- Scientific Name: Decapoda (order)
- Common Name: Shrimp
- Dangerous Compounds: None
- Toxic to Dogs: No
- Common Symptoms: None
Dogs love meat and protein is an important part of the canine diet. Not only does it satisfy your dog’s carnal cravings, but it helps to support his lean muscle mass as well. When you think about the different types of meat your dog can eat, you probably don’t think about seafood – especially not shellfish like shrimp. But shrimp is an excellent source of lean protein for dogs and completely safe.
Health Benefits of Shrimp
In addition to being full of natural flavor, shrimp are also rich in protein and a variety of other healthy nutrients. These shellfish contain healthy antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, phosphorus, and niacin (or Vitamin B3). Here is an overview of the health benefits your dog can derive from eating shrimp:
- Shrimp is a lean source of protein – it only contains about 100 calories per 100 grams but has 24 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat.
- Shrimp is rich in Vitamin B12 which is a water-soluble vitamin essential for nerve and blood health – it is also important for neurotransmitter signaling.
- Shrimp is a good source of niacin, or Vitamin B3, which helps to prevent high cholesterol, helping to preserve your dog’s heart health.
- Shrimp contains plenty of essential minerals like phosphorus, choline, copper, and iodine which are important for nutritional balance.
- Shrimp is rich in two types of antioxidants which help to protect against free-radical damage and which support your dog’s immune system.
- Shrimp contains high quantities of selenium which is important for healthy thyroid function, immune function, and cognitive function.
- Shrimp contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant pigment which helps to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease.
All shellfish have the potential to transmit food-borne pathogens when served raw or undercooked. To keep your dog safe from harmful pathogens, cook the shrimp before feeding them to your dog.
Tips for Feeding Shrimp to Your Dog
Feeding shrimp to your dog is very simple – you can just feed it to him whole. The easiest way to feed your dog shrimp is to buy frozen cooked shrimp and to thaw it out for feeding. If you prefer to buy raw shrimp, make sure it has been peeled and deveined then cook it by boiling it in water until it turns pink and opaque. The skins can get stuck in your dog’s teeth and might pose a choking hazard for smaller dogs. The skins don’t provide any nutritional value for your dog anyway, so there is no reason to keep them on for feeding them to your dog.
When feeding your dog shrimp, it is important that you cook it first to destroy any potentially harmful pathogens. Raw shellfish are known for containing bacteria which can cause shellfish toxicity, but cooking the shrimp usually destroys the problem. You should also be sure to remove the shells and tails from the shrimp before offering it to your dog and only feed him shrimp in moderation. Supplemental foods should make up no more than 5% of your dog’s daily diet.
Homemade Recipes for Dogs Using Shrimp
Though you can certainly feed your dog whole cooked shrimp as an occasional treat, there are also some tasty ways to incorporate this lean protein into homemade dog treats. Below you will find a few simple recipes using shrimp that your dog is sure to love: