Can My Dog Eat Prawns?
The Essential Guide
Prawns are an Australian Staple. While they are nutrient-dense and full of health benefits, they might not be the right choice for your pup.
Want to know if dogs can eat prawns? Our experts did some research so you can make the best decision for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Prawns - Yes or No?
Like with many other human foods, the answer is, it depends. If your dog isn’t allergic to seafood, then yes, prawns can be a good addition to their diet. But if you have a sensitive pup, they might develop skin rashes, itchiness and general discomfort after eating prawns.
PRO TIP. If you don’t know whether or not your dog is allergic to seafood, offer a very small piece and keep an eye on them the rest of the day. If they have no symptoms in the next 2 to 3 days, it should be fine.
What You Need to Know Before Feeding Prawns to Your Dog
Prawns are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Prawns are an excellent source of this essential fatty acid. There are the two main types of omega-3: EPA and DHA. For every 100 grams, prawns give your dog 540 mg of these essential nutrients. Of course, you don’t need to give them 100 grams to reap the benefits!
Researchers have reported that omega-3 has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, some studies in other animals show it could lower your dog’s chronic disease risk, including serious issues like cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
On the flip side, prawns are high in cholesterol. This means that while an occasional shrimp is a healthy treat, too many can be harmful. This is especially concerning if you have an overweight or obese pup.
This seafood has key vitamins and minerals
Shrimp and prawns are rich in many nutrients that are generally hard to come-by. These include vitamin D and selenium.
Vitamin d is actually a hormone with plenty of metabolic functions, and it plays a key role in supporting your dog’s immunity, regulating their blood pressure and preventing infections.
On the other hand, selenium is a mineral that helps your dog’s body repair itself. Because it acts as an antioxidant, it also strengthens the immune system and keeps your dog youthful for longer.
Finally, prawns are also rich in iodine. This compound is abundant in seafood, and is essential to keep your dog’s thyroid working properly. All in all, prawns have nutrients that support your dog’s health in the long term.
Prawns are rich in taurine
Taurine is an essential amino acid with several health-protective properties. In dogs and other animals, including humans, taurine lowers overall oxidative stress. This means your dog’s body has the ability to repair itself faster and helps them age healthier. On the other hand, taurine also offers some protection against cardiovascular disease, keeping your dog’s heart strong and healthy.
They have astaxanthin
This powerful antioxidant is found in a few select seafood species, particularly those that are red. This includes salmon, lobster and crab, but also prawns. After studying this compound for decades, researchers now know that astaxanthin taken from prawns helps lower oxidative stress, fight ageing and prevent tumour growth. Plus, it can also help to manage high blood pressure.
When Shouldn’t You Give Prawns to Your Dog?
Considering the tonne of nutrients they have, one would think any dog can benefit from moderate prawn consumption in their diet. Well, that isn’t always the case. Here are a few instances where prawns should be off-limits:
If your dog has a seafood allergy
As with all new foods, you never know if your dog has an allergy unless they’ve tried it. as a rule of thumb, asking your vet before giving prawns to your dog is a good idea.
Prawns, like other seafood, has specific proteins that can cause allergies in humans, dogs, and other animals. In some cases, extreme allergic reactions can have serious adverse effects and even lead to death if left untreated.
If your dog ate seafood and you don’t know if they’re allergic, keep an eye on them. Take them to the vet if thy show any of these symptoms:
- Laboured breathing
- Gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhoea
- Tummy that’s sensitive to the touch
- Itching and hair loss
These symptoms can appear a few hours or even days after eating shellfish, so keep them in mind after feeding prawns for the first time.
If you can’t find wild-caught prawns
Like with other sea products, prawns can be full of antibiotics and harmful toxins, including mercury and lead. Luckily, shrimp and prawns have one of the lowest mercury concentrations in all seafood. This contrasts with tuna and shark, which can be very contaminated when caught in the wild. According to researchers, the high selenium concentration in prawns could help lower mercury toxicity in prawns.
These issues are more significant in farmed prawns from oversea industries. Because of it, it’s best if you get domestic prawns and shrimp, and buy wild-caught if at all possible.
PRO TIP: Since dogs shouldn’t eat more than half a cup of prawns or shrimp per week, use it as a treat. Most dogs will love it during training, especially if yours is food-motivated.
Prawns not only are tasty, but also offer plenty essential nutrients without adding many calories to your dog’s diet. This makes them a great option for dogs that are trying to lose weight or have other issues such as diabetes.
Overall, this is a great option if your pup is not allergic to seafood. As always, ask your vet before introducing exotic foods into your dog’s diet!
Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:
- What Food Can't Dogs Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
- Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
- Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
- Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
- Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
- Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
- Can Dogs Eat Mushroom?
- Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower?
- Can Dogs Eat Eggs?
- Can Dogs Eat Bread?
- McManus-Fry, E., Knecht, R., Dobney, K., Richards, M. P., & Britton, K. (2018). Dog-human dietary relationships in Yup'ik western Alaska: the stable isotope and zooarchaeological evidence from pre-contact Nunalleq. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 17, 964-972. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X16301389?casa_token=a2KNCI51Bx0AAAAA:nJJnSNAScaYOiFKPDxfC7AnTxkUcRDqKOP7TpYGsRLcYp3616US77q15a-aJ-xTRFX8rZDtA9Vo
- Jones, J. (2014). Love Me, Feed Me: Sharing with Your Dog the Everyday Good Food You Cook and Enjoy. http://assets.globalchange.gov/1f2h/18-macie-stroman-2/7ynnhhCMHS-love-me-feed-me-sharing-with-your-dog-the-everyd.pdf