Can Dogs Eat Crawfish?

Can Dogs Eat Crawfish
Chowtime Charmers!
Curated Dog Bowls with Your Dog's Name
Shop Now!

Yes, most dogs can eat Crawfish, provided that it is thoroughly cooked and without shells. Even though eating Crawfish meat is safe for dogs, eating lots of Crawfish isn’t. This is especially true for dogs that aren’t used to eating seafood. Some dogs may also have a shellfish allergy. These dogs should never be fed Crawfish, lobster, oysters, shrimp, or crab.

A rule of thumb is to keep your canines away from Crawfish shells or Crab shells and to only eat plain boiled meat when it comes to seafood.

Let’s explore whether Crawfish is safe for dogs what happens if your pup accidentally ate lots of it.

What is Crawfish?

Crawfish are small freshwater cousins of lobsters. They’re also called crawdads, freshwater lobsters, crayfish, and mudbugs. Crawfish are popular edible shellfish, similar to other crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.

Many people will do a standard Crawfish boil in which they include onions, whole garlic cloves, pepper, asparagus, and mushroom. Keep in mind that both onions and garlic are toxic to dogs. It’s best to go with safer and healthier vegetables like Brussel sprouts if you plan to give a little bit of Crawfish boil to your dogs.

Where do Crawfish come from?

Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans. They’re found in streams, rivers, and freshwater swamps. China is the world’s largest exporter of Crawfish, while most Crawfish in America come from Louisiana.

Is Crawfish safe for dogs?

can dogs have crawfish

Crawfish are generally safe for dogs. Unless the dog is allergic to shellfish (as some humans are), they can eat a well-cooked Crawfish or two with no problems. However, it is best if your pup eats just the meat and does not consume the Crawfish’s shell, head, or tail.

Dogs that don’t eat seafood regularly should eat Crawfish in moderation. An entire meal consisting just of Crawfish is a bad idea for dogs. Using it as a snack or food additive is fine.

If your pooch has never had any shellfish before, only give them a small amount. If they don’t vomit or get sick, you can continue to feed them Crawfish meat safely.

If you enjoy Crawfish with a side dish of Coleslaw, be sure to keep your pup away from the Coleslaw as well.

Is Crawfish bad for dogs?

dangers of eating crawfish

Crawfish aren’t entirely bad for dogs. The shell, head, vein, and tail are the parts that may give your pooch some trouble.

  • Crawfish shell is indigestible and can get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract. The risk is significantly higher in smaller dogs since they have thinner throats and intestines. 
  • Crawfish head is also tough and contains allergens and bacteria that are toxic to dogs. Like shells, it is also indigestible and can get stuck in your dog’s throat or intestines. 
  • Crawfish vein is the thin intestine that runs through the center of its body. While most cooked Crawfish have the vein removed, raw Crawfish still has it. The vein can cause stomach issues in dogs.
  • Crawfish tail contains all the tasty meaty bits. While dogs can eat the tail, it should only be the meat part and without the shell.

As you can see, the shell is the riskiest part of a Crawfish. A dog that has eaten too many Crawfish shells can experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Blood in stool.
  • Lethargy.
  • Choking.
  • Blockage of the intestines.
  • Constipation.
  • Stomach pain.

So be sure to boil the Crawfish fully to lower the chance of shellfish toxicity in dogs and peel off the shell and only allow your pup to eat the meat of the Crawfish.

When shouldn’t you feed Crawfish to your dog?

eating raw crawfish

Dogs that have a sensitive stomach or are recovering from gastrointestinal issues shouldn’t be fed anything unfamiliar. For them, regular dog food or canine-friendly food is the way to go.

If your dog has never had Crawfish or any other shellfish before, their stomach may resist the unfamiliar food. If you want your dog to eat Crawfish safely, start by feeding them very little and see how they react. If they are fine, you can continue to give them Crawfish so they get used to it little by little.

You must not feed Crawfish to your canine companion if they are allergic to shellfish. If your pup is licking his lips or scratching a lot after eating Crawfish, that’s a sign of shellfish allergy.

If the shellfish has been fried or heavily seasoned, it can bother the dog’s stomach. Plain boiled Crawfish meat is best so it’s best not to add oil or butter as both of these ingredients can lead to pancreatic issues in dogs.

Nutrient benefit of Crawfish for dogs

Crawfish has high protein and low-calorie content. It is also rich in HDL, also known as the “good” cholesterol. Crawfish are packed with minerals like iron, iodine, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and most prominently, phosphorus. Crawfish also has a high vitamin content, especially vitamin E.

That being said, dogs can get most of these vitamins and minerals from other foods—dog foods better suited for their tummies. Crawfish also carry amino acids that may cause allergic reactions in dogs. Uncooked Crawfish can also give dogs salmonella and listeria.

Thus, it’s best that you feed your pup Crawfish as an occasional treat or an occasional food topper. Your pooch should not eat it daily or regularly.

Hint: When it comes to feeding your dog, keep in mind the 90/10 rule. When it comes to dog treats or dog snacks, it should only be 10% of their daily diet. Always be moderate with dog treats whether you’re giving them human food like Chestnuts or dairy products.

What if my dog accidentally ate a lot of Crawfish?

No matter what part of the Crawfish your dogs ate, you need to watch out for any allergic reaction they may have. Observe carefully and monitor their condition closely. If your furry friends start to scratch a lot, take them to the vet as soon as possible.

