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Can dogs eat crab shells?

Crabmeat is one of the delectable treats packed with vitamins, protein, and minerals, making it beneficial not just for humans but for dogs as well. While the majority of the dog breeds will nimble on just anything from your plate, it pays to be cautious while offering your pet some types of meat.

Like their owners, some canines will have their fill without developing any side effects, while others will develop deadly allergies to the tiniest morsels of crabs. If torn about whether to feed your dog crabs or not, the following guide will act as your go-to for this seafood.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?

While your canine can handle all manner of objects, such as chewing on bones, crab shells will be one of the items to keep away from your pet. Crab shells are a hazard to dogs since they can easily get lodged in their throat.

Ensure that you get rid of all shell pieces while preparing your crab meat to avoid future hazards. This means getting rid of even the tiny shards that may go unnoticed in your family crab dish. In addition to getting stuck in the throat, crab shells can also cause injuries to internal organs that may prove detrimental to your dog’s health.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Legs?

Crab legs pose no harm to dogs, but only if the hard shell is separated from the meat on the inner part. Like every other part of the crab, the flesh provides a ton of benefits for dogs. The hard parts of the legs will, however, be indigestible and can cause harm to your dog. To avoid your pet choking on the crab legs, ensure that you separate the meat from the rest of the shells while feeding it to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Cakes?

While crab cakes will often be cooked with a large portion of crab meat that causes no harm to your dog, these cakes include additional ingredients that can be harmful to your dogs. Crab cakes are usually prepared with items such as eggs, bread crumbs, mustard, and mayonnaise.

In addition to this, crab cakes are often fried, an element that introduces other risks to your dog. For starters, bread adds a significant amount of calories to your dog’s diet along with sugars and carbohydrates that are not beneficial to your dog.

Seasonings such as garlic will also be a hazard to your pets and are toxic to your dog’s health. Other additives such as chives, leeks, nutmeg, and cumin are harmful to your dog and may cause irreversible harm.

Even when they do not cause serious injury to your dog, some additives found in crab cakes will result in physical discomfort, causing your pet to stay away from its routine active lifestyle for a couple of days. Lastly, fried food has been shown to cause inflammation in dogs, with the pancreas suffering from this, which can cause devastating effects on the intestines.

What To Do If My Dog Eats a Crab Shell?

Crab shells are dangerous to dogs, with your pet requiring medical attention if they swallow them. Unfortunately, dogs are likely to come across crab shells during your walks to the beach or get them right from your plate. When this happens, be on the lookout for signs such as vomiting, lethargy, and any signs of discomfort.

Blood spots will indicate serious problems requiring immediate care with loss of appetite, panting, and pacing also needing urgent attention. In addition to these, be on the lookout for signs of bloating. If you do not notice any of these, it is possible that the ingested crab shells are nothing to worry about and will likely pass through your dog’s system without causing any adverse effects. You can still opt for a consultation to avoid any delayed concerns.

However, if you notice any of the above-listed signs, make it a point to seek help from the nearest vet in your area. Crab shells can cause intestinal blockages, with the result being death when not properly taken care of. The hard shells can also get stuck in your dog’s gum line and teeth, causing slower deaths when not treated in time. A vet’s help will come in handy in fixing any internal blockages that may have resulted from swallowing these crab shells.

Experts will perform an endoscopic retrieval if the shells are stuck in the upper digestive tract. Where shells cause blockage in your dog’s intestine, a vet will perform surgery to reduce any internal damage. Endoscopic retrieval utilizes a small camera inserted in your dog’s mouth to clear the obstruction. If either of these methods is not possible, your dog may be given a laxative to help alleviate the obstacle.

The above medical care can, however, be avoided by some simple steps, with examples of this being:

Do Not Leave Your Dog Unattended

Dogs are attracted to crabs, with their instinct tuned to ingest this seafood due to their distinct smell. This means that your dog will be fascinated by the sight of crabs, no matter the time of day; hence it will require you to watch them constantly. Make it a point to monitor your dog when taking strolls by the beach or when you have an assortment of seafood platters in your home.

Use Distractions Where Possible

If you spot your dog with a piece of crab in its mouth, try to remove it immediately. Raw crabs are likely to have parasites in their systems that will be a health hazard to your dog or lead to food poisoning. Try to remove such crabs from your dog’s path ahead to ensure they do not get any temptation to eat them.

