Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish? Benefits & Risks of Tuna for Dogs Full Guide of 2021

7 min


Tuna is one of the most commonly eaten fish, so it makes sense to wonder if our dogs can eat tuna as well. Canned tuna is convenient and cost-effective, making it tempting to offer our pets.

can dogs eat tuna fishMany pet owners would like to know: can dogs eat tuna fish, and what fish are our canine friends safe to consume? Is canned tuna safe for dogs? Can dogs eat raw tuna?

The short answer to these questions is actually yes, and it can be a very healthy addition to their diet, but with the caveat, it should be done with care.

Fish can be found as an essential ingredient in balanced commercial dog food as it is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

That said, whether tuna is right for your dog depends on how you serve and how much tuna you can give the dog.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about feeding tuna for your dog: the health benefits of tuna fish, the risks of feeding dogs tuna, how much they should be eating, and what type of tuna is best for them.

Health Benefits of Tuna Fish for Dogs

There are several benefits of tuna in dogs, the main ones being discussed as follows:

  • One of the main reasons dog owners consider including tuna in their dogs’ diet and # 39 is its protein content.
  • Feeding tuna to your dog ensures that he gets lean protein and protects him from unwanted fat.
  • While eating tuna, your dog also consumes an abundance of essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, to name a few.
  • Since tuna is also naturally fortified with some vitamin family members such as B3, B6, B12, and so on, your dog would benefit from a more robust immune system.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in tuna help your dog get a healthy coat without inflammation and itching, better vision, and a healthier heart.
  • Muscle growth is significant to dogs, and this is what makes tuna possible.

In theory, tuna is suitable for dogs because of its high vitamin and mineral content and the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.

However, it is also true that other fish, such as salmon, flounder, and herring, can provide similar nutritional benefits without the risk of mercury.

However, remember that dogs get everything they need from their kibble or canned food.

The Risks Of Tuna

The Risks Of Tuna for dogsWhile tuna is a useful addition to a dog’s diet, it is eaten in moderation and consumes small amounts of tuna. It should be added to their diet now and then, rather than as a daily staple.

This is mainly due to the high mercury content in this fish species.

Eating too much of this heavy metal can be toxic to dogs and humans, but because dogs are usually smaller than their owners, their tolerance level is lower.

If you are concerned that your dog has eaten too much tuna, these are the signs of mercury poisoning to watch out for:

  • Hair Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Vision Problems
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of sensation in the legs
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting, often with blood in the vomit
  • Watery diarrhea, also often with blood

The high sodium level in tuna may also be a problem because sodium is also toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities, so it is best consumed in moderation. Symptoms of sodium poisoning to watch out for include:

  • convulsions
  • extreme thirst
  • excessive urination
  • lethargy
  • lack of appetite
  • nausea
  • swelling of the tongue.

While dogs need a lot of healthy animal protein in their diet, the exceptionally high protein levels in tuna can also be challenging for some dogs to digest, mostly if they are not used.

Although it is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach, which is unpleasant for them and unpleasant for you in terms of cleaning up.

When adding new food to your dog’s diet and enter it, keep a close eye on him and see how he reacts to it.

Watch for vomiting and stool consistency changes as clear signs that they cannot adjust well to the new food.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tuna?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tuna fishFresh tuna contains much more mercury than other fish, such as salmon and tilapia. Consuming too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning, leading to serious or potentially fatal health complications.

Mercury enters our lakes, rivers, and oceans through industrial activities, such as coal-based electricity generation. The mercury then accumulates in fish. The larger the fish and the longer it lives, the higher the mercury concentration in its tissues. Since tuna are large, long-lived fish, their mercury content is relatively high.

Nonprofit Consumer Reports advised people to limit their tuna consumption based on their weight. Since dogs are smaller than humans and there are no recommendations for how much tuna a puppy can safely eat, it is best not to feed it to your dog at all.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

In short, no, it is not safe for dogs to eat raw fish. While unlikely to be toxic to your pet, fish often contain parasites and bacteria such as salmonella, which can make you and your pets unwell. You must be careful when preparing fish for human consumption, and you must treat your dog’s food the same way.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Fish?

Fried fish is not recommended for dogs. While fried fish is usually fully cooked and there is less chance of transmitting parasites or bacteria when consumed, there is still an increased risk of gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis due to the heavy oils, butter, and spices often used in the cooking process

Can Dogs Eat Tuna Canned?

