Seafood like fish and shrimp are popular foods for people, and it’s not uncommon for dog parents to ask themselves if their canine counterparts can partake in such a tasty treat.
However, like people, dogs can have specific allergies and sensitivities to seafood, especially shellfish like shrimp.
Furthermore, not all seafood and shellfish are safe for dogs, and there are some specifics you should consider before considering the question, “can dogs eat shrimp?”.
In today’s article, we are exploring the answer to can dogs eat shrimp and discussing the do’s and don’ts of feeding Fido a seafood diet.
Let’s get started!
But First, Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
Dogs can eat shrimp, though it’s best if they do so only in moderation.
If your dog has just snagged a bit of shrimp off your plate, don’t worry – the answer to can dogs eat shrimp is generally a yes. In fact, in moderation shrimp can actually make a healthy snack or treat for your four-legged friend.
Shrimp is a marine animal considered a decapod crustacean. There are thousands of species of shrimp throughout the oceans of the world, and there are even some species of freshwater shrimp that are native to parts of Malaysia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and Pakistan.
Shrimp are considered some of the most widely consumed shellfish in the world and are a popular and relatively inexpensive addition to a number of culinary dishes in the United States.
The most popular shrimp in the United States is White Shrimp. These shrimp can grow up to eight inches in length and are native to the Atlantic ocean, which ranges from New York to Southern Florida, and even the Gulf of Mexico.
Other types of shrimp you may have heard of or even consumed include rock shrimp, brown shrimp, Atlantic Northern Shrimp, spot shrimp, pink shrimp, tiger shrimp, and Chinese white shrimp.
All of these types of shrimp are safe for most dogs to consume in moderation, although not all dogs should consume shrimp.
In fact, just like humans, some dogs can have a severe shellfish allergy that can make eating foods like shrimp incredibly dangerous.
It’s very important to consider your dog and his unique health issues and sensitivities to food when asking can dogs eat shrimp before you opt to add something new like shrimp to his diet.
But what else should you know about shrimp before you ask yourself “can dogs eat shrimp”? Keep reading to find out!
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? What You Should Know About Shrimp And Other Seafood For Your Dog
There are pros and cons that come with feeding your dog shrimp.
Shrimp can be safe for your dog in moderation, though as we mentioned above, not all dogs are good candidates for a shrimp or seafood-based diet.
Do you know which dogs are good candidates for can dogs eat shrimp?
Dogs who will do best with seafood in their diet are dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. In fact, some experts might even recommend a seafood-based diet for dogs who struggle with digestive issues or food intolerance.
Seafood-based diets for dogs can be beneficial because they contain omega-rich fatty acids that can increase skin and coat health, heart health, bone and joint health, brain development, and more.
Seafood also tends to be lower in calories than other protein sources, which can help to regulate weight or obesity in certain dogs. With all that said, some fish can be dangerous for dogs, especially if that fish has higher mercury levels.
So, can dogs eat shrimp?
Luckily, shrimp is considered to have low mercury counts, which means it is a safer seafood option for dogs. Still, shrimp is not completely beneficial to your four-legged family member.
While the answer to can dogs eat shrimp is generally a yes, and though shrimp is low in calories and rich in fatty acids, it is also high in cholesterol, according to the American Kennel Club.
This means that although you can safely share small amounts of shrimp with your dog in moderation from time to time, it’s best to avoid an abundance of shrimp in your dog’s daily diet.
Can dogs eat shrimp? Yes, but only in moderation. With that noted, let’s now take a moment to look at the dos and don’ts of feeding your dog shrimp.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Feeding Your Dog Shrimp and Other Types of Seafood
Fried shrimp or shrimp with grease or seasonings should not be given to dogs.
Can dogs eat shrimp? Yes, they can. But should dogs eat shrimp? This question is up for debate.
Any quick search on the internet will share conflicting feelings regarding the answer to can dogs eat shrimp and the overall benefits of feeding dogs seafood or shellfish.
However, most sources agree that when it comes to can dogs eat shrimp, the answer is yes, as long as shrimp is prepared correctly and is consumed in moderation.
What does this mean?
Well, it means that although your dog can enjoy a bite of shrimp here and there, you will want to offer shrimp more like a treat option as opposed to a meal replacement.
Can dogs eat shrimp in small amounts? Yes, but too much shrimp can cause digestive upset in your four-legged friend.
What are some other do’s and don’s you should know when it comes to can dogs eat shrimp? Let’s take a look.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Raw Or Undercooked? NO!
