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Fish can be a source of many essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Dogs are carnivorous animals, and this is a well-known fact, however many owners wonder if it is safe to share seafood like shrimp with their furry friend. Shrimp can be cooked in many ways and can be found everywhere, from fast food restaurants to five-star restaurants, but is it okay to share this food with your dog?
Are shrimps good for dogs?
Although shrimps are not a great source of protein, they have other useful benefits, such as being rich in antioxidants, including selenium and copper.
Plus, a very special one, namely astaxanthin. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory carotenoid. In animal studies, it has been shown that this particular antioxidant supports both the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. Research has also shown that astaxanthin intake decreases the risk of developing diabetes and colon cancer. On average, a single serving of 4 shrimps may contain between 1 and 4 mg of astaxanthin.
Other vitamins and minerals the shrimp contains are vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, iodine, omega-3 fats, pantothenic acid, zinc, choline, and protein.
Many dogs love shrimps, and because they are so small, they are a great reward when training. Because they are full of nutrients like vitamin B12, niacin, and phosphorus, as well as antioxidants that are thought to slow brain aging, shrimp can provide your dog with certain health benefits.
Vitamin B12 boosts metabolism and gastrointestinal and brain health, niacin can help improve your dog’s overall energy levels, protecting the cardiovascular system and promoting healthy skin. Phosphorus is an important nutrient for maintaining healthy bones.
Risks of consuming shrimp in dogs
Shrimp can be a healthy source of protein, even though it is not too rich, for both humans and dogs, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a completely safe option for your pet. Before you feed your dog shrimp consult with your veterinarian to make sure it is a good option for your dog and get guidance on how many shrimps it is good to offer him.
Just as it is important to avoid giving your dog meat that contains bones, there are risks associated with feeding your dog shrimp with shell. The shell is not only difficult to digest but can also be a choking hazard. There is also a chance that it will cause cuts or other irritations in your dog’s mouth.
You probably wouldn’t feed your dog raw chicken because of the possibility of coming in contact with diseases like salmonella. The same rule applies to raw shrimp. Make sure that when you give your dog shrimp, they are properly prepared and cooked completely to avoid the risk of food poisoning or other diseases.
You’ll also want to consider your dog’s unique dietary needs before giving them shrimp. Dogs that are overweight, diabetic, or have circulation problems should not be fed shrimp.
Shrimp is a type of fatty seafood with high cholesterol levels that could contribute to circulatory complications, such as hyperlipidemia, which appears as a high lipid/fat content in your pet’s blood. Of course, one or two shrimp probably won’t hurt him, but as a general rule, maintaining a low-fat diet is recommended for dogs that are experiencing these types of health problems.
Other dogs that should avoid shrimp are those who suffer from thyroid disorders because shellfish are a known source of dietary iodine, which can worsen the existing condition.
Finally, just as many people are allergic to seafood, there is always the possibility of discovering that your dog is too. Although it is not particularly common, food generally accounts for only 10% of allergies in dogs, any dog can have a genetic predisposition to food allergies or sensitivities. So, in the initial phase, limit the shrimp portion and monitor your dog to make sure there are no symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Signs of an allergic reaction in dogs
- Aggressive scratching of the skin or ears
- Respiratory difficulties
Owners who already have dogs with sensitivities or allergies should always be especially careful when introducing a food like shrimp, and you should keep in mind that, like humans, your dog may develop a seafood allergy at any time in his life.
Can a dog eat the shrimp’s tail and shell?
No, it’s not recommended. They can create a blockage of the stomach or could be a choking hazard. Your dog’s ancestors did not have access to shrimp, so dog teeth and digestive system are not equipped to cope with the outside part of a shrimp. Cleaned shrimp are much easier for the dog to digest.
Also, make sure you buy high-quality shrimp. If shrimp have rings or black spots on the shell, it means that the meat has begun to deteriorate and break down. The shrimp shell is yellow? This indicates that chemicals such as sodium bisulfate were used on the shrimps. If shrimps smell like ammonia, it’s spoiled.
Shrimp are not poisoning for dogs when they are properly prepared, but your dog may be allergic to them. And if it’s not cooked properly, it can cause shellfish toxicity.
How to serve shrimp to your dog
In addition to having completely removed the shell, the head, legs, and tail, you will give your dog only fully cooked shrimp meat. You will also want to be sure not to serve shrimp that have been fried before or cooked in butter, oils, or salt that can be harmful to your pet. The safest way to prepare shrimp for your dog is to boil or cook them in the oven.
Common shrimp spices, such as garlic or onions, are toxic to your dog, and you’ll also want to avoid putting sauces on your dog’s shrimp.
Finally, consider the size of your dog when you offer him shrimp, because larger breeds are able to eat a whole shrimp at a time, but smaller dogs might not.
Conclusion: Can dogs eat shrimp?
Feeding your dog shrimp can be a nice, little healthy treatment. Be sure to follow the cooking instructions described above. And don’t forget to watch your dog’s reaction to shrimp first, to see any allergic reaction. It is always best to talk with your veterinarian first to make sure that a new addition to your dog’s diet will be beneficial.