Can dogs eat crab? A Healthy Meat for Your Pup?

I love everything that is seafood. And my doggo loves nibbling on my food. However, not all seafood should be fed to our furry little friends. So, when I developed an appetite for crab, I frantically researched whether or not can dogs eat crab.

If you are in a similar situation, here is a short answer to your query. Dogs can eat crab (at least certain parts of it). However, it should not be given as a daily treat because of its nutritional composition. 

The Crab Nutrients – Can dogs eat crab meat?

The superfood has the following nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium 
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B3, B9, B5, and E
  • Magnesium 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Good Side of Feeding Crab to Dogs

There are multiple perks of feeding your dog a little amount of crab now and then.

Crab meat is high in protein and mineral content. This makes it a good treat for improving bone health and joints as well as for ensuring strong ligaments. The fatty acids of the meat further protect your doggo’s organs.

Hence, when given in the right quantity, feeding crab meat can keep dogs active and running for years to come. 

Is Crab Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Can dogs eat crab without any harm?

Absolutely yes! Crabmeat can pack a powerful punch of proteins for your pooch. Crabmeat is full of Omega-3s, fatty acids, and the trio of the essential minerals zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.

As with all seafood crab meat is a thin lean protein. Vitamin B12 is a major component of crab meant Vitamin B12 encourages healthy brain function in dogs, while zinc helps to regulate metabolism

Crab dipped in butter is utterly divine, and those dense but fluffy crab cakes you get fresh from the coast are so delicious that you probably have a hard time eating just one.

No matter how you’re eating your crab, you might be tempted to share some of it with your dog. Before you break out the utensils for two, follow some of these precautions to ensure your dog’s well-being.

Is Crab Safe for Dogs?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked crab meat as long as you feed it in moderation and without butter. Crab is a great source of protein, which is perfect for providing active dogs with energy and the means to build muscle after strenuous activity.

Protein is also responsible for helping amino acids build healthy hair, skin, nails, and connective tissue. Crab is high in vitamin B12, which is essential for optimal intestinal health and brain function in dogs.

Additional vitamin B12 is necessary for dogs with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition that prevents their pancreas from processing vitamin B12 in food sources.

Crab is a great addition to the diet of these dogs because a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to a variety of serious health problems.

Crab is naturally high in sodium and cholesterol, both of which are difficult for dogs to digest if they’re consumed in excess.

This stresses the importance of giving dogs crab meat in moderation to avoid any negative problems associated with sodium or cholesterol.

Too much sodium leads to hypernatremia which can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and problems with circulation in dogs.

The Dangers of Feeding Crab to Dogs

Despite being rich in essential nutrients, there are certain risks of crab meat that deter it from being a suitable food for daily feeding. This includes:

  • A high sodium content, whereby one cup of crabmeat has approximately 533 mg of sodium.
  • A high cholesterol content makes it bad for the heart health of dogs. 
  • A probability that your dog is allergic to crabs since it is a shellfish.

Crab Legs: Yay or Nay?

While dogs can eat the meat that comes out of crab legs, they should not chew on the crab legs with the shell intact. This is because crab shells can be quite brittle. This increases the chances of the shell being accidentally consumed along with the meat. 

This is a nightmare for me, and I am sure for a lot of you too. So, it cannot be suitable for dogs either. 

Risks of Crab Meat for Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?

Dogs chasing crabs on the beach is a sight to see but we should forbid our dogs from eating crabs. Crabmeat for dogs can be extremely harmful as they contain intestinal parasites that will give your pooch a tummy ache that he will never forget.

Crabmeat for dogs is always healthy given that it is cooked and harmful parasites boiled away.

The risks for crab meat for dogs don’t end there. Some pooches are allergic to crab meant as well. Initially, you need to feed crab meant to your dog in small quantities so that you can avoid an allergic reaction.

Crabmeat risks can be avoided by using it in small quantities at first but crab meat should not be the first choice of protein you give to your dog.

High in iodine and high in cholesterol makes this meat moderately difficult for dogs to digest. There is also high sodium in crab meat which can lead to electrolyte imbalances in dogs.

Can dogs eat crab shells?

Crab shells should be avoided at all costs, raw or cooked crab shells will always pose a danger to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. The shell breaks into tiny shards and can be lodged into the throat of your dog.

If your dog has ingested crab shell and you find him having trouble breathing or vomiting blood, take him to the nearest vet hospital ASAP.

Crab Leg Shells: Should dogs avoid them?

The one thing I despise about crab meat is the sharp shells that sometimes make their way to my mouth.

I am extra careful about never allowing my doggo to eat crab legs because, just like us, dogs cannot eat crab leg shells.

Shells, with their sharp edges, can get stuck in our furry little friend’s throat, leading to internal bleeding or suffocation. Even if the stuck shell is very small, it can cause unnoticed internal bleeding.

