The answer is yes, but only if handled carefully. Don’t go around slipping your pup bites of your shrimp cocktail, especially if you aren’t sure about what’s in it and how it’s ingredients may affect your dog.
Shrimp has many uses and is used in many different dishes. You can make amazing stock from its shells, make breakfast extra snazzy and fry some rice with it, or put it in different soups and stews.
Having your dog see you enjoy those tasty orange and white curls could definitely make your pup jealous, especially with its strong and enticing aroma when freshly cooked! They may tend to turn on the big puppy dog eyes and nudge you for a teeny tiny bite, but don’t give in!
That shrimp that you’re treating yourself to may not be as healthy for your dog (that is unless you’re eating very bland shrimp, but where’s the fun in that?) There are definitely ways to make shrimp treats edible for your dog, too.
What is Shrimp?
Shrimp are crustaceans. They are semi-transparent critters that live in water. They have fluffy looking feelers on their underbelly and a pointy head with antennae. They can be found in freshwater lakes or streams, as well as all oceans, shallow or deep.
They can range from absolutely tiny at just a few millimeters long to 20 centimeters. That’s a whopping 8 whole inches of prawn! The average shrimp is about 1 – 3 inches long.
Alive, they look anywhere between dull blue and grey and kinda look like weird sea bugs. They curl up and get their beautiful orange and white stripes once cooked. Cultures across the world have transformed from the humble shrimp into flavorful culinary adventures, from paella, to dumplings, to gumbo.
However, these tasty delicacies may also hold many dangers for your four-legged friend. It’s important for us to know what’s good and what’s bad for our dogs before we give them a bite of our meal.
What Benefits Can My Dog Get From Eating Shrimp?
Shrimp has low carbohydrates, low fat content, and low calories! A single piece of shrimp has about 7 calories. And while it’s small, shrimp can pack a lot of goodness.
High in Protein
Shrimp is high in quality protein. Every 3 ounces of shrimp has approximately 20 grams of protein.
Antioxidants are important because they help reduce the aging of the brain and fight free radicals.
Rich in Minerals
Shrimp contains a lot of minerals, including calcium, iron, and phosphorus, which helps strengthen your dog’s bones and teeth. These minerals also help speed up your dog’s metabolism, which helps keep your dog healthy, fit, and energetic.
Shrimp contains vitamin B3, which your dog needs for energy production to keep them both active and playful. Vitamin B3 or niacin is also important for proper enzyme function, helping your dog’s digestive system. Vitamins are an essential part of a dog’s diet and should be included daily for optimal health.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Raw?
Raw shellfish, including shrimp, can contain harmful pathogens and bacteria when raw and uncooked. That is why it is inadvisable to feed raw shellfish to your pup. Removing shrimp shells and cooking by steaming is best for dogs.
How Do I Prepare Shrimp For My Dog?
If you want to give your dog some shrimp, you’ll have to prepare it properly.
- Source shrimp carefully. If you’re buying fresh, make sure it doesn’t smell fishy or emits an odd odor. Frozen is your next best bet, just ensure that the packaging is free of holes or tears which could infect the product. Also, be sure to watch out for ice crystals in the packaging as these could have caused minuscule tears in the plastic packaging.
- Remove the hard bits first. The head should come off easily if you grasp the base where it connects to the body. The shell and feelers can be easily removed if you dig your thumbs into the middle of the feelers lightly and pull outwards. Then, pull off the tail. Peeling shrimp is easier when raw.
- Remove the shrimp’s vein. Make a shallow cut along the shrimp’s back until you expose the dark vein. Pick it out with a skewer and rinse the whole shrimp with water.
- This is an optional step. You can cut the shrimp into manageable sizes according to your dog’s mouth. This is because some dogs may get too excited and bite off more than they can chew!
- Cook it until the internal temperature is 145° F. (A thermometer is optional, but err on the side of overcooked if you opt to not use a thermometer.) The flesh should curl and begin to turn from translucent to an opaque and pearly white with orange stripes. The recommended cooking methods for shrimp are steaming, grilling, and boiling. These are the healthiest ways to prepare shrimp for your dog.
- Refrain from adding seasoning to your dog’s shrimp. That includes salt, pepper, garlic, or cayenne. Serve your dog some bland shrimp, and their digestive systems will thank you.
What Danger Does Shrimp Pose To My Dog?
Improper preparation dangers
A good chef considers the needs of their diners. Dogs can’t shell their own shrimp, and they don’t know if their shrimp cocktail has had the veins taken out or not. Their teeth are not made to grind up the hard shell, head, and tail, and they can pose a serious choking hazard.
Even if they do manage to swallow those parts, they are rather sharp and your dog’s soft intestines could be easily injured from the shrimp shells.
Undercooked or raw shrimp will give your dog something called shellfish toxicity due to bacteria. Cooking shrimp will eliminate this harmful bacteria.
Shrimp with its vein intact should not be fed to your dog. Why? Because it’s not actually a vein, it’s the shrimp’s digestive tract. You wouldn’t want your dog to eat shrimp poop, would you?
Any shrimp cooked in fat such as vegetable oil or butter should strictly stay on human plates. All that fat could upset your dog’s digestion or cause inflammation in their pancreas.
Do not feed your dog pre-marinated shrimp from the grocery. Aromatics such as garlic and onion are known to be toxic to dogs. Too much salt can cause kidney problems such as kidney disease in dogs. (That means butter-garlic shrimp is off the doggy menu!)
