Fish is high in protein and omega fatty acids, making it excellent for dogs. But can dogs eat tuna fish? The answer isn’t as cut and dry as you would think. While tuna fish does have some nutritional benefits for your dog, health precautions also come with it.
What are the health benefits of feeding your dog tuna?
Tuna is actually one of the more common ingredients in commercial dog food. This is because dogs with sensitive stomachs can tolerate fish better than they can poultry. It contains plenty of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins include B3, B6, and B12, and minerals include potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium.
This fish also has anti-inflammatory properties and improves cardiovascular and skin health. Tuna can help boost your pup’s immune system, joints, and bone strength and give them a fair amount of energy. This will certainly be a nice treat for puppies still developing or elderly dogs.
However, too much tuna can be bad for dogs. You don’t want to give too much of this fish to your pup, or else they could get sick.
How is tuna bad for dogs?
The good news is, tuna is not toxic for dogs. This doesn’t mean you should give them tuna all the time, though. Your pet should get tuna as a quick treat in small amounts in moderation. The number one reason tuna can pose a threat is if it’s given too much due to the mercury in the fish. While the mercury levels in tuna aren’t significant, this fish does have higher mercury levels than other fish, such as salmon.
Eating too much tuna can give your dog mercury poisoning, which can cause health complications and even be fatal. If you see any symptoms of mercury poisoning in your dog, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately. Signs of mercury poisoning may include:
- Hair loss
- Kidney damage
- Loss of coordination or feeling in paws
- Vomiting blood
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
Luckily, this isn’t too common in dogs because they don’t eat tuna often. However, dog owners still need to be careful about the amount they give their pets. If you want to feed your dog tuna, there are some ways you can do so.
What type of tuna can dogs eat?
Canned tuna is most likely the way to go. Just be sure the tuna is packed in water and not in oil. The oil contains more fat and added salt, which isn’t good for your dog. It would be best if you also avoided tuna that you’ve cooked in oil, butter, or strong seasonings such as garlic and onions.
Raw tuna is a no-go. This typically contains parasites and unmeasured levels of mercury. While dogs can handle raw foods better than we can, you still can’t be sure what exactly is in it before it’s cooked.
Tuna filet will be safe for your dog to eat as long as it’s in small amounts and it wasn’t cooked in fatty oils or butter. Light salt and pepper seasoning will be okay for your dog to consume, but that’s all. Even then, only a bite or two is enough for your pup.
If you’re eating a tuna fish sandwich and your dog accidentally gets a small piece, that’s okay. However, these sandwiches are made with mayonnaise, which is bad for dogs. Your dog should stay away from this one.
How to serve tuna to your dog
You can feed your dog tuna in a few different ways, as long as it’s in moderation and small quantities. For example, you can use tuna as a dog food topper along with their commercial diet. Some dog food already has tuna in it, so be sure to check the ingredients. If it doesn’t, then sprinkling a little on top will add extra flavor and some extra nutrients for your dog.
Alternatively, you can make your own homemade dog treats using tuna as an ingredient. Check out some of the recipes below.
Can dogs eat tuna?
The short answer is yes, in moderation, and if you’re careful about how you serve it to your pup. Before trying new foods with your dog, you should always check in with their veterinarian first. Be sure it’s the right decision to try tuna with your dog. If you do, it can have plenty of benefits, such as giving them a protein boost or helping your dog with a sensitive stomach. They’ll be sure to enjoy this fishy treat!
Similar ingredients to tuna
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She’s a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, playing video games, or organizing something.