half a cup of Shrimp every week is suitable for most dogs. You can alter this slightly according to your dog’s weight. While Shrimp is low in fats and calories, it is high in cholesterol. It’s best to be served as an occasional treat rather than in every meal.
Thankfully, and without getting too technical here, the cholesterol found in Shrimp is the healthier version of cholesterol. This can be quite beneficial for his cardiac system. This is another reason why Shrimp can be enjoyed in moderation.
Is Shrimp Beneficial for Dogs?
Just like most shellfish, it is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, which is also good for the cardiac system, as well as promoting a healthy skin and coat. It also includes a variety of nutrients such as Astaxanthin, Selenium, Copper, Zinc, and vitamins B6, A and E, albeit in small amounts. In addition to these, and the above protein and energy benefits, the main nutrients found in Shrimp include:
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in a dog’s gastrointestinal health, as well as metabolic functions. It also helps to keep his blood cells healthy, which of course assists in day to day wellbeing and gives him the energy he needs. A lack of this vitamin results in fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss, so it is important to ensure that he gets his daily intake of vitamin B12.
This is another vitamin, less commonly known as vitamin B3, and it is an important antioxidant that repairs cells and converts energy into glucose, which produces the energy he needs to function. It also helps to maintain healthy hormone levels, and without this vitamin he will suffer fatigue and mental dullness.
Phosphorus is a mineral that is similar to it’s more famous cousin, calcium, and it helps to maintain strong and healthy bones and teeth. But it is also important for the absorption and functioning of the other B vitamins listed above. It also helps kidneys function healthily and it can even keep rickets at bay.
Possible Side Effects
As with any introduction of new food be sure to only feed him a small amount at first. A couple of Shrimp will do, just to ensure that if he does experience any side effects they are kept to a minimum.
Some side effects could include diarrhea, vomiting and excessive flatulence. If you notice any of these symptoms be sure not to feed him any additional shrimp. Other side effects include scratching, skin hot spots and ear infections. If you see any of these signs, it should be clear that Shrimp is not the best snack for your pup.
More serious side effects include anaphylactic shock which can be deadly. If you notice any symptoms such as hives, a swollen face or muzzle, excessive drooling or red-hot skin, then take him to the Veterinarian immediately. This is a very uncommon side effect. However, it’s more likely to occur if he eats Shrimp that is either raw or not cooked properly.
Most seafood contains no fiber. This means you’ll also want to be ready to leverage a higher fiber dog food formula if your pup enjoys shrimp, but isn’t going to the bathroom as regularly as they normally do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will shrimp give my dog bad breath?
Can dogs eat shrimp tails?
What if my dog eats some shrimp shells?
Can dogs eat shrimp tempura?
Can dogs eat shrimp scampi?
Can dogs eat shrimp crackers or chips?
Can dogs eat shrimp alfredo?
Can dogs eat shrimp cocktail?
Can dogs eat shrimp fried rice?
Is shrimp used in some dry dog foods?
So, you now know that your best friend can eat Shrimp fairly safely, depending on how it’s cooked. He should only eat the fleshy body part, and you need to remove the sharp head, tails and shell. The Shrimp needs to be cooked thoroughly and should be plain with no spices or seasoning.
Shrimp has a wide variety of health benefits and it is packed full of healthy fats and nutrients, and the smell alone drives most pups crazy. Just be sure that when you first feed him Shrimp you monitor his reactions to ensure that he is not allergic to it, or worse, go into anaphylactic shock.
As long as he reacts well to it first time round, then you can go on to include it in his weekly diet. Does your dog like Shrimp? Let us know in the comments below how crazy your pup is about eating shrimp!