Only pet parents with supernatural willpower have never given a bite of their food to their pets. I mean, it’s just a teensy little piece, what harm can it do?

Take a look at the risks and benefits of feeding your dog shrimp, and find out if shrimp is bad for dogs or is that just another myth.

  1. Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
  2. The Good and the Bad
  3. Risks of Feeding Raw Shrimp, Shrimp Shells, or Shrimp Tails to Dogs
  4. Good Alternatives to Shrimp
  5. The Takeaway
  6. FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

If you’re looking for a short answer, it would be yes - but you should avoid giving it to them. I know, it’s contradictory. That’s why you need to know all the details and not just the quick answer on whether or not you can feed shrimp to dogs.

In theory, dogs can eat cooked shrimp. These aquatic critters are full of protein and they are not toxic to dogs. However, they are also high in fat, which can lead to serious diseases in canines, can cause an allergic reaction, or block their intestines.

Dog Smelling Shrimp

All things considered, the risks of feeding shrimp to dogs outweigh all the benefits. But, if your dog is not allergic to shellfish, and you really want to give them shrimp, make sure you take necessary precautions. Shrimp should be thoroughly cooked, deveined, shelled, and given only as a tiny portion.

Some canines don’t have a problem with eating shrimp, but, unfortunately, there are many more that have needlessly suffered because of their appetite for fishy food, so think twice before serving your pet with a prawn cocktail.

The Good and the Bad

In a nutshell, is shrimp good or bad for dogs? This handy chart will tell you all you need to know about shrimp:

The Good The Bad
Rich in protein High in fat
Good source of Omega-3 Can cause an allergic reaction/td>
Contains high levels of antioxidants Risk of intestinal blockage
Choking hazard
If not cooked properly, source of bacteria (Salmonella, Listeria)
The Verdict: You shouldn’t give shrimp to your dog.

Risks of Feeding Raw Shrimp, Shrimp Shells, or Tails to Dogs

There is a potential for problems with cooked shrimp, but a guarantee of trouble with raw shrimp.

Raw shrimp is a source of all kinds of bacteria, including dreaded salmonella and listeria. Even undercooked shrimp can make your dog sick, so if you think your pooch has gotten ahold of some raw shrimp, make sure to contact your veterinarian.

Shrimps

Shells and tails also present a huge risk for canines. I know, there are a lot of pet parents out there saying “My dog ate shrimp tails and he’s perfectly fine!”, but that doesn’t mean your pooch will be one of the lucky ones that weren’t harmed.

Dogs can’t eat shrimp shells and shrimp tails because they are a choking hazard and can make a mess out of your dog’s intestines. Shrimp tails and shells are made of chitosan, which is difficult to digest, and their brittle, sharp texture makes them easy to get stuck inside the digestive tract or perforate the intestine wall.

Good Alternatives to Shrimp

Seafood, in general, is one of the riskiest food groups for canines - apart from allergies and toxins, there is always a risk of choking and internal injuries from fish bones or shells.

If you’re looking for healthy, protein-rich treats for your pooch who loves to eat seafood, there are many alternatives to shellfish. Here are some dog-friendly foods your furball might enjoy:

  • Sardines: Small, inexpensive, and nutrient rich, these tiny fish are an excellent source of protein and omega-3 for canines.
  • Salmon: Serve it boneless and completely cooked. Wholesome and delicious, cooked salmon is a great treat for dogs!
  • Green Lipped Mussels: Packed with essential fatty acids and glycosaminoglycans, these New Zealand mussels have been praised by canine experts for their apparent pain-relieving properties in dogs with arthritis.

Of course, there are a lot of other nutritious treat options, including store-bought goodies and home cooked yummies that are based on veggies or meat. It all depends what your pet’s refined palate is most accustomed to!

The Takeaway

Although shrimp are not toxic to dogs, it’s best to avoid giving them to your pet. They can cause an allergic reaction, can be hard to digest, and, overall, don’t make a safe choice for a treat.

Even our pet’s ancestors didn’t have any contact with critters that live in the ocean’s depths, which means that some seafood, like shellfish, were not part of their natural diet.

Opt for seafood that is safe for dogs, or other wholesome treats, rather than risking the myriad of problems that come with feeding your dog shellfish.

FAQ

Q: Can dogs eat prawns?

A: Apart from minimal differences in looks, prawns are, in essence, extremely similar to shrimp. The same rules and concerns apply to feeding your dog prawns as they do with shrimp.

Q: My dog ate shrimp shells or tails. What do I do?

A: Please contact your vet. There is a chance that the shells or tails are blocking your dog’s digestive tract, or that they have done internal damage that you are not able to see. Even though there is a chance your dog will be OK, there is always the possibility of serious issues that can even lead to the death of your pet, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Q: Is my dog allergic to shrimp?

A:Just as with humans, some canines can be allergic to shellfish. Common symptoms of this allergy are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of hair
  • Itchy skin
  • Anaphylactic shock (rare)

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