Fish and seafood are well known for being low fat, high protein food sources with many additional benefits of Omega 3, 6 and 9. They are all light on our digestive systems and considered highly nutritious. They are equally beneficial to our dogs.

Likewise prawns are highly nutritious and a great treat for our dogs. They must not be overfed however and care must be taken in their preparation.

Can dogs eat prawns? Read on to find out the in and outs of feeding prawns to your dog. They are full of nutrients and low in fat, readily available and a great size for a dog treat or snack.

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Preparation is important to make prawns suitable and safe for your dog. They must be shelled thoroughly, cleaned, washed and deveined prior to being cooked thoroughly. your dog will enjoy all of the benefits that we humans do and they will be a real boost if they are a dog or breed susceptible to weight gain.

The preparation should be thorough for your dog. Deveining means removing the shell and using a knife to remove the dark digestive tract that runs through the prawn. Nick the flesh near the head of the prawn and run a sharp knife along it to remove the black vein like digestive tract.

Be careful with the prawn shells too, they are oddly shaped and like a cross between a this finger nail and pieces of paper and certainly they are a choking hazard or irritant at least. Prawn and shrimp shells can also be an an irritant in the digestive system and gut unlike the human system.

 Here is a very short video from 2012 where Gordon Ramsay demonstrates shelling and deveining fresh prawns:


Even though prawns are a great addition to your dog's diet, they should be added slowly and served in moderation as with all new proteins and foodstuffs. So introduce them slowly, perhaps just one or two at a time to ensure your pup reacts well. Cut them down into treat sized pieces to make them safe and easily digested.

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Prawns are packed with nutritional benefits. They are a great low fat protein source. They are:

  • High protein content and essential amino acids
  • High in Omega 3
  • Contains Omega 6 and 9
  • High in B12, B6 and Niacin
  • Contains Calcium
  • Contains Phosphorous
  • Contains Potassium
  • Contains Vitamin A and E
  • High in Selenium, Zinc, and Iron


All of the above give most areas of both the human and canine metabolism a boost. Their benefits are widespread and boosts these areas:

  • Muscle maintenance and re-generation
  • Red blood cell production
  • Bone and joint health
  • Antioxidant qualities
  • Nervous system
  • Immunity
  • Optical health
  • Enzyme production


All of these nutritional benefits point towards shrimp and prawn being something of superfoods and to a degree this is true. They should however be fed sparingly to your pet and they do not replace a well thought out diet of suitable dog food.


Prawns are high in cholesterol but a small percentage of it is the more dangerous and harmful LDL type. If levels of LDL are too high in the diet then there can be increased risk of fatty deposits in arteries and the threat of blockages in the circulatory system. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids (or fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides. If your dog has ever been diagnosed with this condition then consultation with your vet regarding your dog's diet would be necessary.

As with humans and indeed the author there is a risk of allergic reaction with shellfish. Sickness, vomiting or diarrhoea and lethargy or itching after consuming prawns may point towards an allergy. It is always sensible to introduce all new foods, chews and treats very slowly and in small quantities.

Finally as they live in the salty sea, prawns and shrimp carry an above average amount of salt. In sensible quantities this will not cause health problems but beware that an overdose of Sodium is serious for dogs causing dehydration, sickness and stomach upset. Always keep a good supply of clean fresh water for your pup available.


Prawns and shrimps can and often do carry parasites. It is important to either kill them by a cooking process or by a reasonable period of days in a freezer. Prawns and shrimp can carry:

  • Nimaviridae - white spot disease
  • Baculoviridae
  • Iridoviridae


Which are viruses carried prior to cooking. They may not be present and may not cause harm but it is best to be safe and cook the prawns, perhaps blanching them in boiling water.

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No definitely not. Onions and garlic are both form the Allium family and they are on the whole toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Other flavourings such as chilli and spices, likewise should be given a wide berth as they may cause stomach upset or worse. If it doesn't look like a dog's meal then it isn't!!


As we have discussed, cooked prawns are perfectly safe for your dog. It is always worthwhile buying from a reputable store such as a human product form the supermarket.

Low grade and cheap fish and shellfish can be farmed in less than suitable waterways. This can result in absorption and a build up of heavy metals within the flesh. This can de quite toxic and to be avoided for dog's and owners alike, so buy from a reputable source and prepare it correctly.


Photo of prawn crackers for Can dogs eat prawns blog

Prawn crackers are deep fried so have a high saturated fat content which makes them unsuitable for your dog. They are made from prawn, tapioca flour and water. Tapioca comes form the Cassava tuber so they are gluten free and theory not dangerous should your pet obtain one. They are not however a recommended or advisable treat for you dog.


Shrimps carry all the same risks as feeding your dog prawns as discussed above. They are smaller so could present more of a risk of choking and they are obviously more fiddly to de-scale. Those considerations aside they should be tread in the same way, being frozen or cooked to kill parasites, viruses and harmful pathogens and shells removed.

With the same due diligence though they can provide a great source of protein, b vitamins and phosphorus as well as all the other compounds found in this highly nutritious treat or reward for your pet.


Yes absolutely, dogs can eat prawns with just a little thought and following the simple guidelines laid out. There are many health benefits and a happy pup too knowing his owner loves him/her.