Can Dogs Eat Tuna Canned?Canned tuna is a cheap and easy way for us to introduce fish into our diet, and most of us will have a can in our cupboard somewhere. But can we share canned tuna pieces with our dogs?

First, canned tuna is often meat from Albacore or Skipjack tuna. Of the two, Skipjack is the safer option for your dog because it contains less mercury.

Canned tuna, however, is often high in salt, which is not suitable for our furry friends. However, you can find cans with no added salt, and these are a better choice if you plan on sharing the fish with your pup.

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Some tuna preserves are cooked or (soaked in) herbs and spices. While it makes them especially tasty for humans and great for salads, never feed your dog canned tuna that contains extra seasonings and spices, as these can cause illness.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna in Brine?

While a tiny amount of tuna in brine should not be toxic, it is best not to feed it to your dog. As you can probably guess, it contains lots of salt, which is bad for dogs, and taking too much can cause sodium poisoning.

Canned tuna with sunflower oil is a bit safer, but by far, the best choice is canned tuna in spring water because it contains less salt and fat compared to other canned tuna.

What Type Of Tuna Can Dogs Eat?

What Type Of Tuna Can Dogs Eat?Small bite-size pieces of tuna, younger, wild-caught fish are generally safe options when considering adding fresh or processed fish to your dog’s diet. Types of fish that are safe for dogs include:

  • Whitefish
  • Flounder
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Whiting
  • Light tuna (canned)

These fish are generally less likely to have high levels of mercury in the tissue or significant parasites.

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 to feed if it is properly cleaned, de-boned, thoroughly cooked and offered in small quantities as a treat or as part of a balanced homemade diet.

Canned light tuna (released in water, not oil) may also be offered as part of a balanced homemade diet, in addition to a commercially available modified life-stage diet.

How Much Tuna Can Dogs Eat?

How Much Tuna Can Dogs Eat?As previously mentioned, tuna should be added to your dog’s diet as an occasional treat be added. They should not become a standard daily staple as too much tuna can be dangerous. But how much is too much?

Basically, if your dog is not an everyday tuna eater and he steals some from your plate while you are not looking, don’t worry; it won’t hurt him.

If you feed your dog fresh tuna, it is safe to provide your dog one or two small bite-sized pieces of tuna once or twice a week.

It would help if you did this a little less often for small dogs, and you can afford to give large dogs a little more as their weight largely determines how much they can consume.

If you want to feed your dog canned tuna, it is safe to give:

  • A 20-pound dog a can of tuna about once every three weeks.
  • A 40 pounds dog can eat a standard can of tuna once every nine days.
  • A 90 pounds dog can safely eat a can of tuna about once every five days.

How To Prepare Tuna For Dogs?

You can buy tuna in several forms, namely cooked, raw or canned, and each has its own unique properties.

If you plan on serving your dog cooked tuna, buy it in the form of steaks and use baking or roasting as a cooking method. Skip all spices, even salt, and make it a point to remove bones from the meat in case anything is present.

Unlike humans, dogs like bland meat and enjoy every bite and bite. As puppies, they are ill-equipped to handle fish bones and are likely to choke.

Canned tuna is a good option if you don’t like to cook, but make sure the tuna is in a water bowl and not at all. Seasoning or garnishing It is usual for tuna to be packaged in oil and contain additives with spices, so this is something to be aware of.

Serving raw tuna may only be an option if the fish has been thoroughly washed and the bones are stripped.

Is Tuna Good for Dogs: Summary

It is controversial that tuna is for both humans and dogs; this fish can benefit as long as you are careful, it should be okay to give your dog a tuna treat now and then.

Tuna, a bigger fish than most, usually eats smaller fish in its habitat, which in turn may contain traces of unhealthy metals, particularly mercury. This is why long-lived tuna can have a high percentage of mercury.

If you choose the tuna for your dog, take care make sure the cooked tuna is made from skipjack or albacore tuna.
Also, make sure that no salt has been added.

So when choosing tuna for your dog, choose a short-lived tuna, not seasoned and contains as little bone as possible.

Only feed your dog tuna in an appropriate portion, in proportion to your dog’s weight.

This keeps the risk of mercury poisoning low and gives your dog the benefits of tuna’s vitamin and mineral content, plus the omega-3 fatty acids.


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Mutasim Sweileh
Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.

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