Many owners have reservations about feeding crab to their beloved dog. If dogs eat crab shells, large pieces can become lodged in their throat or gastrointestinal tract, causing choking, blockages, or other serious health complications.
To avoid problems with dogs consuming crab shells, you should closely monitor them at dinner time. Monitoring is also critical while you’re at the beach or locations where crab traps may be present.
If your dog manages to get hold of a crab, you’ll want to act quickly to prevent them from swallowing it. But what are the immediate risks associated with your dog consuming crab shells? What actions can you take to prevent something bad from happening?
The Risks of Crab Shells
If your dog consumes a crab, it’s critical to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Vomiting, diarrhea, hives, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal pain are symptoms of a blockage or other complication.
Your veterinarian can assess your dog’s condition and recommend the best course of action. Potential remedies may include surgery or other interventions to remove the object and address any accompanying health issues.
Your dog may react poorly to crab shells and crab meat, which can make your dog uncomfortable and suffer and cause health conditions. The most common allergic reactions your dog may have include excess itchiness, swelling, and hives. You may notice your dog having excess diarrhea, gas, and vomiting.
If these symptoms don’t subside in 24 to 48 hours, contact your veterinarian and ask about next steps.
Even when cooked, crab shells can have sharp and jagged edges that cause damage to gums and teeth. These chunks can also cause internal damage, including tears or rips in your dog’s stomach or intestines.
Jagged pieces of crab shells are hard for your dog’s stomach to digest and may also give them trouble when going to the bathroom.
Your dog may experience digestive issues from eating crab shells, like diarrhea or constipation. These digestive issues can make going to the bathroom more challenging, and your dog may need to access the outdoors more often to continue relieving themselves.
Additionally, you may notice your dog has much more gas than usual after eating crab shells or crab meat. Help your dog feel better by offering them plenty of water to assist with difficulty and ease any digestive pain they may be experiencing.
Crab shells and meat are rife with bacteria since they come from the ocean, where bacteria live and thrive. Ingesting crab shells will put your dog at risk of developing a bacterial infection.
Bacteria on crab shells will be especially abundant if the shells aren’t cooked. Raw crab is a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. However, some bacteria may still be present after cooking.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Crab Shells
It can be hard to keep your dog away from crab shells when strolling along the beach or taking a walk down your local pier. Sometimes, your dog may even get into the garbage and eat crab shells when you aren’t looking. So, what can you do if your dog does ultimately ingest crab shells?
The first step to keeping your dog calm is keeping yourself calm. The likelihood that some crab shells will significantly hurt your dog is low. However, you’ll need a quiet mind to assess your dog’s behavior.
Seek Veterinary Help
When in doubt, always seek help from your dog’s veterinarian. A quick phone call or visit can help put you and your pup at ease. Your dog’s veterinarian will be able to run tests to determine if there is any damage to your dog’s health and if your dog requires further testing.
Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior
Keep a running log of how your dog is acting. Keep track of any unusual behavior and how long symptoms last. If your dog’s symptoms appear life-threatening or it becomes difficult for them to eat or drink, contact your local veterinarian to see how you can make them more comfortable.
If your dog’s symptoms do not improve or disappear within 48 hours, contact your veterinarian or take them to an emergency vet.
Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?
Crab meat can be a good source of protein and other nutrients for dogs, but it also contains a lot of sodium, which can be harmful in large amounts. Crab meat may also be difficult for some dogs to digest, especially if they have a sensitive stomach or a history of digestive problems.
If you decide to feed your dog crab meat, you must prepare it appropriately. Remove any shells or other hard pieces that may pose a choking hazard, and avoid seasoning the crab meat with any spices or other flavorings that may be toxic to your dog.
As with any new food, introduce crab meat to your dog gradually and in small amounts. Slowly feeding your dog a new food enables you to monitor their reaction and ensure they can tolerate it without adverse effects.
Preventing Your Dog From Eating Crabs
Keeping your dog away from crab meat and shells can be challenging, but there are ways to ensure your dog doesn’t get their paws on anything harmful. Consider keeping your dog on a leash, monitoring your puppy’s behavior, and using verbal commands to redirect them.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Keep your dog on a leash at all times to help prevent them from getting their paws or jaws on crunchy crab shells. Although your dog may enjoy the taste, they don’t understand the hazardous side effects.
Keeping your dog on a leash allows you to better control their actions and keep them away from potentially dangerous items.
Puppies are notoriously rambunctious, and they don’t know how to protect themselves. Your puppy will need training. However, before they are fully trained, you’ll need to monitor them as you take them outside.
Carefully watch what your dog sniffs and keep a close eye on them to ensure they stay out of any garbage bins that may contain crab or lobster shells.
Use Verbal Commands
Teach your dog to listen to your verbal commands by using positive reinforcement. Consider using commands along with plenty of praise and treats to ensure your pup listens to your every command.
Without verbal commands and ground rules, your dog might dig through trash, eat items off the floor, and snack on crab shells you want them to stay away from. A simple “no” or “away” can prevent your dog from suffering from various crab-related ailments.
Use Caution Near Beaches, Piers, and the Ocean
Crabs and lobsters are essential parts of coastal living, so those living or vacationing near the beach may want to be extra careful of the crab shells or lobster shells that may be on the beach or in trash cans.
Even on piers, your dog may be at risk if they aren’t trained to stay away from garbage bins and trash cans.
Frequently Asked Questions
These answers can help you understand if your dog should eat crab shells and the repercussions of eating crab material.
Dogs should not eat cooked crab shells. Although a cooked crab shell is softer than an uncooked crab shell, it will still be hard and have jagged edges that can cause damage to the inside of your dog’s mouth.
Dogs should not eat seafood shells. Although your dog will likely love the taste of seafood shells, they can be a choking hazard since most seafood shells are hard. Even the smallest seafood shell can cause a lot of internal damage.
Lobster shells aren’t good for your dog the same way crab shells aren’t good for your dog. These shells have jagged, sharp edges that can hurt your dog and be difficult for your dog to digest.
Eating crab shells is not recommended for humans or dogs because the pieces are difficult to digest and can cause digestive upset. Ingestion can cause constipation or bacterial infection in both dogs and humans.
Dogs should never eat dead things. Dead animals, such as crabs and other shellfish, contain many harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick.
Anything other than eggshells will put your dog at risk. Protect your dog from accessing crab shells, lobster shells, and other seafood shells as much as possible.
Crab shells are not safe for dogs, and they should never be given to your dog.
Conclusion for “Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells”
Crab shells pose a risk to your dog if your dog chokes on a piece, hurts the interior of their mouth, or has an allergic reaction. Consider carefully removing shellfish items from your dog’s diet and monitoring their consumption of crab meat and material.
Crab meat is safer than crab shells and can be given to your dog in moderation. However, be mindful of how your dog reacts to any new food items. Dogs can be allergic to food items the same way humans can be allergic to foods.
If you find this guide, “Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells,” helpful, check out:
- Can Dogs Eat Catfish? (2023)
- Can Dogs Eat Squid? What You Need to Know! (2023)
- What to Do if Your Dog Has Eaten Shrimp Tails? (2023)
Learn more by watching “15 Fruits and Vegetables You Can Feed Your Dog” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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