Feeding Your Pet: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp, or Are There Risks?

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Dogs love a little nibble of anything off your plate, but how can you be sure if something is safe for them or not? Some human food is perfectly healthy, while other food can make a dog sick… or worse! 

So can dogs eat shrimp? You bet! But there are a few caveats that dog owners need to be aware of.

a Pomeranian sitting on a couch while looking at a woman
A hungry Pomeranian asking for a shrimp

Is shrimp safe for dogs to eat?

Dogs can eat lots of different fish, and shrimp is one of them. In fact, shrimp can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet.

But there are a few notes.

First, don’t feed your dog raw shrimp because it can contain dangerous, harmful pathogens. Also, don’t give your dog too much shrimp because it can raise their cholesterol.

While the pink flesh is fine, don’t feed your dog the shell, head, or tails.

If you cooked your shrimp with other ingredients, like spices or veggies, be sure that they’re safe for your dog, as well.

There are certain human foods that dogs shouldn’t consume, like garlic, onions, or too much butter.

What are the health benefits of shrimp for dogs?

Shrimp is packed with nutrients, enzymes, and vitamins like vitamin B12, niacin (vitamin B3), phosphorus, protein, and iron.

They also contain vitamins A, B6, D, D3, E, iodine, glucosamine, taurine, zinc, choline, EPA, and DHA.

On top of that, shrimp have antioxidants like selenium, copper, and astaxanthin, as well as healthy fats and Omega-3 fatty acids.

These help fight free radicals in the body. Shrimp also contains lots of healthy protein and carbohydrates.

Any kind of cooked shrimp you can buy at the store is safe for your dog to eat, including prawns, tiger, white, pink, rock, and striped shrimp.

What parts of a shrimp can dogs eat?

Dogs can safely eat the fleshy bit of the shrimp, but don’t give them the tails or shell.

cooked shrimp on a white background
Shrimps close up

These can cause damage to your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestine. They can also pose a choking hazard for small dogs.

Shrimp Part Safe for your dog?
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Tails? No, choking hazard and can damage the stomach or intestines
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Shells? No, choking hazard and can damage stomach or intestines
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Heads? No, choking hazard and can damage the stomach or intestines
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Flesh? Yes, so long as it is cooked
Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp? No, it must be cooked

How to feed Shrimp to your dog?

Be sure to remove any shells, heads, or tails. These can irritate stomachs, harm the digestive tract, or cause choking.

Frozen shrimp is fine, so long as the meat is cooked, whether pre-cooked or freshly cooked. Frozen raw shrimp is not safe. In case you’re wondering, “can my dog eat boiled or simmered shrimp?” the answer is yes.

But what about deep-fried or breaded shrimp? As a rare treat, it’s okay to give your dog a little fried shrimp, but keep it limited. It’s not a healthy snack and may upset sensitive stomachs.

Some people like to feed their dogs a high protein, high-quality raw diet. You might be wondering if you can include raw fish. While some fish might be okay, raw shrimp or other raw shellfish isn’t.

If your dog eats raw shrimp, they can get sick from harmful pathogens that live in raw shrimp. These pathogens are killed by cooking.

When is shrimp bad for dogs?

Some dogs can have an allergic reaction, just like humans can, but it can be a life-threatening situation. In case this happens, watch your dog closely the first time they eat shrimp.

Shrimps aren’t a common allergen, but it’s definitely a risk.

You’ll know your dog is acutely allergic if they start to cough, vomit, their face or throat swells, or if they wheeze.

They might be mildly allergic if they start to have itchy paws, flaky skin, or digestive disturbances.

You also don’t want to give your dog too much shrimp. It is high in cholesterol, which isn’t healthy and can cause diarrhea or vomiting.

If you don’t cook your shrimp or cook it enough, it could contain E. coli, listeria, vibrio, salmonella, or staph.

How much shrimp can a dog eat?

The amount of shrimp a dog can eat depends on its size. Limit treats to once a week and stick to just a few bites for dogs under 20 pounds.

Medium-sized dogs can have half a cup or less, while large dogs over 70 pounds can have about a cup a week.

Can shrimp treat obesity in dogs?

Any treat can cause obesity when given in large amounts, particularly if cooked in butter or fried.

Stick to feeding your pup his regular dog food for the most part, and limit doggy snacks to a once-in-a-while kind of thing, like a reward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a lazy Mini Goldendoodle laying on a couch while laying on a shrimp pillow
Meet Dandy, a Mini Goldendoodle with a soft shrimp pillow – Image source

What are good shrimp serving ideas for dogs?

If you want to give your pooch a little piece of fresh shrimp, go for it. As a special treat, chop it up and mix it with some rice, cooked carrots, and sodium-free beef stock. Use this to top your dog’s kibble.

How should you prepare shrimp for dogs?

The healthiest way to prepare shrimp for dogs is by steaming it. This way, you don’t add any fat to the food. This video shows you how to steam shrimp (just remember to remove the shells and tails).

What are some treats with shrimp you can give your dog?

If you head to your local pet shop or online to places like Chewy and Amazon, you might come across treats that contain cooked shrimp.

These are made with your dog in mind and are a healthy way to add shrimp to their diet. Here are a few options:

Can dogs have shrimp chips?

Don’t give your dog shrimp chips made for humans. They contain additives that aren’t good for your dog’s digestive system.

However, shrimp chips made for cats are fine as an infrequent but healthy snack.

What should you do if your dog accidentally ate shrimp shells or tails?

If your dog gets its teeth on shrimp that hasn’t been shelled, or maybe they got into the garbage and ate your shrimp tails from dinner, what might happen?

More than likely, your dog will be fine, but keep a close watch on them.

If they appear to be choking, sick, or stop having bowel movements, get them to the vet ASAP. Blood in their stools is also something to look out for.

What are tips to keep your dog safe when giving Shimp?

Only try feeding shrimp to your dog in small quantities. Make sure it’s deveined, headed, tailed, and shelled.

Watch for side effects or signs of food allergies if this is the first time they’ve tried eating shrimp.

Make Shrimp a Healthy Part of Your Dog’s Diet

a Corgi eating a shrimp
Meet Gigi, a cute Corgi loving the shrimp in front of her – Image source

Fed the right way, shrimp can contribute to healthy bones, a shiny coat, and improved gastrointestinal health.

Don’t be afraid to make it a part of your dog’s diet as a treat. Just remember to use caution to make sure you’re doing it the right way.

We hope we were able to answer your question: “Can dogs eat shrimp?” But have you tried feeding your dog with shrimp? Have any recipes to share? Let us know by commenting below.

The information in this article is deemed reliable, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate a shrimp and is having a bad reaction, contact your local veterinarian.

Further reading: What other seafood can dogs eat?

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