Who doesn’t just love cooking shrimp on the grill? Or maybe eating fresh shrimp cocktail? Shrimp is a seafood many people love! But what about dogs? Is shrimp safe for dogs? Or what happens if your fur baby accidentally eats the shrimp in the shell, or just the shell alone? Are shrimp shells dangerous for dogs?
There’s No Short Answer
Some pet parents love to share their food with their canine companions. We understand. It’s so hard to say no when those adorable brown eyes are pleading for just one bite…just one! Of course, those same brown eyes will keep begging for just one more bite! We’ve all been there!
When it comes to shrimp, the answer as to whether or not it’s safe is a bit contradictory. If shrimp has been cooked and doesn’t have the tail or shell, then you can share one, small bite (and we do mean small) with your fur baby. However, letting him eat more could cause problems with his health.
Be careful with cooked shrimp. The shrimp you share with your fur baby should be plain, with no added ingredients. The problem is that many cooked shrimp recipes, such as shrimp scampi, include ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. For instance, most shrimp scampi recipes include garlic, which is highly toxic to dogs.
Shrimp cooked in butter can also pose a problem, such as pancreatitis. Your dog would have to eat several buttery shrimps, but he could develop pancreatitis, which is painful and can be life-threatening.
So, ensure the small piece of shrimp you give your dog is plain. This is the safest way to share your shrimp with him.
The Problem with Shrimp and Shrimp Shells and Dogs
Shrimp seems like it would be a healthy choice to offer your fur baby. But that’s not the case. Shrimp can be a problem for your dog’s health for these reasons:
- Shrimp can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs
- It’s high in cholesterol
- Shells can cause a bowel obstruction, intestinal perforations, or even a choking hazard.
- Raw or partially cooked shrimp (not completed cooked through) carries Salmonella & Listeria
Each of these, in some dogs, could present a life-threatening medical emergency. When it comes to allergies, for instance, if your fur baby hasn’t had shrimp before, then you don’t know if he’s allergic to shrimp or not. One small bite of shrimp could cause an anaphylactic reaction, which is a medical emergency.
A bowel blockage is also a medical emergency, as is choking. If the shrimp shell becomes lodged in a dog’s throat, it could lead to choking to death. Or the shell can become stuck in the dog’s intestines, where it blocks fluids and fecal matter, causing an obstruction.
For these reasons, it’s best to avoid sharing even one small bite of shrimp with your fur baby.
Symptoms to Watch For
If your dog has snatched some shrimp, it’s best to monitor him for the following symptoms:
- Swollen face/muzzle
- Hives (red bumpy areas on his skin that may be itchy)
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain & bloating
If your dog develops any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately. This could be an emergency.
Call the Vet in These Situations
If you believe your fur baby is having an allergic reaction, is choking or has an intestinal blockage, then be sure to call your vet right away. Your canine companion needs medical treatment as soon as possible.
However, if you know your pup isn’t allergic to shrimp, it’s OK to give him just one bite on rare occasions. Just make sure the shrimp is cooked all the way through, has been de-veined and doesn’t have the shell or tail. You’ll have a happy fur baby, without the health worries!
Can Shrimp Be Healthy for My Dog?
Yes, shrimp can be healthy for your dog; however, they should only be used as a once-in-a-while treat. Shrimp are high in protein and low in calories (if cooked plain); they’re also full of omega fatty acids, B vitamins, and more.
Because shrimp can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet, you may notice that some commercially prepared dog foods include shrimp.
Even so, checking with your vet before feeding your dog shrimp is best. The vet may recommend shelled, plain shrimp as a part of your dog’s healthy diet or suggest buying dog food that includes shrimp.