Shrimp are among the top-preferred seafood in the USA. So, it is very likely that you enjoy eating shrimp. But can you share these delicious crustaceans with your dog?
While shrimp are not toxic for dogs, whether your dog can eat shrimp depends on how you prepare it, how much you feed it, as well as on your pup’s health.
The short answer to the question – can dog eat shrimp is “yes.” But when cooked and prepped correctly, fed in moderation, and after being approved by your vet.
So, are shrimp beneficial, or are they bad for canines?
Shrimp are delicious and have many health and nutritional benefits. They are high in protein, contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and are low in calories. In other words, they can be a healthy and low-calorie snack for your pup.
The potential danger from feeding dogs shrimp comes from the risk of vibriosis, which is a bacterial infection. This risk exists for humans and canines alike but is valid only if the shrimp are raw or are not cooked properly. But if you cook them fully, then all bacteria will be killed off.
Another potential adverse effect of feeding dogs with shrimp is a possible stomach upset or discomfort, which may include vomiting and diarrhea.
This is why you should speak to your vet first, and if approved, start off with very small amounts of shrimp when adding them to your dog’s menu. Watch it closely for any negative reactions.
Related: Factors to Consider When Feeding my dog
How much shrimp should I give to my dog?
Related: Can Dogs Eat Crawfish?
As with all other extra treats, you should follow the rule of thumb, which is that 90% of the caloric intake should be from balanced, high-quality dog food, and only up to 10% can be from shrimp or other extra snacks and treats.
The main reason for this is to prevent your dog from gaining weight or becoming obese because this can lead to other health problems and can shorten your furbaby’s life significantly.
Thankfully, shrimp are low in calories. A single one has only about 10 calories, so 10 shrimp have a total of 100 calories. If your pup is about 30 lbs. the average recommended intake is between 1,080 and 1,345 calories per day. So, 10 to 13 shrimp a day are under the 10% for treats. Of course, your vet will tell you exactly how much to feed your dog depending on its age, size, activity level, and health, so adjust the quantities and percentages accordingly.
You should monitor your pup for possible allergic reactions to shrimp when you first start feeding it with small amounts of this seafood. If you notice severe ones, you should contact your vet immediately.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Shrimp?
The potential risks of giving dogs shrimp
In general, shrimp can safely be fed to canines, but if it is prepared and cooked, and if the dog doesn’t have allergies or other health issues, counter indicative of shrimp consumption.
Here are the ways to avoid the potentially harmful effects of giving shrimp to dogs:
Feeding it raw or undercooked shrimp
The main risk of eating raw or undercooked shrimp or most other seafood is the risk of a bacterial or parasite infection. You should always cook the shrimp to the recommended temperature before feeding it to your pup or before eating it yourself.
Not cleaning it properly
The tails and the shells of shrimp are tough, so it is recommended that you remove them before giving them to your dog, especially for smaller pups. The reason is that these parts can be hard to chew, swallow or digest. This increases the risk of choking, intestinal obstruction, or stomach upsets in canines.
Frying it or adding unhealthy ingredients
If you want to add shrimp to your dog’s menu because of the health and nutritional benefits, then it is recommended that you skip the batter, the fat, and other ingredients used for frying it. These can add to the calories, and the fat can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
For a lower caloric and healthier treat, you can steam the shrimp instead.
Also, skip the sauces and other ingredients that are not good and can even be toxic to dogs, especially when consumed in larger quantities. Some of these include garlic, onions, and different types of seasoning.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Calamari?
The best way to prepare shrimp for your pup
If you are determined to treat your pup with some shrimp, here is the best and safest way to do it:
- Boil or steam the shrimp.
- Remove the tails and shells.
- Do not add any seasonings or other ingredients that can be toxic to the dog and add more fat or calories to the shrimp.
- Feed your pup in moderation, and start with very small quantities, so that you can watch the dog for any adverse reactions, including digestive issues or allergies.
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