Can dogs eat prawns?

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 10 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer

If you’ve ever wondered if your dog can eat prawns -the short answer is yes, they can!

Prawns are tasty, easy-to-prepare and super nutritious. So, if you’ve ever been eating the meaty, bite-sized seafood, caught sight of your pooch looking up at you with the ‘puppy-dog-eyes’ and wondered; “Hmm, can I feed my dog prawns? How exactly should I serve prawns to my pooch?” - then we’re here to answer all your prawn-based questions. 

Read on to discover whether prawns are good for dogs, what kinds of prawns dogs can eat, and how many prawns you should feed your dog. 


Are prawns good for dogs?

 First things first, are prawns even on the menu for your pooch? The answer is yes. You’ll be glad to hear that prawns are extremely nutritious for dogs.


What are the health benefits of prawns for dogs?

So long as your pooch doesn’t have an allergy to prawns (more on that later), feed your dog prawns and they’ll receive a tasty, lip-smacking snack as well as a host of great health benefits, such as:

  • They’re a great source of protein, as well as fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.
  • They contain a host of beneficial B-vitamins as well as antioxidants, phosphorus and iodine. 
  • They can help with dogs’ brain health, thyroid health, skin and coat.
  • They can improve joint conditions.
  • They can contribute to strong bones and teeth.
  • They can boost kidney function.

Because they’re so tasty and nutritious, they also make for an excellent training treat.


What you need to know before feeding prawns to your dog

Prawns are great for dogs to eat, but they need to be served up in as safe a way as possible to avoid a stomach upset or injury. That means they should be fresh, or at least freshly defrosted, de-shelled with no sharp pieces remaining, and then cooked and served plain with no added salt or flavourings.


How many prawns can dogs eat?

As with all foods, prawns should be fed to your pooch in moderation. It’s hard to give an exact amount, however; all prawns are different sizes, dried prawns will contain more fat than fresh prawns, and the size and breed of your dog will also have an impact. 

The general rule is that your dog’s diet should be 90% their usual dog food, so as long as prawns make up some of the remaining 10% of other food, treats and snacks, that should be fine. Chat to your vet if you aren’t entirely sure of portion sizes or frequency of feeding.


How do you cook prawns for dogs?

As human seafood fans are fully aware, prawns can be eaten in lots of delicious ways. For dogs, the preparation method that poses the least risk is to do the following: 

  • Choose fresh or thoroughly defrosted prawns. Check that they don’t smell fishy, and that they’re well within their expiration date.  
  • Ideally the prawns should be de-shelled and deveined - but if you’ve bought whole prawns, remove all the shells, heads and tails and devein them yourself. 
  • The best cooking method is to boil the prawns until they’re pink and meaty. It shouldn’t take too long. 
  • Don’t add any spices, marinades or salt. Plain is best when serving prawns to dogs. 
  • You can serve the prawns cold or warm, just so long as they’re fresh. If the prawns are quite big, chop them into munchable pieces so your pooch can eat them easily.


Pooch & Mutt's Shrimp & Coconut Meaty Treats packet, with fresh ingredients bursting out, against a yellow background

Different types of prawns

Get ready, as we’re going to lay out all the kinds of prawns you can and can’t feed your dog. To summarise: de-shelled, cooked and without seasoning or salt is the best way to serve prawns to your pooch. 


Can dogs eat raw prawns?

It’s not recommended that dogs eat raw prawns. This is because raw seafood can contain bacteria and pathogens that are killed off in the cooking process. Be sure to deshell, devein and cook prawns, ideally boiling them, before serving them up to your pooch as a healthy snack. 


Can dogs eat garlic prawns?

No, dogs shouldn’t be fed garlic prawns. Though delicious to humans, garlic wreaks havoc on a dog’s digestive system and can cause gastrointestinal distress. It’s best to prepare prawns without any added seasoning, such as salt, pepper or spices, and just serve them to your dog plain.


Can dogs eat prawn crackers?

It’s not a great idea to feed your dog prawn crackers. Though they aren’t technically harmful they are essentially crisps, so they’re high in fat and salt and don’t carry a great deal of beneficial nutrition to a pooch. 


Can dogs eat ready-to-eat prawns?

Ready-to-eat prawns come already cooked. So long as they don’t contain any extra flavourings such as salt or marinades, they should be safe to feed your dog in moderation. Just be sure they’re fresh - serve them soon after purchasing and keep them chilled in the fridge in the meantime.


Can dogs eat king prawns?

Dogs can eat king prawns - just be aware that as they’re bigger, a smaller serving size will provide the same nutritional benefit as a handful of regular prawns. Be sure to prepare them as advised above - de-shelled, deveined and cooked without extra seasoning. It’s also a good idea to chop them, too, as if your dog tends to wolf down their food they may choke on them if they’re full-sized. 


Can dogs eat frozen prawns?

So long as the prawns were good to eat before they were frozen (i.e. they weren’t out of date or fishy-smelling) then it should be fine to defrost frozen prawns and serve them to your pooch. Be sure they’re thoroughly defrosted, cook them well and serve them plain, cut into munchable pieces. 


