Can Dogs Eat Crab? Here’s What You Need to Know

can dogs eat crab

Crab is a yummy and popular meat across the country, especially in coastal towns. It can be put in a sandwich, added to pasta dishes, or eaten by itself.

There are a couple of health benefits for humans when they eat crab (including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc), but can dogs eat crab? Is it a healthy choice for them? And what are the risks?

In this article, you’re going to learn all about feeding your pooch crab so that you know how to do it safely.

In Short – Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?

Yes, dogs can eat crab. Crab meat is not toxic to pups and there are even some benefits to feeding it to your pooch. But, like all human foods, moderation is key.

Your dog should be getting most of its calories and daily nutrition from specially formulated dog food. The odd healthy treat can add a bit of variation but it shouldn’t replace a balanced and healthy doggie diet.

Is Crab Meat Healthy for Dogs?

Crab meat contains lots of vitamins and minerals and is a great source of protein for canines. It’s also non-toxic and many dogs love the flavor and texture. It contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails too.

But, we only recommend feeding your pup small amounts of crab meat. This means that in that quantity, your pup is unlikely to see any real benefits of the nutrients that crab meat contains. Crab meat is, however, a healthier option than overly processed, store-bought treats which can contain many extra calories.

crab on rock

What Are The Risks of Feeding Dogs Crab Meat?

Whilst non-toxic to dogs, there are a couple of risks associated with letting dogs eat crab meat and it’s important you’re aware of them to keep them safe.

Intestinal Parasites

The first risk is raw crab. If you have a hunting dog, you mustn’t let them eat raw crab they find on the beach. Crab that hasn’t been cooked can contain intestinal parasites which can cause some serious problems for your dog’s digestive system.

Always make sure you boil crab first (boiling water kills the parasites) and leave it to cool before feeding.


Another risk is that some dogs might be allergic to crab meat. Crab and other seafood such as shrimp can contain high levels of iodine which some dogs are allergic to.

Signs of iodine allergy are often lethargy, an upset stomach, itching, hives, and watery eyes. If you suspect your pooch is reacting to eating crab, contact your vet right away.

Choking Hazard

Crab shells are very hard and extremely difficult for dogs to digest. It’s really important to remove the shells from cooked crab meat so that it’s safe for your dog to eat.

Not only could crab shells get stuck and be a choking hazard, but they could also cause damage to your dog’s digestive tract. You mustn’t let your dog eat crab shells.

High Levels of Sodium and Cholesterol

Crab meat does contain quite high levels of both sodium and cholesterol which means it isn’t the healthiest snack to give your pooch (unlike a veg such as cucumber). However, you shouldn’t be giving your dog lots of crab, so in small amounts, this should be OK.

Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is usually made from white fish, food coloring, and preservatives. Whilst not toxic to your pooch, there’s no need for imitation crab to be part of your dog’s diet either. There are many more, healthier alternatives to give your dog as a treat that don’t contain additives.

How To Give Your Dog Crab Meat

There are a couple of rules to follow to make sure you feed your pup crab safely. Here they are:

Always Cook Crab Meat

Never give your dog raw crab meat as it can be full of parasites that cause stomach problems.

Only Give Dogs Plain Crab Meat

Some ingredients that humans like to add to crab meat, such as salt, butter, onions, and garlic can be bad or even toxic to pups. Only ever give your dog plain, cooked crab meat for them to enjoy.

Remove All Shell

Crab shells are very hard and can cause lots of problems for dogs. They can cause dental issues when they bite them and small splinters could scratch or cut their intestinal tract. Larger pieces could even be a choking hazard for dogs. So, before feeding dogs crab, always remove the shell.

Feed Dogs Crab In Moderation

All human foods should be fed to dogs in moderation and shouldn’t replace their regular doggie meals. Crab is no exception. You can feed your pup the odd piece of plain, cooked crab from time to time but most of their calories and nutrients should come from dog food.

Make It Fun!

Some dogs can be a bit reserved around new foods and textures. Luckily, crab is a great and versatile meat that can easily be added to your dog’s diet.

Simply give it as a reward for good behavior, add it to their regular meals, or spread some pureed crab meat in a fun puzzle toy or a doggie lick mat to help them slow down.

cooked crab

So, Can Dogs Eat Crab?

Yes, dogs can eat plain, cooked crab meat in moderation. It’s not toxic to them and many pups love the strong flavor and change in texture. It’s really important, however, that dogs only eat cooked crab meat (or any other fish for that matter, such as sardines) that’s had the shell removed to make sure it’s safe and yummy.

Before adding anything new to your dog’s diet, it’s important to consult with your vet for expert advice when it comes to your unique pooch.