If you’re a seafood lover and you like to treat your dog from time to time, you may be wondering, can dogs eat shrimp? After all, shrimp are a relatively healthy option for us humans, with each shrimp being only about 7 calories.
As well as being low calorie, shrimp are also rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants. This means that we can get a large part of our required daily nutrients for a small percentage of our recommended calorie intake.
On the other hand, shrimp are high in cholesterol and you’re also probably aware that the best diet for your dog is simply a quality dry dog food, and human food isn’t necessarily good for dogs. Indeed some can be deadly; chocolate, for example. So that then begs the question – can dogs eat shrimp or is shrimp bad for dogs?
So can dogs eat shrimp safely?
The short answer is that yes, usually dogs can eat shrimp as long as the shrimp are properly prepared and cooked.
Shrimp preparation for dogs
The shrimp must be prepared first by removing the head, legs and tail because your dog can only eat the meat part of the shrimp. Eating the rest could cause choking or cuts or even a blockage in the digestive system. Small dogs in particular may have trouble swallowing the shells.
You should also devein the shrimp – the term deveining simply means removing the intestinal tract that runs down the back (this is the black thread that you can see on the back of a shrimp).
Also, the raw shrimp can potentially contain harmful bacteria that could cause your dog digestive problems or sickness. If you cook the shrimp before giving it to your dog to eat, this kills the bacteria. In addition, be sure that you don’t add any seasoning to the shrimp when cooking it as this could also be dangerous for your dog. Salt is particularly bad for dogs, and other seasonings can cause an upset stomach and vomiting.
Don’t give dogs too much shrimp
Even though dogs can eat shrimp, it isn’t advisable to give them shrimp often. As we mentioned earlier, although shrimp are low calorie they are also high in cholesterol which isn’t healthy for your dog. And dogs obviously wouldn’t be eating shrimp in the wild. So we recommend that if you must give your dog shrimp then you should restrict yourself to only giving it as an occasional treat and even then, only in small amounts.
We should also point out that some dogs are allergic to seafood and if you find this to be the case for your dog, then you definitely shouldn’t let it eat shrimp. Symptoms that indicate that your dog may be allergic to shrimp include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. If your dog eats shrimp and then shows severe and/or prolonged symptoms you should consider contacting your vet.
The answer to the question “Can dogs eat shrimp?” is a qualified yes. Most dogs can eat shrimp as long as they’re cooked and properly prepared/deveined. They’re not a natural dog food though and we don’t recommend you give them to your dog often, or in too great a quantity. There are much better and healthier dog treat options out there and it’s important to remember that a sudden change in diet is one of the main culprits for upset stomachs in dogs.