Can Dogs Eat Crab? Discover The Benefits and risks

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The short answer for can dogs eat crab, is yes, but to a point. Crab is low in fat and a good source of protein. Crabs, like many marine species, are rich in minerals such as zinc, selenium, and other nutrients.

It does have hidden dangers however, the full answer to can dogs eat crab is a little more complex.

dog begging for crab

If your dog is currently standing in a pool of their own dribble and staring at your forkful of crab hopefully, fear not. We have all the information you need to judge for yourself if this tasty seafood is safe for your dog.

Let’s continue reading to reveal, “Can dogs eat crab?”.

Can Dogs Have Crab?

Crab is one of the most popular seafood items available.

It’s a healthy and delicious snack for us, but what about our pets? Can dogs eat crab meat?

Yes, your furry friend can have crab! The good news is they are perfectly safe and not toxic to dogs if prepared properly.

You can add crab meat to your pet’s diet because it’s rich in minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and C.

It is important to remember that your dog must be introduced to new foods slowly and in moderation. If you give your dog too much of a new food they’re not used to, it could cause an upset stomach.

When giving crab to dogs, be sure to give the meat in small amounts and only occasionally.

Is Crab Good for Dogs? Benefits of Crab for Dogs

While it’s safe to give your dog yummy crab treats occasionally, it’s worth knowing about the health benefits.

plate of crab

Here are the top reasons why adding crab meat to your dog’s diet is great for his health:

Promotes Healthy Joints in Dogs

Crab is a good source of glucosamine. This is an amino sugar that is composed of glucose, glutamine, and other substances. It helps in the formation and repair of cartilages, which promote joint health in dogs.

Even though your dog naturally produces glucosamine, its production decreases with age. You can improve the mobility and shock resistance of your dog’s joints by giving crab treats containing glucosamine.

improves organ function

Taurine, an amino acid found in crab, is a great source for eyes, hearts, brains, and immune systems in dogs.

Similar to glucosamine, your furry friend can make their own taurine. However, as taurine production decreases with age, you can supplement your dog’s diet with taurine via crab to reduce the risk of your dog developing dilated heart disease and age-related vision impairment.

Increases Overall Health in Dogs

Crab is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Wild sea crabs that are not raised in commercial crab breeding farms live in mineral-rich seawater all their lives.

The nutritional value of ocean crabs can help your dog’s gastrointestinal health, immune system, and cancer resistance, blood circulation, as well as enzyme function.

Information About Crab

Crab offers many health benefits, as we’ve seen. These health benefits are possible only because crabs are naturally rich in nutrients!

Blue bowl of crabs

Below are the nutritional values and overall contents:

Copper0.814 mg
Selenium42.9 ug
Vitamin A or Retinol1 ug
Vitamin B1 or Thiamin0.023 mg
Vitamin B20.093 mg
Vitamin B3 or Niacin2.747 mg
Vitamin B-12 or Cobalamine3.33 mg


Is Crab Bad for Dogs? Potential Risks of Crab for Dogs

There are precautions that must be taken when eating crab, as with most foods.

dog eating

Although crab is rich in vitamins and minerals, it can carry an assortment of intestinal parasites which can cause digestive problems in dogs if eaten raw or live.

If a large number of parasites are introduced to your dog’s intestinal tract, they can cause diarrhea, vomiting, food poisoning, abdominal and rectal inflammation, as well as indigestion.

Next, we’ll see different scenarios in which crabs could pose health risks and others where they can be safely fed to dogs and pups.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?

Dogs should not be given crab shells.

The edges of raw or cooked crab shells can cause severe injuries to your dog’s mouth and throat.

They can also easily break into shards when chewed and can cause damage to your dog’s digestive tract, get stuck in their throat, and pose a choking hazard.

Can Dogs Eat Crab legs?

Can dogs eat crab legs safely, either raw or cooked? Although the latter is more time-consuming, it’s well worth it. Crab legs that are cooked are much easier to chew and don’t pose a potential choking hazard.

Nevertheless, crab treats should not be consumed in excess of 10% of your dog’s daily calorific intake.

Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab?

The name, “Imitation Crab”, is self-explanatory. It is not sourced from crabs. It is actually a mixture of white fish processed with additives or preservatives that aren’t good for dogs.

Preservatives can be dangerous for dogs because they are high in sugar and sodium. They also contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, or E 967, which is toxic to dogs and can cause abdominal distress.

Can dogs eat crab cakes?

Plain, homemade crab cakes usually contain harmless ingredients such as rice, flour, and eggs. 

Be careful of store-bought crab cakes that can contain harmful ingredients such as garlic, chili, and other spices.

As we have said, moderation is important and crab cakes should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s total calorie intake.

Can dogs eat raw crab?

It is a bad idea to allow your dog to eat raw crab.

There are many live intestinal parasites found in uncooked crab. This can lead to severe stomach infections and other serious problems like food poisoning, diarrhea, or vomiting.

can dogs eat crab - dog on a beach with a crab in his mouth

If you take your dog for a walk on the beach, don’t let them go hunting for crabs.

My Dog Ate Crab Shells – What to Do

As we have already stated, crab shells aren’t something you want your furry friend to eat.

The sharp edges can cause internal bleeding by cutting into your dog’s stomach and intestines. Chewed shell fragments can become stuck in your dog’s throat and cause a choking hazard.

You should immediately seek help if your dog is constantly coughing or has swelling in the throat. The shards could have blocked your dog’s throat.

Your dog may also experience a bloated tummy due to small pieces of crab shells accumulating in the stomach. If your furry friend experiences any of these symptoms, it is best to immediately contact your vet.

If you don’t notice any of these signs, it could be that your dog has thoroughly chewed the shells. Because crab shells are mainly made from calcium carbonate, your pet’s stomach acids will easily digest them. In a case like this, you’re lucky, so there’s no need to be concerned!

Dogs Vs Crab – the Conclusion

Can dogs eat crab? Crab is rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids that can help dogs with their immunity, joint health, and organ function. They also boost eye and brain health. Feeding crab to dogs is safe and has many health benefits.

Uncooked or undercooked crab can be dangerous for your dog because they contain live parasites in the intestines. This could pose health risks and choking hazards.

For the same reasons, dogs shouldn’t be given crab shells, canned crab, and imitation crab.

dog with a bowl on the porch

Cooked crab meat is perfectly safe and healthy but should be only given to your furry friend occasionally.

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All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.
Jen Smart

Jen is the founder of, a leading resource for managing and treating anxiety in dogs. With over a decade of experience in working with rescue dogs, Jen holds diplomas in Understanding Canine Anxiety, Canine Holistic Health & Therapy, CBD Oil for Animals, and Zoopharmacognosy. Her expert insights help dog owners navigate the challenges of anxiety with compassionate, innovative solutions. Follow Jen’s guidance at Anxious Canine for a calmer, happier dog.

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