Should You Feed Your Dog Crab?

can dogs eat crab meat

For some people there is nothing better than breaking into a big bucket of crab legs, or digging into a nice tender crab cake, but can these delicious ocean creatures be eaten by your pet dog? By just looking at the nutrition facts of crab meat, some of the vitamins and minerals could be very healthy for your dog.

Surely crab cakes would not be appropriate for a dog’s everyday diet, but crab meat seems relatively harmless, right? What about the shell of a crab? How about imitation crab sticks? Even though they may taste similar, they are actually different. Surrounding crab there are some definite yes and also some definite no’s!

Is Crab Meat Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Generally, freshly cooked crab meat is safe for your dog to eat as long as you only give it to them in moderation and definitely without any butter or added salt. It is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids which are all benefits to your dog’s diet. However, you should also keep in mind that crab meat is also high in sodium which can cause high blood pressure and digestive issues with your dog. Crabmeat also contains high amounts of iodine which some dogs can be allergic to, just like in humans. 

Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?

This may come as a surprise to some dog owners, but crab shells are definitely not safe for a dog to eat! The sharp edges of a crab shell can cut a dog from the inside, hurting them pretty badly! To your dog, it would be like swallowing a knife, so it is better that you do not ever feed your dog crab in the shells. Your dog might seem okay but there could always be a chance that the shells could cause your dog to have digestive problems, making them vomit or possibly get an infection in their intestine. Even the softer joints of the crab can be a choking hazard for dogs. If you ever feed your dog crab, you will want to make sure that it is just the meat and that there is no shell in it.

dog looking at crab on the beach

Can dogs eat crabs on the beach?

If you live near the ocean or like to take your dog to the beach, you will also want to ensure that your dog does not eat any crabs while playing or walking at the beach, as these can be the worst types of crab for dogs. There are two types of crabs you can usually find on the beach. The first type is those angry pinching crabs that might just be too aggressive with your dog and pinch at them as it tries to escape, potentially injuring your dog. Then there is the dead or rotting crab, and it goes without saying that dead or rotting crab is not safe to eat, as it could possibly be full of bacteria or parasites that could cause some digestive issues with your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab Meat?

Imitation crab sure can taste good, and your dog would probably eat it up, but it’s not healthy for canines. Imitation crab isn’t made from crab but is made of other kinds of cheaply processed and salty fish, with food colorings and other additives. Essentially, it’s a junk food type of protein. It does taste good but offers little to no nutrition, both for you and your dog. While it would probably be okay if your dog ate a little bit of imitation crab meat, you should really keep this away from your dog. Real crab meat has better nutrition in almost every way compared to imitation crab and is a much more appropriate addition to your pet’s diet.

Although dogs can eat crab meat and imitation crab sticks, only real crab is healthy for them, and only in limited amounts. It shouldn’t make up a majority of a canine diet. And just like with humans, some dogs may have shellfish allergies, so please feed your dog with caution and consult your veterinarian before making any extreme changes to your pet’s diet. However, if you give your dog a little bit of crab and it seems to be okay, a little bit of crab every now and then might actually be good for your furry friend!

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