Can dogs eat a prawn cocktail?

Usually a prawn cocktail will contain heavy amounts of mayonnaise-based sauce, which is fattening to a dog and could cause tummy upset. Prawn cocktails could contain other ingredients that aren’t suitable for a pooch, such as onion. It’s best to create your own doggy prawn cocktail; perhaps just plain cooked prawns and iceberg lettuce leaves, with no salt or dressing. 


Are prawn heads OK for dogs?

We don’t recommend feeding parts of a whole prawn to your dog, such as the tail or head. Pieces of prawn shell are sharp and hard for your dog to digest, not to mention they could get stuck in your dog’s teeth. It’s easiest to source prawns that are already de-shelled and deveined, but if you have whole prawns, cut off the tail and head and remove all shell before cooking and serving to your pooch plain. 


Can dogs eat prawn toast?

Prawn toast is very high in fat and contains a lot of cholesterol, and is flavoured with a prawn paste, so doesn’t come with half the nutrition that fresh prawns might. Only serve your dog plain, cooked prawns with no seasoning, and keep the prawn toast as an appetiser for humans. 

Can dogs eat prawn shells?

We don’t recommend feeding your dog prawns with the shells on, and definitely not the shells on their own. There are some dog owners who feed their dogs a raw food diet (known as BARF: Bones and Raw Food), and they might feed their dog whole prawns, along with the shells. Due to choking hazards and risk of injury, it’s much safer to only serve the meat of the prawn to your dog, without the head, tail or shell - and cook it well first. 


Can my dog eat prawns that are breaded or fried?

It’s safer to feed your dog prawns in their freshest form, without additional breading or coating. Prawns that have been boiled with no extra salt or seasoning is the preference - this way they’ll receive all the nutritional benefits without any risky extras. 

You may also wonder, can dogs eat tempura prawns, or prawns in batter? As a rule, deep fried or breaded prawns are fattening for a dog, and contain ingredients that might cause your pooch to have indigestion or stomach upset - so keep the fancy prawns for your own buffet. 


More questions about prawns… 

Here are a final few questions to round off our extensive ‘prawns for dogs’ debate. If you have any other queries, feel free to get in touch with us. 


Can puppies eat prawns?

As a rule, you should only feed your puppy food made specifically for puppies that your vet has recommended. Their digestive systems aren’t yet strong enough for the variation in foods that adult dogs eat. When they’re old enough (usually at least a year old) you can introduce prawns bit by bit into your young dog’s diet - as if they have an allergic reaction, now is the time that you’ll discover it!


Can dogs be allergic to prawns?

Dogs can be allergic to prawns, so be aware of this if you’re offering them up as a snack when they’ve not eaten prawns before. Introduce them gradually, don’t feed them a large amount - and keep a close eye on them in the hours following. 

Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, swelling or a tummy upset, like sickness or severe diarrhoea. Definitely don’t continue to feed your dog prawns if you notice this.

When shouldn’t you feed your dogs prawns?

There are a few scenarios in which you should hold back on a punnet of prawns for your pooch. 

  • If your dog is getting over a sickness, a fresh fishy treat may be a bit overwhelming for them.
  • If the prawns are leftover from your meal, and therefore likely to be highly seasoned, don’t feed these to your dog.
  • Prawns that have been stewing in the fridge a little too long are better off binned than in your dog’s bowl. 
  • If you suspect your dog may have an allergy, or has reacted badly to prawns in the past, definitely steer clear of them in future.

A long-haired brown Dachshund dog, watching Pooch & Mutt Salmon Oil being poured onto its dry food, against a pale blue background


What can I feed my dog instead of prawns?


If you like the versatility of prawns as a dog treat, but you’re not keen on having prawns in the house, there are some nutritious alternatives you can offer up instead. 

Fish skins - If you’ve freshly cooked a fish and don’t want to keep the skin, your dog will likely find it very tasty. Fish skins can be very nutritious as they contain lots of omega acids and healthy fats. Just be sure to serve the skin plain, and cut into pieces so your pooch doesn’t choke. 

Fishy dog treats - If you want to forego the fresh prawns, healthy fish-flavoured treats can go down just as well. Our Shrimp & Coconut dog treats, for instance, are packed full of probiotics and are grain-free

Salmon oil for dogs - Fish oil is a veritable superfood for a pooch - it contains essential fatty acids that contribute to a healthy skin and coat, as well as joint, brain, heart and cardiovascular health and the immune system. Just drizzle Salmon Oil for Dogs into your pooch’s regular food and they’ll love the fishy flavour.  

Now you should be an expert on prawn preparation for dogs! If you’re not sold on prawn snacks for dogs however, and you’d rather a quicker way of getting fishy goodness into your dog’s diet, you could try our highly nutritious Salmon Oil for Dogs. It contains all the essential fatty acids a dog gets from fish, and provides huge benefits to your dog’s health and wellbeing. 

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