Man’s (Best Friend and Shellfish): Are Dogs Allergic to Shrimp

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Cooked shrimp is incredibly tasty and filled with nutrients and antioxidants. In 2018, global shrimp consumption reached over four million tons, which goes to show just how in-demand it is for the human population. According to Healthline, apart from being one of the most commonly consumed types of shellfish, it is also a great source of Iodine, a nutrient not found in many foods.

Shrimps also contain several vitamins and nutrients, which are all healthy for people and animals. These nutrients include vitamins B12, Phosphorus, and Niacin, as well as Omega Fatty acids, which all have several health benefits for both dogs and their owners. With that said, have you ever wondered how safe it is to feed your dog shrimp as well? Have you ever considered making shrimp a part of your dog’s daily diet? Is shrimp a safe and healthy option for your pet?

As pet owners, don’t we all love to share meals with our dogs? Most of us have the habit of giving our dogs table scraps or, in some cases, treating them to food the way we treat ourselves. On special occasions where we get to indulge in shrimp and other delicious seafood, there is a tendency for us to want to save some for our fur babies. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy eating shrimp with your dog? This article will discuss the health benefits of letting your dog eat shrimp, so the next time you go feasting, your pet won’t be left out.

 

Are Dogs Allowed to Eat Shrimp

The short answer to the question is yes. Dogs are allowed to eat shrimp. As mentioned previously, this type of shellfish contains Vitamin B12, which plays an essential role in your dog’s gut health. The said vitamin helps prevent gastrointestinal issues that may be caused by poor metabolism. Also, the presence of vitamin B3 or Niacin in shrimp boosts energy production, regulates useful enzyme function, blood circulation, and fat production in dogs. Moreover, the Phosphorus content in shrimp contributes to teeth and bone health, while the presence of antioxidants fights off free radicals that usually speed up brain aging.

An added advantage of letting your dogs eat shrimp is its low fat and calorie content. Less fat makes it an ideal dog treat, especially for dogs who need to shed a few pounds. The only downside here is that letting your dogs eat shrimp a lot may contribute to high cholesterol levels in their system. Eating shrimp in moderation must be exercised to avoid spikes in cholesterol, pretty much the way we humans need to consume it in moderation too.

In general, steamed or boiled shrimp meat is safe for dogs. With that said, do not add shrimp shells, tails, and legs to your dog’s diet at all. Raw shrimp is an absolute no-no for your dog, even if your supplier says it’s safe for consumption (think sushi). Do not feed your dog anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. If you feel raw shrimp is disgusting, what do you think your dog would feel as well?

If you still have doubts about the safety of letting your dogs eat cooked shrimp, you can always consult a licensed vet to ensure that what you’re feeding them won’t hurt them.

a man holding a shrimp

Aren’t Shellfish Toxic to Dogs

According to Smart Dog Owners, shellfish are not toxic to dogs, making it okay to let your dogs eat shrimp. However, it is also not particularly beneficial to do this regularly. Although they do need their fill of protein, there are healthier and more suitable sources of proteins specifically made to address their nutritional needs.

But if you’ve heard or read about cases of dogs dying from consuming or coming into contact with shellfish, these are rare and caused by a condition called paralytic shellfish poisoning. This rare condition often afflicts curious dogs that play with unidentified creatures on the beach. Several cases of this condition were reported in the UK, linking dog deaths to an extremely potent natural toxin called dinoflagellate algae.

 

Cooked Shrimp Versus Raw Shrimp

Letting your dogs eat shrimp means applying necessary safety precautions in preparing it. Any uncooked shellfish contains pathogens that may be harmful to dogs and humans alike. In general, raw pet food promotes the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses caused by Listeria and Salmonella. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association strongly recommend against feeding dogs any raw foods.

If you’re planning on letting your dog eat shrimp or any other type of shellfish, cooking is crucial to avoid any adverse reactions. Peeling and de-veining the shrimp is a critical step in preparing and cleaning shrimp, as these steps prevent choking and obstruction hazards, which may be especially dangerous to smaller dog breeds. Be sure to remove shrimp tails, shells, and legs so that your dog can happily eat their shrimp meal without any problems.

Non-meat shrimp parts may be difficult to digest. When inside the digestive system, the jagged and sharp edges of shrimp tails and shrimp shells may serve as a choking hazard to your pet, which may further lodge onto and damage the linings of the esophagus, intestines, or the stomach. Also, it is essential to note that shrimp cooked in combination with oils and other condiments are also not advisable, as these may contain fats and ingredients unhealthy for dogs. Letting your dogs eat freshly-cooked shrimp is the safest way for them to enjoy its goodness and nutritional benefits. Serving raw shrimp and other shellfish to your dog is not acceptable in any book.

When it comes to serving size, it is best to limit your dog’s shrimp intake to around one or two pieces. You may give smaller dogs bits and pieces of shrimp, gauging their reaction, especially if it’s their first time trying it. Immediately stop feeding your dog shrimp if you observe symptoms that suggest any illness or discomfort.

For additional safety, inform your household members of any allergies your dog might have, and instruct them to keep a close eye on others who might feed your pet unexpectedly.

Is it Possible for my Dog to Be Allergic to Shrimp

A majority of dogs are not allergic to shrimp, but this fact doesn’t rule out the possibility of them showing signs of an allergic reaction. What’s even more common in dogs is their complete rejection of shrimp in general. Although your pet may enjoy indulging in a shrimp feast every once in a while, your neighbor’s dog might not like shrimp and may result in an upset stomach. In case your dog’s stomach rejects shrimp, make sure to expect bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.

Moreover, while shrimp allergies are extremely uncommon in dogs, a dog who does experience an allergic reaction may experience several symptoms. These symptoms may range from excessive scratching and feet licking, ear inflammation, inflamed skin, chronic gas, and diarrhea, to other gastrointestinal problems as well. Should you observe these symptoms after feeding your dog shrimp, it is a must to take them immediately to the vet for proper treatment.

More common foods that trigger allergic reactions in dogs include allergens found in dairy products, beef, soy, fish, wheat, chicken, lamb, and rabbit. Usually, dogs have more than one trigger food, and dogs that acquire such allergies get them based on their genetics, environment, and early exposure to antibiotics.

What Can I Give a Dog With Allergies

sad dog

Dog allergies differ from dog to dog. As a general rule of thumb, do not let your dogs eat shrimp or any human food without conducting research. Also, do not let them take any medication without any instructions from your vet. Protect your dog from potential harm by educating yourself on the different effects of different foods.

Although it is safer to give them dog food, there is still no assurance that their bodies will agree with any given meal completely. It is best to let your dogs eat vet-approved foods based on their daily dietary needs and existing health conditions. Follow a diet tailor-made to your dog’s nutritional requirements, and avoid foods that may upset their stomach or trigger allergic reactions. As much as possible, limit your dog’s exposure to allergens like shrimp on an occasional basis.

Now you know how your dog might react to shrimp, you might be wondering what type of medication to give them should shrimp trigger an adverse reaction. First off, do not let your dogs eat shrimp if you are aware that this is one of their trigger foods. No matter how much they beg with those beady eyes, do not give in.

But in the case of an episode, Vet Lynn Buzhardt of VCA Hospital says you can give your dog antihistamines to counteract allergies. These medications are generally safe for dogs, except those that may contain decongestants. Again, read the medicine label and consult with a trusted vet first before proceeding to give any medication to your dog.

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