3 min read

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?


By Leslie Ingraham

Published: 08/10/2021, edited: 08/10/2021

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Published: 8/10/2021

Shrimp tails are a delicacy all over the world, and like so many other things human, we suspect our doggos would love them just as much as we do. But is it safe to give shrimp to our fur-buddies?

The short answer is yes: dogs can eat shrimp, but only if they’re cooked. In fact, shrimp is good for pups, in moderation. It provides several important nutrients and most pupsters love it. Are there some things about shrimp that are wise to keep in mind? Absolutely! Read on to find out the facts about shrimp and dogs.

Shrimp: good or bad for dogs?

Shrimp contain a number of important nutrients that help keep our pupsters healthy, including:

  • Vitamin B-12 for metabolism and gastrointestinal (GI) health
  • Niacin for the production of energy and fats, blood circulation, and enzyme function
  • Antioxidants to slow brain aging and fight free radicals that can case cancer
  • Phosphorus to build strong bones
  • Iodine for thyroid health
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for anti-inflammatory functions

In addition, shrimp is low in fat, carbs, and calories, and contains hefty amounts of healthy protein. The nutritional downside is that shrimp are a bit high in cholesterol, so they should be given to pups in moderation.  A good amount is ½ of a shrimp for small dogs, 1 shrimp for medium dogs, and 2-3 for large dogs.

While there are many cooking methods and recipes for shrimp that Pet Parents love, the best preparations for doggos include steamed or boiled, grilled, or broiled without any spices. Greasy, spicy, battered shrimp are no-nos for doggy consumption. The same is true for condiments like salt and BBQ sauce, along with onions and garlic. 

Can dogs have cooked or raw shrimp?

Raw shrimp carry bacteria like listeria, E.coli, and salmonella that can make your fur-baby sick. The diseases can even be passed on to you by your pooch. Always cook shrimp thoroughly - until it becomes pink and opaque. 

Another hazard presented by feeding shrimp to dogs is the shell. Even a small piece left on the shrimp might cause your pup to choke or ingest the shell, which can cause a blockage in the digestive system, sometimes requiring surgery. 

Whether to devein the shrimp is a strictly personal preference. Yes, the “vein” is really the shrimp’s digestive system, so if you get a little queasy thinking about eating that, by all means, take it out. But it’s harmless and gets thoroughly cooked along with the rest of the shrimp. Eating the vein raw could cause food poisoning.

How do I feed shrimp to my pooch?

Steamed or boiled shrimp can be given as a treat in return for a super trick. It’s the perfect size and texture to toss to the doggo to showcase how well they can catch. Shrimp can also be chopped up and added to their regular food. Or steam up some shrimp with broccoli, cut it into bite-size pieces and voilá: dinner is served! Furtastic!

Can my dog be allergic to shrimp?

Any shellfish can cause allergies in sensitive dogs, but they’re rare and usually cause only mild symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • No appetite
  • Lethargy

Some pupsters can develop skin infections, ear infections, itching, and scaly, dry skin from eating shrimp or other shellfish. If your fur-buddy exhibits any signs of an allergy, contact your veterinarian right away.

Pomeranians have especially sensitive stomachs and shrimp or other shellfish may cause them to have GI upset.

What can happen if my dog eats a lot of shrimp?

Pancreatitis has been reported after a dog has eaten a large amount of shrimp. Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include:

  • Hunched back
  • Repetitive vomiting
  • Signs of pain 
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Fever

If your pup exhibits any of these signs of acute pancreatitis, or you’re aware that your fur-buddy has consumed a large amount of shellfish, don’t hesitate. Call your veterinarian or animal emergency clinic immediately. Pancreatitis is a potentially fatal condition.

The answer to the question of whether dogs can eat shrimp is a definite “yes.” So the next time you fire up the shrimp pot or grill, cook up a few of the tasty critters for your furry sidekick to enjoy. Delicious, nutritious and convenient: what’s not to love? Bone apetìt! 

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