Can My Dogs Eat Shrimp?
So can dogs eat shrimp? Our furry canine friends today are the descendants of Wolves. They are instinctually carnivores which mean that they, like many mammals, are meat eaters. Carnivores enjoy a variety of different meat sources as their primary nutritional intake. However, the source of the meat may or may not include seafood such as shrimp. Some animals love shrimp and use them as their main course. For example, Flamingoes consume a vast amount of shrimp per day. In fact, it is the shrimp that they consume that provides the flamingo birds their beautiful pink hue. So, can does eat shrimp like the flamingo bird? Alternatively, are the shrimp toxic to dogs? Let’s dive into the oceans of information on this topic to educate ourselves, whether or not our pooches can safely enjoy shrimp.
What Is Shrimp?
Shrimp are small creatures that are also known as Decapod Crustaceans. These animals, generally, have long bodies and seem to swim in locomotion mode. Shrimp are also, sometimes, referred to as prawn crustaceans because of their long muscular tails and “stalk-eye” formations. They also have multiple legs and “whiskers” that are both rather slender. Their legs are not exactly strong enough to walk underwater (unlike the crab or lobster). These creatures are commonly found on the bottom of the ocean floor. However, they can be found in lakes and rivers, as well. In the wild, shrimp are an important role in the aquatic ecosystem. They are used as a food source for many aquatic creatures (such as whales and fish). Outside of the aquatic underworld, shrimp also are consumed by various species of bird (flamingo bird previously mentioned) as well as eaten by humans. Unlike the other animals mentioned, humans usually can only consume the meaty tails of certain species of shrimp.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Dogs and other varieties of canines should be consuming a large quantity of protein each day. In fact, their diets should consist of a large amount of protein. With that said, should dogs be eating shrimp? Well, shrimp, as food, does contain quite a bit of protein that could be beneficial to both humans and dogs alike. However, shrimp are known to be a source with high levels of cholesterol. Therefore, if a dog or a human were to consume shrimp, it should not be harmful in small amounts. Occasional consumption is the key! Regular consumption would be detrimental to anyone, not just our furry friends. Here are some facts to take into consideration when asking yourself if your dog can eat shrimp and before offering your pooch some seafood.
Seafood, or any human food, can easily harm a dog’s digestive tract. Dogs eat puppy kibble or adult dog kibble for a reason! The reason is simply that the dog food is specially formulated for dogs at a particular energy level, age, and health condition (depending on which food you choose). Another factor to take into consideration is that your dog may be allergic to shrimp! It is not unheard of for animals and people alike to suffer from allergies such as a seafood allergy. This is a potential factor to address with your veterinarian. She will be able to test your dog’s allergies and inform you of whether or not he suffers from allergies such as a seafood allergy. If he does, do not offer him any seafood (or anything else that he would have an allergic reaction to). His health and happiness are more important than sharing the tasty treat. If your pooch is interested in seafood, then you may want to consider a flavored seafood treat that is specially formulated for dogs. Many chain pet stores offer a salmon flavored treat in stick form that does not contain actual salmon, but rather the flavoring of it. These treats would satisfy his urge for seafood as well as keep him away from his allergy trigger.
If your dog is not allergic to seafood and you choose to offer him some, then it is important that you do so sparingly. Human food can become habit forming for animals. If they are provided the human food often, it will create a habit or an addiction which can encourage bad behaviors as well as potential health conditions. Nutritionally, shrimp contain an antioxidant called Selenium. This antioxidant can be beneficial to humans and animals in moderation. Shrimp are also a great source of Vitamin B-12 and Phosphorous, both of which can promote good health in humans and animals. Not to mention that they hardly contain any fat, calories, or carbohydrates (which is a benefit when you or your dog are on a diet). However, the level of cholesterol in shrimp can become very harmful to you and your dog if consumed on a regular basis.
If you were to offer your pup some seafood (such as shrimp), then you should always cook it first! Raw shrimp may be similar to what your dog would eat if he were a wild animal, but he is not. He is a domesticated animal with an evolved digestive system. It would be safer for the dog if the seafood were cooked and removed of any potentially harmful bacteria. The shell should also be completely removed before offering the shrimp to your dog. Everything from the head, tail, and legs should be removed and only the meaty insides should be offered to him. Everything else can cause harm to his digestive tract (i.e. a gastrointestinal blockage).
As any pet parent knows, animals find a way to get into anything and everything that they are not supposed to. If this was to occur and your dog found himself a seafood treat on his own, then you should monitor him closely. He will likely become ill (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.). If he becomes ill, remove any bowls of food or water until he is back to normal. If he continues to become ill (vomit or have diarrhea) or more than a couple hours, then you should seriously consider taking him to the veterinarian. Water can be provided after the first hour or two (or as the veterinarian recommends. If your dog has consumed seafood after being tested positive for being allergic to it (or having a health condition that discriminates the consumption of seafood), then he should be taken to the emergency veterinarian office immediately.
Final thoughts to sum up:
Dogs and other species of canines should be consuming plenty of protein each day. Their source of protein should come from their kibble rather than human food to prevent illness or unexpected allergic reactions. However, shrimp is okay for your dog to consume occasionally, in theory. If your dog is allergic or has been diagnosed with a health condition that can be made worse by consuming seafood, then you should avoid offering him shrimp all together.
Make sure you are providing the recommended (by a professional) daily quantity of kibble each day as well as the occasional doggie treats. By offering him a delicious doggie meal and the occasional treat he should be satisfied enough not to desire human food. On the other hand, offering the rare human treat may end up being beneficial depending on your particular dog’s training, manners, breed, age as well as his health status. Use your judgment as a pet parent. If you are hesitating then, do not attempt it. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.