Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Picture of a bowl of shrimp

Many people associate seafood with cats but it turns out that dogs are often just as crazy about foods from the briny deep. Shrimp might be one of your dog’s favorite foods, if he’s lucky enough to get some occasionally. What’s more, it can be a healthy food for your dog as long as it’s cooked.

Shrimp Is Healthy for Your Dog

You don’t often see shrimp included as an ingredient in dog foods but that’s probably because it tends to be rather expensive. Shrimp is actually full of nutrients that are good for your dog – plus it’s very tasty! Shrimp is low in calories but high in nutrition. Three ounces of shrimp has only 84 calories and no carbohydrates. Ninety percent of the calories in shrimp come from protein.

Shrimp is also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – especially omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These omega-3 fatty acids are particularly good for your dog when they come from marine animals such as shrimp.

In addition, shrimp contains vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, and antioxidants. Vitamin B12 is good for your dog’s metabolic processes and aids in the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Niacin is needed for good enzyme function and many important processes in the body such as energy production, fat production, the circulation of blood, and chemical signals. Your body needs phosphorus for healthy bones. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body and reduce brain aging. Shrimp is also a good food source of iodine.

Can You Give Your Dog Raw Shrimp?

No, you should not give your dog raw shrimp. All sources agree that uncooked, raw shellfish of all kinds contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Raw shrimp is especially likely to contain one of the bacteria that can make people sick. Your dog might be less likely to get sick from these bacteria than you are but there’s no reason to take the risk. You should always cook shrimp before letting your dog have any.

It’s also recommended to completely remove the shrimp’s outer shell and tail before giving any of the food to your dog. Small breed dogs, especially, could potentially choke on these little shells.

The best way to prepare shrimp for your dog is to steam the shrimp or lightly boil it. If the shrimp is breaded and fried it will contain fats/oils that your dog doesn’t need.

How Much Shrimp Can You Give Your Dog?

If your dog has never had shrimp before you should not give him very much to start. Any new food can  upset a dog’s stomach. This is especially true if you give your dog a large amount of the food.

For most medium-sized dogs, one or two shrimp would be enough, especially if your dog is unaccustomed to them. A small dog could have one shrimp to see how he likes it. A larger dog might have three shrimp the first time. If it turns out that your dog absolutely loves shrimp and begs for them,  you might let him have one or two more in the future.

If your dog has any discomfort or gastrointestinal upset after eating the shrimp, there’s no need to keep offering it to him in the future.

If you plan to add shrimp to your dog’s diet on a regular basis, we suggest that you consult with your veterinarian or with a veterinary nutritionist before making this change to your dog’s diet. These professionals can advise you about the amounts of shrimp your dog can have in his diet along with any possible concerns.


Some dogs can be allergic to shrimp just as some people are allergic to shellfish. This is not a common allergy (nor is a fish allergy common in general in dogs), but it can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction to shrimp can include:

If your dog has a severe reaction he could go into anaphylactic shock. If this occurs your dog could have some swelling, develop hives, have a swollen face or muzzle, start salivating or drooling; vomit; and have diarrhea. His skin might be red. This is an emergency condition that can be fatal so you should get your dog to the vet immediately.


Many dogs love shrimp and it can be very nutritious when given to a dog in moderation. If you plan to give your dog shrimp, make sure you cook it first. Do not give your dog raw shrimp. Always make sure you remove the shells and tails from the shrimp before giving any to your dog. If your dog shows any gastrointestinal upset after eating shrimp, discontinue the practice.



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