Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Cooked or Raw? With or Without Tails?

If you’re a dedicated seafood enthusiast, it would be impious to stroll along the shoreline without indulging in a platter of shrimps. Freshly captured shrimp is juicy and tender in flavor, and whether you like it cold and covered with a cocktail sauce or boiled and sprinkled with citrus juice, this is a light dish ideal for any time. And most likely you will be tempted to share the treat you love so much with your four-legged friend.  But will it be a good idea?

So, can dogs have shrimp? Is it safe for dogs?

Shrimp is fine for your pup to eat as long as the serving is small and you cooked it first.

That treat is low in calories (about 84 calories per standard 3 oz serving) and easy for your pup to digest. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals that promote metabolism and reinforce the bones and teeth. Those include iron, calcium, zinc, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and more. That’s on the bright side.

There’s another one, though. Apart from the risk of catching some unpleasant bacterial diseases when eating undercooked produce, shrimps are also high in cholesterol (166 mg of cholesterol per serving, nearly 85% more than in any other kinds of seafood or fish). Your dog certainly doesn’t need any cholesterol in their diet because it’s not great for their weight and heart health.

Is shrimp good for dogs?

There aren’t so many health advantages for your pet if they consume shrimp frequently. Yes, that’s a great source of lean protein – 3 ounces of it deliver 20g of protein, just a tiny bit less than the same amount of chicken breast, but way less fatty.

However, evolutionarily speaking, the predecessors of your dog did not eat food from the sea. And that’s where fish and seafood are coming from.  Therefore your pet has much better protein food choices, such as beef or salmon skin, for example. We wrote two guides to cover all aspects of feeding those two products. You can read everything you might want to know about dogs and beef steaks here and about feeding your canine the salmon skin here.

Can dogs eat shrimp shells?

Absolutely not. Shrimp shells can be hazardous for your pet, not to mention that it is tough for the body to digest. It can scratch their mouths or throat and also create a risk of choking. Its pieces can even get trapped in the intestines if your pet eats lots of unpeeled shrimps in one go.

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Can dogs eat shrimp tails?

The same “shrimp shells” rules apply to the tails. If you’ve ever eaten your shrimp right up to its tail, you understand how difficult it’s to chew and swallow that part. Your dog doesn’t have the suitable teeth to grind the tails, and they’re also challenging to digest. Therefore, before feeding shrimps to your pooch, you have to separate the tails. If swallowed, they could create an obstruction in the airway of your pup. And tail’s razor-sharp edges can trigger some severe discomfort (at the very best case) in dog’s upper gastrointestinal tract.

Can dogs eat cooked shrimp or raw is fine too?

If you’re thinking about sharing the shrimps with your dog, make sure the treat is appropriately cooked before you serve any to your pup. Even if your grocery guy insists those shrimps are even safe for sushi, you shouldn’t trust it. Here’s an interesting video about fish, seafood and parasites you might watch to see when I am going from. Maybe it’s too scary but better safe than sorry.

When boiling the shrimps, you need to take into account the nutritional requirements and limitations of your dog. Fried shrimp is a definite no; the considerable quantities of salt will either trigger digestive distress or swelling of the pancreas. The same applies to butter. Doesn’t matter how much you enjoy your scampi shrimp, it won’t show any mercy to your pup.  

Large quantities of salt are also hazardous for dogs because they can increase their blood pressure or cause dehydration. Make sure that any shrimp your pet is eating doesn’t contain any garlic or onions. Both are poisonous to your pup in any form.

As for the uncooked version… If you’ve learned that raw food is great for pets, you might wonder why raw shrimp is not? That’s easy to explain. Those are packed with germs that can lead to a condition called shellfish toxicity both in you and your pet.

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Dogs and shrimp. Summary

Whether or not shrimps are component of a dog’s natural menu, if you are boiling some shrimps for yourself, dogs will generally ask for it too.  So if your furry baby gives you that irresistible look, you can treat him with a shrimp.

If properly cooked, it is safe for your dog to eat a little bit. Just steam it and remove tail along with shells before feeding.  And watch for any indications that the dog’s body might not be accepting it or even allergic (which is unlikely, but still). Overall, if you are going to serve shrimps to your pup, it should only be an occasional treat.  

Credits: thanks for the photo to Canva.

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