If you’ve got a little extra crab lying around and you want it finished off before it goes bad, you might wonder can dogs eat crab meat? Is it safe to feed to my pet? In most cases, it’s safe to give dogs a little bit of crab, but there are some risks associated with including crab meat (or imitation crab) in a dog’s diet. Read this before you give your pup a nibble!
Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?
Technically, yes. Crab is not a toxic food for dogs, and in many cases it can be a healthy treat for your pup. Crab meat is a lean protein, the most important component of a dog’s healthy diet. Additionally, crab contains vitamins and minerals that are essential for dogs, including vitamin B12 and the mineral, zinc. Vitamin B12 encourages healthy brain function in dogs, while zinc helps to regulate metabolism. Like many seafoods, crab is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with kidney function, while warding off heart disease, and makes a dog’s skin moisturized and his coat shiny.
Risks of Crab Meat for Dogs
That live crab on the dog beach might be fun for your dog to chase, but never allow your dog to eat raw crab or crab in the shell. Raw crab often carries intestinal parasites, which can lead to a painful condition for dogs. The shell (either raw or cooked) is very sharp and can easily shard and damage a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, leading to injury (a common sign of such injury is intestinal parasites vomiting blood).
Even shelled, cooked crab poses a danger for dogs. Some dogs are allergic to crab, so it’s important to sample the food in very small portions to prevent an adverse reaction. As with any new food, you want to introduce it gradually to prevent vomiting or diarrhea.
While crab might be okay for your dog in small quantities, it’s not the best choice for an everyday protein. Crab is naturally high in iodine, which dogs may be sensitive too, as well as cholesterol, which can be difficult for dogs to digest. The high sodium content in crab should be monitored closely as too much salt in a dog’s diet can lead to a dangerous electrolyte imbalance.
Can Dogs Eat Imitation Crab Meat?
Imitation crab meat, which isn’t really crab meat at all, but a mix of processed white fish and other additives is not healthy for dogs. While a little bite of imitation crab probably won’t hurt your dog (aka there’s no reason to call poison control), the added sugar, sodium, other additives and binders may make a dog throw up or experience GI distress.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.