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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat shrimp?

Yes (without the tail or seasonings).

You’ve heated the grill for your annual seafood summer cookout, and the dish du jour is shrimp kebabs. You know the people can barely wait to taste the crispy, delicious food — so can you blame your dog for drooling, too? If you want to set aside some shrimp for your pup, follow our tips to let them in on the action safely.

(Even though shrimp is generally safe for dogs, you should always consult your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.)

Is shrimp good for dogs?

Shrimp is full of vitamins and nutrients and is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, making it a healthy treat option. The following benefits of shrimp are great to incorporate into your pup's diet, but occasional bites here and there aren't enough to drastically improve their well-being:

  • Vitamin B-12: creates healthy enzymes and metabolism
  • Niacin: promotes healthy enzymes and metabolism
  • Phosphorus: maintains healthy teeth and bones
  • Antioxidants: protects the cells of the body from damage
  • Fatty acids: maintains healthy skin

Is shrimp bad for dogs?

Shrimp is high in cholesterol, so it’s best served in moderation to avoid contributing to health issues. And it’s important to monitor the shrimp serving sizes you’re offering, too. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Your veterinarian can help you determine proper portions based on your pet's specific needs.

Are dogs allergic to shrimp?

Before serving your dog shrimp, check with your veterinarian to make sure they don’t suffer from a shrimp allergy — it’s rare for dogs to be allergic to shrimp, but it’s always best to be on the safe side. If your dog has an allergic reaction, watch out for hives or an upset stomach. When introducing your dog to new foods, it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan so that you can act fast if they need medical attention. Here are some quick steps to get you started:

  • Write down the address and phone number of your nearest animal emergency room.
  • Post the Pet Poison Helpline number (855-764-7661) in a convenient location and save the number to your phone’s contact list.
  • Keep a pet first aid kit in your car and house.
  • Organize and have all of your pet’s medical records and vaccination information handy.

RELATED: Can dogs eat turkey?

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How to serve your dog shrimp

Shrimp is best served to dogs steamed or grilled without any extra seasonings, oil or butter. Avoid serving fried, breaded or popcorn shrimp as they have a lot of unhealthy additions. It’s also best to skip serving raw shrimp to your pup, too, as there may be harmful bacteria that can lead to illness. Remove the shrimp tail before serving as it could cause an upset stomach, gastrointestinal tract blockage or be a choking hazard.

If you think your dog is choking on a shrimp tail, look out for pawing at their mouth, gagging or retching, coughing, turning blue, silence or collapsing. When a dog is choking, it’s important to act fast. In an effort to remove the object, swipe their throat using your finger and perform the Heimlich maneuver — you may need to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), too. Read our article to learn how to act fast in emergency pet choking situations.

Happy snacking

Steamed or grilled shrimp, when served properly, are a safe and delicious way to treat your pup. At the next family cookout, be sure to set aside some shrimp for your lucky dog.

We're confident that shrimp isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series "Can dogs eat … ?" to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what's fair game.

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