Now that fancy dinner parties are making a comeback, you might be wondering if you can share a shrimp cocktail with your pup! While lemons and cocktail sauce are out because of the sour and spicy flavors that your dog won’t enjoy (and could upset their stomachs), you might be surprised to learn that a juicy poached piece of shrimp is A-okay to share.
Can my dog eat shrimp?
In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. Your dog can have a piece of shrimp. They are a source of lean protein and low in fat, calories, carbs, and sugar-free (as are all lean proteins). In addition to being a great source of protein, shrimp provide your pup with a hefty dose of vitamin B12.
But before you go and let your dog chow down, it’s also important to note that shrimp are high in cholesterol. So, while a few shrimp here and there are just fine and can provide some benefits, you don’t want to go overboard on this delicious treat.
Note: Some dogs are allergic to shellfish (like humans) and these pups should not be fed shrimp or any other shellfish. Shellfish allergies are less common in dogs, but that could also be due to the fact that many dogs are never exposed to shellfish in their lives.
Preparing shrimp for your dog
Never feed your dog raw or undercooked shrimp since they can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can make them sick (the same is true for you - don't eat raw shrimp!). When preparing shrimp for your pup, steaming is best, as it doesn’t add any additional fat or calories. Avoid breaded and fried shrimp or shrimp cooked in a lot of oil as this can be too high in fat and calories and can upset your dog’s stomach.
Keep shrimp plain and avoid feeding your dog heavily seasoned or sauced shrimp. While you might adore shrimp scampi, your pup certainly doesn’t need all the butter and garlic. But a hint of parsley can be delightful and will help keep your dog’s breath fresh.
Interested in cooking for your dog? Here’s a recipe for shrimpy rice your dog might love.
Shrimpy Rice for Dogs
- ¼ C. Cooked white rice
- 2 small or medium shrimp, cooked and chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped parsley (can use dried parsley if you don’t have fresh - reduce quantity accordingly)
- 3 blanched broccoli florets, chopped
- 1 Tbsp blanched carrot, chopped
In a nonstick pan, combine all ingredients and stir until warmed through. You can serve in your dog’s favorite dish and top with additional fresh parsley for garnish (and to make it look fancy). If your dog likes eggs, feel free to scramble in an egg (like when making fried rice).
This recipe may need to be divided into a few portions depending on your dog’s size and nutritional needs. You can use smaller portions to top their regular food as a delicious and nutritious treat. (Note: This recipe is not a complete and balanced meal and should be used as a special treat.)
How much shrimp can my dog have?
If your dog decides they love shrimp (and we can’t blame them), you might be wondering how much shrimp is okay to serve. The American Kennel Club recommends keeping it to just one or two depending on the size of the shrimp and the size of your dog. You can cut shrimp into smaller pieces to extend your dog’s enjoyment - just like you might break up any other larger treat. Another good idea is to make sure you’ve removed the shrimp’s shell and the tail before serving as your dog shouldn’t eat this and it could be a choking hazard.
Remember, it’s important to offer new food slowly in case your dog is allergic or intolerant to it. So if your dog has never had shrimp and you want to offer some, go slowly. Start with a small taste and if your dog seems to tolerate it and enjoy it, you can offer more another time. If you have any doubts, it’s always a good idea to consult your vet first.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.