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Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin?

White dish full of fried fish skins

Yes, dogs can eat fish skin. It is not only a safe ingredient but can also be a healthy option for your dog. The term ‘fish skin’ is used for the outer skin of fish that has thin bony scales. They are dehydrated to form jerky-style treats, usually shaped into strips or cubes.

Fish skin treats are abundantly available in the market because of the number of suppliers. It is advisable to look for a supplier who guarantees well-processed products. You can also make these treats at home by simply separating them from fish and drying them. Keep reading to know more about the benefits of fish skin for your pup.

Benefits of Fish Skin for Dogs

The following are some of the biggest advantages of fish skin for canines.

Provides Essential Nutrients

Fish skin is an excellent diet for dogs because it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. They also have an ample amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.In addition to that, fish skin contains collagen that keeps the skin and skeletal system (bones, muscles, etc.) healthy. Likewise, this protein is also useful for blood vessels, gums, eyes, nails, and hair.

Good for the Heart

illustration of a dog's heart

Fish skins are rich in fatty acids, especially Omega-3. These fatty acids efficiently reduce triglyceride levels and save your dog from heart problems. Moreover, fish skins are low in calories and saturated fats. This gives even more value to this ingredient.

Serves as a Healthy Snack

Most fish skin treats are nothing but fish skins that are scaled, washed, and dried. They are free from artificial flavors and preservatives. Hence, dried fish skin can be a good munching replacement for baked treats that are not very healthy. Fish skin can also be a great substitute for dogs who are allergic to beef or chicken.

Natural Cleaner for Your Dog’s Teeth

Human hands holding open a dog's mouth

The leathery nature of fish skin takes some effort to be chomped. This allows it to work like a toothbrush and scrub away the plaque from your dog’s teeth.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?

Yes, dogs can eat salmon skin but only on the condition that we cook it thoroughly. Don’t marinate salmon skin with any spices (even salt) before cooking if you want to give it to your dog. Similarly, you should avoid offering salmon skin cooked with toxic ingredients, like onion or garlic. The best way is to separate the skin first, and then cooking (or grill) it separately for dogs.

Properly cooked salmon is a natural and flavorful source of protein for canines. Salmon skin oils are also good for their coat and immune system. However, salmon should only be fed in moderation because it has a comparatively high amount of saturated fats.

Other Types of Fish that are Safe for Dogs

large amount of whole fish piled onto a table

Some fish that are good for humans are also healthy for dogs and their skins can be eaten by dogs. This list mainly includes small wild-caught species whose bodies and skin have a little amount of mercury and parasites. Some of these fish are listed below.

  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Herring
  • Tuna 
  • Whiting
  • Whitefish
  • Sardines
  • Tilapia

When choosing fish for your canine, stay away from those that have been raised in fish farms. This is because farm fish are usually cultivated without caring about health standards. Hence, they can contain unsafe degrees of antibiotics and toxins. However, you can purchase fish from those farms that fulfill the hygienic production guidelines.

NOTE: All fish skins are high in fats and should only be given to dogs as treats. They should never become a part of your pup’s regular meal.

Is Fish Skin Healthy for Puppies?

A variety of different puppy breeds on a white background

We know that fish skins are a powerpack of protein and good fats. Therefore, they can be very beneficial for puppies during their growth period. The protein in fish skin (especially collagen) helps a lot in building strong muscles and bones. Similarly, other nutrients, like Omega 3 and minerals, are good for the brain, heart, and ocular health.

On the other hand, over-eating of fish skin can lead to obesity and other health problems. For this reason, it’s imperative to find the right balance for the actual nourishment of your pup. Hence, fish skins should only be fed as treats (in moderate amounts), even to puppies.

Another advantage of fish skin treats is that they are highly palatable and easy to ingest. This allows your puppy to start enjoying these crunchy treats from the age of 12 weeks.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish Skin?

Hands pulling fish skins off of a fish over a stainless steel wash pan

No, they can’t. Dogs can only eat it when cooked because raw fish skin may contain hazardous parasites. For instance, eating raw salmon skin can lead to salmon poisoning.If untreated, this disease can be lethal for dogs.

Moreover, raw fish skins contain harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and clostridium. These bacteria are not only harmful to your dog but can also have a bad impact on your health. Raw fish skins can also have some fish thorns on them that can damage the dog’s throat or gastrointestinal lining.

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