We all do it. We have to admit it. Every now and then, we give table food to our puppy. But who can resist those sad eyes looking at you? Can you?
Well, as long as you cannot resist those sad puppy eyes, make sure the foods you give to your dog are safe for him. Today, we will try to answer the question can dogs eat shrimp.
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat shrimp. And there is nothing better than hot and steamed shrimp. It is a delicacy among cultures, and dogs can eat your steamed up shrimp as well. The next time you steam some shrimp, set few aside for your puppy. But be careful, do not go over the top.
Is shrimp healthy for your dog?
Let’s talk about all of the beneficial nutrients in shrimp. Not only they are tasty, but they are also healthy for your dog. Shrimp contain vitamin B12, one of the most important vitamins for your dog’s metabolic processes.
Vitamin B12 also plays a huge role in gastrointestinal health. Shrimp also contains vitamin B3, or niacin, required for proper enzyme function and energy production. Dogs also source antioxidants from shrimp.
The bottom line is that shrimp are low in fat and calories, all while providing a bevy of minerals and vitamins for your puppy. Be careful, they can be high in cholesterol, meaning that too many shrimp can cause high levels of cholesterol in your dog’s diet.
To break it all down, shrimp are a good source of the following minerals and vitamins:
- Healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin A
- Pantothenic acid
Can dogs eat shrimp raw?
While dogs can consume steamed shrimp, they should never eat raw shrimp. Do not feed your dog raw food in any case, especially shrimp. Raw and uncooked shellfish contain harmful pathogens that can be avoided just by cooking.
You should also remove the shells, as they can be a choking hazard waiting to happen. Only cooked shrimp is safe for your dog to consume. Shrimp are classified as shellfish. Per FDA, raw shrimp contain harmful bacteria and viruses including:
- Shigella spp
- Vibro spp
- Salmonella spp
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Hepatitis A virus and
- Norovirus and harmful viruses
Even undercooked shrimp can be harmful to your dog. You need to thoroughly cook shrimp before feeding it to your dog.
Although rare, shellfish can be contaminated by toxins that can only be destroyed by the cooking process. Contaminated shellfish can cause toxic reactions. And while that is rare, it is worth noting.
How to Give Shrimp to your Dog
Now that we know that only cooked shrimp is good for your dog, let’s talk about all the ways you can feed shrimp to you dog. Cooking is definitely the way to go if you want to feed your dog some tasty and delicious shrimp.
While cooking, make sure there are no additives such as garlic, spices, and herbs that are not good for your dog.
- One way to feed shrimp to your dog is to boil them. Boiled shrimp, as long as they are cleaned and shelled are good for your dog. Make sure to boil the shrimp until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. The flesh should be opaque. Set aside a few pieces if you plan to add spices for your shrimp. Give your dog only the spice-free shrimp
- What about the tails of the shrimp? For dogs, it is not safe to eat shrimp tails. Same as small chicken and fish bones, tails can be a choking hazard waiting to happen. Additionally, the sharp edges of the tail can irritate the upper GI tract of your dog. Make sure to clean the shrimp, or look for cleaned shrimp in the frozen section
- The shrimp shells are another thing you want to avoid when feeding shrimp to your canine friend. Remove the shells before you cook or feed shrimp to your puppy. Once you remove the shell, it is easier to take out the vein that runs along the back of the shrimp. Use a knife, cut the shrimp open, and pull out the vein. You do not have to throw away the shells. Boil with some vegetables, strain, and give your dog the broth to refresh or as a food flavor enhancement
- While we said cooked shrimp is safe, friend shrimp is not a good idea. And for the same reasons fried food is not really good option for people. For starters, it is not healthy. All of that grease and oils can upset your dog’s stomach. While a piece of fried shrimp now and then is nothing dangerous, limit your dog’s food to steamed or boiled shrimp
How to prepare shrimp?
It all starts with buying fresh shrimp that don’t have a fishy odor. If you buy frozen shrimp, make sure the package is free of rips, tears, frost crystals, or ice crystals.
Cook the shrimp, either boiled or steamed, until it has an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. When the flesh is opaque and pearly white, your shrimp is ready.
To prepare shrimp for your dog, once cooked, remove the intestinal tract, and take them out of the shell.
How much shrimp is enough?
Now that we know the answer to the question can dogs eat shrimp, let’s talk about quantity. How much shrimp is enough?
As with most other human foods, moderation is the key. Every dog is different, and they will all react differently. One or two shrimp is mostly enough for your dog. As a precaution, give your dog just a partial shrimp.
Also, you can always consult with a veterinarian regarding your dog’s diet.
Are there any side effects?
We said that shrimp is fairly safe for your dog. However, when consumed in large quantities, shrimp can cause serious side effects. Those include:
- Upset stomach
- Allergic reaction
Nearly 60% of the human population experiences shellfish allergy. There is no exact number in dogs. But just to be safe, be cautious when feeding shrimp to your dog.
Can dogs eat all shellfish?
Shrimp is just one type of shellfish. And now that we know shrimp is safe for dogs, naturally and logically, we think dogs can eat all types shellfish. That is partly true. There is no shellfish that is toxic to your dog.
However, your dog will not get many benefits if fed only shellfish. Don’t go over the top. Just give your dog some treat every now and then, and he will be fine.