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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Find Out If You Can Give Your Dog Shrimp Here!

orange dog looking excited waiting for a treat

Usually, dogs love being with their owners and will happily try out any foods their human owner is eating. Maybe some owners don’t even consider the consequences as they toss bits of whatever they are eating to their dogs. But have you ever wondered, if you are conscientious about what your dog eats, whether seafood is OK for your dog to eat – what about shrimp, for instance?

Most of us humans love and enjoy eating shrimp. It’s considered a highly delicious addition to a lot of other foods we eat, such as pasta. And often we love to pour cheesy-mushroom and garlic type sauces, or favorite flavorings like butter and garlic and other sauces over. We love it so much that we often move on to the larger versions of shrimps known as prawns. In the USA, shrimp is the most popular seafood eaten – one source says that the average person eats around four pounds of shrimp each year.

Shrimp consists of a small, soft, edible body – this is inside a flexible shell. The shrimp has a semi-rigid tail fin, small legs, and tentacles on its head. Whether it’s jumbo, cocktail, gulf, battered, buttered, boiled or broiled, you will find shrimp from fast food joints to dive bars to 5-star restaurants. Naturally, you will want to share this delicious delicacy with your canine companion.

But where do dogs fit into this equation?

Bottom-line, it is OK to give shrimp to your dog only if it has been cooked. But in saying that, there are still a couple of food safety tips to keep in mind.

  • One needs to bear in mind that dogs can have allergies as humans do. Usually, a dog will show up with irritated and itchy skin which is often a sign that he is allergic to something.
  • Some humans just don’t eat fish because they don’t like it and your dog friend might simply not like shrimp very much either!
  • Other symptoms that shrimp and some other shellfish can cause in your dog are gastric problems like vomiting, gas, and diarrhea.
  • If your dog did mistakenly eat some shrimp and he has a nasty reaction – you need to eliminate that food from his diet to see whether the symptoms clear up. A reaction every time he eats shrimp can mean he is allergic. If it was only a one-time reaction, it might be that you did not cook the shrimp properly or the food was contaminated.
  • Keep your dog away from raw or undercooked shrimp. Some shellfish can be contaminated until cooking destroys it. Even though it’s pretty rare, contaminated shellfish can be very, very serious; causing toxic reactions like neurological symptoms, paralysis, and gastrointestinal distress. Get to your vet immediately you suspect food poisoning.
  • Remember too, that the shrimp given to your dog should be peeled and deveined as well.
  • Preferably stay away from feeding your dog the tails of the shrimp, because in the same way with small chicken bones and fish bones, shrimp tails can also cause choking if your dog swallows it, and the sharp edges can irritate his upper GI tract.
  • Look out for cleaned shrimp at your supermarket, in the frozen section, or ask your fishmonger to clean the fresh shrimp and remove the tails for you. Remember, the shells should also be removed before you feed your dog cooked shrimp. Removing the shells also makes it easier to take out the vein that you see running along the back of the shrimp; use a knife to cut open the shrimp and to pull out the vein.
  • Stay away from fried shrimp, because oil and grease can upset a dog’s stomach. It is OK, give a piece of fried shrimp just now and then, but in any case limit your dog’s access to any fried foods, generally speaking.
  • If you do happen to notice that your dog has eaten raw shrimp, you need to watch him closely for signs of stomach upset. You should contact your veterinarian if you notice any unusual behavior in your dogs such as dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhea.

How to feed your dog shrimp

can dogs eat shrimp being cooked
  • If your dog can eat shrimp and you notice no allergies or sensitivities, then give it to him in small quantities. That would be around half a cup a week.
  • Shrimp should be cooked to be flavorsome and nutritious for your dog.
  • It is also OK to feed your dog boiled shrimp as long as they have been shelled and cleaned. Just boil the shrimp until it reaches an internal temperature of around 145°. The flesh of boiled shrimp should be opaque.
  • Set aside a few plain pieces of shrimp for your dog if you are planning to add spices and seasonings for yourself – no spices and seasonings for Fido!
  • Substitute plain, cooked shrimp for the processed commercial dog treats that you get as a healthy snack. Sometimes adding a bit of cooked shrimp to your dog’s food enhances the flavor.
  • Make sure that your dog’s shrimp doesn’t have additives in like garlic and other spices – these aren’t good for your dog.

The health benefits of shrimps for dogs

terrier eating out of a metal food bowl

Shrimp has protein in it, but there are other good benefits of shrimp. It is high in antioxidants, which includes selenium and copper. There is a very special antioxidant found in shrimps called astaxanthin. What’s so special about this antioxidant is that it is a potent anti-inflammatory, offering support to the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system as well. Research shows that an intake of astaxanthin decreases the risk of colon cancer and diabetes. Other vitamins and minerals contained in shrimp are vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, iodine, omega-3 fats, pantothenic acid, zinc, choline, and protein. Shrimp is simply a quality protein, low in calories and saturated fats. Sometimes if you replace the commercial dog treats with a healthier alternative, such as cooked shrimp you can control your dog’s weight too.

Another great way to get your dog some of these great vitamins and minerals check out coconut oil for dogs!

It sounds like feeding a bit of shrimp to a dog is OK?

Yes, it can be a nice healthy treat. But remember to follow the rules of ensuring you follow the cooking instructions. And don’t forget to first test his reaction to eating the shrimp. When in doubt, chat to your veterinarian – this will give you peace of mind that any new food to your dog’s diet is beneficial to his health and wellbeing, and that’s a top priority.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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