Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Effects of Shrimp for Dogs as a Dog Food

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp

Most dog owners will admit that they find it difficult to resist the begging eyes of their furry canine companions who want to share whatever is on their plates. Dogs typically have the “whatever you eat, I can eat” attitude, but what if they beg for shrimp? Can dogs eat shrimp safely, or is it bad for dogs? If the shrimp is entirely free of shells, heads, and tails, properly cooked, and served in limited amounts, shrimp can even be healthy for dogs.

Shrimp are low in carbohydrates, fat, and calories, making them perfect for dogs with weight problems. So, yes, dogs can eat shrimp, and they are not only tasty but are also loaded with nutrients that dogs need. Below is the list of nutritional benefits dogs can get from shrimp:

  • Vitamin B12: Important for your furry friend’s metabolic processes and gastrointestinal health Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Helps ensure proper blood circulation, fat production, enzyme function, energy production, chemical signals, and numerous other processes.
  • Phosphorus: Important for healthy bones
  • Antioxidants: From fighting free radicals to reducing your canine companion’s brain aging process
  • Choline: To support liver function, the nervous system, muscle function, a healthy brain, and heart function. An essential nutrient that dogs produce naturally, but not in sufficient amounts.

However, shrimp have some hidden dangers. Along with all the health benefits comes a warning. Shrimp can cause your dog’s blood sugar to increase, which can be harmful to dogs with diabetes. Although shrimp may be low in calories, fat, and carbs, they are high in cholesterol, which means giving your dog too many shrimp will do more harm than good. Dogs with kidney disease or liver problems should avoid shrimp. The phosphorus levels in shrimp are too high for dogs with these issues. It is always best to reach out to your vet prior to offering your pup any new food.

Dogs can eat shrimp but only in small quantities. Limited to around a half cup once a week, cooked shrimp can be a flavorful and nutritious treat for dogs. Substitute plain, cooked shrimp for processed commercial dog treats for a healthy snack or reward. You can also add small pieces of shrimp to your dog’s food as a flavor enhancer. Remember to keep your dog away from spicy shrimp dishes that you might eat.

If your dog has never eaten shrimp, start by feeding them a small amount to see if they have an adverse reaction, like nausea or an upset stomach. Then you can slowly increase the quantity over time. You can give your dog some tasty shrimp broth as a treat or use it as a flavor enhancer for dog food.

Before feeding your canine shrimp, it might be a good idea to learn more about the safe ways to prepare shrimp for your dog and how to avoid risking your dog’s life.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp Safely?

Raw shrimp can be bad for your dog, even if it is undercooked and not entirely raw. The potential health hazards of feeding your dog raw shrimp are discussed here.

Why is raw shrimp unhealthy for dogs? 

It is essential to cook shrimp and other shellfish thoroughly before feeding them to your dog. Raw shrimp often contain harmful microorganisms, like disease-causing salmonella and listeria, and most of the organisms are killed during the cooking process. Contaminated shellfish can cause severe toxic reactions like paralysis, neurological symptoms, and gastrointestinal distress. See your vet as soon as possible if you suspect food poisoning. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Shrimp Safely?

Yes, most dogs can eat cooked shrimp safely. If you are going to give your dog shrimp, then cooking it is definitely the way to go. Ensure that the shrimp you cook for your canine companion is free of additives such as onion, garlic, and other spices that could be toxic to your dog. And also, ensure that the shrimp has been peeled and deveined.

Are cooked shrimp healthy for dogs?

Yes, shrimp are healthy for dogs. Dog owners can safely give their dogs shrimp, given the health benefits and essential nutrients they can offer your dog. Shrimp is a quality protein that’s low in calories and saturated fat, and it contains nutrients that can be beneficial to your dog’s health, like vitamins B12 and D, niacin, and iron. If used as a healthier replacement for commercial dog treats, shrimp can also help to control a dog’s weight. 

Can cooked shrimp affect a dog’s mood? 

Yes, shrimp are some of many good mood foods. The foods your dog eats can help regulate your furry friend’s mood and emotions. Nutrients are the building blocks of happy hormones created in your furry friend’s gut. Every time your dog eats healthy proteins like those in shrimp, its brain produces dopamine. Those are happy hormones, serving two purposes. It soothes the dog’s mood and breaks down sugars to make it feel full for longer. The magnesium in shrimp also relieves anxiety in dogs to further ease their mood.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Shrimp Safely?

