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Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

Variety of raw fish and other seafood on cutting boards on a wooden table

Yes, dogs can eat raw fish. They have powerful stomach acid that helps in the digestion of fish and destroys pathogens. As a result, raw seafood, such as sushi, is also safe for dogs. But as with everything else in the complex realm of canine nutrition, this isn’t the end of the story.

You can only feed some kinds of raw fish to your dogs without affecting their health. Keep reading to know about the reasons why raw fish can be dangerous for canines.

Is Raw Fish Safe for Dogs?

Some types of fish, like salmon, tuna, whitefish, cod, and hank, are safe for dogs in raw form. Green-lipped mussel is another great seafood option (raw) for your dog. It is high in chondroitin and glucosamine that are perfect for joint health.

Raw fish proves to be healthy because it offers a combination of muscles, bone, and secreting organs. These are the three most critical categories in raw feeding (brains and eyeballs are hard to get by).

Raw fish is also useful for a dog’s immunological and cognitive health. It also improves the health of their joints, skin, and coat. This is because fish is a natural resource of Omega-3 fatty acids that help the body to reduce inflammation. However, Rover also mentions some kinds of raw fish that can be dangerous for dogs because of the following reasons.

Parasitic Infection

parasites under a microscope

The presence of parasites in raw fish makes it a trick option for many dog owners. Raw fish is often contaminated with flukes, tapeworms, or roundworms that can cause infection in the stomach. Hence, it is not preferable to feed every fish to your dog in raw form.

Mercury Poisoning

Beads of mercury on a textured surface

Raw fish can contain a lot of mercury and it will result in toxicity. Lead accumulated in a fish’s gills is also unhealthy for a dog’s stomach. Similarly, some other chemicals should also not be introduced to your dog’s stomach because they can cause damage.

Your Canine is New to Fish

Jack Russell Terrier smelling a fish

It is necessary to check the medical history of your furry friend before introducing anything new in his/her diet. This holds true for fish as well because pups who don’t consume fish can find it difficult to digest.

Allergic Reactions

Tan dog scratching while sitting in grass

Never feed raw fish (especially green-lipped mussels) to your dog if he/she has a shellfish allergy. Not all dogs are allergic to fish food, but your pup can be an exception. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to consult your vet before introducing fish to your dog’s diet.

Fish Bones can be Dangerous

If your canine is eating raw fish, the chances of him/her consuming tiny fish bones are enhanced. Fishbones are bad for a dog to ingest because they can cause injuries and blockages.

How to Feed Raw Fish to Dogs?

Close up of a hand holding down raw fish fillet being cut with a knife.

The process of preparing fish begins in the shop. Always purchase high-quality fish for your pooch to minimize the risks of toxicity. Fish skin is OK for dogs to eat, but fish bones are not. Hence, you should always remove the bones (from the fish) before feeding your pooch. Bones can cause choking, injury to your dog’s gums, and possibly cause internal organ damage.

Raw fish comes in a variety of ways for dogs. Make sure that the fish you are offering is prepared without seasonings or artificial flavors. Grilling or steaming fish is an excellent way to prepare it (for dogs) because it doesn’t require any oil. This will avoid the addition of extra calories and fat in this lean protein source.

Freezing the raw fish for at least 24 hours before feeding to the dog can eradicate parasites and germs. If you feel 24 hours is not long enough, you can freeze the raw fish for at least a week (or more).

How Much Raw Fish Can Dogs Eat?

Cubes of raw fish in a white dish with garnish.

Raw fish should account for around 10% of your dog’s daily diet. It’s a healthy anti-inflammatory meal for the brain and joints and can be consumed in several different forms. If you live near the beach or a well-stocked grocery store, you might be able to find fresh fish. Otherwise, canned raw fish (sardine, herring, mackerel, salmon, and even green-lipped mussels) can be found at various dog food stores.

Always remember to freeze any raw Pacific fish for at least three weeks before feeding it. It is a precautionary measure to eliminate a parasite that can kill pets.

Green-Lipped Mussels – Large dogs can have two green-lipped mussels per day, medium dogs can have 1 per day, and tiny dogs can have 1/2 per day.

Fish Oil – Dogs can take one pump of Bonnie & Clyde’s wild-caught fish oil per 20 pounds of body weight. This is because the oil is rich and concentrated, and it might induce stomach distress.

Fish Bones – Raw fish bones (of small fish) are just as flexible and malleable as raw chicken or rabbit bones. Therefore, dogs can eat them without being harmed. Larger fish heads, such as those of salmon, are also safe for dogs.

NOTE: Do not forget to check out the symptoms if your canine shows any abnormal behavior or reaction. Some of the most common symptoms of raw seafood poisoning are vomiting, inability to eat, fever, diarrhea, and weakness.

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