It never fails. You sit down to have a bite of something, and your dog is right there, staring you down with that longing look, begging for a taste. If you’re like me, you’ll usually share just a bit. But what if you’re eating prawns? Is that ok? Can dogs eat prawns safely?
The short answer is almost always, “Yes, prawns are safe for your dog to eat”.
But there are considerations, so please read through to get all the details before you give Fido that last prawn off the kabob.
We also provide a quick and easy dog-friendly prawns recipe
Take a look at the recent craze in Korea, known as “Mukbang”, which are viral eating shows gathering tens of millions of viewers daily. Here’s one with dogs eating prawns. I like this as it shows that the prawns are cooked (steamed), peeled, de-headed, and then given to the pups. This is how it should be done.
What are prawns?
Oddly enough, they aren’t actually shrimp. In fact, shrimp and prawns are entirely different suborders of the same species (decapod, meaning “ten legs”).
Despite this, they are remarkably similar, and the terms are often, usually in fact, intertwined to mean the same thing.
A difference we see most often, unless we notice the thorax overlapping the head of the abdomen (shrimp detail), is that prawns are generally larger. So when picking what to cook for dinner, if you’re throwing something on a grill instead of looking for small pieces for a salad, you’d normally opt for the larger prawns.
Aside from that, they’re fairly indistinguishable from each other. They have pretty much the same nutrients, same texture, and same taste.
For us, the taste is virtually identical. For our furry friends, I suspect it’s the same thing as my dogs readily eat either prawns or shrimp with reckless abandon.
Are prawns safe for dogs?
Prawns are safe for dogs, as are shrimp.
What you need to be careful with is:
- How much you give your pup
- How the prawns are cooked
- Has your dog had prawns before, or is this the first time?
How many prawns can my dog eat?
I think of this in terms of how many bites, not how many prawns. I don’t like giving my dogs too much of anything that isn’t actually dog food, so I’ll give our bigger dogs perhaps a single large prawn cut into small pieces, either as a treat or mixed into their food. The smaller dogs get fewer pieces.
How to cook prawns for my dogs
The safest way is simply steamed or grilled with no salt or other seasonings.
Trust me; Fido won’t care if you add salt to it; the treat will be appreciated.
We often cook prawns as part of a pot-boil, where many other items are cooked with sauce and various seasonings. I would not feed shrimp from this to a dog simply due to the amount of seasoning.
If cooking food on the grill, keep a single prawn or two out of the range of the seasonings and sauce, and that’ll be a wonderful treat for your pooch.
Prawns are cooked in various ways, often with a mix of other food and seasonings. Remember that onions are garlic are dangerous for dogs. I doubt there’s enough of either on a single prawn to do any damage, but my general rule is, “Why take the chance?” when there are so many other healthy alternatives around.
Is this the first time my dog is trying prawns?
This applies to any new food. Feeding a new food to a dog should always be done in very small amounts. Remember, they digest food differently than we do, so we are in the dark about how their bodies will react.
Start with small amounts and then watch for signs that the prawns are not sitting well with them. After a while, if there are no ill effects, give another piece.
It’s unlikely they’ll be allergic to prawns, although they may not digest it as well as you hoped. So start slow; give it some time.
Are vegetables safe for dogs?
Prawns, or perhaps their smaller cousin, the shrimp, are often served in salads or with other veggies such as grilled onions. We have a number of other articles on our pages here at JollyMutt that discuss what is and what is not safe for dogs to eat. Most veggies are safe, but, importantly, some are not.
Garlic and onions, for example, are often paired with prawns. Garlic and onions can be toxic for dogs and are listed on our nine most dangerous foods for dogs chart.
To be fair, they are not usually present in high enough amounts to be dangerous.
Still, though, why take the chance?
Are fermented prawns safe for dogs?
Fermented prawns are often part of a wonderful kimchi dish. We have another article that discusses feeding your dog kimchi if you want more info (and some great recipes).
Dogs need healthy guts as much as we do, and yes, in moderation, fermented food is good for dogs (just like us humans!).
In fact, with the amount of scavenging dogs do, it’s safe to say they may need this more than humans. Some of this scavenging results in them eating fermented food as well.
They’re outside eating a piece of discarded pizza crust, rabbit poop, and maybe a snack or two from the trash cans when you aren’t looking.
Wild dogs and cats take this further and even eat other dead animals. It’s not pleasant to think about, but the stomach contents of the animal being eaten are the most prized part.
Interestingly, those stomach contents are typically fermented, so wild dogs and cats get plenty of fermented food this way, along with all the associated beneficial bacteria.
Before dogs became domesticated, they would obtain a percentage of their vegetable roughage, phytonutrients, and antioxidants from what they consumed in their prey’s digestive organs.
