Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Or Shellfish? What You Must Know

Can dogs eat shrimp or shellfish?Whatever you’re eating, your furry friend is going to beg you for a taste. The delicious world of shrimp and shellfish are no exception to this.

Can dogs eat shrimp or other shellfish?

The short answer is yes, however, there are some exceptions and precautions to keep in mind.  

Shrimp For Dogs

Shrimp can make for a nutritious low calorie addition to your dog’s diet as long as it is prepared properly. It should be fully cooked and the shells and tails should be completely removed as they can be a choking hazard or cause a bowel obstruction, particularly in smaller breeds

When introducing new foods to your dog’s diet such as shrimp moderation is key. Some dogs may be able to digest it easier than others.

Be sure to buy your shrimp from a reliable source as it is notoriously misrepresented and imported from a variety of countries where harmful chemicals are used.

Beware of Allergies

Shrimp and shellfish are one of the most common food allergens. Because of this It is important to feed your dog only a small amount at first. If they don’t have any negative reactions then you can slowly add more into their diet.

The main symptom of an allergy is itchy skin and scratching primarily around the face, ears, feet, forelegs, armpits, and anus area. Other symptoms may include hair loss, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Fun fact: One billion pounds of shrimp are consumed by Americans every year. 

Is Shrimp Good For Dogs?

Shrimp are not only delicious but also contain many necessary nutrients for a dog’s diet:

  • Protein: They are protein rich with 4 ounces consisting of about 24g of protein. Comparatively, 4 ounces of chicken has around 30-35g of protein.
  • Omega-3 Fats: Good for the heart and a necessary nutrient for dogs.  
  • Vitamin B12: A necessary vitamin for nerve function and cell growth.
  • Selenium: An important mineral and antioxidant.

  • Phosphorus: Helps maintain growth and structure of skeletal system.

Shrimp have low fat, no carbohydrates, and 4 ounces contains only 112 calories. This makes it an excellent protein source for dogs that are overweight or diabetic.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

Dogs should never eat raw shrimp or shellfish as it contains harmful pathogens. It should always be fully cooked before feeding it to your pup.

How Should I Prepare Shrimp For My Dog?

The healthiest way to prepare shrimp is by boiling or steaming it. Avoid feeding your dog fried or breaded shrimp as it contains unnecessary fat, oils, and ingredients that can be harmful.

How Do I Choose Shrimp?

When buying fresh shrimp you should look for those that are shiny with no black spots. They should smell like the ocean. If they are falling apart or have any hint of an ammonia smell this means they are going bad.

Frozen shrimp is by far the most popular and convenient option. When buying frozen shrimp you should look for shrimp that say “IQF” (individually quick frozen). These tend to have the least amount of damage during the freezing process.

How Do I Store Shrimp?

Fresh shrimp can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. Frozen shrimp can last 3 to 6 months but should be eaten within a month for the best taste and quality.

Fun fact: North Atlantic shrimp can live for up to 8 years.

Can Dogs Eat Prawns?

Prawns and shrimp are technically different species though their names are often used interchangeably. Prawns look very similar to shrimp, tend to be slightly larger, and are nutritionally identical. You can feed them to your dog the same way you would shrimp. Just be sure to completely remove the shells and tails and fully cook them.

Can Dogs Eat Lobster?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine for dogs to eat lobster in moderation. It has a similar nutrient content to shrimp with lower cholesterol and higher sodium. It should be fully cooked with the shell and tail completely removed.

However, lobster is significantly more expensive than shrimp. So unless you have some cash to burn it’s not an affordable food to be feeding your pooch.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?

Yes you can feed your dog crab meat in moderation. Crab meat makes for a nutritious snack. It’s low in calories, fat, and full of protein.

Use small portions and be aware of potential allergies when feeding it to your dog. Make sure it’s fully cooked and the shells are completely removed. Avoid feeding them imitation crab as it’s commonly made of ingredients that can be harmful.

Can Dogs Eat Oysters, Clams, or Mussels?

These are all bivalve mollusks which are nutrient rich and  technically okay for dogs to eat. They are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, and Zinc.

However, there is too much risk involved when feeding these to your dog. Mollusks are filter feeders and therefore absorb toxins from microalgae such as dinoflagellates. Even when cooked, mollusks increase the chance of spreading these toxins to your pooch.

If you do choose to feed these to your dog be sure that they come from clean waters and have been tested for contamination. Always cook thoroughly and remove the shells. Avoid feeding your dog more than a couple at a time and be aware of potential allergies when first feeding it to them.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp or Other Shellfish?

Considering shrimp are the most popular seafood in the United States, “can dogs eat shrimp or other shellfish?” is a valid question.

Yes, shrimp, prawns, and other shellfish are generally fine for dogs to eat as long as they are fully cooked and have the tail and shell removed. You’re better off avoiding mollusks such as oysters, clams, and mussels as they tend to contain toxins that can’t be cooked out.

In general, shrimp and shellfish are filled with nutrients that your dog can benefit from. When introducing them to these foods only give them a little at first to be sure they don’t have an allergy.

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