Can Dogs Eat Shrimps and Prawns? Are They Safe?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
If you're a seafood lover you may wonder if your dog can appreciate this type of food as well. Seafood is very popular and can represent a healthy meal for us humans. But is it the same for dogs?

Shrimps or prawns may be among your favorite seafood and you would like to share some with your dog. Is it a good idea?

After all, it’s meat full of proteins and you know dogs like meat in general. However, by now you probably know that not all good food for you is good for your dog.

What’s the case with shrimps and prawns?

Besides being rich in proteins, shrimps and prawns are low in calories, a shrimp being only about 7 calories. On the downside, they’re high in cholesterol.

Another aspect to consider is seafood allergy. Can dogs be allergic to seafood as us?

In this article we’re exploring both benefits, downsides, allergies and most importantly – we’ll answer the question whether shrimps are safe or not. But before we begin, let’s clear out the difference between shrimps and prawns.

Difference Between Shrimps And Prawns

The title of this article have both shrimps and prawns in it. But what’s the difference really? Is there any difference at all?

Truth to be told, some differences exist, but you’ll have to be very analytical in order to see them. For instance, shrimps have claws on two pairs of legs (of five in total), while prawns have claws on three pairs.

Another difference is that prawns are usually harvested from fresh water, while shrimps can be found in salt water.

A third difference is in size – prawns will usually be bigger than shrimps, even if both of these crustaceans can come in various sizes and shapes.

These three differences, as you can see, are not that big and noticeable. In this article we’ll treat shrimps and prawns as one, as they have the same benefits and downsides, and we’ll answer the following question :

Is It Safe To Give Shrimps And Prawns To Your Dog?

The answer to this questions is – yes, it’s safe to give shrimps and prawns to your dog, but under certain conditions.

In other words, you have to prepare them properly. Scroll down and find out more about how to serve them to your dog.

Secondly, you have to make sure your dog isn’t allergic to seafood, as giving shrimps and prawns could be fatal in this case.

Last but not least, shrimps and prawns are safe in small amounts from time to time. If you overdo it, certain problems may come up.

Having said that, there are some good sides your dog may benefit from by eating these crustaceans if you follow these instructions.

What Benefits Can Come From Shrimps?

Shrimps are actually rich on proteins which are always desirable for dogs. They contain selenium, a great antioxidant and some other antioxidants as well. Antioxidants fight free radicals and can also reduce brain aging.

Phosphorus, vitamin B12 and niacin are also important ingredients in the shrimp. Phosphorus is very important for healthy bones. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in metabolic processes. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is vital for enzyme function, fat production, blood circulation and other important processes.

On top of that, shrimps are very low in calories, carbs and fat. This means that shrimps contain some very healthy nutrients in a small package.

Now, let’s take a look at some possible downsides from shrimps and prawns.

What Downsides Are There To Shrimps?

Unfortunately, shrimps have a very high level of cholesterol. This is always a concern, but since you’ll be giving it from time to time there is almost no risk of cholesterol becoming a problem.

Some other downsides can present themselves if your dog eats a raw shrimp, as they can contain harmful pathogens.

Lastly, shells and claws can represent a choking hazard for your dog, so if you don’t remove them this could be a big downside, right?

This leads us to our next question:

How Should I Serve Shrimp?

Shrimp can be served either cooked or raw. If you serve it raw, it’s more natural and the closest to what a dog would come if he ate it on his own.

However, if you want to play that card, you should have in mind that dogs didn’t search for shrimps at the bottom of the ocean when they were scavengers, so you’re not taking away something natural by preparing the shrimp.

If you cook it, on the other hand, it will kill off any potentially harmful bacteria that can cause an upset stomach. This is why it’s preferable to serve it cooked and be on the safe side.

A very important thing when you serve shrimp is to remove the shell completely! Tail, head and legs included. Anything apart from the meat can be dangerous, as it could block the digestive tract.

Fried shrimps should definitely be avoided, because of the large amounts of fat that can cause either digestive problems or an inflammation of the pancreas. Same goes for butter, as many dogs can’t digest lactose in milk.

You have to make sure as well that the shrimps aren’t salty or scented, that means free from garlic, onion and other powders. Garlic and onion are both toxic to dogs.

Therefore, even if you only give your dog shrimps from time to time at special occasions, make sure to remove everything and cook it.

How much shrimp can dogs eat?

The golden rule is, everything in moderation. Every dog is different, of course, but one or two shrimps are usually enough.

As we’ve mentioned, they’re pretty high in cholesterol, so giving too many will only cause problems.

What About Seafood Allergies?

Can dogs be allergic to seafood as us humans? Unfortunately, they can. If this is the case with your dog, sharing shrimps and prawns wouldn’t be such a good idea.

Symptoms that indicate seafood allergy are diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. If your dog has shrimps after which he or she shows signs of pain or discomfort, taking your pet to the vet and running some allergy tests is recommended.

If your dog is allergic to seafood, you don’t have to worry about missing out on something. Even though shrimps and prawns have their benefits and good sides, they are not a necessity to a dog’s diet. Yes, dogs need protein, but they don’t need it in shrimp.


Shrimps and prawns are in fact safe in general, assuming your dog isn’t allergic and that you serve it properly. Remember to remove the shell and to serve it as plain as possible.

Giving your dog one or two shrimps as a treat is fine and can have certain benefits. However, don’t overdo it as cholesterol can become a problem.

To sum it up, if shrimps and prawns are something your dog likes you can share some from time to time. On the other hand, if your dog is allergic or simply doesn’t like it, don’t worry – there are other ways to obtain the benefits present in shrimps and prawns.