Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?

can dog eat crab shells?
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Ever wonder if your dog can eat crab shells? The answer is no, never give your dog crab shell to eat. While crab meat is ok for your dog to eat, consuming the shell can be very dangerous for your dog and even be fatal. Crab shells are not easily digestible for dogs and can cause serious damage to your dog’s stomach and intestines. Next time your dog is pleading for some table scraps of that crab you’re eating, be sure to ignore them and make sure to keep any shells you discard out of the reach of your furry pal. 

Dogs just like humans are not designed to eat crab shells, although they don’t know any better. Stick to normal dog food since It’s up to you as the owner to eat crab responsibly around your dog and make sure you don’t accidentally consume any crab shells since the consequences could be enormous. 

Will Crab Shells Hurt a Dog?

The simple fact is crab shells like certain bones are not suitable for dog consumption, the reasoning is the same for both. Crab shells can be brittle and break into sharp large chunks that can get stuck in your dog’s throat leading to suffocation or internal bleeding. 

If the crab shell is too small to get lodged in your dog’s throat there is still a chance that it will cause internal bleeding. Crab shell splinters can be very sharp, because of this while it passes through your dog’s intestines it has the possibility of causing some serious damage.

Safely Eating Crab Shells Around Your Dog

We have all been there before, you’re just about to dig into that tasty meal you’ve just prepared for yourself when you notice your furball next to you with those big eyes just begging for a little taste. While it’s ok to give dogs some human foods like dairy snacks in moderation as treats, you should be careful when it comes to crab and other seafood. 

Most seafood including crab contains ammonia which is rough on a dog stomach since they lack the enzymes to properly digest it. While a little bit will probably be ok you should avoid making it a normal snack. Also make sure any crab you do give your dog is fully cooked as uncooked crab can contain some nasty parasites that could really hard your dog and you!

Ok, so you’ve just finished chowing down on that juicy crab and now have this messy crab shell husk to dispose of. The first thing to do is to make sure you don’t just leave it out on the table and go watch TV, your dog can jump on the table and eat the shells and potentially get hurt. 

crab shells on a plate

Also if you have kids and they are eating crab be sure to not give them the shell and explain to them how dangerous the shell can be to your dog. Kids are usually an X factor and can cause trouble especially if they give in and give your dog something from the table they were not supposed to. It’s probably best to keep crab shells away from kids and dogs altogether.

Make sure to take any remaining crab shells and place them in a bag immediately and close it up well, then either throw them in a trash can your dog won’t be able to get into. If you’re concerned about your dog getting into the trash and eating the crab shells you can smash up the shells and flush them down your toilet, since chitin is biodegradable, biocompatible, and non-toxic this shouldn’t be an issue. If you decide to do this make sure to pulverize the shells well so they don’t clog up your plumbing.

What About the Beach?

If you’ve been to the beach often enough you’ve probably noticed some debris washed up by the ocean’s waves. If you look close you will probably find some crab shell or even full dead crabs washed up. Washed up crab shells on the beach can be just as dangerous to your dog as the crab shells you discard after eating.

While most dogs won’t directly eat washed-up crabs on the beach due to the strong ammonia scent rotting crab gives off, it’s still a good idea to remain aware of your dog to make sure they do not start chewing or gnawing on anything they should be.

Can Dogs Eat Any Other Seafood Shells?

It’s not a good idea to give dogs other types of seafood shells. Seafood shells are commonly made of chitin which while strong is very prone to splintering resulting in sharp unusually shaped pieces. 

Sharp splinters are a big no-go when it comes to dogs or food in general, these splinters could easily get lodged in your dog’s throat or cause internal damage and bleeding if they pass. The best thing to do is to just dispose of any shells in a safe manner and never feed them to your dog or any of your pets. 

While certain shells like Crawfish shells can be smaller than others, they all pose the same choking risk to your canine friends. Lobster, shrimp, and prawns as well as other seafood shells can all be dangerous to your pooch and should be avoided.

Are Crab Shells Digestible For Dogs?

Ok let’s say for some reason you had some dried-up crab shells you wanted to pulverize into a powder, could your dog eat it then? In theory, they could digest it, and chitin which is the stuff crab shells are made from is a common additive in many foods.

As a rule of thumb, just dispose of your crab shells in a safe manner and never give it to your dogs under any circumstances, your furry canine pals will be glad you didn’t.

Handy Hint: If your dog experiences any digestive issues and doesn’t want to eat give them plenty of flat tap or bottled water to help them flush their system, avoid any flavored sodas or carbonated beverages.

Can Dogs Eat Chitin?

Dogs were not designed to ingest large quantities of chitin and it could be harmful to their systems leading to various gastrointestinal issues if consumed excessively. Although chitin is a common additive in human food (used for emulsification and adding flavor) it should not be made a staple in your dog’s diet.

What Are Crab Shells Made Of?

Crabs shells like many other exoskeletons found in nature are made from chitin. This material is super common out in the wild and is commonly found on bugs and various types of seafood, fungi, and algae. 

Dogs eat bugs all the time and are ok, but that doesn’t mean that large amounts of chitin are good for your dog. Bugs are typically really small, that crab shell is probably the chitin equivalent of several ant colonies if not more!

Closing Thoughts

Crab can be a delicious treat for your dog in moderation but always be careful about how you dispose of the crab’s shell and never feed it to your dog. It’s important to take proper precautions when disposing of crab waste materials like the shell, especially if your dog has a history of trash can diving. Take extra steps to ensure your dog never gets a chance to chew or eat crab shells, your vigilance can potentially save your pooches life!

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding dietary needs.