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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Is Shrimp Bad For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Is Shrimp Bad For Dogs?

Have you ever given your dog a bite of table scraps? Most of us have. What dog owner without the willpower of Superman has the heart to say no every time they look at you with those begging eyes?

After all, it’s just a tiny piece. What harm could it possibly do?

When it comes to dogs and shrimp, you might be surprised by what you find out. Is eating shrimp bad for your dog, or is it something you should buy in bulk?

Keep reading and you’ll find out.

Can A Dog Eat Shrimp?

The short answer to this question is yes. Of course, a dog can eat shrimp. After all, sometimes they eat an entire shoe. The real question is, should a dog eat shrimp?

The answer to that question is no. Dogs should definitely avoid eating shrimp. Which immediately begs the question of why? After all, cooked shrimp should be fine. It’s full of protein and isn’t known to contain anything toxic to dogs. 

However, shrimp are very high in fat, which can lead to various canine diseases. Shrimp can also cause allergic reactions in dogs (much like in some humans) or block their intestines.

In the wild, you wouldn’t find many situations where a dog would hunt for shrimp. They live in different ecosystems and would rarely cross paths.

This is a strong indication that a dog is not intended to eat shrimp.

When you consider all the other potential food options, the potential risks of giving shrimp to your dog vastly outweigh any benefits. 

However, if you’re 100% sure your dog doesn’t have a shellfish allergy and you insist on giving her some shrimp, take all of the necessary precautions. Make sure the shrimp is cooked thoroughly, is fully deveined and shelled, and only given in tiny portions.

Many dogs won’t have any issues with shrimp. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dogs who suffered needlessly because they wanted a bite of shrimp. Consider other options before you let your dog scarf down a cocktail of prawns.

The Good vs. The Bad

To sum it up, let’s take a look at the benefits of your dog eating shrimp versus the potential dangers.

The Good

  • Shrimp are protein-rich
  • They are an excellent source of Omega-3
  • High antioxidant levels

The Bad

  • High in fat content
  • Potential allergic reactions
  • Potential intestinal blockages
  • Listeria and salmonella in uncooked or under-cooked shrimp
  • Choking hazard

When you compare the good with the bad, the best decision is to avoid shrimp for your dog.

Risks Of Eating Shells, Tails And Raw Shrimp

There are enough potential problems with feeding your dog cooked shrimp. There are even more dangers if they eat raw shrimp.

Raw, uncooked shrimp is a source of a wide variety of bacteria, including salmonella and the lesser-known listeria. Even shrimp that’s a bit undercooked can get a dog very sick.

If you suspect your dog has gotten into raw shrimp, it’s best to get in touch with a veterinarian immediately.

Shrimp tails and shells also are a big risk for dogs. You might be one of the lucky ones that have fed your pet shrimp tails and they were just fine. Consider yourself fortunate.

There are plenty of other dogs that have gotten ill or were harmed from consuming tails or shells.

Not only are tails and shells a huge choking hazard for your dog, but they make an absolute mess out of their intestines. Shells and tails are made out of chitosan, which is nearly impossible to fully digest. 

They are also extremely brittle and have a sharp texture, making them easy to get stuck inside the intestines or puncture an intestinal wall.

As a strict rule of thumb, avoid giving shells and tails to your dog at all costs. It just isn’t worth the risk.

Shrimp Alternatives

Generally speaking, most seafood of the shellfish variety is a pretty big no-no for your dog. Aside from the toxins and allergy concerns, there’s a high risk for internal injuries and choking from shells.

If you’re thinking about a protein-rich, healthy-for-your-pooch alternative for a dog that loves seafood, there are many alternatives. Here are some of the foods that are much more friendly to your dog. 

And best of all, she’ll really enjoy them!

1. Sardines

Sardines are inexpensive, bite-sized, and packed with healthy nutrients. These little guys are the perfect treat that gives your dog power-producing levels of Omega-3 and protein.

Sardines are the perfect alternative to shrimp or shellfish.

2. Salmon

When you serve salmon to your dog, make sure it’s completely de-boned and fully cooked. Delicious, wholesome cooked salmon is a super-healthy treat to give your dog.

Don’t forget to save him the skin!

3. Green-Lipped Mussels

These aren’t easy to come by in the US, as they come from New Zealand. But if you can get your hands on some green-lipped mussels, they make a fantastic seafood treat for your dog.

They are packed with essential fatty acids and glycosaminoglycans. Some canine experts say that green-lipped muscles can help play a role in relieving pain and arthritic conditions in dogs.

Keep in mind that there are many other delicious and nutritious treat options for your dog. You can make some home-cooked treats or head to the pet store and check out what’s available. Just make sure all the ingredients are meat and veggie-based.

The treat alternatives you choose will depend on your dog’s taste and your budget!

Can My Dogs Eat Shrimp

Shrimp And Your Dog

Now that you’ve come this far, you’re fully aware that shrimp is not known to be toxic for dogs. But you also know that it’s best to avoid giving your dog any shrimp to scarf down. It can cause allergic reactions, be difficult to digest, and just doesn’t make for a safe treat option.

Instead, you should choose seafood options that are 100% safe for your dog to consume. On the other hand, you can buy healthy treats or make them at home. This is the best answer to “can dogs eat shrimp?”


Question: Should my dog consume prawns?

Answer: Prawns are pretty much the same as shrimp when it comes to your dog’s consumption rules. Although they look a little different, they are, for all intents and purposes, shrimp. Because of this, the same rules apply to prawns as with eating shrimp.

Question: I just caught my dog eating shrimp tails or shells? What should I do now?

Answer: It’s absolutely best if you immediately contact your vet. There is a possibility that the tail or a piece of shell could start blocking the digestive tract in your dog. It could also cause unseen, but very dangerous, intestinal damage. 

Even though your dog may be OK without care, there’s a chance it could quickly get serious. It could even lead to death. It’s way better to be safe than sorry in this situation.

Question: How do I know if my dog has a shrimp allergy?

Answer: As in humans, certain dogs can have shellfish allergies. Some common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Unusually itching skin
  • Hair loss
  • Although rare, anaphylactic shock

If your dog ate some shrimp and shows any signs of an allergy, get in touch with your veterinarian right away. 

Learn More: What Can Dogs Eat? A Comprehensive List Of Dog-safe Foods