Raw shrimp is very dangerous for dogs. It can carry pathogens, parasites, and bacteria that can lead to serious foodborne illnesses in your dogs like salmonella, tapeworm, and listeria.
If you are going to give your dog shrimp, it’s important to cook it all the way through just as you would for yourself. You can steam or boil shrimp to ensure it is safe to eat, or you can bake it or saute it in a skillet using olive oil.
Can Dogs Eat Seasoned or Fried Shrimp? NO!
When you are cooking shrimp for your dog, avoid frying it or adding ingredients like spices, onions, garlic, shallots, or other seasonings like salt or pepper. While it may seem like this type of shrimp is going to be a bland snack for your pup, unseasoned and plainly boiled or steamed shrimp is actually the safest and tastiest option for your dog.
Seasoned or salted shrimp can lead to gastrointestinal issues and digestive upset, and it can even lead to higher rates of obesity, hypertension, and heart issues in your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp As A Meal Replacement? NO!
Although we know the answer to can dogs eat shrimp is a yes, we also know that dogs should not eat shrimp every day in place of their traditional dog food.
Even though small amounts of shrimp may not only be tasty for your dog but even beneficial, too much shrimp can lead to serious digestive upset.
Furthermore, and as mentioned avoid, shrimp is high in cholesterol, which can lead to an uptick in your dog’s overall cholesterol levels over time. Besides, dogs require complex nutrients in their daily diet in order to thrive. While shrimp does have its benefits and some nutrients dogs can benefit from, a shrimp-only diet will not be enough to sustain your dog or provide him with healthy, balanced nutrition.
Can Dog Eat Shrimp With Shells? NO!
Shrimp shells can be a serious choking hazard to dogs, especially when it comes to smaller dogs or puppies. Even if dogs manage to swallow shrimp shells, they will not be able to digest them properly. In some cases, shrimp shells have been known to cause intestinal blockages and damage.
For this reason, the only shrimp Fido should consume is shrimp that has been cooked and that has had the shell and tail removed completely.
Should Dog Eat Large, Long-Lived Fish and Seafood? NO!
Larger fish and longer-lived fish tend to contain very high mercury levels, and because dogs are much smaller than humans, they can be more prone to suffering from mercury poisoning.
Luckily, shrimp is not known to have high levels of mercury, so most types of shrimp are safe for dogs to consume in moderation. However, there are other types of seafood that are high in mercury that your dog should avoid eating. We will list those types of fish further down.
Last, You Should Not Change Your Dog’s Diet Without Consulting A Nutritionist Or Veterinarian
If your dog is sensitive to certain foods and you suspect your dog has food allergies, a seafood-based diet could be just the ticket to turning your dog’s digestive issues around.
However, it’s important that you discuss changes in your dog’s diet with your veterinarian or a trusted food nutritionist before you change your dog’s diet completely.
Remember, dogs are very sensitive, and they require a particular number of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and more in order to thrive.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Which Seafoods Are Safest For Fido?
Though some seafood and shrimp are safe for your dog, not all of it is.
When it comes to can dogs eat shrimp and seafood, we know there are some types of shrimp and seafood that are safest for dogs.
Some of the safest seafood for dogs is going to be seafood that has a shorter lifespan. Fish and shrimp with shorter lifespans are less likely to have the same level of mercury as fish with longer lifespans.
Younger fish and smaller fish also tend to be safer for dogs to consume. When it comes to shrimp, we also recommend staying away from freshwater shrimp. Choose wild-caught shrimp and wild-caught fish like those listed below:
- Light Canned Tuna Fish
- White Shrimp
- Rock Shrimp
- Brown Shrimp
- Atlantic Northern Shrimp
- Spot Shrimp
- Pink Shrimp
- Tiger Shrimp
- And Chinese white shrimp.
Which Seafoods Should Your Dog Stay Away From?
Because dogs metabolize foods differently than we do, mercury poisoning can be a real danger.
When we think of asking “can dogs eat shrimp”, we generally tend to think of it as a more generic question. The answer can be tricky considering there are different types of shrimp and, of course, many different types of seafood as well.
While seafood can be a healthy treat for dogs and, in some cases, even a healthy meal replacement for pups, some forms of seafood can be unhealthy for our dogs and even dangerous.
It’s important to know which types of shrimp and seafood are unsafe for your dog. Take a look at our list below of unhealthy seafood your four-legged friend should avoid.
- Albacore Tuna
- Shrimp With Shells
- Seafood With Bones
- Raw Seafood
- Fish With High Fat Content
- Fish That Is Not Fresh
- Farm-Raised Seafood
- Fish With Longer Lifespan Including:
- And Sea Bass
How Much Shrimp And Seafood Is Too Much?
