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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

August 2, 2021

If you have a new dog or puppy, you probably have hundreds of questions about how to give them the best care. Chief among those — what is safe for your dog to eat? In this article, you’ll learn how your dog can safely eat shrimp. 

Shrimp is one of the most popular seafoods in the United States. In 2018, Americans ate 4.6 pounds of shrimp per person. Pet parents throughout the country have wondered if it is safe to share shrimp with their dogs. Great news for crustaceans-loving pups — not only is shrimp tasty, but it also provides some important nutrients for dogs. However, there are important factors to be aware of to keep your dog safe while feeding them shrimp.

Shrimp Is an Excellent Source of Protein

Shrimp is low in saturated fats and high in protein. Protein is important for dogs because it provides essential amino acids that they can’t produce on their own. The body uses protein to make new cells, to support the immune system, and for energy. Other 

Vitamins and Minerals Found in Shrimp

Shrimp provides many important vitamins and minerals that are an essential part of a dog’s diet. Phosphorus is essential for the formation of strong bones and teeth and also aids in muscle movement. Magnesium is needed for many essential enzyme functions and is important in certain hormone secretion. Vitamin B12 also assists with enzyme production, energy, and brain function. Shrimp is also a great source of Iodine which is required for the thyroid to function properly.

Should Dogs Eat Shrimp Tails or Shells?

No, dogs should not eat shrimp shells (also often called shrimp tails). The shells could cause intestinal upset or if the shrimp is eaten in great numbers, a blockage. Dogs that accidentally consume shrimp shells should be monitored for GI upset.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

No, dogs should not consume raw shrimp. Raw shrimp can contain bacteria and parasites that are harmful.

How Should Shrimp Be Cooked for Canines?

Steamed, grilled, or baked shrimp without spices, butter, or oils are best. While pet parents might find that the addition of these ingredients enhances the flavor of their seafood, spices and oils can cause vomiting and diarrhea in canines.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Shrimp?

Yes, a dog can have a shrimp food allergy. Symptoms of food allergies in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness from hives, facial swelling, and in rare but serious cases, anaphylaxis.

Always give new foods in small quantities.  Allow the dog to digest the food and watch for signs of an allergic reaction. If all goes well, a larger amount can be given.

How Much Shrimp Can a Dog Eat?

When given as a treat, one or two shrimp is a good amount for most dogs. The amount varies based on size and calorie requirement of the individual since treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.

Pet parents who are considering adding shrimp to their dog’s daily diet should consult with their veterinarian regarding the amount and the nutritional benefits. While shrimp is low in fat and does contain many nutrients, they are high in cholesterol and may not be appropriate for dogs with certain health conditions.

Learn More About What Dogs Can and Can’t Eat

Curious about what else you can safely feed your pup? Learn about what fruits are best for your pet, what nuts your dog can and can’t snack on, and whether or not your favorite snacks are safe for your best friend.