Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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Food Meat And Seafood

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

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Anna Olson
Jul 2 ·

Can dogs eat fish? You may have seen fish as part of the ingredients on your dog’s food. Do dogs like eating fish? Is it beneficial for them? What about cooked or raw fish?

The answer to “can dogs eat fish” is yes, in moderation. Many commercial dog food companies use fish as the main protein in certain dog foods. It does provide beneficial amino acids and fatty acids. If you want to include fish as part of a raw or home-cooked dog food, make sure to prepare it carefully.

We’ll learn more about fish and how to make it safe for your pup.

Benefits of Fish For Dogs

Whether as an occasional treat, or as a main part of their diet, properly prepared fish contains beneficial nutrients for dogs. Like all animal-based proteins, fish contains amino acids. These compounds help build proteins in the body, and help hormones and neurotransmitters function properly.

Certain types of fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help support skin and hair health. Even if your dog isn’t eating fish regularly, you can ask your vet about an omega-3 supplement for them. This might be beneficial if your dog has dry skin or an unhealthy fur quality. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian before offering your dog any supplement.

can dogs eat fish

Fish In Dog Foods

If you’ve ever checked the ingredients list of your dog’s food, you may have found fish like salmon, whitefish, or cod as the main protein ingredient. Dog food companies do know the nutritional benefits of fish, which is why they often include it in their recipes. A dog food with fish as the main ingredient makes a great choice if your dog has an allergy to another protein, like chicken.

Most companies use short-lived fish like salmon or cod because of mercury. A longer-lived fish like a tuna or a swordfish has more time to build up mercury in their systems. That mercury then builds up in the person or dog who eats that fish. Fish that don’t live as long don’t build up as much mercury since they don’t have the time to.

What About Raw Fish Diets?

If you’re considering a raw diet for your pooch, you may have found fish-based recipes. You may be wondering if there are any risks to feeding your dog raw fish of any kind.

The truth is, raw fish can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and listeria. This isn’t just harmful for your dog. Once the bacteria is in their system, they can pass it through their saliva to you, your family, and any other animals or humans they come in contact with.

It’s obviously best not to share your sushi lunch with your dog. However, if you’re considering a raw fish pet diet, you can limit the risks by following the FDA recommendations for preparing raw fish to eat. This will involve thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the utensils, bowls, and surfaces you use to prepare your dog’s food every time.

If you’re making your dog’s food yourself, the safest option is a home-cooked diet, not a raw one. We’ll tell you how to do that safely.

Cooking Fish For Dogs

Before you feed any fish to your dog, talk to your veterinarian or a certified pet nutritionist. They will help pick the best type of fish, and tell you the proper amount. If your dog eats too much fish, they may develop obesity, which can make other health issues worse. It’s especially important to consult with an expert if you want to make fish a regular part of your pup’s diet.

Take out the bones before cooking a piece of fish. Bones are the biggest risk involved in eating fish, as they can cause choking or internal damage.

When cooking, only use a small amount of oil. Too much can cause digestive upset or pancreatitis. Since some types of fish can be oily on their own, this is especially important. You can also use other methods of cooking which do not involve oil, like steaming. Do not use any seasonings.

Offer your dog a very small piece of fish to start with. After feeding, look for any symptoms of digestive upset or an allergic reaction. If you see any strange symptoms, contact your vet right away.

Dogs Can Eat Fish In Moderation

Now you know whether dogs can eat fish: the answer is yes. Fish contain beneficial nutrients for your dog. While some fish are better for dogs than others because of mercury levels, salmon, whitefish, and cod are always good choices. Your dog may also prefer a commercial dog food with fish as the main protein, especially if they’re allergic to other animal sources. If you want to offer fish as part of a home-cooked or raw diet, you should be careful with preparation. Also don’t feed your dog too much fish, since this can cause obesity and other health issues.

Always consult with your veterinarian before offering your dog any new food or nutritional supplement.

Some additional reading on different types of fish…

Tuna

Salmon

Shrimp

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WRITTEN BY
Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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