It’s a beautiful day so I decided to take my dog for a walk along the beach. At one end there are some stalls selling seafood, so I go over to take a look. My dog decides he wants to get there faster and nearly knocks one of the stalls over in his enthusiasm. The stallholder looks a bit cross but says nothing and I pick up some prepared crab meat and hand over my dollars.
I love crab meat, but now my dog is looking hopeful and I don’t know if it is safe to feed some to him. So, can dogs eat crab?
Can dogs eat crab?
The simple answer is yes, they can safely eat crab meat. However there are a few things to keep in mind.
— Don’t feed crab meat as a regular part of your dog’s diet. Make it an occasional treat.
— When you first give your dog crab, make it a small amount and wait to see if he shows any reaction. He may be allergic to the meat and that could result in vomiting or diarrhea.
— Make sure there are no bits of shell in the meat. Shell pieces might cause choking problems, or affect their digestion. Shell pieces will need to pass through your dog’s gut and might cause some internal injuries.
— Avoid crab sticks too. They might look like crab meat but they are not. They are highly processed fish and contain additives like colorings and flavorings. These can be harmful to your pet.
— Crab meat should always be cooked before being fed to your dog — or you come to that. Raw crab meat might contain harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
Are there any benefits for my dog of eating crab meat?
Yes, your dog will benefit from occasional crab meat treats. Crab meat is a high-protein food and contains a range of minerals and vitamins. Additionally it contains omega-3 fatty acids. It is generally accepted that omega-3 helps keep a heart healthy, kidneys properly functioning and in dogs, maintains a glossy coat.
Other benefits include:
— Crab meat is low in fat so is good should your dog be obese.
— Vitamin B-12 features in crab meat and is great for keeping your dog’s brain in good working order and helps digestion.
— Being high in protein crab meat it’s great for promoting healing and keeps nails, fur, joints and skin in super condition.
— Crab meat also contains zinc which helps keep joints healthy.
— Phosphorous occurs in crab meat and is good for bone health.
— Energetic dogs will benefit from the high level of protein.
— As crab meat has a range of minerals and vitamins so your dog’s immune system will be supported.
How do I prepare crab meat for my dog?
If you are going to bring crab home to prepare for your dog, keep in mind that the crab has to be alive. Never cook a crab that is already dead. Crabs — and lobsters — have to be plunged into boiling water when they are alive. Wash the crabs in clean water to remove any sand or debris. Boil them until thoroughly cooked. Lobsters will change color but crabs will need to be timed. Do not add salt to the water or any other seasonings or herbs.
Once cooked take the meat out of the shell. Make sure there is no shell left in the meat. The legs will have meat in them too, so make sure you remove it all.
Once you have a plate of meat, double check that there is no shell. Do not add any oil or butter or flavorings like onion. Keep the meat pure. I like to mash the crab meat with a fork to make it easy to eat.
What about allergies?
Some dogs suffer with allergies to seafood — just like people. Crab meat contains iodine which can trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs.
You will only know whether your dog has an allergy by trying a little crab meat and keeping watch for any of the following symptoms:
— Swelling around his face especially near his mouth and eyes
— Eyes that begin to water
— A runny nose
— Rashes on his skin
— General lethargy
If any of these symptoms appear after feeding crab meat — and the symptoms may take time to appear — stop feeding crab meat. If you are really worried speak to your veterinarian.
Crab meat is an enjoyable treat for your dog. Feed it sparingly and with care and your dog will be fine