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If you’ve ever looked at your dog’s food, you’ve probably seen fish or fish oil in the ingredients list.
You may be wondering: Can dogs eat fish, which fish can dog eat, and which ones are harmful to dogs?
Confused about Mercury and Heavy Metals when it comes to feeding your dogs fish?
Omega-3 fatty acids, low fat, and high protein: We all know the benefits of eating fish.
On the other hand, high levels of mercury and other toxins in polluted environments cause many health professionals to question the safety of seafood in general.
Fish, when prepared properly, can provide many major health benefits to your dog’s diet, but if not done properly, it can easily go wrong.
If you want to add a fish treat to your dog’s diet, not every type of fish should be eaten by your pup.
Before feeding your dog a fish-rich meal, it is important to understand the benefits of fish and the types of fish that are safe to feed your puppy.
Here’s what you need to know.
Table Of Contents
- Should You Feed Fish to Your Dog?
- Benefits of Fish for Dogs
- Risks of Feeding Seafood to Dogs
- What Types of Fish Can Dogs Eat?
- Types of Fish That Aren’t Safe for Dogs
- Fishy Dog Treats
- FAQs About Dogs Eating Fish
- How to Prepare Fish for Your Dog
Should You Feed Fish to Your Dog?
Even if there was no ongoing debate about the benefits and healthiness of marine foods, the question remains: is it safe for a dog to eat fish, shrimp, or any other type of seafood?
The short answer is that dogs can eat some types of seafood, but it all depends on the species and preparation method. Unsurprisingly, dogs do best with fish, whereas clams, shellfish, shrimps, and other aquatic critters usually come with a set of warnings before serving.
Here are some general pointers as to what to look for in fish before you feed it to your furry baby:
- Lifespan: Always go for shorter-lived species of fish. In species with longer lifespans, such as tuna, mackerel, or sea bass, high levels of heavy metals and toxins accumulate over their lifetime.
- Size: The same rule applies when it comes to size. Smaller fish have less mercury, while bigger specimens accumulate as they eat massive quantities of other fish.
- Bones: Fish that are hard to clean bones are a safety risk for dogs. Brittle bones can tear through your dog’s intestine wall and pose a choking hazard.
Of course, even with seafood and fish that are safe for dogs, moderation is key. While your pooch might benefit from an occasional meal, this type of food shouldn’t make up most of their diet.
Benefits of Fish for Dogs
Dogs love the smell of fish. You probably know this if you’ve ever eaten fish and your dog won’t move from your side.
Not only do fish smell great to dogs, but they are also a very healthy alternative for pets with food sensitivities caused by common proteins, such as chicken or turkey.
Adding fish to your dog’s diet can also provide them with a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
These essential fatty acids are also found in avocados and have been associated with supporting your puppy’s healthy, beautiful skin and coat.
Finally, fish is low in fat, making it an excellent alternative for supporting weight.
Risks of Feeding Seafood to Dogs
In some cases, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Not all seafood is rich in the nutrients needed in a dog’s diet, and some can actually be harmful to your dog.
- Presence of toxins, heavy metals, and other pollutants
- Commercial pet food containing fish may contain harmful preservatives
- Risk of bacterial infection such as salmonella and listeria (if raw or not cooked properly )
Although dogs can eat seafood and fish, it is essential to prepare it properly and choose the right type of seafood.
If you are unsure of what seafood to feed your dog, check out the two lists below:
What Types of Fish Can Dogs Eat?
Smaller, younger, wild-caught fish are generally safe options when considering adding fresh or processed fish to your dog’s diet.
- Light tuna (canned)
These fish are generally less likely to have a high mercury content in the tissue or significant parasitic burdens.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
It is safe to feed cooked salmon to your dog. It can be steamed, broiled, grilled, poached, or fried with no added oil or spices.
Super rich in omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, B12, selenium, and low in heavy metals. Salmon is a softer meat fish and tends to have fewer contaminants because it doesn’t absorb those heavy metals. Make sure it is wild-caught. Farmed salmon can contain chemicals. Frozen salmon caught in the wild is also safe to feed.
If you don’t have direct access to wild-caught salmon, salmon from the Australian company Tassal Salmon is a good option. It is not caught in the wild, but Tassal salmon is non-GMO and is grown in ocean farms where the health and welfare of the fish is a priority. They are available in fresh and canned varieties.
Can Dogs Eat Sardines?
Sardines seem to be widely accepted as a safe fish for dogs due to their small size. They can be consumed with the skin and with the bones.
These small fish are often referred to as the healthiest fish in the sea because they only eat plankton and do not live long, meaning their exposure to heavy metals and toxins is minimal. Feed them raw, boiled, or canned in water.
Don’t let the small size of these fish fool you: they have quite a bit of nutritional value, so be careful with portion sizes, especially with plump pups.
However, it would help if you looked for brands packed in water and without added salt. Also, brands that carry the MSC Certified (Marine Stewardship Council) bluefish labels indicate that these fish are harvested from wild-caught fisheries with sustainable populations that minimize the negative impact on local marine habitats.
Can Dogs Eat Tilapia?
Your dog can safely eat tilapia that has not been fried or cooked in rich flavors, lots of salt, or butter, as we often enjoy tilapia ourselves. This means that tilapia is not poisonous.
If you are wondering if it is nutritious, the answer is that tilapia is not very good for your dog. It is a farmed fish, and it is always better to let your dog eat wild-caught fish.
Look for brands with labels certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
Can Dogs Eat Mollusks?
Mollusks are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals such as zinc, iron, and magnesium. So feel free to add some to your dog’s food bowl to sneak in a few extra important nutrients.
Can dogs eat mackerel?