Like most human foods, dogs should only eat shrimp in moderation.
Can dogs eat shrimp? Now that we know the answer is yes, it’s important to also know that there are limitations to just how much shrimp your dog should consume.
Like all things, moderation is key to ensuring your dog is happy and healthy. While shrimp can make a healthy treat for your furry family member, too much shrimp or seafood can lead to stomach upset and gastrointestinal issues.
Obvious signs your dog has consumed too much shrimp or seafood could include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or obvious discomfort.
To avoid these problems in your dog when asking can dog eat shrimp, it’s important to first begin by offering your dog very small amounts of shrimp or seafood to ensure he is not allergic or sensitive to this type of food.
This might mean you offer your dog a third of a whole shrimp or a pea-sized bite of fish. Monitor your dog for a few hours before offering him more.
As we discussed above, keep in mind that dogs can also struggle with allergies to seafood and especially to shellfish.
Some common signs of a shellfish allergy in dogs you should be aware of when considering can dogs eat shrimp may include obvious skin irritation, excessive licking, itching, bald spots, and increased pigmentation.
Signs of a severe shellfish allergy in dogs when it comes to can dogs eat shrimp include swelling of the lips, ears, face, eyelids, or earflaps, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, lethargy, and collapse.
If your dog begins to swell or struggle to breathe after consuming shrimp or seafood, it’s important to contact an emergency veterinary hospital as quickly as possible.
Luckily, shellfish allergies in dogs are not incredibly common, and most allergic reactions to seafood and shellfish present themselves in more mild symptoms at first.
Of course, to be safe, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog shrimp or seafood if you notice he does have an adverse reaction to a small amount of shrimp or seafood, even if it is mild.
If your dog does enjoy shrimp and seafood and if he handled a small amount well, you can begin to implement shrimp and seafood into his diet in moderation.
Small amounts of shrimp can be used as a meal topper to your dog’s standard dog food, or you can even cook healthy seafood from our list above to incorporate into your dog’s diet more frequently.
Let’s talk now about how you can make shrimp for your dog at home.
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? How To Make Your Dog Shirmp At Home
Shrimp should be fully cooked and peeled before being given to your dog.
When it comes to can dogs eat shrimp, you may be wondering how you can make shrimp for your dog at home. Shrimp is a relatively easy snack to make for your dog, as you can often buy it pre-cooked or simply pre-packaged to make at home.
There are a few ways you can cook shrimp for your dog, though remember that when you are making shrimp or seafood for your pup, it’s important not to season it or fry it.
The best way to make shrimp for your dog is to boil or steam the shrimp. Since shrimp should not contain a shell when you give it to your dog, we recommend either boiling or steaming it first and shelling it after it has cooled, or purchasing frozen shrimp that has been pre-peeled.
Shrimp is safe to eat once it has reached a balmy temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
If you want to give your dog shrimp as a treat, you can slice it into smaller bits and store it in a plastic bag in the fridge, offering your dog shrimp from time to time as a treat or after-dinner dessert.
When it is properly stored in a sealed container, shrimp can last safely in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you freeze shrimp, it can last for up to six months.
If you want to get a bit fancier with your dog’s shrimp treats, you can combine peeled and cooked shrimp in a food processor with some light canned tuna.
Then you can mix a teaspoon of this combination of seafood with your dog’s kibbles or dog food for a tasty meal topper.
If you’re not sure about which types of shrimp would be best for your dog when asking can dogs eat shrimp, we have listed a few products we suggest below.
365 White Gulf Wild Caught Shrimp
365 is a brand by Whole Foods that provides wild-caught shrimp delivered deveined and peeled. This shrimp is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as a wild-caught shrimp, making it especially safe for dogs and people to consume.
Each bag contains between 70 and 90 shrimp per pound, and we like that it comes ready to cook. The back of the packaging even includes cooking instructions to help ensure you are cooking the shrimp properly.
This shrimp is specified for human consumption, though it can be safe to give to dogs in moderation.
Sea Best Cooked Shrimp
If you’re concerned about having to cook shrimp when asking yourself can dogs eat shrimp, you also have the option of purchasing pre-cooked shrimp. The above shrimp by Sea Best comes with two pounds of between 70 and 90 pre-cooked shrimp.
Not only is this shrimp safe to eat, but it is also peeled and deveined. However, we should note that this shrimp does come with the tail attached. Before you offer any of this shrimp to your dog you will need to remove the tail and dispose of it.
Other Products You Can Buy That Contain Shrimp For Dogs
There are some brands that make dog treats and dog food that include shrimp as the main protein source.
