Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? A Pet Parent Guide

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? A Pet Parent Guide

Alpha Paw Sale

Sep 09, 2021

  • Shrimp are safe to feed to your dog, but there are some rules you need to be aware of first.

  • Always cook shrimp first before feeding, and only feed your dog the soft fleshy parts.

  • There are many health benefits to feeding your dog shrimp.

The Health Benefits Of Eating Shrimp

One billion pounds of shrimp are eaten by Americans every year – that’s a lot of shrimp! But should we be sharing some of these tasty shellfish with our dog?

As a general rule, it is okay for dogs to eat shrimp, in fact, they may even offer some health benefits but it is important to be mindful of where your shrimp comes from and how you go about feeding them to your dog.

Can dogs eat shrimp? A pet parent guide

When Is Shrimp Bad For Dogs?

While shrimp are not toxic to dogs, there are a few rules to follow, the most important of which is to thoroughly cook shrimp first before feeding them to your dog. Raw shrimp can be a source of many harmful bacteria such as salmonella and listeria, which can cause food poisoning if they infect your dog.

Only Feed Your Dog Cooked Shrimp

Salmonellosis leads to a variety of symptoms that, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms to look out for include fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and shock; If you think your dog may have food poisoning take them to your nearest vet immediately as they will likely require fluid therapy and other supportive treatment.

In addition to these bacterial diseases, raw shrimp carries the risk of parasites such as tapeworms and roundworms, however, you should always stay on top of your dog’s anti-parasite treatment regardless.

Can dogs eat shrimp? A pet parent guide

Always Remove the Shell

The shell and tail of a shrimp also pose a risk to our canine friends. These parts of the shrimp are very hard and difficult to digest, and so can become blocked in your dog’s gastrointestinal system which, in severe cases, may require surgery to remove.

They can also be a choking hazard if your dog is not able to swallow them whole. Shrimp tails and shells tend to have very sharp and pointed edges which have the potential to perforate your dog’s intestinal wall, leading to a very nasty infection of the abdominal space called septic peritonitis.

This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, so be vigilant when preparing shrimp for your dog to eat.

Serve Shrimp In Moderation

The flesh of shrimp is also high in dietary fat, which should be fed in moderation to your dog. A high-fat diet can contribute to unwanted weight gain and obesity.

Furthermore, if your dog has been diagnosed with pancreatitis in the past, the excessive fat might prove too difficult to digest, leading to a flare-up of this condition. If this sounds like your dog, avoid shrimp altogether.

Always source your shrimp from a high-quality and trusted supplier as intensively farmed shrimp could be full of antibiotics, disinfectants, and pesticides, all of which can be harmful in large quantities.

Dogs Can Suffer From Shrimp Allergies

It’s also important to note that, much like us, some dogs may have a genuine allergy to shrimp meat. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from diarrhea to itchy skin and even anaphylaxis. If your dog reacts in this way, contact your vet immediately.

However, all of this does not necessarily mean you should avoid feeding shrimp to your dog altogether as this seafood can have many health benefits which I will cover shortly. Just be sure to remove the hard shells and tails, and to properly cook the shrimp through.

A Solution For Dogs Who Have Shrimp Allergies

If your dog is generally an allergic or sensitive dog, this allergy medicine for dogs contains a powerhouse of natural ingredients and may help provide relief from other seasonal and environmental allergens.

The Health benefits of shrimp for dogs

Shrimp are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are vital for keeping your dog healthy. These include vitamin B12, phosphorus, iron, niacin, and others.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays an important role in supporting nerve and brain function, as well as the production of blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also important for your dog’s digestive system, ensuring that nutrients are absorbed properly in the intestine.

Phosphorus is vital for proper kidney function and is a major component of bone and cartilage and Iron is vital in allowing your dog’s red blood cells to properly transport oxygen around the body. A lack of iron leads to anemia and is life-threatening.

Shrimp is also a good source of glucosamine, a compound that aids joint health by repairing cartilage. This is particularly important as your dog ages. These hip and joint chews are a premium supplement that helps keep your dog’s joints healthy!

Finally Niacin, also referred to as vitamin B3, is vital for the proper digestion of fats. It allows your dog to use fats as an energy source and to maintain healthy skin.

Can dogs eat shrimp? A pet parent guide

Balance Is Key

So as you can see, shrimp can have a whole host of benefits but I wouldn’t make shrimp the main component of your dog’s diet, instead just use it as an occasional treat. Too much shrimp can result in too much fat and cholesterol in the diet. I’d recommend sticking to no more than 50-100g cooked shrimp per week.

It’s extremely important to make sure your dog is getting the micronutrients they need to be healthy. These supplements for dogs contain ALL the nutritional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential omega-3 fatty acids that will help your puppy or senior dog to stay healthy, happy, and in great tail-wagging condition!

Alpha Paw Sale
author image

Dr. Alexander Crow, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Alexander Crow is an RCVS-licensed Veterinary Surgeon currently practicing at Buttercross Veterinary Center, a small animal accredited veterinary practice in Nottingham, United Kingdom. He earned his Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Royal Veterinary College London. His special interests include neurology and soft tissue surgery, and he hopes to start his surgical certificate in the next year. When not working, he enjoys traveling to Europe, painting, and staying fit.

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