Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

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Question: Can dogs eat shrimp?

Answer: If you’re anything like me and you absolutely love even the sight of far-away shrimp at the supermarket, or are just in love with any and all seafood that roams free in the ocean, then chances are you’ve thought about whether it’s good or not to feed your dog some shrimp.

Or, if your dog goes absolutely bonkers over some salmon dog food recipe, then you’re probably in the same boat as well.

Shrimp For Dogs Controversy

The thing is, there seems to be a fair bit of controversy on the internet about this issue.

Some people will tell you that dogs can’t safely eat any shrimp in any way, shape or form because it’s bad for them and could make them very sick.

Meanwhile, other people will tell you that your dog can safely eat a certain amount of shrimp completely fine, given that they are prepared in a certain way and that you take a few pointers into consideration before you go ahead and feed your dog any shrimp.

The logic the latter group uses is that since dogs are carnivores and need to have a high-protein diet that’s dominated by meat, then feeding dogs shrimp is completely fine since shrimp is a meat in and of itself and is a source of fairly high dietary protein.

So, who’s right and who’s wrong?

Let’s set the record straight.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? The Short Answer

Assuming that your dog isn’t allergic to shrimp or any other seafood, then the short answer to this question is YES, dogs can eat shrimp safely.

However, there are a couple of issues you should be aware of before you go give your dog some of that shrimp you’re having someday.

So, read along as there’s a whole lot of stuff for you to discover!

How Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

The Problem With Raw Shrimps

First off and before you consider giving your dog this crustacean, you should never feed your dog any raw shrimp that has been freshly caught, because of the potentially harmful bacteria contained in raw shrimp and the risk of food poisoning this poses to your dog.

Have you ever heard of shellfish poisoning? This is a very important issue when it comes to your dog’s health, and you should read up a little bit on the subject over here. Feeding your dog raw shrimps puts them at a very high risk of developing shellfish poisoning.

This is why you should always fully cook the shrimp before feeding it to your dog, as this way you’ll be making sure that any and all bacteria that can potentially make your dog ill is killed by the high temperature.

What About Other Ways Of Preparation?

You may be tempted to steam the shrimp before feeding it to your dog and think that that’s alright, but it isn’t – the only method of preparing the shrimp for your dog to eat is by fully cooking it, nothing less than that.

Definitely the last method of preparing shrimp to feed your dog is by frying shrimp, that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. Anything that has been fried, such as french fries, should be nowhere near your dog, ever.

This is often an issue we always get asked about as well when dog owners wonder whether or not dogs can eat raw salmon or some shellfish (such as lobster) – to which we always answer a big, fat NO, because of the same risks of poisoning.

Shrimps & Seasonings For Your Dog – A Terrible Combination

Moreover, it’s widely popular for people to add seasonings on shrimps before they eat them, and think that just like they enjoy these seasonings on top of the shrimp, their dogs will too.

Well, your dog might enjoy the seasonings alright, but they are DEADLY and pose a risk of severe illnesses to your dog. Especially when it comes to salt and spices, keep those (and any seasoning, really) away from your dog’s food.

Other seasonings that you want to stay away from before you feed your dog any cooked shrimps are butter, lemon, onions, garlic and any cocktails that might come to mind.

(Read our take on why onions are bad for dogs – and read our take on why garlic is bad for dogs)

First off, the last thing your dog ever needs to be eating is butter, it’s utterly useless to their bodies, and secondly, it’s not a given that your dog will be able to properly tolerate the milk found in the butter that you’re putting on the shrimp, even if it was in small amounts.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Peel & Shell?

You must also completely peel off any shrimp you feed your dog by removing the entirety of the shrimp skin from it, because shrimp peels can be very dangerous for your dog’s well being.

Before you start cooking the shrimp, start off by removing all and any veins it has.

Then, after you’re done cooking the shrimp, just peel off the shrimp’s head, tail, legs, and outer shell. It’s that simple and easy! 🙂

Removing the shells from the shrimp completely is extra important because shells are very difficult for your dog to properly digest, which will lead to problems some as choking, intestinal pierces and bleeding and gastrointestinal blockage, not to mention the fact that they are very harmful to dog’s teeth.

Either way, the only part your dog should ever be eating from the shrimp is the meat portion of it – anything other than that won’t benefit your dog at all, let alone be properly digested.

How Much Shrimp Can Dogs Eat?

So, now that we’ve established the fact that you should only ever feed your dog cooked shrimp, let’s talk a bit about how much shrimp you should be feeding your dog.

As a rule of thumb, you should only give your dog small amounts of shrimp and never feed them an excessively large quantity of shrimp.

This is very important because, first of all, sudden changes in your dog’s diet will only make them sick, suffer from digestive problems and painful stomach ache.

You should also refrain from overfeeding your dog shrimps because of the high levels of fat and cholesterol contained inside them, both of which are very dangerous to your dog’s health if ingested in excessive amounts.

Signs That You’ve Overfed Your Dog Shrimps

When you feed your dog some shrimp, watch out for any signs that your dog’s digestive system has taken a bit of a hit, because that would mean that you should not feed your dog shrimp anymore in the future.

Problematic signs include stomach pain (which could be severe and painful at times), diarrhea and vomiting. The best thing you could do if you see any of these signs in your dog is to contact your veterinarian and tell them all about the issue, they’ll be your best source for help.

Shrimps VS Dog Food Meat

We do wholeheartedly agree that dogs need a diet focused on good sources of meat so they can get all the dietary protein they need on a day to day basis, and we do agree that shrimp is one of the best meat sources out there when it comes to protein, but we must remember that our dogs are already getting (or should be getting) 90% of their dietary needs from dog food that was specifically designed and formulated for them.

These dog food options (assuming you’re going with the top rated brands out there, such as Wellness Dog Food) go out of their way to make the necessary research to ensure that your dog is getting the perfect amount of carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat – all depending on YOUR dog’s specific needs, so why should you choose to feed your dog shrimps yourself with the primary purpose in mind being boosting their protein intake? It just doesn’t make much sense.

Also, have you checked the ingredients list on some of these dog food bags? Many of them have shrimp as part of the ingredients list, some more prominently than others, but that’s yet another reason as to why you shouldn’t really go out of your way to feed your dog shrimp on the side in their diet.

So giving your dog a few shrimps now and then on the side isn’t a big deal and is nothing to worry about, but you shouldn’t be trying to substitute any specifically formulated dog food with shrimp in an attempt to save up on some costs or whatever, as dogs simply aren’t meant to eat this way.

A bowl of shrimp is an excellent protein-rich meal for you and I to have, but our dogs need a whole other system to stick to.

The best thing you could do if you notice that your dog goes bonkers for some shrimp is to get them a dog food that’s made up of a salmon recipe, for example, because chances are if your dog excessively likes shrimp and is giving you a hard time when you aren’t feeding them shrimp, then they’re going to absolutely fall in love with a salmon recipe dog food.

Why Should Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Shrimp:

  • Is rich in omega-3 fats, which are wonderfully healthy for you and your dog’s heart
  • Is rich in essential nutrients the body needs
  • Contains a high level of astaxanthin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient
  • Contains selenium, which is notorious for fighting cardiovascular diseases and other medical illnesses such as diabetes and depression
  • Provides your dog with a healthy dose of protein they need to maintain a well rounded diet
  • Is rich in vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper and zinc.
  • Is rich in iron, calcium, and phosphorous.

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