Mackerel is another fish that is a rich natural source of omega 3 fatty acids but also dangerous for dogs to eat. Don’t let your dog eat mackerel.
Have an accumulation of unhealthy levels of mercury in their tissues and often harbor parasites in their skin, muscles, and internal organs.
Can dogs eat smoked salmon?
No. It would help if you did not feed your dog smoked salmon as it contains too much salt. It can also contain the harmful bacteria that cause salmon poisoning.
Types of Fish That Aren’t Safe for Dogs
While it’s a good idea to feed your dog a fish-based meal, it’s important to know which types of fish to avoid.
Do not give your dog large fish or fish with a longer lifespan. These fish species generally feed on smaller fish and accumulate mercury and other toxins throughout their lives.
Canned tuna should also not be eaten by dogs because canned tuna contains more mercury than most other types of fish while containing various preservatives and additives.
Other fish to avoid are those with small fish. Bones that your pet can swallow. If swallowed, fish bones can pose a risk of choking or tearing in the intestinal wall.
Pet owners should also avoid feeding their dogs farmed fish because of their unhealthy living conditions. Over time, the additives in farmed fish can have a major impact on a dog’s health.
Smoked fish and shellfish such as lobsters and crabs should also be avoided as these foods can be too rich for your dog and cause an upset stomach or other digestive problems.
Fishy Dog Treats
Anytime I cook salmon, my beagle stares expectantly at the oven until well after dinner, when I deliver the skin to her dog bowl. The Honest Kitchen captured the tastiness of fish skin in their Beams Icelandic Catfish Skin dental chew treats.
They get great ratings on Amazon and can be a great way to introduce fish into your dog’s diet.
For a low-calorie and highly scented treat that your dog and cat will both love, sprinkle bonito flakes on your dog’s food or offer them as a training treat. You can find bonito (a.k.a. skipjack) flakes at Asian markets and online at retailers like Amazon.
FAQs About Dogs Eating Fish
Can dogs eat canned fish?
Canned fish is fine for your dog to eat as long as you feed it canned fish that is not packed in oil or filled with a lot of added salt. You can add about a quarter of a can to your dog’s daily food to add some extra protein and nutrients.
There is some concern about canned tuna (and I’ll explain this again later in this article when I talk. Specifically about tuna). While canned tuna is not toxic to dogs, the AKC said: “ You shouldn’t feed your dog the saltwater fish, as it can lead to many different health problems. ” This is due to the high mercury content of tuna.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?
The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend consuming raw or undercooked fish by dogs of any life stage, including pregnant females and puppies. Raw fish poses a greater risk of harboring and transmitting parasites embedded in the skin, muscle tissues, or internal organs.
Additionally, if the temperature of raw fish is not carefully monitored before consumption, or the fish is undercooked, there’s an increased risk of transmission of bacterial organisms such as Salmonella, Listeria, and Clostridium. Not only are these bacteria dangerous to your dog, but they pose a public health risk to humans as well. For these reasons, any fish your dog eats should be properly cooked.
Can Dogs Eat Fish Bones?
Fishbones should never be fed to your dog. They are small, brittle, and can settle in your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. If you think your dog has eaten a fishbone, it is best to take it to a vet as soon as possible to avoid harmful damage.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Fish?
Fried fish is not recommended for dogs. Although fried fish is usually fully cooked and is less likely to transmit parasites or bacteria when consumed, there is still an increased risk that your dog will develop gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis due to the heavy oils, butter, and typical herbs. Used in the cooking process.
Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin?
Fish skin is fine for dogs to eat as it is a fantastic source of omega 3 acids. While it offers important nutritional benefits, it has a higher fat content and can harbor potentially dangerous parasites if not cooked properly. So, make sure to prepare the skin well and give it to your dog in moderation.
Can Puppies or Pregnant Dogs Eat Fish?
Yes, pregnant females and weaned puppies will benefit from the extra protein found in fish, in addition to their regular prenatal or puppy diet. Fresh fish is safe for pregnant females and puppies if it is properly cleaned, deboned, cooked thoroughly, and offered in small amounts as a treat or as part of a balanced home-cooked diet.
Light canned tuna (canned in water, not oil) may also be offered as part of a balanced, home-cooked diet or in addition to a commercially available, life stage-appropriate diet.
Can Dogs Eat Fish Sticks?
Nothing is more harmful if your dog eats a fish stick or two during its lifetime, but these have no nutritional value. Feeding your dog’s fish fingers regularly can lead to unhealthy weight gain and future health problems.
How Much Fish Should Dogs Eat?
Depending on your dog’s nutritional needs and general health, fish may be offered as a special treat or dietary supplement several times a week.
Fish can be a daily part of your dog’s diet if he needs a hypoallergenic, new diet—protein source to treat medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Your vet will advise you on the amount of fish your dog should eat based on her age, weight, and medical needs, as well as the recommended brand of food.
How to Prepare Fish for Your Dog
When preparing fish to feed your pet, it is vital to ensure that all bones are removed from the fish as they can lead to serious health problems if accidentally ingested. While some types of fish can be eaten raw, cooking all fish thoroughly is an easy way to avoid potential problems.
Avoid flavoring cooked fish, even with something as simple as butter, salt, or pepper. The dog’s digestive system is not as complicated as a human’s, and spicy foods can cause an upset stomach in your pup.
Fishbones, fins, head, tail, and scales should not be included in your dog’s food as these portions can potentially cause oral trauma, pose a choking risk, or lead to an increased risk of intestinal perforation and damage to the environment. Organs.
Fish can be a healthy source of essential nutrients, especially for dogs sensitive to common sources of protein.
And remember: When introducing something new to your dog’s diet, start with small portions to eliminate potential allergies or side effects.