Last Updated : November 20, 2022

Can Dogs eat Crawfish Tails, Shells, Heads & Meat?

Crawfish are fun to fry and they are also downright delicious. But, can dogs eat crawfish? These tasty creatures that look like lobsters may seem tempting to share with your pup but there are many important things to know before you let Fido grab a bite. Knowing whether crawfish is safe for your dog or not is a must to ensure your pup’s safety and health.

What is crawfish

Before knowing if your dog can eat crawfish, you should know to learn what it is in the first place.

Can dogs eat crawfish

Crawfish or also known as crayfish is a type of freshwater crustacean. These are related to lobsters and this is easy to tell. Crawfish naturally live in freshwater areas like streams, brooks, and swamps at times.

Since crawfish is a type of shellfish. If your dog has a shellfish allergy, it is best to keep the crawfish away from him. There are other countries where crayfish is the term used for describing the species that live in freshwater.

Where does crawfish come from

Since crawfish is freshwater crustacean, you can find them in freshwater swamps, rivers, and streams. The largest crawfish exporter in the world is China while Louisiana is the source of the majority of crawfish supplies in the USA.

Can your dog eat crawfish

Yes, crawfish are generally safe for your dog to eat. However, you still need to be extra careful and keep a close eye on your dog.

Some dogs can fall ill because of eating too many crawfish. There are also other dogs with sensitive stomachs that should never eat crawfish at all.

Is your dog allergic to shellfish? If you are unsure, all the more reason for you to be extra careful when sharing crawfish with your dog.

You can easily tell if your pet is sensitive or allergic to shellfish when you notice him scratching and itching after eating it.

There are also pathogens in crawfish that some canines might be sensitive to. Talk to your vet if you notice your pet having loose stools or vomiting.

Some people who ate raw crawfish also caught a harmful lungworm. This may be rare but you should never let your dog eat uncooked crawfish because of it.

Is crawfish safe for your dog

Yes, crawfish are generally safe for canines. Unless your dog has a shellfish allergy just like some humans, he won’t have any issues eating a properly cooked crawfish or two. But, it will still be best for your pup to just eat the meat without consuming the head, tail, or shell.

Dogs that don’t regularly eat seafood must consume crawfish in moderation. One full meal made up of crawfish alone is never a good idea for a dog. It would be better to just use it as a food additive or a snack.

If this is the first time that your dog will be eating shellfish, start by just giving it to him in a small amount. You can safely continue feeding it to your pup if he doesn’t get sick or vomit.

If you love eating crawfish with coleslaw as a side dish, it is best to keep coleslaw away from your dog, too.

Is crawfish bad for your dog

Crawfish is not completely bad for canines. The parts that might cause some problems to your pup are the tail, head, vein, and shell.

  • Crawfish head is tough and may contain bacteria and allergies that can be toxic to canines. This is also indigestible and may get stuck in the intestines or throat of your dog.
  • Crawfish shell is also hard to digest and can even get stuck in the digestive tract of a dog. There is a significantly higher risk for smaller dogs because their intestines and throats are thinner.
  • Crawfish tail is where you can get all the delicious meaty bits. Although canines can eat crawfish tail, they should only eat the meat part along without the shell.
  • Crawfish vein is that thin intestine running through its body’s center. While the vein of most cooked crawfish is removed, this is still present in raw crawfish. Dogs may suffer from stomach problems if they eat the vein.

Based on this, it is easy to tell that the riskiest part of the crawfish is the shell. A dog that ate a lot of crawfish shells may experience any or all of the symptoms below:

  • Blood in stool
  • Choking
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

This is why you must boil the crawfish properly to reduce the risks of shellfish toxicity in canines. You also need to remove the shell and give only crawfish meat to your pup.

Can your dog eat crawfish heads

So far, there is limited information on the safety of crawfish heads for dogs. This is why it is important to be extra careful and ask your vet for advice.

You probably love sucking on a crawfish head after you are done with the tail but unlike you, your dog doesn’t know how to suck so he might just chomp down on the head and swallow it whole.

Dogs can’t digest the skeletons of crawfish so it is best to avoid possible dangers and just share the meat with them.

Can your dog have crawfish meat

Yes, your dog can feed on crawfish meat. But, it is still important that you prepare it properly by getting rid of the crawfish tail, shell, and veins. Failure to peel the crawfish can lead to some digestive problems for your pet.

See to it that the meat of crawfish is cooked correctly. It means that your pup cannot eat heavily seasoned crawfish or even fried crawfish. Adding butter to your crawfish can be very bad for your pup since it has high amounts of fat that may cause problems to the pancreas.

Aside from that, dogs that eat heavily salted crawfish can cause dehydration issues and a spike in blood pressure. Before you feed crawfish meat to your dog, you have to ensure that it is plain as much as possible.

If your pup doesn’t have any allergy to shellfish, it will be safe to give them some meat a small amount at a time. Excessive eating may cause a stomach ache. You also have to watch out in case your dog ends up with a surprise allergy.

One more thing you need to keep an eye out for is the spices added to the meat. If your pup has the sensitivity to spicy flavors, avoid giving them any of it. You also need to avoid giving crawfish meat to your pet if it has garlic or onions.

Can your dog have crawfish shells

No, your dog can never have the shells of crawfish. Dogs will and can eat crawfish shells whenever they get the chance. Unfortunately, dogs cannot digest crawfish shells. The shells end up passing through their intestines that can be very uncomfortable for your dog.

Never allow your dogs to have the shells of crawfish. There are some stories about dogs feeding on them without suffering any issues but of course, it will always be better to be safe than sorry.

You need to remove the shell before giving crawfish meat to your pup. Aside from the risk of shellfish toxicity, the shells of crawfish can also cause all sorts of gastrointestinal problems when the shell is not digested properly. It is quite common in smaller dogs with smaller throats.

When crawfish gets stuck in the throat of a dog, it can cause choking, diarrhea, sluggishness, and vomiting. For severe cases, a vet’s help might be necessary to induce vomiting or even perform surgery for removing the blockage. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to self-induce vomiting in severe cases in which the shell blocks the throat of your dog.

There are also high levels of glucosamine in crawfish shells. Although rare, dogs may develop glucosamine toxicity after they eat crawfish that may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. You should get rid of the crawfish shell first before letting your dog eat crawfish.

Can your dog eat crawfish tails

Canines can eat only the meat found in the tails. However, they should never eat the whole tail. Make sure to remove the meat for your pup and never let him chew on the entire thing.

Can your dog have crayfish meat

Yes, your dog can have crayfish meat. Just so you know, crayfish is another term for crawfish and the two are the same animal species. Crawfish is the term used by people in the southern United States for dining.

On the other hand, crayfish is the standard term used outside the US. This means that crayfish and crawfish are the same words. Dogs can eat crayfish provided that it is cooked properly and doesn’t include the tail or shell.

Can your dog have cooked crayfish

Yes, your pup can eat cooked crayfish but make sure that he doesn’t overeat. Take him to the vet right away once you notice symptoms of shellfish allergy.

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