If your dog isn’t allergic, you need to see whether he ate the shells or the meat. Dogs sometimes rummage through your trash and find some discarded Crawfish shells. If that’s what the dog ate, immediately inform the vet and keep your pup under observation.

Ask your vet what you can do to help lubricate their insides and help the Crawfish shell pass through smoothly. Check their stool or vomit to see if the shells came out.

If there is no stool and the dog seems to be in pain, it may have some Crawfish shells lodged in its intestines. This would require immediate medical attention.

Some dogs that spent their lives around coastal areas are more comfortable eating Crawfish and other kinds of seafood. If your dog has shown no trouble after eating Crawfish before, then there is no need for you to freak out and get worried. 

Symptoms to watch for

In most cases, dogs that have devoured a few Crawfish should be fine. However, watch out for anything out of the ordinary. Ensure your pup doesn’t develop an allergic reaction and the Crawfish shell hasn’t gotten stuck somewhere. Symptoms of an allergic reaction from eating Crawfish meat includes the following:

  • Excessive scratching.
  • Disorientation.
  • Vomiting.

Whereas symptoms of Crawfish shell getting stuck inside your dog’s throat or intestine includes:

  • Vomiting.
  • Constipation.
  • Gagging.
  • Stretching and looking uncomfortable.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Choking.
  • Blood in stools.

Treatments if your dog has Crawfish poisoning

Here are two cases in which you need to take your furry friends to see a veterinary professional for medical treatment.

  1. The first is if the Crawfish shell has gotten lodged in your dog’s throat or intestine.
  2. The second is if your pup has an allergic reaction from eating the Crawfish meat.

In small dogs, a Crawfish shell can get lodged in the throat or intestine. If your pup is choking, the vet may induce vomiting by giving them hydrogen peroxide. The vet may also prescribe Metamucil to help pass the shells more smoothly. In more severe cases, the dog may require surgery.

If the dog gets an allergic reaction to Crawfish, the treatment is best administered by a veterinary professional. The vet may keep the dog overnight and give him medications through an IV. Once your dog’s condition stabilizes, you can take him home. Expect one or two days of diarrhea and vomiting.

Dog-friendly and healthy alternatives to Crawfish

Well-cooked Crawfish meat is perfectly fine for most dogs. However, there are safer options available if you want to include seafood in your pup’s diet. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats, vitamins, and protein.

  • Whitefish. Whitefish like cod, haddock, and halibut are excellent protein sources and are rich in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure to remove the bones before giving them to your furry friends.
  • Salmon. Salmon is another oily fish that is high in protein and omega-3. As with other types of fish, remove the bones. Make sure not to go for smoked salmon, as that will be too salty.
  • Sardines. These tiny fish are loaded with nutrients and minerals. Make sure to go for the deboned variety.
  • Anchovies. Anchovies are best when served raw or lightly cooked. Avoid overly processed or seasoned anchovies as they may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.

So, can dogs eat Crawfish?

Yes, dogs can eat Crawfish but in moderation. While thoroughly cooked Crawfish meat is fine for doggy consumption, it shouldn’t be a regular part of their diet. You can share Crawfish with your four-legged friends every once in a while. But for their daily meal, it is best to stick to their conventional dog food.

Related Questions:

Can dogs eat Crawfish shells?

Dogs cannot digest Crawfish shells. The shells pass through their digestive tract intact and may cause blockage or internal injury. 

If your canine has only had a couple of Crawfish shells, they probably won’t need medical attention, as the shells will pass through with little issue.

However, if your pup swallowed many Crawfish shells without chewing them, they may get sick. If your pooch has an upset stomach or constipation after eating Crawfish shells, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat Crawfish meat?

The tastiest part of Crawfish is the meat, and that is also the safest part for dogs. Unless your canine friend is allergic to shellfish, they can have some Crawfish meat every now and then.

However, the meat has to be thoroughly cooked. Raw Crawfish meat can contain harmful pathogens and nasty parasites.

Can my dogs eat Crawfish heads safely?

Crawfish heads are full of toxins and shouldn’t be fed to your four-legged friends. The heads are also indigestible and may cause stomach issues. Once cooked, the toxins do lose their efficacy, but the choking hazard is still there.

Can dogs eat raw Crawfish?

Most dogs aren’t designed to digest uncooked shellfish. Feeding dogs raw Crawfish can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and food poisoning. Raw Crawfish meat may also contain dangerous bacteria and foul parasites.

Can dogs eat cooked Crawfish?

Cooked Crawfish is the only kind of Crawfish you should feed your dog. The best way to cook Crawfish is by boiling it. That way, it wouldn’t cause trouble to your dog’s tummy.

Make sure the Crawfish you feed your furry friend is unseasoned. Common Crawfish seasonings like salt, onion, garlic, butter, and alcohol are toxic to dogs and can cause food poisoning in dogs.

Can dogs eat Crawfish tails?

Crawfish tails are the most succulent part of the crustacean. If you want to feed your dog Crawfish tail, it’s best to remove the shell and vein first. Once the shell and vein is stripped off from the tail, it is perfectly safe for your dog to eat.

Can dogs eat Crayfish?

Crayfish is just another name for Crawfish. Outside the US, most countries refer to Crawfish as crayfish. In some countries, crayfish is what they call the saltwater species of Crawfish. Either way, the best way to feed your canines crayfish is to remove the shells and veins and cook the meat thoroughly, just like you would to Crawfish.

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.