Can Dogs Eat Crab? What Are the Health Risks?

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Dogs Eat Crab? What Are the Health Risks?
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Crab meat supports healthy cognitive and thyroid health, but it may cause allergies and other health problems if fed to dogs excessively.

Know what precautions to take before tossing crabs into your dog’s food bowl.

Health Benefits of Crabs for Dogs

Crab is a healthy seafood treat for dogs. It is a source of protein that is essential in creating amino acids. These play an important role in restoring the quality of hair, nails, skin cells, muscles, tendons, and cartilages in the body.

Crab meat has high levels of certain vitamins and minerals. For example, vitaminB12 is dense in this seafood, and it is important for healthy brain function in dogs.

Crab meat is a good addition to dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency due to its high vitamin B12 concentrations.

Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in crabs. Regulating metabolic processes and supporting the immune system and thyroid functions are among the many positive effects of zinc in dogs.

Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, work well in preventing diseases caused by chronic inflammations such as arthritis and allergies. They also strengthen the heart to keep cardiovascular problems at bay.

When Is Feeding Crabs Harmful to Dogs?

can dogs eat crab 1Carelessly feeding crabs to dogs can be harmful to their health. Here are the most common health issues that may emerge:

Choking and Impaction

Many dog owners ask: “Can dogs eat crab legs and shells?” The answer is no. Crab legs and shells are dangerous to dogs. These can easily break into sharp shards and get lodged in their throats, causing them to choke.

Crab shells and legs become more deadly if swallowed. These can pierce and damage the internal organs, leading to internal hemorrhage.

Your dog’s gastrointestinal tract will have a hard time breaking them down too, because of their tough exterior. It puts him at risk of impaction or stomach blockage.

Iodine Sensitivity

Crab meat is high in iodine, which some dogs are sensitive to. As a result, they may experience digestive upset, diarrhea, and lethargy after eating this lean protein.

If it’s your dog’s first time having crabs, exercise caution. Feed it in small amounts. However, if already know he has iodine sensitivity, do not include crab meat in your dog’s diet.


Crab is high in cholesterol and sodium. Both are difficult for dogs to digest if ingested in large quantities. It can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes or hypernatremia.

Ignoring this condition can cause more serious health problems. Hypernatremia disrupts the blood circulation in dogs, resulting in high blood pressure. In the long run, this will give way to the development of heart disease.

Allergic Reaction

Some dogs are allergic to crab. To assess if your pooch has this condition, let him sample the food in small portions. Observe for any symptoms of allergy afterward, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Facial swelling
  • Watery eyes
  • Loss of energy

Bring your dog to the vet if he begins to show signs of allergic reaction. Severe cases of this problem will cause intense swelling in the throat, which needs immediate medical attention.

Bacteria and Parasitic Infections

Never feed raw crab meat to dogs since it is full of intestinal parasites and bacteria. These can cause dangerous infections and weaken your dog’s immune system.

Is cooked crab good for dogs than raw crabs? Yes, cooked crab is good for dogs compared to its raw counterpart. The cooking process eliminates bacteria and parasites in crab meat.

Make sure to cook the crab meat completely. It must reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to feed your dog undercooked crabs since they may still contain intestinal parasites.

What Types of Crab Are Safe for Dogs?

can dogs eat crab 2Although the answer to “Can dogs eat crab meat?” is yes, there are some varieties you should keep away from dogs. Continue reading to know which types of crab you can safely give to your pooch.

Can Dogs Eat Dead Crabs?

No, dead crabs are dangerous to dogs. Bacteria quickly proliferate in their body, which can cause food poisoning.

Can Dogs Eat Crabs on the Beach?

No, crabs on the beach are bad for dogs. As mentioned before, whether dead or alive, these crustaceans are hosts to various bacteria and parasites.

Always supervise your dog when on the beach to keep him from consuming raw or dead crabs.

Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab Meat?

No, do not feed dogs imitation crab meat. It is a mix of processed white fish, food coloring, and other additives with no nutritional value. Dogs eating large portions of imitation crab meat can have gastric problems, which harm their intestinal health.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Sticks?

No, do not feed your dog crab sticks. Imitation crab meat is often used to make crab sticks instead of real crab meat. Your furry companion will not gain any essential nutrients from eating crab sticks.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Salad?

No, crab salad is not good for dogs. It is made up of many ingredients, including mayo, dressing, and other seasonings. Your pooch will have a hard time digesting these and may suffer from digestive upset.

Crab salad often contains onions too. This ingredient is quite deadly to dogs as it can cause poisoning and hemolytic anemia.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Crab Meat?

No, canned crab meat is not good for dogs. It is full of preservatives such as:

  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sorbic acid
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

According to studies, BHA and BHT increase the chances of colon cancer in humans and animals. Thus, keep canned crab meat away from your pooch.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Cakes?

No, dogs cannot eat crab cakes. These contain sugar and seasoning that can cause problems to your dog’s tummy.

Cooked plain crab meat is the safest and healthiest type of crab you can feed to your dog. Avoid feeding him other crab-based food since these may contain harmful ingredients mentioned above.

Are There Other Seafood Dogs Can Eat?

can dogs eat crab 3Can dogs eat seafood? Yes, dogs can eat seafood because it is teeming with nutrients, including protein, amino acids, omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals. But take caution on what type you choose. Some seafood contains more nutrients and is safer than others.

Here are a few choices that you can mix with your dog’s food:

Introducing new food to your dog should be done in small amounts to prevent side effects. It should be done one at a time too. This will make it easier for you to determine the food allergen in case your pooch experiences an allergic reaction after eating the new food.

Related articles