Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? [And How It Should be Served]


We all know that dogs enjoy the occasional bits they receive from their owners’ meals, whether it be chicken, pork, or eggs. But can dogs eat shrimp?

Shrimp is highly nutritious and is a great addition to a person’s diet, but is it as beneficial for dogs as it is for us? This article will give you all the information regarding the safety and benefits of this delicious treat, as well as some tips on how to prepare it.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Yes, your dog can eat shrimp. The thing to remember about this food is that dogs love the shrimp’s texture, flavor, and smell. So they can easily eat too much. Even though shrimp tails are a common delicacy, vets advise owners that their dogs are allowed to eat shrimp only as long as it is consumed in moderation, as part of a well-balanced diet.

Shrimps can be an excellent occasional healthy treat for your dog, but only if you follow certain food safety measures before you feed it to them. Cooked shrimp is a source of protein, as well as many vitamins and other nutrients that can be of great benefit for your dog if given in tiny amounts.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

Dogs and cats should never be fed raw shrimp, as fresh, uncooked shrimp can contain harmful bacteria and other pathogens, just as any other shellfish can. Cooking them thoroughly first will help you avoid giving your dogs shrimp that may be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

Shrimp can be a great source of protein, antioxidants, and other beneficial elements, but raw shrimp can also be a source of all kinds of bacteria, such as salmonella, vibrio, and listeria, as well as some parasites, including tapeworms. Contaminated shrimp can cause serious toxic reactions in your dog, some as serious as paralysis, neurological symptoms, gastrointestinal distress, and more. So, you can see why it is recommended to cook the shrimp first, as most of the dangerous pathogens it can contain will be killed by cooking.

So, the answer to the question “Can dogs have raw shrimp?” is no, they can’t. Cooked shrimp is much safer if you want to avoid any kind of food poisoning. It is also best to remove the shells, as they could be a potential choking hazard, especially for smaller breeds.

If you suspect that your dog has managed to get some raw shellfish, or if you see any of the food poisoning signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea, make sure to contact your vet and seek help as soon as possible.

DID YOU KNOW: If you’re wondering is shrimp bad for your dogs, give them a single shrimp and wait for a reaction (if any). Skin irritation, gas, and vomiting are symptoms that your dog may be allergic to shrimp. Also, consider that not every dog likes shrimp.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Shrimp?

Fried, seasoned shrimp is a popular treat among humans, even though fried food is just not the healthiest snack to go for. But is fried shrimp good for dogs?

Fried food, with all its oils and spices, is never a healthy option for your dog, for the same reasons it isn’t really good for us. Fried shrimp is often battered and cooked with a lot of extra fatty calories that dogs don’t need, and which might upset their stomachs. They increase your dog’s fat and carb intake, without providing any health benefits. Plus, some seasonings like garlic and onion could be a contributing factor in pancreatitis and other health problems.

But can your dog eat fried shrimp occasionally? Even though giving them fried shrimp every once in a while wouldn’t be an issue, it’s best to limit their access to fried food and go for a steamed meal instead. If you want to offer your dog some of your shrimp dinners, make sure to prepare it separately and avoid adding any oils, butter, seasonings, or sauces that might be bad for their gastrointestinal health. The safest and healthiest way to prepare your dog’s shrimp treat is to either bake it, boil it, or broil it plain.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Shells?

So, you’ve decided to give your dog a shrimp treat. But can dogs eat shrimp tails and shells? They probably shouldn’t, as both parts present a huge risk for dogs, especially for smaller breeds and puppies. The shells are made of chitosan, which is difficult to digest, and their sharp and brittle texture causes them to easily get stuck in the dogs’ gastrointestinal tract. In the worst case, it can even damage or pierce their intestine wall. Shells also present a choking hazard and may cause cuts or other irritation in your dog’s mouth and throat.

Even though tails don’t present as great a risk for dogs as shells do, they may still cause gastrointestinal upset due to the irritation of the stomach wall.

DID YOU KNOW: Even though dogs and shrimp shells don’t go well together, that doesn’t mean you should throw the shells away. They make a delicious seafood stock, so boil them with some vegetables and serve the broth to your dog, or mix it up with their dog food to enhance the flavor.

Key Takeaways

Dogs can be fed shrimp, as long as they eat it in small amounts.
Raw shrimp may contain dangerous pathogens and parasites, which is why shrimp should be served cooked.
You should avoid giving your dog fried shrimp, as it contains lots of oils and spices that may be harmful to them.
Remove the shrimp shells in order to avoid irritation and the danger of intestine perforation.

Health Benefits of Shrimp for Dogs

We’ve covered the question “Can my dog eat shrimp?”. Now let’s see what health benefits your dog can get from them.