Therefore, it is better to keep dogs away from crab shells.

Crab and Dogs With Iodine Allergies

Crabmeat is high in iodine no matter how it’s prepared. While it’s not extremely common, some dogs are allergic to iodine.

Unfortunately, you won’t know if your dog has an iodine allergy until they eat something containing iodine. If you’re feeding crab for the first time, you should start with a small amount and keep a close eye on your dog afterward.

Symptoms of an iodine allergy appear quite quickly and begin with diarrhea and lethargy. Some dogs get a watery nose and eyes, resulting in some people thinking their dog has the canine flu.

If your dog eats crab and starts showing these unusual behaviors within five hours of consumption, it’s likely they’re having an allergic reaction.

You should call and talk to your veterinarian for specific advice, but there’s not much you can do besides supportive care at home unless there’s facial swelling or other severe symptoms.

Preparing Crab Meat for Dogs, Hold the Butter and Crab Shell

The crab should always be cooked when it’s fed to your dog. Raw crab meat has the potential for foodborne illnesses that can make your dog ill for an extended period of time.

Cook the crab in the simplest way possible. If you boil it, don’t use heavily salted water or water seasoned with garlic.

When you serve the crab, ensure all of the shells is replaced. Don’t ever let your dog have a crab shell because it can lodge between their teeth or get stuck in their throats.

When you serve a dog crab, ensure all of the shells is removed. Don’t ever let your dog have the shell because it can lodge between their teeth or get stuck in their throats.

Recipes that use crab as the main ingredient aren’t safe to feed your dog, either, usually because they contain things like garlic and onions, which are toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

While you might like your plump crab legs dipped in steaming butter, skip this step for your pup. The amount of fat in butter doesn’t sit well with a dog’s digestive system.

Fed in moderation (think treat versus meal), the crab can be quite good for dogs. The best nutritional plan always involves quality dog food, but simple additions to their diet are quite beneficial.

Use discretion and always talk to your veterinarian before you introduce any new foods to your dog’s meal plan.

Can dogs Eat Imitation Crab Meat?

Imitation crab meat is just a fancy name for fake crab meat, mostly consisting of fish and we don’t know which type of fish better constitutes the mean so to answer this question “Can dogs eat imitation crab meat?”

Well, it’s a strict NO! Avoid this type of meat at all costs. Imitation crab meat is so popular with increasing demand due to the fact that it costs pennies on the dollar.

It is an age-old gimmick the Japanese play with Shushi made out of unknown quantities of fish, the concept is called “kamaboko” in Japan, and rising Shushi prices made way for some very questionable mixture of fish meat, artificial flavoring, and additives.

Dogs “Can” eat imitation crab meat per se but what would be the health repercussions of eating this meat are unknown. Better to be safe than sorry.

Canned Crab Meat for dogs

While it is a fact that we all use canned crab meat for its convenience canned crab meat for dogs might not be a very good idea.

A lot of preservatives are added while canning a particular product and crab meat is one of them. Additives and preservatives can increase your dog’s BPA level and may affect your dog’s health adversely.

Canned products usually contain sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

BHA and BHT are preservatives with antioxidant properties but these preservatives have been shown to increase our risk of colon cancer in humans and animals.

While buying canned crab meat for your dogs, kindly review the ingredients attentively and only buy those brands that don’t have any added preservatives in them.

Here are some of my favorite honorable mentions of canned crab meat you can trust.

Crown Prince, Fancy White Lump Crab Meat, 6 oz
  • Processed and packed without any bleaching agents or preservatives
  • Zero trans fat, a fat free food
  • Good source of protein, zero carbohydrates
  • Wild-caught; product of Thailand
Crown Prince Lump White Crab Meat, 6-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
  • Case of twelve, 6-ounce cans (total of 72 ounces)
  • Premium lump white crab meat packed in water; Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Contains 625 mg omega-3 per serving; Gluten free; Excellent source of protein and calcium; Low fat
  • Great for dips, salads, ceviche, soups, casseroles and crab cakes
  • Wild-caught; product of Indonesia
Cameron’s Seafood Maryland Crab Meat - Jumbo Lump
  • Sold in 1 lb. sealed plastic container
  • Large chunks of solid white real crab meat Fully-cooked and ready-to-eat Handpicked from Maryland blue crabs Ships fresh with gel pac

Then, what to Eat? Safe to Eat Crab Elements

All meat within the crab, once cooked properly, can be eaten by dogs. All you have to be careful about is making sure that no shards of shell reach your canine friend. 

Can Dogs Eat Crab Cakes?

Feeding your dog crab cakes is not advised. I was quite devastated when I found out since crab cakes are my favourite crab delicacy. But, it turns out that since crab cake has various unhealthy ingredients like mayonnaise, mustard, and oil, it should not be fed to our canine friends. 

Can Dogs Eat Crab Rangoon?