Essentially, they were getting fermented foods from their prey’s partially digested stomach contents.
Think about probiotics and how helpful they are for humans. Same for dogs. Probiotics are helpful for them as well.
Fermented food is loaded with probiotics.
For our dogs, probiotics, such as those found in fermented prawns, help to promote health in the way they piggyback on the inherent relationship between the immune system and the all-important microbes.
We have learned a lot about how our immune cells attack invading pathogens. In fact, probiotics are responsible for producing antibacterial compounds that actually inhibit our tolerance for pathogen growth.
In simple terms, the “good bacteria” in probiotics eliminate the bad while making it harder for the bad bacteria to propagate.
Of course, this process is best established while healthy and not after one gets sick. This is why it is advised that while your dog is well, get her started with a diet rich in good microflora.
There are potent chelators and detoxifiers in fermented vegetables that help rid the body of a wide range of toxins, not the least of which are heavy metals.
You will also find essential vitamins such as C, B complex, and K2, along with enzymes, which help to produce the essential amino acids choline and acetylcholine.
Another advantage is the lactic acid produced as a result of fermentation. This chemical repressor is instrumental in fighting cancer cell growth without sacrificing healthy cells.
Yes, fermented food is safe for dogs (as long as the food itself is not dangerous to dogs)
Health benefits of prawns for your dog
Prawns are pretty simple in terms of health benefits.
For all of the reasons they are beneficial to us humans, they are also beneficial to dogs.
- Excellent source of protein
- Low in calories
- Attractive fat profile with a healthy amount of Omega-3 fatty acids
- Great source of selenium, B12, phosphorous, and iron
Add to that, and as discussed before, fermented prawns bring even more to the table
Studies show there are numerous benefits to be gained by your dog by eating fermented food:
- Improved weight management
- Improved immune system
- Improved protection against parasites
- Improved dental health
- Improvement in the stabilization of blood sugar
- Improved and healthier bowel movements
- Improved post-operative recovery due to fewer infections
The above is what fermented food does for humans and dogs. It’s probably not a terrible idea to share a bit with Fido every now and then.
Understanding how a dog’s digestion is different from humans
Since we’re talking about feeding your dog vegetables and fermented food, and we established above that most vegetables are, in fact, good for dogs, it’s interesting to note that your dog’s body isn’t exactly made for processing veggies.
The first thing is the teeth. Humans’ teeth are long and flat, making it easy to bite and chew vegetables. Dog teeth are long and sharp, made for eating meat.
The digestive tract is the next consideration. Vegetables and other high-fiber food take a long time to digest, so the human digestive tract is long. About 20x longer than a dog’s. The dog’s digestive tract is not made for digesting veggies. Meat and other typical food dogs eat are more easily digestible. For this reason, if you look at your dog poop (and you should!), you’ll often find undigested bits of vegetables. This is entirely fine and expected.
Introduce your dog to prawns
So to the question, “Can dogs eat prawns” the answer is yes. You should start small, with only a piece or two mixed into their food.
If your dog likes it and its body accepts it, you can eventually get to the point where an entire prawn or two is fine. This will depend on the dog’s size.
Certainly, don’t try to force the prawns onto your pet, who clearly shows that they will have none of it. We find offering a bit to dogs as younger puppies to acquire them to the taste will make it easier. An adult dog may not find the smell or taste palatable.
Prawn recipe for your dog
Here’s a delicious and nutritious recipe that includes small pieces of cut-up steamed prawns for your dog. This is actually human edible as well, so make enough to share!
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup chopped steamed prawns
- 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1/4 cup chopped black olives
- 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Cook the brown rice according to the package instructions.
- While the rice is cooking, steam the prawns until they are cooked through.
- Once the rice is cooked, add the bell peppers, broccoli, and chopped steamed prawns.
- Add the olive oil to the rice mixture.
- Add the chopped olives and cilantro.
- Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
- Let the mixture cool before serving it to your dog.
- Your dog will love this delicious and healthy meal that includes small pieces of cut-up steamed prawns. It’s packed with essential nutrients and provides a balanced diet for your furry friend. Enjoy!
Here’s an image of the doggy-friendly prawns recipe to print out and hang on your fridge:
Quick prawns recipe for your dog – save, print, and share this.
Conclusion: Can dogs eat prawns?
So, can dogs eat prawns? As long as the individual ingredients used are not bad for dogs, prawns are a great addition to a dog’s diet. Be careful of those ingredients and avoid items that can be inherently toxic to dogs, such as garlic and onions.
We often hear, “Can dogs eat [fill in the blank],” so we are working on a series of articles to discuss these topics. Please see our additional articles on our main page, where we publish various articles relating to your pup’s health.
Also, for a more informative overview of what your dog should and should not eat, take a look at our “Can dogs eat?” article, where we cover over 80 different items.