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Can Dogs Eat Crab & Crab Meat? Vet-Reviewed Facts and FAQ

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By Chelsea Mortensen

Can Dog Eat crab

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a seafood lover, you know how good a crab can be. Whether you enjoy some crab meat in your sushi or like to catch and cook them yourself, these crustaceans make a healthy and delicious meal. But can you share with your pup? The answer is yes—dogs can eat crab meat. However, crab meat should be cooked and prepared properly before you feed it to your dog. It’s also healthiest in moderation.

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Help—My Dog Ate a Crab at the Beach!

If you’re at the beach and your dog is chasing crabs, it’s best to stop it from eating any. But if your dog does eat some crab when you aren’t looking, you shouldn’t be too worried. There are some risks to eating raw crab, but they are relatively small. However, you should keep an eye on your dog over the next few days for signs of digestive issues or injuries from the crab’s shell.

black dog sniffing a crawling crab at the beach
Image Credit: Jen Wei Chen, Shutterstock

Risks of Feeding Your Dog Crab Meat

So, what are the risks of feeding your dog crab meat? For most dogs, safely cooked crab meat is a pretty healthy treat. But there are some risks to be aware of when it comes to crab. Here are the top things to consider:

  • Some dogs have seafood allergies. Crab meat is a rare allergen for dogs, but it’s not impossible. You should feed your dog a small amount of crab the first time to watch for an allergic reaction.
  • Raw crab carries parasites. You should always feed your dog cooked crab meat. Paragonimus westermani is a parasite found in crabs that can cause a lot of problems for your dog as it is a lung fluke and causes cysts in lung tissue.
  • Crab shells can injure your dog. If your dog eats crab in the shell, sharp edges can be a big problem. Crab shells can cause painful cuts in your dog’s mouth. If your dog swallows a shell fragment, it could be even more serious. Internal cuts can be life-threatening to dogs.
  • Crabs are high in cholesterol and sodium. In small amounts, crab meat is healthy for your dog, but too much crab meat over time can be unhealthy for your dog. Too much sodium can lead to dehydration, increased body temperature, and in extreme amounts sodium ion poisoning.

Pros of Feeding Your Dog Cooked Crab

Even though there are some risks to feeding your dog crab—especially uncooked—there are also many reasons that crab makes a great snack for your dog from time to time. Here are some reasons you might choose to feed crab to your dog:

  • Crab tastes good! Many dogs love the taste of crab meat and enjoy having some variety in their diets.
  • Crab is high in protein. One serving of crab meat has about 16 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and no carbs. Although dogs do need some fat and carbs in their food, many dog snacks are fatty and low in protein. Crab meat is a great alternative.
  • Crab meat is high in vitamin B12, a vitamin that helps strengthen the digestive system and nervous system.
  • Crab is a good source of minerals like calcium, zinc, and potassium. These minerals are essential for a healthy diet.

crab meat

Preparing Crab for Dogs

Crab meat should always be cooked before you feed it to dogs. You should also remove any of the shell. Don’t use any seasonings or butter when preparing crab meat for your dogs. The easiest way to cook crab meat is by boiling it; you can also steam crab meat if you prefer.

What About Imitation Crab?

a plateful of imitation crab sticks
Image By: Sonchai Suphanpipat, Shutterstock

If you aren’t paying attention to what you’re buying, it’s common to end up with imitation crab instead of real crab. This is a cheaper type of meat—usually white fish meat—with dyes, seasonings, starches, and other added ingredients mixed into it to match the texture and taste of real crab meat. Avoid feeding your dog imitation crab. Some imitation crab may be okay, but there is a lot of variation in processing and ingredients, so many imitation crab recipes won’t be dog-safe or healthy.

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Final Thoughts

Crab can be a healthy snack for your dog as long as it’s prepared correctly. Although you shouldn’t feed your dog too much crab, its protein, vitamins, and minerals can make it a great addition to your dog’s diet. If you’re at the beach, though, keep your dog from chowing down on the wildlife—crab is safest when it’s cooked and removed from its shell.

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Featured Image Credit: alvin matthews, Unsplash

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