When it comes to can dogs eating shrimp, it’s important to give it to your dogs only in moderation. If you want to make your dog’s shrimp treats at home, you certainly can by following our above recipes.
However, you can also purchase treats for dogs that contain shrimp and seafood that may be easier and even safer for your dog to consume.
Here are some of our favorite products we recommend when looking into can dogs eat shrimp or seafood:
Cod And Shrimp Icelandic All Natural Dog Chews
We already know that cod and shrimp are two types of safe seafood dogs can consume, so it’s no surprise we would recommend a cod and shrimp dog treat.
The above dog treats by the Icelandic Store are made with all-natural ingredients and the treats are available not only in Cod and Shrimp recipes, but also cod and lobster, cod and herring, and even cod and salmon.
The treats are made with 100% fish bites, and they are free of any other ingredients like additives, preservatives, or supplements. The threats are air-dried and are sustainably caught, making them eco-friendly as well.
Not only are these shrimp treats safe and healthy for dogs, but they can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. They also are rich in fatty acids and DHA, helping promote healthy skin, coat, and brain.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Shrimp
Northwest Naturals is another brand we trust because it is made with all-natural ingredients and is designed for both dogs and cats. This makes it an ideal treat for owners who live in multi-pet households.
You can order Northwest Naturals in a variety of recipes, including not only shrimp but also minnow, mussels, whitefish, chicken, liver, lamb, bison, and salmon.
We recommend the freeze-dried shrimp if you are here wondering can dogs eat shrimp because it provides your dog with a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. We also like that these treats are palatable and savory, making them ideal training treats for dogs and puppies.
If your dog has food sensitivities or allergies, these shrimp treats are ideal. They are grain-free and you can order them in a variety of recipes depending on your dog’s unique sensitivities.
Canidae Pure Petite Shrimp and Cod Dog Food
Although we have mentioned a few times now that it’s not ideal to replace your dog’s overall diet with shrimp-based dog food only, it is possible to implement a dog food that contains shrimp into your dog’s daily diet.
In fact, some dog food brands even include shrimp as one of the main protein sources, as is the case for the Canidae Wet Dog Food above.
This dog food is specified for small breed dogs and is a limited ingredient diet dog food ideal for dogs who struggle with allergies.
The dog food contains shrimp and cod and promotes healthy digestion, a healthy immune system, and of course a healthy skin and coat.
If you prefer to order it this dog food with different recipe options, you can also purchase it in a chicken and pea recipe, lamb and carrots, beef and carrots, duck and pumpkin, or turkey and green beans.
Raw Paws USA Freeze Dried Minnows For Dogs
When you think of dog treats, you may not think of whole fish as a tasty and healthy treat for your four-legged friend.
However, freeze-dried minnows are a thing and they can offer not only a delicious treat for your dog but a healthy one at that. The above freeze-dried minnows are a safe and healthy treat for your dog that includes just one simple ingredient – fish!
The minnows are nutritious and grain-free, making them ideal for dogs who struggle with allergies or food sensitivities. These treats are also ideal for those with food sensitivities, and they are rich in DHA and fatty acids, helping promote heart health, bone and joint health, and more.
They are packaged in the United States and are low in calories, and each order comes in a two-ounce bag that is resealable for freshness.
So, Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Let’s Sum It Up!
Yes, dogs can eat shrimp, but only in moderation and when shrimp is properly cooked and prepared.
Can dogs eat shrimp? The answer is yes, though it’s not so black and white.
Remember, while shrimp can be a tasty treat for your dog, it does come with its fair share of pros and cons. Furthermore, shrimp cooked improperly or not peeled can lead to serious consequences for your furry family member.
Remember when feeding your dog shrimp or seafood, or anything outside of his normal everyday diet, it’s important to only give these foods in moderation.
Shrimp in particular can be high in cholesterol, so it should be given in small amounts to your dog as opposed to a replacement of his daily meals. We should also remind you that some dogs could have allergies to specific types of seafood, especially when it comes to shellfish like shrimp.
Before giving your dog shrimp, it’s best to only give him a small amount. If you know your dog is especially sensitive to certain foods or has exhibited allergies to seafood or shellfish in the past, avoid feeding your dog shrimp altogether.
However, if your dog is a good candidate for shrimp and seafood, there is no reason that you can not give your dog shrimp in moderation.
We hope this has been a helpful guide to can dogs eat shrimp. Now we want to hear from you. Did you know that shrimp shells could be considered a choking hazard for your dog?
Tell us what you think about can dogs eat shrimp in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.