Can Dogs Eat Crawfish?

Feb 2, 2023
Split image showing a plate of boiled crawfish on the left and a dog on the right.
Split image showing a plate of boiled crawfish on the left and a dog on the right.

Can Dogs Eat Crawfish?

Feb 2, 2023

If you’re organizing a crawfish boil or just cooking some for dinner, you’re guaranteed to get puppy eyes from your furry friend. You know how it goes: they always want to try everything you’re having! But can dogs eat crawfish? Can you share safely, or should you find your pooch another snack? Let’s find out!

What is a crawfish?

Crawfish is a common name for a type of aquatic invertebrate also called a crayfish. They also go by crawdad, mudbug, or (if you’re in Australia) yabby. In terms of looks, crawfish are similar to lobsters, although most stay quite a bit smaller. They can be found pretty much around the world, although North America comes out on top in terms of crawfish diversity with a whopping 330 different species.

You can find crawfish pretty much anywhere there is water, as they’ve evolved to be able to adapt to conditions that few other creatures can withstand. Whether it’s a dirty ditch, a partially dried-up pond or a polluted stream: crawfish are likely to be present. They can eat anything, making it easy for them to survive wherever. And since they’re edible themselves as well, it’s no surprise they’ve become part of culinary culture in many US states!

Crawfish are particularly popular in Louisiana (they have been named the official state crustacean there; who knew that was a thing!). They’re very common in the state’s swamps and coastal marshlands, particularly the red swamp crayfish (scientifically known as Procambarus clarkii) and the white river crayfish (Procambarus zonangulus).

The Cajuns know exactly what to do with a bag of live, freshly caught crawfish: keep them in clean water for a few days to improve their flavor and then boil them in a big pot with spices, corn and potatoes. The whole thing is usually dumped on a table covered with newspaper on plastic and shared with the entire community.

Other dishes that contain crawfish include:

  • Swedish kräftskiva (another type of crawfish boil)
  • Crawfish bisque (creamy French crustacean soup)
  • Étouffée (crawfish in creamy sauce served over rice)
  • Mala xiao longxia (spicy crawfish stirfry or boil with Sichuan pepper)

Did you know? In some parts of Africa, dried crayfish are commonly used to season all sorts of dishes.

Crawfish with claws raised in flower pot.

Can dogs eat crawfish?

Yes, dogs can eat crawfish, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked as well as peeled. They make a suitable high-protein and low-calorie snack, and most dogs go crazy for them.

One thing to keep in mind at all times: please never offer your dog uncooked or improperly cooked crawfish – or eat any yourself, for that matter. In their raw state, these crustaceans are associated with various dangerous bacteria and parasites. Lung flukes, Vibrio, Salmonella… all of these can cause serious health issues that can easily be prevented by boiling the crawfish.

If you’re offering your dog a few crawfish for the first time, don’t overdo it. Shellfish allergy does exist in our pets! Although they don’t tend to go into deadly anaphylaxis like us humans, eating these allergens can cause tummy issues and severe itchiness. If your dog gets diarrhea or begins to scratch and lick excessively after partaking in a crawfish boil, you may want to get it tested for sensitivity to shellfish.

Split image showing a French bulldog on top, a plate of boiled crayfish and corn on the bottom and text saying "Can dogs eat crawfish?".

Preparing crawfish for your dog

If you’d like to share some with your pooch, your best bet is to reserve a few to cook separately. All the salt and spices used to make these crustaceans taste good to us humans aren’t great for our furry friends, after all! You’re better off boiling them plain.

It’s also important to peel any crawfish you’re planning on offering to your dog. They’re not able to digest the shells, which can lead to intestinal blockages after consumption in unlucky cases! And don’t forget to properly dispose of any trash bags filled with crawfish shells either: they will smell irresistible to your furry pet.

Conclusion: Can dogs eat crawfish?

So, can dogs eat crawfish? Yes, as long as they’re boiled plain and you remove the shells before offering them. Keep an eye out for shellfish allergy if your dog has never had crustaceans before.

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