Fish can be a tricky thing to deal with. Even when it comes to humans eating fish, there are a lot of dos and don’ts so the same goes for dogs. You may wonder, what are the fish dogs can eat and which ones are harmful to dogs?
Fish, when prepared properly, can add a lot of great health benefits to your dog’s diet, but things can easily go wrong if everything isn’t done right.
To avoid any mishaps and find out exactly how to get the most out of the fish you feed to your dog, check out the comprehensive list below.
For ultimate pet safety, I recommend consulting with your vet prior to feeding your dog any food listed in this article.
Common Questions about Dogs Eating Fish
Can dogs eat fish?
Yes, dogs can definitely eat some types of fish. It’s actually a healthy source of protein that you will often find mixed into commercial dog food as a source of protein.
Along with being a great source of protein, fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be great for dogs with specific food allergies that limit what they can eat.
See below for specific types of fish dogs can eat.
Can dogs eat canned fish?
Canned fish is fine for your dog to eat as long as you give them canned fish that isn’t packed in oil or filled with lots 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 worry about canned tuna (and I’ll explain this again later in this article when I talk about tuna specifically). Even though canned tuna is non-toxic for dogs, the AKC said, “You shouldn’t feed your canine companion the saltwater fish because it could lead to a number of different health problems.” This is due to the high mercury content of tuna.
Can dogs eat raw fish?
Raw fish should almost always be avoided. Any raw fish could be carrying harmful bacteria or parasites that can make your dog sick. Handling the raw fish to give to your dog can also make you sick as well.
The most common parasites found in raw fish:
Can dogs eat fresh-caught raw fish?
Any raw fish can contain harmful bacteria and parasites. One way to eliminate parasites is to freeze the fish for at least a week.
Find more information on raw fish and parasites on the Dogs Naturally website.
Can dogs eat fish bones?
Fishbones should never be fed to your dog. They are small, brittle, and can lodge themselves in your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. If you think your dog has consumed a fishbone, it’s best to take them to a vet as soon as possible, to avoid any harmful damage.
Can dogs eat fish skin?
Fish skin fine for dogs to eat because it is a fantastic source of Omega 3 acids. While it does provide key nutritional benefits, it is higher in fat content and can potentially contain dangerous parasites if it isn’t thoroughly cooked. So just make sure to prepare the skin properly and make sure it’s only fed to your dog in moderation.
Can dogs eat fish sticks?
Nothing too harmful will come out of your dog eating a fish stick or two in their life, but they have no nutritional value. Giving your dog fish sticks regularly could lead to unhealthy weight gain and future health issues down the line.
Can dogs eat fried fish?
Avoid feeding dogs fried fish at all costs. There is no nutritional value from adding extra oils to fish in this manner and will only lessen their overall health over time.
Specific Fish for Dogs Q&A
Can dogs eat catfish?
Dogs can eat catfish that is properly prepared. It’s actually the fish that is used in a lot of commercial dog foods. If you’re preparing catfish at home, just make sure to use boneless fillets.
Can dogs eat cod?
The safety of cod for dogs is debated in the canine community. The biggest danger to cod is the industrial chemical toxins – the icky stuff that leaks into waterways from factories. The toxins fall to the bottom of the ocean, so fish that lives down there might have higher levels of these toxins.
Cod is known as a bottom feeder because it feeds on stuff at the bottom of the ocean. For this reason, it is a risky fish to give your dog.
Vets have been known to suggest feeding cod to your dog as a healthy treat. Just be careful with how much you feed your pet and talk to your vet about your concerns.
Can dogs eat mackerel?
Mackerel is another fish that is a rich natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids, but also is dangerous for dogs to eat. Do not let your dog eat mackerel.
According to PetMD, they are likely to have, “an accumulation of unhealthy levels of mercury in their tissues, and they often harbor parasites in their skin, muscle tissues, and internal organs.”
Can dogs eat salmon?
It is safe to feed cooked salmon to your dog. It can be steamed, roasted, grilled, poached, or baked without added oil or seasonings.
Do not feed your dog raw salmon! Salmon that isn’t properly and thoroughly cooked could actually kill your dog. Raw salmon has been known to contain a parasite called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which leads to salmon poisoning in dogs.