One interesting thing I found when researching whether or not can dogs eat crab was the truth about Crab Rangoon.

Did you know that they often contain imitation meat rather than a real crab? No wonder I was never a fan of them. 

Well, it turns out that even if a given Crab Rangoon has real crab meat, it should not be fed to dogs.

This is because it is deep-friend and contains ingredients like cream cheese, onion, and garlic which are unhealthy and at times toxic for our furry balls.

Not only can this fried treat cause dogs to gain weight, but the toxic ingredients can prove to be detrimental to their health.

Cooked Crab meat: It’s always the right answer!

The best way to feed crab meat to your canine buddy is to cook it! This helps in eliminating all present bacteria and pathogens. In contrast to deep frying, the recommended way of cooking crab for dogs is simple boiling. 

Also, remember, even if boiled, crab meat can never be a daily treat. It should be given occasionally to avoid obesity and cardiac problems. 

Can Dogs Eat King Crab?

King Crabs are safe for consumption for both you and your doggo! As someone who loves King Crabs, I was glad to find this out. But, in your excitement, don’t try to feed the meat to your dog without properly cooking it.

The preconditions of well-cooked and shell-free meat remain applicable here as well.

Can Dogs Eat Crab sticks?

Just like Crab Rangoons and Crab Cakes, dogs cannot enjoy crab sticks safely. This dish is made exclusively from imitation crab, thereby rendering all benefits of eating crab meat useless. While they are not exactly toxic for dogs, they aren’t healthy either. 

An Acquired Taste: Can dogs Eat Crab sushi?

Raw fish is not safe for dogs at all. As mentioned above, the only crab meat that your friend can eat is one that is properly boiled to ward off any pathogens.

Hence, crab sushi which is completely raw, cannot be safely consumed by dogs. 

However, if you plan on boiling the meat properly before serving it to your doggo, you can do so. You must make sure that the sushi doesn’t have any spices or ingredients known to be toxic for dogs, like onion, garlic, avocado, etc. 

Can Dogs Eat Crab on the Beach?

You might have noticed one recurring theme throughout the guide – I have stressed multiple times that dogs can only eat cooked crab.

So, for those of you wondering if crabs found at the beach can be devoured by your pet, the answer is a resounding no. 

Crabs on the beach have all the wrong elements. They are raw and hence contain parasites that can cause health problems in your furry friend.

Secondly, since your dog is likely to be proactive in eating the found crab on its own, there is always a risk of swallowing sharp shells that can cause internal bleeding. 

Seafood and Dogs: Will it be toxic?

Lobsters, shrimps, crabs. There is just so much seafood out there that is just waiting to be devoured by us. Once you develop an appetite for seafood, there is surely no going back. 

And I am glad that most seafood can be eaten by dogs as well, just not every day. As someone who only occasionally treats herself with such delicacies, I don’t have any complaints either. 

So, can dogs can seafood? Yes! But, they have to be properly cleaned and have their shells removed and boiled at a high temperature to eliminate bacteria.

Also, only the meat within the seafood can be given to dogs and not the entire thing. 

At most, the treat should be given once a week since the daily intake of all seafood is unadvised owing to their high sodium and cholesterol content. 

The Right Way to Serve Crabs to Dogs

All in all, there are two ways you can serve crab meat to your dog. This includes:

  • As one of the many ingredients in certified dry food
  • As a snack

If you decide to serve it as a snack like me, remember to:

  • Avoid adding additional fat or seasoning to the serving.
  • Offer very small pieces of cooked plain meat only. 

Once you keep these two main considerations in mind, there is no harm in feeding crab meat to your canine buddy occasionally.

Oh, Crab! What to do if your dog has an iodine allergy and eats crab

If your dog has an allergic reaction to eating crab, it might be because of the high iodine content in the crab. 

Iodine allergy is very common in dogs. This is one of the reasons why many pet owners decide to stay away from seafood from the get-go. 

Symptoms of iodine allergy include:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Watery eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Runny Nose

If you have fed your doggo crab meat without realizing that it is allergic to iodine, don’t panic! The first thing you must do is avoid giving any more crab meat to your pet.

Then, take them to the vet, regardless of whether their symptoms subside. 

As a rule of thumb, it is always wise to feed seafood in very minute quantities the first time. Then, observe your pet for five hours to see if they develop any adverse reactions.

If not, then feeding the meat is safe. If they do, you can add another thing to the list of items you must avoid giving your doggo. 

Conclusion

So summing it up, dogs, if they don’t have an iodine allergy, can eat crab occasionally. They should only be given the meat inside the crab, devoid of any shell or nasty bits.

 The meat must be properly boiled. Crab-based food that contains multiple ingredients and seasoning or ones that have imitation meat should be avoided.

Once you remember these simple guidelines, you can feed your doggo your favorite seafood without putting their health at risk. Keep munching! 

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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