Once or twice maybe you’ve risked going to that really shady eatery with the questionably cheap seafood. If you find yourself toilet-bound hours later, you can chalk it up to a bad gamble and nurse a Pedialite with some saltine crackers. Your dog can’t make an informed decision like that. If they get a terrible stomach ache later, they’ll be completed blindsided. Food poisoning is bad enough, but surprise food poisoning is a whole ‘nother level of awful.
Shrimp that has been poorly prepared or contaminated can have dangerous bacteria such as:
- Salmonella, which can give your dog a fever. It can also cause diarrhea and vomiting, which will dehydrate your dog and cause weight loss.
- Listeria can cause fever, diarrhea, and vomiting as well. Other symptoms to look out for are stiff neck and loss of coordination.
- Vibrio is caused by a bacteria called Campylobacter fetus jejuni, which can wreak havoc in your poor dog’s digestive system. Vibriosis can cause bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
Shrimp can harbor harmful viruses such as the following:
- Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that affects the liver. Besides getting it from questionable shrimp, your dog can also get infected by sniffing or eating bodily secretions of other dogs, wolves, or even bears. Be careful when taking your dogs on a hike, especially if they tend to sniff a lot on the trails!
- Norovirus is a virus that upsets your dog’s stomach and makes them nauseous. This can lead to vomiting and potentially bloody diarrhea. Keep your pup hydrated and try to give them something to alleviate their nausea. CBD is a great natural alternative for helping relieve nausea in pets and humans alike.
Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, and the same goes for shrimp and your dog. Shrimp may have low calories, but it, unfortunately, has a lot of cholesterol. Too much cholesterol can alter your dog’s blood flow and cardiovascular system. Your dog can also become overweight. Chubby puppies are definitely adorable, but they are also not healthy. You wouldn’t want to let cute aesthetics dictate the well-being of your pup!
Intolerances and Allergies
Allergy and intolerance may sound similar, but they are actually very different. If your dog has shellfish intolerance, this means that their body can’t digest shellfish properly. It’s likely that your dog will wind up with an upset stomach and poop a lot, but nothing drastic will happen.
If your dog is allergic to shellfish, the best case scenario is that their face may swell a little bit or get hives and find themselves itching and scratching. A concerning reaction is a swelling of the throat, which may affect your dog’s breathing. In worst case scenarios, anaphylactic shock may occur and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Should any of these two occur, please contact your vet immediately and seek proper attention.
What About Other Seafood?
There’s no particular shellfish that are toxic to dogs. Any shellfish you can get from the market is okay for your dog to eat as long as it’s prepared properly. That being said, keep a close eye on your dog on the beach. If they have a habit of making a beeline to interesting things in the ground and eating them, it’s best to keep them on a leash.
The Bottom Line: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Your dog can have about half a cup of plain, cooked shrimp once a week. Too much can increase their cholesterol levels and result in weight gain or obesity in dogs. Consult your vet if you want to make shrimp a staple protein in your dog’s diet, and stop giving them shrimp should they exert any adverse reactions.
If your dog has a taste for shrimp, it can be implemented as a fun treat or occasional topping to their dog food. If your dog doesn’t particularly enjoy the taste of shrimp, then it’s no loss either. Shrimp may have a lot of nutritional value, but those dietary needs can be fulfilled by other proteins that your dog’s digestive system better adapted to eating. Their ancestors subsisted on protein primarily found on land, after all. Even dogs who live by the sea or a lake will be much more drawn to hunt down fish instead.
Most commercial dog foods have all the nutrients that your dog needs. If you want to make home cooked food for your dog, look to proteins such as beef, poultry, and salmon. If you want to increase your dog’s appetite, CBD is an all natural supplement with plenty of health benefits.
What is CBD?
Chances are, you must have heard of CBD by now for both human and pet consumption. CBD is one of the many different phytocannabinoids found in hemp. Unlike cannabis and marijuana, hemp has significantly higher concentrations on CBD than THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is a popular psychoactive agent found in cannabis and marijuana that is responsible for the feeling of being “high”. CBD derived from hemp is safe for dogs and CBD for pets will not make your pup high.
What’s the difference between Hemp and Cannabis?
Hemp is from the same species as cannabis, but it has one key difference. Hemp was bred to have less THC and more CBD. Hemp only has 0.3% THC, which is miniscule compared to the 5-30% THC that Cannabis sativa plants have.
CBD for Dogs, Cats, and even Horses!
Pet parents love their furry animals, and there’s no surprise when we find customers asking many questions regarding CBD and it’s safety for our four-legged furballs. CBD designed specifically for dogs is an all-natural product sourced from organic hemp extracts and contain absolutely miniscule amounts of THC.
A common misconception that we want to be very clear is that CBD is not a cure, but simply an additive supplement for your pet’s health. Here at InnovetPet, we specifically formulate our CBD products for pets, such as:
- CBD Oil for Dogs
- CBD Hemp Dog Treats
- CBD Soft Hemp Chews
- Hemp CBD Capsules for Dogs
- CBD Healing Balms
- CBD Mobility Support for Hip and Joints
- and even CBD for Horses!
Our CBD has zero side effects and is completely safe for your dogs – we want to reassure pet parents from across the globe that you won’t have to worry about buying CBD and giving your dog CBD products. Many veterinarians also approve of CBD, and you can consult your veterinarian first for their approval. Our customer service is available for any further questions you may have regarding our products and clarification on giving your pet CBD.
Where To Buy CBD Oil For Dogs
If you are in search of CBD treats and oil for dogs, Innovet is a brand that you can trust! When it comes to CBD oil and hemp-based dog treats, we offer only the best of the best because your dog deserves nothing less.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.