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In short: “YES”, they can
I know, that does seem a little too easy. There’s a lot you may not know about dogs and shrimp, and contrary to the old axiom, some things you don’t know can and will hurt you – or in this case, your dog.
Here are some things to consider before you feed your dog any shrimp.
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Is Shrimp Nutritious?
Several online sources agree that if your dog’s system can handle shrimp (see below), it can be a nutritious treat for your dog.
It has a lot of health benefits, too. Shrimp has two antioxidants, vitamin B12 and the dietary mineral phosphorous, and is also low in fat, carbs, and calories. While some say cholesterol could be an issue, others note that it’s so black and white – so I’m leaving the cholesterol debate up to you.
Should Shrimp Be Raw Or Cooked?
The safest bet is to cook it, as cooking the shrimp eliminates dangerous bacteria that could upset your dog’s stomach or make him sick. In fact, cooking is a good rule of thumb for any seafood you want to share with your furry friend.
Much like with humans, though, feeding old, leftover shrimp to your dog is also not recommended.
What If My Dog Accidentally Eats Shrimp It Shouldn’t Eat?
We’ve all been there. No matter how careful you think you are, sometimes dogs get into stuff that they shouldn’t: raw food waiting to be prepared, your leftovers and the trash can, just to name a few.
If something doesn’t agree with a dog, the dog’s body will do whatever it needs to do rid of it. Shrimp is no different – it could cause diarrhea, vomiting, or even both.
If your dog does eat too much shrimp, you might want to quarantine her, in case things get messy, and make sure she has enough water.
Be warned though that your dog may be allergic, as again, much like humans, shellfish are a common allergen. If you notice any odd symptoms, consult your nearest veterinarian immediately.
Are There Other Considerations?
If you do choose to feed your dog shrimp, experts insist that you completely remove the shell, as eating the shell can cause digestive blockage in your dog.
Even if you only give your dog a small piece of shrimp as a treat, you should make certain that it’s properly peeled and completely cooked before giving it to her.
There Are Alternative Diet Plans
There are reportedly dog food manufacturers out there that duplicate the diet a dog would be eating if not domesticated. They create these ‘natural dog diets’ by formulating the correct ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins, and producing it in a more distributable form.
While most dogs may not be used to eating pure shrimp on a regular basis, shrimp does contain things that are good for active dogs.
A quality dog food that contains shrimp, or any seafood, really, might be a better option to consider. In the long run, it’s more practical than supplementing your dog’s diet with actual shrimp.
Some sources suggest a product called Bayou Biscuits. This specialized dog treats combine shrimp, catfish and even alligator meat in a delicious dog treat.
Other pet pundits offer other edible options for dogs who love seafood. They recommend buying high-quality salmon sticks as yet another alternative to cooked shrimp.
Online sources confirm that shelled and cooked shrimp is fine as a treat for most dogs.
Just bear in mind that if you do feed your dog shrimp, make sure you monitor your dog’s reaction the first time for any potential negative side effects like gas, stomachache, diarrhea, disruption in the digestion, or even an allergic reaction.
If your dog can handle seafood, feel free to occasionally treat your dog to some properly prepared shrimp, or even prawns, but make sure that you limit consumption of the protein-packed shellfish and don’t make it a habit.
Do you feed your dog shrimp? Or do you prefer other alternatives? Let us know below in the comments.