Not only is the shrimp tasty, but it’s also full of nutrients dogs need. Let’s have a deeper look at the most beneficial elements shrimp contains, and how they can improve your canine’s health:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are the essential fats that your dog needs. They can improve your dog’s heart condition, help with itchiness and skin irritations, make its hair shiny, as well as support its cognitive health.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Feeding your dog shrimp, which is high in niacin, supports the breaking down of fatty acids into energy. Vitamin B3 is also important for your dog’s skin and coat health.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 contributes to healthy digestion and is important for cells. It keeps your dog’s nervous system and brain function in top condition.


This macroelement works in conjunction with calcium and glucosamine, and it improves bones and ligaments.


Not only is shrimp safe for dogs, but it also contains some essential nutrients, for example, choline. Dogs produce this element naturally but in insufficient amounts. It’s important for liver function, the nervous system, muscles, as well as for improving brain and heart activity.


Shrimp contains Astaxanthin, which gives them their pink color. Antioxidants are known for destroying free radicals. They also reduce inflammation and may be good prevention against diabetes and some types of cancer.

So, if you’re still wondering is shrimp okay for dogs, this should be enough to convince you that it is. With their high protein content, shrimp is a great canine snack. But there are some risks:


Dietary cholesterol can be either plant-based or animal-based. The latter is the one we know as bad cholesterol, and unfortunately, shrimp is high in it. That is why it should be given to dogs moderately. Too much of it may lead to heart problems.

Salmonella and Listeria

Can dogs have raw or lightly cooked shrimp? No, and the reason is that shrimp may contain bacteria, like salmonella and listeria. They may cause gastrointestinal problems if the shrimp isn’t cooked properly.

DID YOU KNOW: Make sure to always choose wild-caught over farm-raised shrimp. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides are often used on farm-raised shrimp, which can lead to health issues if consumed by dogs.

How to Prepare Shrimp for Your Dog

When buying yourself or your dog shrimp, remember to always choose fresh ones that don’t have a fishy odor. If you’re going for frozen shrimp, make sure the packages don’t have any rips, tears, or ice crystals on them.

Once you peel and devein the shrimp, boil or steam them, without the addition of any seasoning ingredients. You can tell they’re done when the flesh becomes pearly white and opaque.

It always helps to start exploring some recipes and ideas on how to serve them. One good idea is mixing a shrimp or two with vegetables, such as green beans, pumpkin, or broccoli. And voilà, you have a tasty, nutritious snack, ready to be served.

How Much Shrimp Should Dogs Eat?

Moderation is the key to including shrimp in your dog’s diet. Every dog is different, and so are their needs. So, the answer to the question “Can a dog eat shrimp?”, and “How much do they need?” will depend on every dog, individually. In general, one or two shrimps are enough for most dogs, but it is better to offer smaller dogs half a shrimp at first as a precaution.

It is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before adding shrimp, or any other food to your dog’s diet. They may be able to offer professional advice about the proper serving quantities and advise you of potential health concerns.

Are Dogs Allergic to Shrimp?

People are allergic to particular foods, and dogs can be, too. You should know how to interpret the symptoms your dog shows, and make sure you know the difference between exhaustion and dying dog behavior.

The proper way to test whether shrimp is safe for your dog is to give them a very small bite to make sure you don’t see any signs of an allergic reaction. Check the table below for the different allergic reactions, as well as salmonella and listeria poisoning:

Shrimp Allergy  Salmonella  Listeria 
  • Vomiting
  • Urination
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tongue swelling
  • Inability to control bowels
  • Tongue and gums turning blue
  • Shock
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (can be bloody)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination

Can Dogs Have Shellfish?

Not only can dogs eat shrimp, but they can also eat other shellfish, such as clams, oysters, lobsters, and crabs. As long as they’ve been properly cooked, and given in small amounts, your dog can be fed any kind of shellfish.


Dogs can have an occasional shrimp treat, as long as they’re properly cleaned and cooked. To help your dog experience all the benefits shrimp provide, make sure you always choose fresh, wild-caught shrimp, and give them in tiny portions. However, you should never forget to look out for allergy symptoms.


Does shrimp make dogs sick?

Shrimp can make your dog sick if you serve it undercooked or raw. That’s why you should make sure to cook the shrimp properly, in order to avoid any kind of gastrointestinal issues. Remember that dogs can be allergic to shrimps, so keep an eye for allergy symptoms, too.

What seafood can dogs not eat?

Every type of seafood that isn’t cooked properly or is too spicy should not be given to a dog. Canine stomachs are sensitive and will not tolerate the pathogens and toxins seafood may contain, so you must prepare their food thoroughly.

Is salmon bad for dogs?

Not only can dogs eat shrimp, but they can be given salmon, as well. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, and low in fat. If given in moderation, it can contribute to improving your dog’s health significantly.


When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

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