Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Shrimp can be okay in your dog’s diet — or it can be an unmitigated disaster. It all depends.
There are a lot of different ways to prepare shrimp, and while we humans get to indulge in every type of shellfish imaginable, it’s not always safe for our pets.
Dogs aren’t the same as humans. We’ve been eating seafood long enough that our bodies have built up a tolerance, but your dog doesn’t come from a long line of great fishermen. Dogs aren’t used to eating shellfish like shrimp – and so, if you’re not careful, shrimp can cause problems.
It all depends on how it’s prepared. So let’s take at three ways you can serve shrimp and find out which ones work and which ones can lead to a difficult night.
Read more: Can Dogs Eat Black Olives?
Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?
Do not feed your dog raw shrimp. Uncooked shellfish can be full of bacteria and pathogens that could make your dog very, very sick.
There are a lot of raw meat dogs can get away with eating, but shellfish is a different story. Dogs can get shellfish poisoning from the bacteria in raw shrimp that can leave them with upset stomachs or – in the worst cases – Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.
That’s rare – but it’s happened before. Some shellfish are contaminated with toxins that can be poisonous if uncooked. If you’re lucky, that’ll put your dog through a rough patch of brutal sickness; if you’re not, it just might kill him.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Shrimp?
Do not feed your dog any kind of prepared shrimp dish. Whether it’s been fried in oil or butter, any type of fried fish is going to full of fats that’ll inflame their pancreases and upset their digest systems. And if that shrimp dish has garlic or onions in it, it’s going to be a lot worse.
Even a small amount of garlic can be toxic to dogs. Their bodies just aren’t built to digest it. If your dog starts chowing down on a bowl of garlic-loaded butter shrimp, he could suffer through something called hemolytic anemia: the bursting of red blood cells throughout the body.
Onions aren’t much better. If there are onions mixed in with your shrimp, the onions will make clumps in their red blood cells that can block the flow of oxygen. All it would take is one-fourth of a cup to make a 20 lb dog sick – and with a bigger dose, it can get a lot worse.
Also read: Can Dogs Eat Almond Butter?
Can Dogs Eat Boiled Shrimp?
Your dog will be fine eating boiled shrimp, or really any type of cooked shrimp that doesn’t involve ingredients other than heat and shellfish.
But be careful about how you prepare the shrimp. Make sure you peel the shrimp and remove the veins and tail before feeding it to your dog. Those tails and veins can be very hard for a dog to digest, and that tough outer skin and get stuck in their teeth or throats.
That could be a nuisance – or, worse, a choking hazard.
There can be health benefits to feeding your dog a safely-prepared bowl of shrimp, too. For one thing, shrimp is loaded with something called astaxanthin: an antioxidant that can help keep their nervous systems, muscles, and bones strong.
In small quantities, a bit of shrimp could be a good thing for your pet. Just make sure you’re always taking every precaution.