Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Sometimes it may seem as though there is nothing your dog won’t eat! Anything that falls on the floor off your plate is fair game, and let’s be honest: a lot of dog food products don’t look all that appetizing from a human perspective!
But while this is true, that is not to say that you should give your dog anything that you feel like giving them! That’s because a lot of human food and other foods not explicitly intended for dogs can actually be quite harmful if they ingest it.
Knowing the difference between a healthy snack that you can safely share with your dog and something that is likely to cause them significant discomfort, is part of being a good dog owner!
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at whether or not dogs can eat shrimp.
YES: WITH CAVEATS
The simple answer is: yes, dogs can eat shrimp. The slightly longer answer is that it’s not quite that simple.
The reason for this is that although dogs are able to eat shrimp that have been cooked and prepared, that shrimp can be harmful if it hasn’t been prepared properly.
Shrimp is a great source of protein, of course, and chances are that you’ve heard protein is good for your dog! This is a lean protein like any fish, meaning it doesn’t come stuffed with fat that is going to lead to weight gain, or potential other issues like pancreatitis. If you are looking for a way to add high-quality protein and ensure your dog’s optimal health, consider holistic dog foods.
But on the other hand, dogs shouldn’t eat shrimp raw.
That might sound obvious to you when you consider that humans shouldn’t eat shrimp raw. But it’s a little less obvious when you consider likewise that dogs are supposed to be able to eat other kinds of foods raw!
So, what’s different about shrimp?
One issue here is that shrimp contains a lot of bacteria that when eaten raw can lead to something called “shellfish toxicity.” This isn’t likely to be immediately lethal for dogs, but it is something that is better avoided if possible. This is also why the advice is often for pregnant women to avoid shrimp.
Another issue to consider when it comes to shrimp is that it has a kind of skin that can be very difficult for dogs to digest, and which might even be a choking hazard.
Again, if this strikes you as odd given the advice to feed dogs other types of raw meat, then just remember that dogs’ ancestors would have been unlikely to have eaten shrimp in its raw form (or at all). Dogs and wolves do not feed from the bottom of the ocean, so there is no real benefit to eating this kind of food and dogs aren’t evolved to thrive on it.
How to Prepare Shrimp for Dogs
If you want to go ahead and help your dog to enjoy shrimp, then you can do so by first removing the shell and veins runs down their center. Wash them thoroughly, and then cook on a high heat. Don’t add too much salt or other seasoning as this isn’t good for a dog either.
Once you’ve done that, you can then break the shrimp up and add it to your dog’s other food.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SHRIMP FOR DOGS
If you decide to give your dog some shrimp to mix up their diet, then there are a few benefits they can get from it.
Shrimp is a good source of protein, for instance. Protein is made up of amino acids, which can be broken down into their constituent parts and then recycled in order to build muscle tissue, heal wounds, improve the skin, strengthen bones, and much more. This can help your dog to become healthy, toned, and glowing!
At the same time, shrimp is also a good source of a number of different vitamins and minerals. It is rich in selenium for instance, as well as choline. Choline is a particularly healthy nutrient to add to any diet, being a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is used as one of the key messengers in the brain, used to facilitate communication between brain cells. The more of this you have in your brain, the more it can benefit your memory, your mood, and your brain function – and the same is true for dogs as well!
While this is all true, it’s also true that your dog can get all the benefits of shrimp from other sources. When you consider that you need to prepare shrimp to such a degree and it doesn’t add anything major to your dog’s diet, it might be easier to stick with other foods!
Other Foods and How to Give Your Dog the Best Diet
If you’re concerned about your dog’s diet and you want to ensure they enjoy the most nutritious and healthy diet possible, then there are lots of ways you can do this.
Adding fish food to your dog’s diet is on the right lines for instance, but you might be better suited by choosing salmon rather than other types of fish. Salmon is a great source of protein just like shrimp, but it is also very high in omega 3 fatty acid. This crucial nutrient is incredibly healthy for dogs and humans alike – it helps to combat inflammation, it further improves communication with brain cells, and it is protective against numerous brain diseases and other conditions. Given this, it makes sense to add salmon instead by using small flakes of the fish in with their regular food.
Just keep in mind that salmon does include large amounts of mercury and so you shouldn’t give your dog more than a few pieces a week.
In general, adding different types of meat and even some fruits and vegetables is a great way to supplement your dog’s usual diet and to help them enjoy greater health and well-being. Look around, do your research, and don’t give them the same tired dinner every single night!