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Dog licking lips wants shrimp
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Fish, like salmon, is found in many dog foods and treats, but what about shrimp? There are thousands of shrimp species found all over the world, and they can be a healthy choice for humans, but what about dogs? Can dogs eat shrimp?

Here, find out if you can give dogs shrimp, if dogs should eat shrimp and what to do if your dog has a problem after eating shrimp.

Can My Dog Eat Shrimp?

Shrimps on a plate looking nice

The short answer is yes, most dogs can safely consume shrimp. However, the way the shrimp is prepared, how much you feed your dog, and your dog’s health should be considered when thinking about whether or not to feed your dog shrimp. 

If you are unsure about what to feed your dog, it’s best to check with your veterinarian before introducing new human foods to your furry friend. Dogs should only eat cooked shrimp (steamed, boiled or grilled are the best home-cooked preparations) or freeze-dried shrimp, which can make excellent training treats. If you cook for your dog and want to add shrimp to your dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to formulate a complete and balanced recipe

In general, it is recommended that treats make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake and that the rest of your dog’s diet is food that has been formulated to be complete and balanced, per AAFCO standards. While shrimp are nutritious, feeding too many shrimp can lead to nutritional imbalances. It is ok to feed a small dog up to 3 shrimp total per week. For dogs over 40 pounds, you can feed up to 1.5 cups of shrimp total per week.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

Bowl of raw shrimp

Dogs should not eat raw shrimp. Raw shellfish, including shrimp, can carry harmful parasites or bacteria like Salmonella, so always cook shrimp using safe food-handling practices before feeding it to your dog. 

Call a veterinarian if your dog accidentally eats raw shrimp and exhibits any signs of parasites or bacterial infections, including:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Distended or painful abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Tails or Shells?

Frozen shrimps on a table

In general, it is not advised to feed shrimp shells or tails to your dog. While some dogs may easily chomp down and chew up the shell and tail, they may present a choking hazard or intestinal obstruction issue in other dogs. Furthermore, shrimp shells and tails can get caught in between teeth, which can irritate the gums. 

Before feeding shrimp to your dog, remove the shells and tails, devein them and cook or freeze-dry them. If your dog accidentally eats a shrimp tail or shell, monitor them for 24 hours and call your veterinarian if they are acting sick in any way. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Shrimp?

Shrimp in a bowl sitting on a napkin

Dogs should only be fed cooked shrimp. Boiled, steamed, freeze-dried or grilled shrimp without any butter, oil or spices is the recommended preparation for dogs. It is okay to serve cooked shrimp warm or cold to your dog. 

Shrimp scampi is not a good snack for dogs because of the garlic, which is toxic to dogs, and the butter, which can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and pancreatitis (painful and life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas). Shrimp prepared for shrimp cocktail is safe for dogs, but skip the cocktail sauce! 

Can Dogs Eat Fried Shrimp?

Fried shrimp in a basket lined with newspaper

Even though your dog may disagree, they should not be fed fried shrimp because their systems are not designed to digest high-fat food. Fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, and popcorn shrimp may cause stomach upset, diarrhea and pancreatitis, so skip these shrimp preparations for your dog. Breaded shrimp should also be avoided.

Is Shrimp Good for Dogs?

Dog licking their lips looking to camera

When prepared properly, shrimp are a high-protein snack that is low in carbohydrates and high in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. They are also low in calories, which can make them a good snack for dogs that are trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. 

Shrimp are high in B vitamins, which improve the health of the gastrointestinal and circulatory systems, phosphorus for strong bones and antioxidants that can fight free radicals that cause cancer and brain aging. There are several dog food and treat manufacturers that have caught on to the health benefits of shrimp and feature these tiny, mighty crustaceans in their formulas.

Is Shrimp Bad for Dogs?

Sweet dog with head tilted outside

Shrimp are low in calories, however, they are high in cholesterol and may not be a good treat for dogs that struggle with high cholesterol. This includes dogs that have been diagnosed with conditions including hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, pancreatitis or have gallbladder problems. 

In addition, some Briards, Rough Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers have a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol, so if you have one of these breeds, they shouldn’t have shrimp if their blood work shows high cholesterol levels. 

Are Dogs Allergic to Shrimp?

Dog with swollen face having an allergic reaction

Every dog is different, and some dogs may be allergic to shrimp. The first time you feed your dog shrimp, start with a small amount and watch your dog for any signs of illness after feeding shrimp. 

Signs of shrimp allergies in dogs include:

  • Swollen face or muzzle
  • Hives (firm bumps all over body that may be itchy)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

Stop feeding your dog shrimp and call your veterinarian for advice if your dog acts sick after eating shrimp. 

Can I Feed My Dog Shrimp? The Verdict

Most dogs love shrimp as an occasional treat, so if your dog tolerates and likes eating shrimp, it is fine to feed them as a treat in moderation. If you have more questions about feeding your dog shrimp, talk to your veterinarian.

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