Shrimp is a popular seafood delicacy for humans … but can dogs eat shrimp?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat shrimp! However, there are a few things you need to know before feeding your dog shrimp.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Safely?
Yes, dogs can eat shrimp safely – raw or cooked, and with the shells on or off.
However, you want to think carefully about the kind of shrimp you feed your dog. Most shrimp you’ll find in the grocery store are farm raised, meaning they contain antibiotics and other chemicals.
How Much Shrimp Can Dogs Eat?
Shrimp is safe for dogs to eat, but you still only want to feed it in moderation. Shrimp doesn't provide all the essential nutrients that dogs need, even though it is a great source of protein. If your dog’s diet is too heavy on shrimp, it could result in nutrient deficiencies over time.
So as a general rule, shrimp should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily food intake.
Risks Of Shrimp For Dogs
Aside from the risk of overfeeding, shrimp can also pose other risks for dogs.
Shrimp shells and tails do have potential to be a choking hazard, and the tails may cause digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea for some dogs. However, shrimp tails and shells are very high in glucosamine, which you'll see below offers a number of benefits for dogs. And many dogs enjoy helping clean up leftover tails and shells from humans’ shrimp dinners!
If you decide to feed your dog shrimp shells and tails, you can give the shells and tails in bite-size pieces to reduce any risk. Or you can make a glucosamine-rich broth by simmering some shrimp shells in water for a few hours. You can serve the broth without the shells and get all of the glucosamine benefits with none of the risk.
Lastly, people often add dips or seasonings to shrimp. Whether it’s extra salt or cocktail sauce, these additions aren’t necessarily good for your dog. If you’re going to feed your dog shrimp, it’s best to stick with plain cooked or raw shrimp without any added salt, seasonings, oils, dips, or flavorings.
Can Dogs Be Allergic To Shrimp?
Yes, just like humans, some dogs can be allergic to shrimp. So in addition to the risks above, there is some risk of allergic reaction when feeding your dog shrimp.
That’s why you want to introduce all new foods to your dog slowly … and shrimp are no exception.
After feeding a small amount, you can monitor your dog’s reaction. If he experiences symptoms like itching, swelling or difficulty breathing after eating shrimp, stop feeding it to him immediately and call your vet.
5 Shrimp Benefits For Dogs
Ok, back to the good news: shrimp can provide many health benefits for dogs! Some of the best shrimp benefits for dogs include:
High In Protein
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for dogs as it helps to build and repair muscle tissue. Shrimp is an excellent source of protein, containing about 20 grams of protein per 3.5 oz serving. This makes it a great addition to your dog's diet, especially if he's an active dog or is recovering from an injury.
Low In Fat
If your dog needs to lose or maintain weight, shrimp can be a good option as it is low in fat. A 3.5 oz serving of shrimp only has about 1 gram of fat, so it's a good lean protein source for dogs.
Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Shrimp also contains several important vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog's health. For example, shrimp is high in vitamin B12, which is important for nerve function and can help prevent anemia. Shrimp is also a good source of selenium, a mineral that helps to support a healthy immune system, and phosphorus, which is important for healthy bones.
Promotes Healthy Skin And Coat
Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat in dogs. Fatty acids are also important for skin health, as they help to reduce inflammation and keep skin cells healthy. This can help prevent skin conditions like dryness, itching, and allergies in dogs.
Helps Build Strong Bones
Lastly, shrimp is a good source of calcium, a mineral that’s important for building and maintaining strong bones in dogs. Calcium is essential for bone health, as it helps support bone density and strength. Calcium is especially important for growing puppies, and senior dogs who may be at risk for bone loss.
Also, remember that shrimp tails and shells are high in natural glucosamine, which can stimulate cartilage growth, improve joint function, and even slow the progression of arthritis.
How To Feed Your Dog Shrimp
If you decide to feed your dog shrimp, do so in moderation and be sure to prepare it properly. Plain raw or cooked shrimp is best, with no additional seasonings.
It can be tricky to find shrimp that aren’t farm raised, but if you can find wild caught shrimp, these are much better for your dog. They don’t have the antibiotics and pesticide risk of farm-raised shrimp, and wild caught seafood is more nutritious, with a better fatty acid balance.