Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the United States. As per a study done by a research firm, shrimp was the most popular among frozen seafood products, with over $900 million in sales in 2021.
Now that’s huge! You can commonly find shrimp in most homes. Since dog parents often pass their food to their furry friends, can dogs eat shrimp?
The answer is yes. Dogs can eat shrimp safely, provided you prepare it correctly. Shrimp is not just tasty; it also offers some excellent health benefits.
What are the health benefits of eating shrimp for dogs
Shrimp is loaded with nutrients like Vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants. All these nutrients are essential for dogs to maintain the following:
- Healthy metabolic process
- Gastrointestinal health
- Proper energy production
- Proper enzyme function
- Good blood circulation
- Healthy bones
- Healthy coat and skin
- Reduce brain aging
Shrimp is an excellent choice for dog food as it is low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates. However, shrimp are also high in cholesterol and should only be fed occasionally as a treat.
Risks of feeding shrimp to dogs
Typically, it’s safe for your dog when you cook shrimp correctly, with a few exceptions. Raw shrimp or undercooked shrimp can lead to stomach problems like vomiting, bloating & diarrhea. In extreme cases, raw or undercooked shrimp can lead to a severe vibriosis bacterial infection.
In addition, the shell or tail of shrimp can often be difficult for dogs to digest and can also potentially pose choking hazards.
However, the most significant point to note is that shrimp is high in cholesterol, and giving too much shrimp to your dogs can lead to obesity and heart-related issues. Therefore, give shrimp as occasional treats to your dogs.
Another critical point to note here is how you cook them. Fried, breaded, or battered shrimp is dangerous for your dog’s health. The oil, excess salt, seasonings, garlic, and onion are harmful to dogs.
Also, some dogs have seafood allergies. So, watch your dog for signs of allergies.
Best way to feed shrimp to your dog
Although shrimp is safe for dogs, how much and how often you feed them to your dog needs to be noted.
Can dogs eat raw shrimp? Never!
Raw shrimp is a source of bacteria and parasites, including tapeworms.
Raw shrimp can cause a deadly bacterial infection called vibriosis. Besides, eating large quantities of raw shrimp can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. The simplest thing to do is cook the shrimp before feeding them to your dog to avoid all this.
Always remove the shells, tails, and veins before cooking shrimp for your dogs. The shells and tail can cause choking and lead to digestive issues.
Shrimp is high in cholesterol, and if you fry them, that only increases the fat content. Overeating fat can cause obesity and other health problems.
In addition to seasonings, onion, and garlic, you also need to avoid seasoning the shrimp with salt or lemon juice. That’s why even sautéed, or grilled shrimp are dangerous for dogs to eat.
The safest way to feed shrimp to your dog is to boil or steam them.
A few shrimp can be a tasty and healthy addition to your dog’s diet.
Shrimp is safe for dogs to eat if you keep the following points in mind:
- Remove the shells and tail
- Clean thoroughly under running water
- Cook properly (boil or steam)
- Avoid seasonings
- Less salt
- Limit how many shrimp you feed your dog
Also, watch for any allergic reaction because a few dogs may be allergic to seafood.
How much shrimp can dogs eat?
Dogs need to eat even healthy foods in moderation.
Remember, dogs should eat any healthy human foods in moderation.
How much shrimp is safe for dogs depends on your dog’s size, age, breed, and activity level.
For most dogs, two or three shrimp is enough. Give small dogs even less.
Always start small when adding new food to your dog’s diet.
If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your vet. Veterinarians can help you determine how much and how often you can give your dog shrimp.
If your dog loves to eat shellfish and you consider giving your dog a healthy and high protein seafood option, consider these alternatives to shrimp:
- Salmon: Packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and protein-rich, salmon can be a wholesome and healthy option for dogs.
- Sardines: Excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Green-lipped mussels: Loaded with essential fatty acids and glycosaminoglycans, which provide relief for inflammation and arthritis.
To sum up, generally, dogs can have shrimp without facing any health risks.
But limit how much you give your dog and monitor your dog’s reaction. Only give shrimp as an occasional treat. Don’t make it a significant part of your dog’s diet.
Never give your dog raw shrimp, and always remove the shells, tails, and veins before feeding shrimp to your dog. Boil or steam shrimp and avoid using any spices or seasoning.
Keep an eye for any allergic reactions or intolerance. In case of any symptoms like excessive diarrhea or vomiting, stop feeding your dog shrimp immediately and contact your vet.
Sweta Kishore runs Dogfoodstuff, a blog that researches and shares information about dog food, honest product reviews, and fact-based tips. Sweta loves animals and has a pug named Buddy.
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