No dogs cannot eat shrimp fries without causing health risks, even though shrimp on their own have health benefits for your furry friend. Fried food isn’t really good for dogs; for many of the same reasons, fried food isn’t all that good for us.

Are fried shrimp healthy for dogs? 

No fried shrimp is not healthy for dogs. The grease and oil used to prepare fried shrimp may upset your dog’s stomach, and added salt could have unpleasant consequences. The combination of oil and salt could trigger numerous unpleasant health consequences, including immoderate urination, seizures, uncontrollable quivering, depression, heightened thirst, runny stools, vomiting, and raised body temperature.

Too much salt could cause sodium-ion toxicity what could be life-threatening. Your good intentions to treat your furry friend with a couple of deep-fried shrimp might turn out to be a punishment instead of a treat. Gastrointestinal problems good cause your pup a lot of pain.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp Shells, Heads, and Tails safely? 

No, dogs should never be allowed to eat shrimp shells, and you should remove shrimp shells, heads, and tails before feeding your dog cooked shrimp.  

Can puppies eat shrimp shells, heads, and tails?

No, whether you have a large dog like a Mastiff or a tiny Pekingese, dogs must not eat shrimp shells, heads, and tails. It is not necessary to throw away the heads and shells. If you boil them together with some vegetables until they are cooked and then strain them, you’ll have a delicious seafood stock that could even be used to make toppers for your canine companion’s kibble.

How can shrimp shells, heads, and tails harm your dog?

Shrimp shells, heads, and tails are comparable to small fish or chicken bones, and they can cause a choking hazard if your dog swallows them. Furthermore, the sharp edges can cut your dog’s gums and cause irritations or even lacerations in the pup’s upper gastrointestinal tract. Shrimp shells, heads, and tails are also choking and intestinal blockage hazards, Use a knife or even scissors to cut along the shrimp’s back to remove the shells. It will then be easy to remove the black vein running over its back, peel away the shells, and pull off the tail.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Shrimp Safely?

No, popcorn shrimp is not safe for dogs to eat. Popcorn shrimp is a snack or an hors d’oeuvre for humans and not dogs. Popcorn shrimp is made of tiny, tender shrimp or small pieces of crayfish, coated in a seasoned breading, then fried until golden and crispy. They’re usually bite-sized, which you pop in your mouth by the handful, just like you would with a bowl of popcorn.

Is popcorn shrimp healthy for dogs?

No popcorn shrimp is not healthy for dogs. The popcorn coating typically contains seasoning made with chili powder and red or cayenne peppers, both too spicy for the digestive systems of dogs. Furthermore, popcorn shrimp is deep-fried, which is also unhealthy for dogs.

Can dogs with diarrhea or other diseases eat popcorn shrimp?

No popcorn shrimp can cause or exacerbate gastrointestinal upset, and the pungent spices will likely irritate the dog’s stomach lining. Furthermore, feeding dogs fatty foods like deep-fried chicken, popcorn shrimp, or other oily and fatty foods usually upset dogs’ stomachs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Dogs who frequently share these spicy snacks with their owners might even be at risk of developing inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis.

Can Dogs Eat Boiled Shrimp Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat boiled shrimp safely. However, as with shrimp cooked in any other way, boiled shrimp must be thoroughly cleaned with no shells, heads, or tails. The vein across the shrimp’s back must also be removed before feeding the shrimp to your furball. To ensure the shrimp are boiled through, their internal temperature must be 145 degrees, and the flesh should be opaque. Remove a few for your canine companion before adding butter, seasonings, and sauces.

Can boiled shrimp affect a dog’s mood? 

Yes, boiled shrimp can affect your pup’s mood. Dopamine is a hormone produced by the dog’s body. You can’t actually get dopamine in food, but you can get the nutrients needed for your body to make dopamine. One of the essential foods for helping your body produce dopamine is protein, of which shrimp is a rich source. Protein is made up of amino acids, and one amino acid called tyrosine plays a critical role in the production of dopamine.

What Else can Dogs Eat Together with Shrimp?

Dogs love a little nibble of anything off their humans’ plates, but how can we ensure we share only safe bits and treats with our canine companions? Some human food is perfectly healthy, while others can make a dog sick, sometimes with severe consequences. Below are some treats to enjoy together with shrimps.