Signs of salmon poisoning are:
- Lack of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you start noticing several or all of these symptoms in your dog, take him/her to the vet immediately.
You can find more information on salmon poisoning disease on the Washington State University website.
Can dogs eat salmon skin?
As long as it is cooked thoroughly and without any seasonings, dogs can eat salmon skin. It contains all the healthy nutrition as salmon flesh and dogs enjoy the flavor.
Can dogs eat canned salmon?
Yes, dogs can eat canned salmon as long as it is packed in water and without any added flavorings. The bones in canned salmon are soft enough not to cause any issues.
Can dogs eat smoked salmon?
No. You should not feed your dog smoked salmon because it contains an excessive amount of salt. It can also contain the harmful bacteria that causes salmon poisoning disease.
Can dogs eat sardines?
Canned sardines are fine to feed to your dog. Since they are small and low on the food chain, sardines contain minimal amounts of mercury in comparison to larger fish, making them less of a threat.
Can dogs eat tilapia?
Your dog can safely eat tilapia that is not fried or cooked in rich flavorings, lots of salt, or butter like how we often enjoy tilapia for ourselves. This just means that tilapia is non-toxic.
If you are wondering if it is nutritious, then the answer is that tilapia isn’t very good for your dog. It is a farmed fish, and it is always better to let your dog eat fish that is wild-caught.
This is what PetMD says. “Look for brands whose labels carry the certification of either the Global Aquaculture Alliance or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.”
Can dogs eat tuna?
Tuna is one of the only fish on this list that is safe for dogs to consume cooked or raw. If you’re going to feed your dog raw tuna fish, make sure to remove any bones first. If it’s canned, make sure that it’s packed in water and not oil.
The only thing I want to advise is for you to consider not giving your dog canned Albacore tuna. This type of fish is usually older when they are harvested so they might have higher levels of mercury.
Can dogs eat mollusks?
Mollusks are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium. So feel free to add some into your dog’s food bowl to sneak in a few extra key nutrients.
Can dogs eat mussels?
Mussels are considered to be a superfood because they contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes on top of the Omega-3s making them a great supplement to add to your dog’s diet.
Can dogs eat scallops?
As long as you aren’t slipping your dog some of your scallop dinner that’s been fried and coated in butter, then scallops are safe for dogs to eat.
Can dogs eat oysters?
It’s a wise idea to avoid feeding oysters to your dog. The oysters may have eaten toxic algae called dinoflagellates, whose toxins concentrate in the oysters’ tissues and can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in both humans and dogs.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Cockles
Can dogs eat shellfish?
When cooked and thoroughly cleaned of their shells, shrimps, lobsters, and crab can be eaten by dogs. Just make sure you are only giving them the meat, and the meat is fully cooked.
Can dogs eat crab?
The best kind of crab for canines is the simplest dish you could ever imagine. Just steam the meat and don’t season it. The meat itself is nutritious enough, and your dog will love it as is, so no need to spice it up.
Can dogs eat crab meat?
Dogs can eat crab meat as long as you are sure your dog is not allergic. With crab, there is a bit of elevated risk, as it’s not that uncommon for dogs to be allergic to crab.
Can dogs eat lobster?
Cooked lobster is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals like zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. So if you can swing it, feel free to treat your pup to a nice lobster dinner.
Can dogs eat shrimp and prawns?
As long a the shells removed and the prawns are cooked, they are an excellent source of protein and vitamins for your dog. The shells should be removed because the hard coating can be hazardous, especially for small dogs.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Crawfish
Can dogs eat squid and octopus?
Yes, dogs can eat squid and octopus without any problems. If you have a dog that needs a very protein-rich diet, this type of fish is a good go-to.
Final Thoughts on Fish for Dogs
The basic rule of thumb when it comes to feeding fish to your dog is to just be cautious and almost always cook the fish as simply as possible.
Make sure your dog doesn’t have any seafood allergies before feeding them any kind of fish.
Avoid a lot of added unnecessary calories and fats when preparing the fish. You want these to be healthy treats for your pup, not something that sends them to the vet.
Additional Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat
- Vegetables Dogs Can Eat
- Fruits Dogs Can Eat
- Can Dogs Have Nuts
- Can Dogs Eat Beans
- Healthy Fall Foods for Dogs
Find more information on human foods dogs can eat right here on Spoiled Hounds!
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