Next time you steam up some shrimp, you might want to consider setting a few aside for your dog. Not only can dogs eat shrimp, but a few shrimp now and then may even offer them some health benefits.
Shrimp Contain Beneficial Nutrients for Dogs
Shrimp are not only tasty, they are full of nutrients that dogs need, like vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants. Vitamin B12 is important for your dog's metabolic processes and plays an important role in gastrointestinal health. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is required for proper enzyme function and energy production, fat production, blood circulation, chemical signals, and many other processes. Phosphorus is necessary for healthy bones, and anti-oxidants help fight free radicals and can reduce brain aging.
Shrimp are also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates, which makes them a good choice for dogs on a diet. However, shrimp are high in cholesterol. This means that while an occasional shrimp is a healthy treat, too many shrimp can contribute to unhealthy levels of cholesterol in your dog's diet.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Raw?
Raw, uncooked shellfish contain harmful pathogens that are easily avoided by cooking shrimp before feeding them to your dog. It is also a good idea to completely remove the shell, as shrimp shells are a choking hazard and can cause obstructions, especially in small dog breeds. Steamed shrimp is the best shrimp for dogs, as fried or breaded shrimp contains unnecessary fats and oils that can be harmful.
How Much Shrimp Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is the key to adding any new food item or treat to a dog's diet. Every dog is different, and some might react differently to shrimp than others. One or two shrimp are usually enough for most dogs, and it is a good idea to offer a partial shrimp to small dogs as a precaution. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist if you want to add shrimp or other shellfish to your dog's diet on a regular basis, so they can offer you professional advice about the proper quantities for your dog and advise you of any potential health concerns. Stop feeding shrimp if your dog shows symptoms of intestinal discomfort or illness, and call your vet if symptoms worsen.
For more information about other human foods that are safe for dogs, print out our list of human foods that dogs can and can't eat.