Lobster: Like shrimp, raw lobster poses risks of intestinal parasites. However, a healthy treat if it is appropriately shelled and cooked. The nutritional benefits are listed below.

  • Lobster is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals like zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.
  • Omega-3s in lobsters boost all aspects of health, decreasing inflammation and reducing the risk of illness.
  • Lobster is protein-rich, ideal for maintaining healthy muscles of active dogs like Border Collies.
  • Lobster can benefit breeds from tiny Toy Poodles to giant St Bernard because its zinc content promotes healthy joints, phosphorus is essential for healthy bones, and magnesium aids in absorbing other vitamins and minerals.

Scallops: Like other shellfish, scallops must be properly cooked to get rid of bacteria and parasites. Scallops should not be your dog’s main meal, but they make healthy snacks. In small, thoroughly cooked amounts, scallops may bring some health benefits to your canine companion. 

  • Scallops are high in protein but leaner than many red meats. 
  • Scallops as a snack will give your Jack Russel puppy fuel for exercise and playtime.
  • Your Labrador Retriever puppy will benefit from an occasional scallop treat because the phosphorus they contain is a primary nutrient for bone and teeth formation.
  • Scallops are equally beneficial for your old and gray beagle because they are packed with potassium to help prevent kidney stones and osteoporosis.
  • Scallops are beneficial for all life stages, even playful teenage Beagles because the magnesium supports strong bones and maintains a healthy immune system.

Broccoli: Cooked, cut into small pieces, and in small portions, broccoli offers many health benefits. However, portion control is essential because broccoli florets contain Isothiocyanate. Too much broccoli can cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea which, if left untreated, could be fatal. However, below is a list of benefits your dog can enjoy broccoli if you ensure you provide cooked broccoli in small portions.

  • Fiber: Broccoli has a lot of fiber to help your furry friend’s digestive system to keep moving along. 
  • Vitamin K: Improves bone density and strength to keep active dogs like German Shorthaired Pointers active longer. Broccoli carries the highest amount of Vitamin K found in vegetables, making it the ideal vegetable to prevent decreasing bone density that can reduce your dog’s mobility as it ages. It also has coagulating properties.
  • Vitamin C: Boosts your Australian Shepherd’s immune system and provides anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C is produced naturally in a dog’s body, but that ability decreases as they age. It’s also a water-soluble vitamin, so it passes in their urine if they receive too much.
  • Minerals: Broccoli contains magnesium, sodium, chromium potassium, and several others that all work together to strengthen your dog’s immune and nervous systems.
  • Folic Acid: If your Dachshund is pregnant, an occasional small helping of broccoli because the folic acid will produce and maintain healthy cells. 

Grits: If your dog is not overweight, and not allergic to corn, you can combine its shrimp treats with grits, but keep the notes below in mind.

  • Grits are only safe for dogs to eat in small servings.
  • Ensure the grits you prepare for your dog are cooked and free of any seasonings.
  • The grits must also be without butter, cheese, syrup, or sugar

What are the Recipes for Shrimp Dog Treats?

Shrimp, Broccoli, and Carrot Dog Treats

  • Mash or blend 50g cooked broccoli and 50g cooked carrots, and add 50g frozen cooked shrimp (very small or cut in half) and 1 egg. 
  • Ground 250g of plain oats to flour to make the dough. 
  • Roll out the dough, cut shapes, and bake the treats for 20 minutes at 400F.

Shrimp and Rosemary Dog Treats

  • Thaw 2 cups of frozen shrimp. Blend 1 cup to pulp and roughly break up the shrimp in the second cup.
  • Combine both lots of shrimp with 1 beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary, and 1 cup of wholemeal flour.
  • Flatten the dough to cut shapes or roll small balls that can be flattened with a fork.
  • Bake the treats for 40 minutes at 360F

Crispy Sweet potato and Shrimp Cookies

  • Blend ½ cup cooked shrimp and ½ cup cooked sweet potato, and combine the blended mixture with 2 cups of ground oatmeal.
  • Roll dough ¼ inch thick and cut into squares or a cookie cutter.
  • Sprinkle with whole oats and bake at 250F for 2 hours until crispy.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container to keep them crisp.

What are some of the Best Dog Treats with Shrimp?

Below are several healthy shrimp treats that can save you the time of baking, without resorting to unhealthy treats for your precious pup. They are made with your dog in mind and are a healthy way to add shrimp to their diet. 

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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.