Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

In moderation the crab can be a tasty treat for your dog but always be careful with how you dispose of the crab’s shell. Never give your dog the shell. When disposing of crab waste materials like the shell you need to take proper precautions especially if your dog dives into trash cans on a regular basis.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Crab Shells?“.

Do you ever wonder if your dog can eat crab shells? The answer is no do not let your dog eat crab shells. Crab meat is safe for your dog to eat but consuming the crab shell can be very dangerous for them. A dogs stomach and intestines can be seriously damaged by crab shells because they are not easily digestible. If your dog tries to steal table scraps from the crab you’re eating make sure to ignore them and keep any shells you discard out of reach of your pet. 

Even though they do not know any better dogs and humans are not designed to eat crab shells. Make sure you stick to normal dog food since its up to you as the owner to eat crab responsibly around your dog and make sure you do not accidentally ingest any crab shells. 

Will Crab Shells Hurt a Dog?

As with certain bones crab shells are not fit for consumption by dogs the reasoning is the same for both. Crab shells can be brittle and break into sharp chunks that can become lodged in your dogs throat resulting in suffocation or internal bleeding. 

The crab shell can still cause internal bleeding in your dog even if it is too small to get lodged in his throat. Shell splinters can be very sharp so while passing through your dogs intestines it could cause some serious damage.

Safely Eating Crab Shells Around Your Dog

Everyone has been there at one point in their lives. You’re about to begin eating that delicious meal you just prepared when you notice your furball next to you with those big eyes that seem to be begging for a bite. Its okay to give dogs some human food such as dairy snacks as treats in moderation but you should be careful when it comes to crab and other seafood. 

Since dogs lack the enzymes required for proper digestion most seafood including crab contains ammonia which is difficult for them to digest. It is probably ok to have a little bit but you should not make it your normal snack. Be sure any crab you do give your dog is fully cooked as uncooked crab may contain nasty parasites that could cause serious problems to your dog and you!

Now that you have finished eating that juicy crab you have this messy crab shell husk to dispose of. The first thing you need to do is not just leave it out on the table and go watch TV; if your dog jumps on the table and eats the shells he could get hurt. 

When your kids are eating crab be sure to not give them the shell and explain to them how dangerous the shell can be for your dog. Theres always an X factor with kids especially if they give in and take something from the table they should not have. Children and dogs should probably be kept away from crab shells altogether.

If any crab shells remain place them in a bag and close it well then either throw them in a trash can that your dog will not be able to access. If you are worried that your dog might eat the crab shells in the trash you can smash them up and flush them down the toilet. Since chitin is biodegradable biocompatible and non-toxic this should not cause a problem. Be sure to pulverize the shells well so they do not clog up your plumbing if you decide to do this.

What About the Beach?

There is probably some debris washed up on the beach by ocean waves if you have been to the beach often enough. Look closely and you may find some crab shells or even dead crabs washed up. Crab shells washed up on the beach can be just as dangerous to your dog as the ones you discard after eating them.

Since most dogs would not eat washed-up crabs on the beach due to the strong ammonia odor rotting crabs give off you should still watch your dog make sure they do not chew or gnaw on anything they should not.

Can Dogs Eat Any Other Seafood Shells?

Giving dogs other kinds of seafood shells isnot a good idea. Typically seafood shells are composed of chitin which is strong but prone to splintering resulting in sharp unusually shaped pieces. 

If they pass through your dogs throat or cause internal damage and bleeding sharp splinters are a big no-no when it comes to dogs or food in general. You should always dispose of any shells in a safe manner and never give them to your dog or any of your other pets. 

Even though some shells such as crawfish can be smaller than others they all pose the same choking risk for your canine companion. Shellfish such as lobster shrimp and prawns as well as other seafood are all dangerous to dogs and should be avoided.

Are Crab Shells Digestible For Dogs?

Lets say you wanted to pulverize some dried-up crab shells into a powder would your dog be able to eat it? They could theoretically digest it as chitin the material crab shells are made from is common in many foods.

Donot give your dogs crab shells under any circumstances; they’ll be glad you did not. As a rule of thumb just dispose of your crab shells in a safe manner and do not feed them to them.

Can Dogs Eat Chitin?

Dogs werenot designed to consume large amounts of chitin and it may cause various gastrointestinal issues if consumed in excessive amounts. Despite the fact that chitin is a common additive found in human food (used to emulsify and add flavor) it should not be a staple in your dogs diet.

What Are Crab Shells Made Of?

Shells of crabs like many other exoskeletons found in nature are made of chitin. The material is super common in nature and can be found on bugs seafood fungi and algae. 

The fact that dogs eat bugs all the time does not mean they should eat large amounts of chitin. Most bugs are small so that crab shell is probably the chitin equivalent of several ant colonies if not more!


In moderation the crab can be a tasty treat for your dog but always be careful with how you dispose of the crabs shell. Never give your dog the shell. When disposing of crab waste materials like the shell you need to take proper precautions especially if your dog dives into trash cans on a regular basis. Ensure your dog does not have a chance to chew or eat crab shells. Your vigilance may save your dogs life!

If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

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