Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?


Shrimp is a very vague term. This is because it can refer to a wide range of crustaceans that are elongated, ten-legged, and move about via swimming for the most part. The problem is that some definitions add other qualifiers. For example, one definition might limit shrimp to Caridea or both Caridea and Dendrobranchiata. Similarly, another definition might limit shrimp to those species that are on the smaller side of things. Regardless, shrimp are a popular human food, which makes it natural for dog owners to wonder whether their dogs can eat them as well.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

The answer to the question of whether dogs can eat shrimp or not is a qualified “Yes.” Said meat is quite nutritious for our canine companions on its own. After all, shrimp contains vitamin B12, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants while being low on fat, calories, and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, it does have a serious issue in that it contains a lot of cholesterol, meaning that it should be considered an occasional snack more than anything else. As always, if dog owners are thinking about adding something new to their dog’s diet, they should do so in moderation. Simply put, different dogs can react to the same food in different ways, meaning that this is the best way to see how their dog will react. As for what moderation means, that depends on the dog’s size. Still, something like one or two shrimp should be fine even for dogs that are on the smaller side of things. In any case, dog owners should also consider getting their veterinarian’s opinion on the matter because said professional should be able to provide them with the best information about what their dog should and shouldn’t be eating. In this as in other things, it pays to be careful.

Beware of Allergies

Humans can become allergic to seafood at any point in our lives. Sometimes, people seem to be born with it. Other times, people become allergic to seafood even though they have had seafood before. The same is true for dogs as well. As a result, this is one more reason why dog owners should feed shrimp to their dogs in moderation. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, aggressive scratching of the ears, and aggressive scratching of the skin.

Remove the Shells and Tails

Dogs are capable of eating both the shells and the tails of shrimp. However, people should remove those anyways because they have been known to cause issues. For example, dogs have been known to choke on shells and tails. Similarly, dogs have been known to get an upset stomach because of the shells and tails causing irritation to their stomach wall. Humans can prevent these issues by just chewing on our shrimp a bit more. Dogs chew, but there is no guarantee that a particular dog will chew enough to ensure the same results.

Make Sure that the Shrimp Is Small Enough to Be Swallowed with Ease

On a related note, it is a good idea to make sure that the shrimp is small enough to be swallowed with ease by the dog. Something that is particularly important when feeding smaller dog breeds. If necessary, cut up each shrimp into more manageable chunks to minimize the risk of the dog choking upon the shrimp.

Cook the Shrimp

Some people might be tempted to just feed raw shrimp to their dogs. After all, the ancestors of our canine companions ate raw meat out in the wild, so it can seem as though this will be fine for our canine companions as well. However, that comes with the risk of parasites as well as other harmful microorganisms, meaning that dogs shouldn’t eat raw meat for the same reason that humans shouldn’t eat raw meat. If dog owners notice their dogs experiencing symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a distended stomach, and even weight loss, they should visit the veterinarian to see what is going on. If it is a parasite at work, the veterinarian is the one most capable of figuring out what is going on before recommending a treatment; if it isn’t a parasite at work, well, the same is true in that scenario as well.

Be Careful with How the Shrimp Is Cooked

Dog owners should cook the shrimp that they feed their dogs. Furthermore, they should cook the shrimp in very specific ways. Steaming is one of the easiest cooking methods. However, other cooking methods can suffice as well so long as the shrimp doesn’t come with other foods that can cause problems for the dog. For example, fried shrimp are a bad idea because the batter is too fattening for the dog. Unfortunately, that is far from being the worst example because there are some popular sauces, seasonings, and other foods that go along with shrimp that are just straight-up toxic for dogs. In particular, both onions and garlic are poisonous for our canine companions, though they are far from being alone in this regard. To prevent these issues, it is easiest to just cook the shrimp on their own without adding anything else to them.

Further Considerations

Summed up, dogs can eat shrimp. However, they shouldn’t be eating shrimp as a staple, particularly since they should be able to meet all of their nutritional needs from their dog food. Instead, shrimp is best-suited for being an occasional snack and nothing but an occasional snack. Besides this, dog owners should make sure that the shrimp has been de-shelled, de-tailed, cooked without any other food, and if necessary, cut up into manageable pieces to minimize the potential for anything to go wrong. Failing to keep these precautions in mind won’t guarantee problems for the dog. Still, doing that will definitely increase the chances for something to go wrong.

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