Dog owners commonly ponder about the safety of feeding human foods. The question of food safety increased after learning that specific human foods are toxic to dogs that led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods toxic to dogs are Peanut Butter, Grapes and Raisins, and Chocolate. This encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of other foods such as shrimp.
Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
A shrimp, commonly referred to as a prawn, is an animal classified as decapod crustaceans that live in the water. There are thousands of species that serve as an important food source to various ocean animals including various species of fish. Shrimp have an elongated body, strong tails, and most commonly move by swimming. The tails of shrimp are a common delicacy for human consumption and the commercial shrimp industry is estimated to be over a 50 billion dollar a year business.
The answer to can dogs eat cooked shrimp is yes they can. Shrimp can be prepared plain, streamed, grilled, sautéed, baked, boiled, or broiled. Dogs love the soft firm texture, flavor and smell of the shrimp and can enjoy it as a healthy snack. Shrimp are a good source of protein, phosphorous, selenium, choline, copper, iodine and vitamin B12.
The Dangers of Shrimp to Dogs
When researching the safety of shrimp for dogs, there are five considerations that impact the danger.
- Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in dogs that aren’t use to shrimp or after ingestion of shrimp cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
- There is a risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies from the tails (shell). This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.
- Ingestion of large amounts if fish tails can cause gastrointestinal upset and constipation.
- Raw shrimp can contain a bacterium that infects dogs (and you) such as E.Coli, salmonella and/or listeria which can cause symptoms of infection in dogs.
- Some dogs may be allergic to shrimp.
The answer to the question, “can dogs eat shrimp” …the answer is yes.
If your dog ingested shrimp and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.
Do Dogs Need Shrimp?
There is nothing in shrimp that dogs require however shrimp is a very good source of protein and nutrients. Learn more about the nutritional needs of dogs. Go to Nutrition in Dogs.
The Safest Way to Give Shrimp to Dogs
The safest way to give shrimp to your dog is to offer a small amount of unseasoned or lightly seasoned deveined cooked shrimp. If feeding shrimp, ½ of a shrimp is plenty for a small dog, 1 shrimp for a medium-sized dog, and 2 or 3 for a large sized dog.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Shrimp?
Dogs can have food allergies including to shrimp. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, and dairy. Symptoms of allergies in dogs can include skin infections, ear infections, scaly dry skin, and persistent itching.
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