Can Dogs Eat Shrimp and Should You Let Your Dog Have Them?

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Shrimps are a very popular seafood treat for humans and allow you to enjoy the taste of fish without worrying about fish bones! Has your dog spotted you tucking into a tasty meal of fried shrimp and has this got you wondering can dogs eat shrimp?

The very simple answer is that shrimps are safe for dogs but it is not quite as simple as that. It may be possible for you to introduce very small amounts of cooked shrimp into your dog’s diet but you need to do it very carefully and after doing your research. Never feed your dog raw shrimp though!

Before you start feeding your dog shrimp, check out this guide which gives you the facts you need to know.

Hungry labrador with dog bowl is waiting for feeding.

Can Dogs Have Shrimp?

The bottom line is that dogs can eat shrimp but unlike some other seafood protein sources it is not found in commercial dog food very often if at all. However, just because a food is not poisonous for dogs, it does not mean that you should just go ahead and feed it to them. Shrimp is an ocean fish and so in the wild they would not be part of a dog’s diet.

Is Shrimp Bad for Dogs?

If the shrimps are prepared correctly and fed in small quantities to a dog that is not allergic to them, they will not cause a problem.

Shrimp is a seafood that is safe for dogs and will provide protein and several vitamins and minerals. The fact that they are low in carbohydrates makes them useful for weight management in some cases and some owners view them as a healthy alternative to most commercial dog treats which are high in calories and sugars.

However, they have high cholesterol levels. These extra unnecessary fats can cause a problem with blood circulation for your pup. Cholesterol fat is unhealthy for dogs in the same way as it is for humans. Because of the high fat content, vegetables such as apples and carrots would be a healthier alternative treat.

How Shrimp Could Benefit Your Dog?

There are plenty of nutrients in a shrimp that will benefit dogs. Here are the main ones.

Vitamin B12

This valuable vitamin is essential for gastrointestinal health (digesting food) and is needed for many metabolic processes.

Niacin (vitamin B3)

This is required by the enzymes in a dog’s body to function correctly. It also plays a role in energy production.

Your dog needs this vitamin for the production of fat, for chemical signals and blood circulation.


This vital mineral is needed for bone health and the anti-oxidant properties protect cells from free radical damage. It is also thought that it plays a role in brain health and may reduce the adverse effects of brain aging.

Weight Management

It is never a good thing for dogs to be overweight. It compromises joint health and puts a strain on all body processes and organs. Shrimps are a healthy treat for your dog.

However, it should only be given as a treat once in a while. Feeding an overweight dog too much shrimp is likely to make the problem worse.

Is Shrimp Good for Dogs?

For most dogs, shrimp is a healthy seafood. It has many health benefits including promoting healthy bones and a healthy brain. When fed in moderation, it is good for your dog.

However, if your dog or pup has any underlying health issues, speak to your vet before feeding them any new food including shellfish such as shrimps.

Also, be on the look out for an allergic response as dogs can have allergies to foods including shellfish.

You may also like our guide on Dog Food for Allergies.

Is it Safe for Your Dog to Eat Raw Shrimp?

We all know that wild dogs do not cook their food! However, that does not mean that it is safe for our pets to consume all natural foods that have not been cooked. Sadly, pets can suffer from food poisoning if you feed shrimp or any other seafood to them that has not been thoroughly cooked.

Shrimp is safe for dogs as long as they are properly cooked. A dog can get very ill from eating undercooked and raw food.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

It is not safe for your dog to eat raw shrimp. Always make sure that the shrimp is thoroughly cooked before it is fed to your dog. The shrimp should also be deveined and removed from the shell.

What Happens if Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

As with all raw shellfish, raw shrimp can contain bacteria such as salmonella. These harmful bacteria can cause symptoms of food poisoning in your dog.

They will suffer from a typical GI upset which may include vomiting and diarrhea. If this happens, you should take your dog to your vet right away.

Dog eats food from bowl.

What About Boiled or Fried Shrimp?

So, can dogs eat shrimp that has been cooked? Yes, shrimp that has been thoroughly cooked is safe for most dogs. Before you feed your dog the cooked shrimp, make sure that it has reached an internal temperature of at least 300 degrees F. The flesh will look opaque.

Boiled, baked or broiled shrimp is a healthy option. However, be careful with fried shrimp. The extra oil used for frying will not be good for your dog.

