Skip to Content

Can Dogs Eat Fish Heads?

close up of a pile of fish heads

Yes, they can but you need to observe some caution while giving fish heads to your pup. Dogs love to eat meat (carnivores) and won’t need a second invitation to gobble up any part of fish. Fish heads can offer a handful of nutrients, like protein, vitamins, and minerals, to your dog. However, moderation is necessary to ensure that they are actually beneficial (and not dangerous) for your pooch.

Are Fish Heads Safe for Dogs?

Fish heads are only recommended for those canines that enjoy fish in their regular diet. This is because the structure of the head portion is a little challenging to manage and can cause trouble. Similarly, you need to consider the type of fish you are feeding your pup.

Experts recommend dog owners to go for Fast-Growing fish.The fish that grow slowly have sturdier bones and these types of fish can be difficult to consume (for canines). Likewise, slow-growing fish are more likely to have higher levels of metals and parasites. The softer bones of fast-growing fish are not only convenient to swallow but also easy to digest.    

Are Fish Heads Good for Dogs?

Brown dog standing in a body of water with a fish in its mouth

The strong smell of fish is bound to attract your canine friend towards it. Fish heads are not only safe for dogs, but they also bring numerous benefits to their health. Read on to know about the nutritional benefits your pooch can get from eating fish heads.

Source of Protein

Fish is one of the lean sources of protein because it contains very little amount of saturated fats. Therefore, consuming fish will help the muscle development (and repair) of your dog without affecting its cardiovascular health. Similarly, fish can also be used as an alternate source of animal protein if your pooch is allergic to beef and chicken.

Provides Omega-3 Fatty Acids

variety of different foods surrounding a sign that says "Omega 3"

Fish heads plenty of useful Omega-3 fatty acids that lower the cholesterol of canines and keep their hearts healthy. The heads of salmon are particularly famous for these benefits because they are loaded with these fatty acids. In addition to these health benefits, Omega-3 also keeps the fur of your pup shiny and smooth.

Counters Inflammation

Although fatty acids are often associated with obesity, they can offer plenty of advantages when used in moderation. Reducing inflammation and boosting your pooch’s health is one of the biggest pros of this essential nutrient. Inflammation leads to a variety of health problems, such as arthritis and joint diseases.

Likewise, fish heads allow your pooch to live a happy and active life by reducing inflammation throughout the body. This means that your adult dog can run around and join you on hiking trips without any discomfort.

Offers Many Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin pills on spoons isolated on a white background

Vitamins and minerals are extremely important for the overall well-being of your canines. Fish heads contain a lot of these essential nutrients that make this diet a very beneficial one. Some of the most useful vitamins and minerals found in fish heads are discussed below.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant brings numerous benefits to the health of your pup. It boosts the immune system and helps in ensuring proper cell function. Similarly, it is very good for eyesight and brain health.


Zinc rich foods surrounding wooden blocks spelling out the word Zinc

This mineral is another amazing antioxidant that is necessary for many internal processes. However, dogs can’t store zinc in their bodies and have to rely on a continuous supply of this nutrient.

What makes things even more complex is the fact that zinc is not very ‘bioavailable’. This means it is difficult for the body to absorb this mineral and the extent of assimilation is dependent on the quality of the source. This is where fish (and fish heads) are very useful because the nutrients from them are easy to absorb.


This incredible mineral is needed for many vital functions of a dog’s body. For example, it is used to metabolize energy and ensure proper enzyme activity. Likewise, it is an important part of the circulatory system because it is responsible for the optimal creation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Iron also assists the hemoglobin to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.  

Contains Collagen

The word collagen spelled out in collagen powder on a blue background.

Collagen is very useful for your pooch, especially in old age. The skin and coat of senior dogs need a lot of nourishment to stay healthy and shiny. Collagen provides just that and makes sure that your pup is looking good.

In addition to that, collagen is also useful for improving the digestion of your dog. Similarly, fish heads can prove handy to fight against joint and bone troubles.

How to Cook Fish Heads for Dogs?

Fish head cooked in a red sauce on a white plate on a black table.

The very first thing that you need to do is to choose a fish that is safe for canines. For example, salmon, flounder, and sardines are some of the best options.

After selecting a dog-safe fish, you will need to cook the heads by only using water. This is because any kind of oil, seasoning, and other flavors can be dangerous. For instance, oily fish can lead to gastrointestinal problems while seasonings (like garlic) are toxic to dogs.  

Can Dogs Eat Raw Salmon Heads?

Whole salmon on a white background with decorative edges

Yes, they can but not before freezing the fish heads for a few weeks. Dog Leash Pro explains that fish heads must be deep-frozen for 1-3 weeks before giving them to your pup. This will make sure that the harmful organisms in them have become inactive. Otherwise, toxicity can be an issue. Therefore, feeding your dog raw fish heads is not recommended if they are not frozen beforehand.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.