If your pet already has one in its mouth, use distractions to help them drop it to the ground. Avoid chasing them as they may think it is a game, swallowing the crab in the process. Try to look for other items that your dog may be interested in, such as sticks to chase, with their favorite play pets also coming in handy when this happens.

Can Dogs Eat Crab Meat?

As previously mentioned, crab meat is one of the kinds of seafood that provides numerous nutrients not just for humans but also for dogs, with an example being B12, which aids in improved brain functioning.

This makes crab meat safe for dog consumption, with the proteins provided coming in handy in restoring the skin and hair while also helping your companions get restored cartilage in their bodies. When offered in moderation, your dog’s coat will also get shinier, along with helping them get a boost in their kidney functions.

With the above in mind, dogs with a vitamin B12 deficiency will significantly benefit from crab meat. Those diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency can also get the full benefit of this delicacy. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency prevents dogs from absorbing vitamin B12 needed for intestinal health and brain functioning, significantly reducing your dog’s overall health. Crabmeat contains a high amount of B12, which helps counteract the pancreas’ inability to get this vitamin from regular food sources.

Allergic Reactions to Crab Meat

While the majority of dogs will have no trouble consuming crab meat, some may have some allergic reactions to it. Unfortunately, the only way to determine this will be after your dog has eaten crab meat or other shellfish.

Allergies to crab meat are often caused by the high quantities of iodine which some dogs cannot handle. If you are interested in feeding crab meat to your dog for the first time, ensure that you keep an eye on your pet.

Some signs of allergic reactions that you can keep track of include a runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and watery eyes. If you also notice lethargic reactions, signs of a cold, or face swelling, your dog may be allergic to crab meat.

While these signs resemble reactions to other illnesses, it is always ideal to have your pet inspected right away by a vet. Swelling in the face and throat can, for instance, be fatal and will require extreme care. The above-listed signs will often be visible up to 5 hours after feeding your dog crab meat, with behavioral changes such as stomach issues and general discomfort also being other concerns.

Hypernatremia and Dogs

In addition to the above allergic reactions, high quantities of sodium and cholesterol in crab meat can also cause unwanted reactions for dogs who consume crab meat regularly. Illnesses such as hypernatremia can develop, which is often associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures, and high water loss.

Due to this, vets recommend feeding only small quantities of crab meat to your dog as an occasional treat. If your dog often sneaks in small pieces of crab from your plate or during walks along the beach, make it a point to keep an eye on them for any side effects. Try to limit any treats for the next few months to avoid any cases of hypernatremia and long-term consequences such as diabetes and obesity.

Preparing Crab Meat

Various methods used for your crab meat preparation will go a long way in helping your dog get sufficient nutrients along with the specific parts of the meat that you include in your pet’s diet. In addition to this, fresh meat will also be the most suitable, since crab meat left out for long will likely have bacteria that could make your dog sick from food poisoning.

Unlike other types of meat, seafood thrives in a different habitat with different kinds of bacteria that dogs and humans may not tolerate with ease. Because of this, ensure that you utilize the proper methods of seafood preparation when cooking your crab meat. These include steaming, boiling, baking, and grilling, which allow you to eliminate the different bacteria present in crab meat.

Ensuring that your crab meat is cooked correctly will also reduce the risk of infections that are often to raw or undercooked crab. Various parasites will usually be found languishing in raw meat, increasing your dog’s risk of getting parasites and worms that it is already susceptible to.

Crab Sticks Consumption

Crab sticks are also becoming prevalent in the market, which are simply an imitation of crab meat sticks. Unlike crab meat, crab sticks are made from surimi, which is processed fish meat. This will often contain numerous additives and colorings that are of no nutritional value to your dogs. These can often be allergic to your pet, meaning it is best to keep these away from your dogs.

Crab Salad Consumption

Crabmeat can also be found in a crab salad, with most pet owners often caught in the dilemma of whether to feed it to their dogs. For starters, consider what your salad comprises. Crabmeat with a mix of green vegetables causes no harm and will be an excellent alternative to your dog’s regular treats.

If your salad is loaded with spices, mayo, dressings, and onions, these will prove problematic for your dog. When offered in large quantities, onions will be highly toxic to your dog. This could leave it with side effects such as diarrhea and being in need of urgent care.