Potential Risks of Shrimp in Dog Diet

Feeding a shrimp to your dog is not without risks. Good pet care is making sure that you know the risks before you feed any shrimp to your pooch even if it is cooked.

Choking Hazard

Your dog is unlikely to choke on a shrimp itself but they can choke on the shell. It can also cause abrasions in the mouth and throat. Make sure that it is removed. The same is true for the tails.

Intestinal Blockage

Shrimp shells and tails are made of a substance called chitosan (this is also found in some other shellfish). It is very hard to digest and they can even get stuck in the intestines where they can cause a perforation.

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction to seafood is possible for both humans and dogs. A dog allergy to shrimp is fairly unusual in dogs but that does not mean that it is impossible. If your dog has allergies or sensitivities to other animal proteins (such as chicken) you need to be especially careful.

The symptoms of a shrimp allergy in dogs are likely to include scratching the ears, problems with breathing, vomiting and diarrhea.

How To Prepare Shrimp For Dogs

If you have decided that you want to serve shrimp to your dog as a treat, the best approach is to keep it simple. Make sure that you remove the shrimp shells, tails and veins.

Cooking shrimp is easy. Just boil, bake or broil them. Then, the same rules as when preparing food for humans apply. Make sure that they are piping hot and cooked right through to the center. The flesh should become opaque when it is properly cooked. Let it cool and then feed a small amount to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp in Human Recipes?

The problem with human recipes is that they cooked for humans! This means that they have added ingredients such as oils and herbs. Humans have more taste buds than dogs and so we like a broader range of flavors. With dogs, it is best to keep cooked food simple.

If you feed fried or breaded shrimp to dogs, the fat content of the meal will be too high. There could also be ingredients in human food that are harmful to dogs such as onions or garlic. So just keep to plain cooked shrimp.

Simple Homemade Shrimp Dog Food Recipes

When feeding your dog shrimp recipes as a treat, you should not add any other ingredients. Try these simple recipes.

Boiled Shrimp

Bring around 8 cups of water to the boil in a large pan. Once it is boiling, add in a cup of peeled and deveined shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp look opaque and pink – around three minutes. Drain and then transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Once cool, feed one (or half of one) to your dog.

Baked Shrimp

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lay out the shrimps on a baking dish. Place in the oven for around 13 minutes or until the flesh is cooked. Allow to cool before feeding to your dog.

Final Words

A dog’s diet needs plenty of protein and one potential source of this is shrimp as well as other shellfish and other fish such as salmon. Shrimps also contain plenty of micronutrients which help to keep the brain and other organs in good condition and maintain healthy bones.

Raw shrimp is never good for dogs but cooked shrimp can be used rarely as a treat. When you feed dogs shrimp beware of the potential dangers. If shells and tails are not removed they can be a choking hazard and cause damage to your dog’s mouth. Also, some dogs are allergic to shrimp. Don’t forget that they contain a lot of cholesterol too.

happy guy sitting on a sofa and looking at dog


Q: Can dogs be allergic to shrimp?

A: You must be aware of the risks before feeding shrimp to your dog. This includes knowing what the symptoms of an allergic reaction would be. Shrimps contain animal proteins and these can trigger an allergic reaction. However, it is much more common for dogs to be allergic to chicken and meat by-products. It is rare for dogs to be allergic to shrimp but it can happen.

If your dog develops severe itching, vomiting or diarrhea after eating shrimp, consult your vet right away.

Q: Can dogs eat shrimp tails?

A: Shrimp shells and shrimp tails are made from a hard substance called chitosan which is tough and not easy to digest. This means that the shells and tails can cause a choking hazard. They can get stuck in your dog’s throat or cause abrasions.

They can also get lodged in the intestines where they can cause a blockage. Make sure that you prepare the shrimps correctly and remove shells and tails before feeding them to your dog.

Q: How often and how much shrimp can dogs eat?

A: So now that we have established that shrimps are safe for dogs under some circumstances, the remaining question is how much shrimp can dogs eat.

The quantity will depend on the size of your dog. Most dogs who would be described as a large breed, can be fed a whole shrimp as a treat. However, small dogs should only be given a half or even a quarter.

You should only feed a dog shrimp once a week at the most as a rare treat. Avoid giving them to your dog on a regular basis as they contain too much cholesterol.


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    Jan 14, 2022

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