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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? | Is Shrimp Bad for Dogs?

is shrimp bad for dogs

Whether served in a pasta, in a salad, as an appetizer, or even at a tailgate, shrimp is a versatile, delicious, and healthy food!  Americans harvest the most shrimp of any country and, if that wasn’t enough, we import over 200 million pounds a year as well!  It’s safe to say that Americans love their shrimp and, like most foods we love, we’re tempted to give our pups a taste. You might be wondering—can dogs eat shrimp safely?  Or, is shrimp bad for dogs? Let’s find out!

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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Safely? (The Short Answer)

Yes!  It is safe for your dog to eat shrimp!  They contain many nutrients that are beneficial for your dog’s health and are a low-calorie food as well.  While they are edible, you may have to make some modifications from your meal to ensure they’re prepared safely for your dog.  This includes making sure they’re cooked completely, removing the shell (including the tail, head and legs), avoiding breading or frying them, as well as making sure there are no seasonings on them.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Shrimp Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat shrimp safely?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is shrimp good for dogs?

In moderation, shrimp can be a healthy treat for your pup!  Shrimp offers a variety of nutrients that are beneficial for your dogs overall health!  The nutrients found in shrimp can help keep your pup healthy from their digestive tract, to their bones, to their brain! 

Shrimp is low in fat, carbohydrates, and calories which makes it a healthy snack, even for a dog on a diet.  Shrimp also contains a decent amount of protein.  The fact that shrimp is low-calorie, yet nutrient-dense makes it a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

Shrimp is known for containing ample amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Shrimp have an abundance of Vitamin B12, which can benefit your dog’s digestive health and helps moderate their metabolic processes.  Shrimp also contain niacin which is crucial to promote proper enzyme function and energy production in dogs.  Additionally, phosphorus promotes good bone health and the antioxidants that shrimp contain help fight free radicals while promoting brain health! 

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Is Shrimp Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat shrimp safely?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is shrimp bad for dogs?

While shrimp is ultimately a safe snack for your pup, there are a few things to consider before letting your pup indulge.  Undercooked shrimp, the cooking method used, and added seasonings all pose potential risks to your dog’s health.  Similarly to humans, many dogs have allergies to certain types of seafood or crustaceans.  If your dog has an allergy to these, you should not feed your dog them under any circumstances. 

Shrimp should be fully cooked before allowing your dog to snack on any.  If left uncooked, or not fully cooked, you risk dangerous pathogens being ingested by your dog.  To avoid any risk of this, it’s best to cook it fully.  That means cooking it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees to ensure that any pathogens have been irradiated.

Fried or breaded shrimp should be avoided as well.  While they shouldn’t pose an imminent threat if your dog accidentally gets one, they add a significant amount of unnecessary calories.  They also contain high amounts of fats and oils which can be potentially harmful to your dog and cause gastrointestinal upset.  This turns a healthy snack into a not so healthy one.

As with most human foods that we give our dog, it is vital to ensure that there aren’t any seasonings on it.  Some seasonings, such as those that contain garlic or onion, can be toxic to dogs.  Even spices and seasonings that aren’t toxic often can cause your dog to experience some pretty significant gastrointestinal issues.  It’s better give your dog plain, unseasoned shrimp to decrease the possibility of giving your beloved pet any sort of discomfort. 

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  Too large of portions of shrimp, or giving this treat too frequently, can cause increased cholesterol levels.  While shrimp are healthy overall, the high cholesterol content is the one negative aspect of this food.  Therefore, it’s best to serve this, like most other foods, in moderation.

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Alternative Options

Looking for other meats and seafood to feed your dog?  Learn more about about the following…just stay away from Tuna Fish!

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Tails?

No, it is not advisable for your dog to eat shrimp tails.  Shrimp tails are small and are therefore a potential choking hazard.  It’s best to remove the tails to prevent any accidents from happening. 

Can Dogs Eat Fried Shrimp?

No, dogs should not be fed fried shrimp.  If your dog accidentally ingest a small amount of fried shrimp they should be okay.  That being said, larger portions of fried foods are not safe.  The pancreas secretes enzymes that help break down fatty foods in the small intestines.  When a dog eats really fatty foods it can send the pancreas into overdrive causing it to become inflamed.  This can lead to an upset stomach and can even progress to pancreatitis. 

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Shells?

No, dogs should not eat shrimp shells.  Similarly to shrimp tails, the shells of shrimp are small and are a potential choking hazard for dogs.  It’s best to remove the shells to prevent possible choking. 

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Shrimp?

No, dogs can not eat popcorn shrimp.  Due to it being fried, eating too much of this variety of shrimp can lead to an upset stomach in dogs or even pancreatitis.  While if your dog accidentally sneaks a piece they’ll likely be okay, you shouldn’t offer it willingly for them to consume.

Can Dogs Eat Boiled Shrimp?

Yes!  Boiling shrimp is one of the best ways to cook shrimp for your dog.  It avoids adding unnecessary breading and doesn’t include fats and oils that can be harsh on your pup’s digestive system.  Boiled shrimp is an excellent preparation choice! 

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Cocktail?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat shrimp cocktail.  Generally, shrimp cocktail is shelled, cooked shrimp served with cocktail sauce.  While boiled shrimp, with tail and shell removed would be safe for dogs, it isn’t necessarily prepared exactly that way in a shrimp cocktail.  Shrimp cocktail, as the name would infer, contains the tail of the shrimp.  The tail is considered a choking hazard and shouldn’t be given to dogs.  The shrimp itself is often cooked in a mixture that contains many spices that can be harmful to pets.  Cocktail sauce is generally loaded with ingredients that are hazardous to dogs.  Many contain ingredients such as onion and garlic which are toxic to dogs.  The sauce should not be included in your dogs meal.  Overall, there are many details in the preparation of shrimp cocktail that makes it unsuitable for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut Shrimp?

No, dogs should not be eating coconut shrimp.  While fresh coconuts and shrimp are both safe for your dog to eat in small quantities, coconut shrimp is not!  Plain shrimp is still the best option for your dog.  Coconut shrimp is made by adding bread crumbs and coconut flakes to the shrimp before frying them.  As previously established, fried foods are not good for your dog.  It can cause gastrointestinal related issues.  The addition of bread crumbs also adds a significant amount of calories and carbohydrates which turns this once-healthy snack into a junk food. 

Is Cooked Shrimp Safe for Your Pup?

Yes!  Dogs can safely eat cooked shrimp.  In fact, it’s advised!  Cooked shrimp is the best way to ensure that there are no harmful pathogens within the shrimp.  Fully-cooked means an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  That being said, the safest ways to cook it for your pup are steaming the shrimp or boiling the shrimp.  Frying shrimp adds oils, fats, and calories that are not only unnecessary, but can also disrupt your dog’s digestive tract. 

Is Raw Shrimp Safe for Your Pup?

No!  Dogs should not eat raw shrimp.  Most meats and seafoods should not be eaten raw, but cooked to specific internal temperatures.  This is for your safety and your pup’s.  Raw shrimp can contain pathogens that can make your dog sick, and the easy way to prevent that is by cooking the shrimp.

Can Dogs Eat Prawns?

Yes, dogs can eat prawns!  As long as they are fully-cooked to kill any intestinal parasites and are shelled to prevent choking, prawns are a great snack for dogs.  Prawns look similar to shrimp but are anatomically different.  Although slightly different, they contain essentially the same nutrients and health benefits.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Safely?

Yes, dogs can have shrimp!  As a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food, shrimp is a great snack choice for your pup.  Be mindful of giving your dog plain and fully-cooked shrimp to provide the safest experience.

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.