Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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Food Meat And Seafood

Can Dogs Eat Crab?

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Anna Olson
Jul 7 ·

Can dogs eat crab? During a beach vacation, you may have indulged in some crab meat or crab legs. If your dog came on vacation with you, you may have wondered if they would like crab. Is crab safe for dogs to eat?

While crab is not toxic for most dogs, it’s still best to only offer small amounts of cooked fresh crab. Crab does have some nutritional benefit for your pooch. However, it is also high in cholesterol, sodium, and iodine. There is also the risk of your dog being allergic to crab, which can cause a host of problems.

Let’s learn more about crab and why you should only serve it to your dog in small amounts.

can dogs eat crab

Benefits of Crab For Dogs

A small amount of crab could be beneficial for your dog. Crab meat is leaner than other types of meat. It also has a good amount of beneficial nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and zinc. These nutrients support nerve health, kidney health, and keep your dog’s skin healthy and their coat shiny.

However, there should be other sources of these nutrients in your dog’s diet. A nutritionally complete dog food should have all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. You can also consult your vet or a certified pet nutritionist for the best food and supplements for your dog.

The risks of feeding crab to dogs outweigh the benefits.

Risks Of Crab For Dogs

The main risks of feeding cooked crab to dogs involve high cholesterol, sodium, and iodine levels in the meat.

Though high cholesterol on its own is not as much of a risk for your dog, it can still make digestion difficult. If your dog already has elevated fat levels in their blood, it’s best to avoid crab altogether.

As a saltwater creature, crabs naturally pick up a lot of salt from their surrounding environment. A sodium imbalance in your dog’s body could need medical attention if it gets severe enough. It’s a good idea to have fresh drinking water on hand if you’re offering crab to your dog.

Though iodine is a necessary element for your dog’s health, they can also be sensitive to it. The high levels of iodine in a crab can easily trigger this sensitivity. Keep an eye on them for signs of an allergic reaction.

There are other risks to eating crab for your dog, but these can be more easily avoided. We’ll show you how.

Cook the Crab!

If you are offering crab to your dog, make absolutely sure that it’s cooked. Raw crab meat can have intestinal parasites in it. This can cause major problems and pain for your dog. This is also why you shouldn’t let your dog eat dead crabs that they find on the beach.

Take the Shells Off

When it’s alive, a crab’s shell makes effective armor. When it’s dead and cooked, the shell can break into small, sharp pieces. If your dog eats a piece of crab shell, it can easily cause internal damage and bleeding to their digestive tract. Make absolutely sure there’s no shell in any crab you’re offering to your pup.

can dogs eat crab

No Seasonings

Don’t season any crab meat you’re offering to your dog. Especially avoid garlic, onion, or their powdered forms. Garlic and onion are very toxic to dogs.

This is also why you shouldn’t give your dog crab cakes to eat. Though sharp crab shells shouldn’t be a problem with crab cakes, they have a lot of extra seasonings in them.

Crab Allergies In Dogs

Dogs can have allergies to shellfish just like humans can. This is part of the reason why you should only offer small pieces of crab to your dog, especially if they’ve never had it before. Watch for the symptoms of digestive upset or an allergic reaction after your dog eats crab. These can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflamed and itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Ear Infections
  • Hair Loss
  • Runny Nose
  • Runny eyes
  • Anaphylactic Shock

If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet or the local emergency vet, if you’re on vacation. Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, your dog may need immediate medical attention.

can dogs eat crab

What About Fake Crab?

You may have seen fake crab available at your local grocery store. Though this is made from whitefish, it’s not the best option either. Fake crab is loaded with artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. In addition, the fish is very processed to get it into the usual stick or flake shapes.

As long as your dog likes fish and isn’t allergic to it, plain whitefish makes a great option. It’s one of the safest fish for your dog to eat. Make sure to remove any bones and don’t use any seasoning.

Crab Isn’t Toxic, But Isn’t The Best For Your Dog

Now you know whether dogs can eat crab. While crab meat isn’t toxic, and has some nutritional benefits, it isn’t the best regular protein option for your pooch. You should offer them only small bits, if you’re going to offer them crab at all. Along with high levels of cholesterol, sodium, and iodine, there are risks in feeding uncooked crab to your dog. You also need to be careful with the shells, as they could cause internal damage. Do not season any crab you give to your dog. Your dog could also have a crab allergy, making eating crab even more risky. We do not recommend offering fake crab sticks or flakes to your dog, either.

Read up on other food for dogs…

Fish

Shrimp

Salmon

Tuna

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WRITTEN BY
Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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