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Can Dogs Eat Tilapia?

whole Tilapia surrounded by ice on piece of slate

Tilapia are fish native to Africa. It has been introduced throughout the world and is now farmed in over 135 countries. China is by far the world’s largest producer of tilapia. It often ends up as food for dogs from table scraps. So, is it safe for dogs to eat Tilapia? Read on to find out.

Is Tilapia Good for Dogs?

Dogs can eat tilapia, but to not hurt them, you should remove the fish bones beforehand. It is advisable to moderate the quantity of fish your dog consumes to avoid any unwanted consequences. Make sure that the food you’re feeding to your dog doesn’t contain any salt or garlic.

Tilapia is full of nutrients such as potassium, vitamin D, and phosphorous. Similarly, this fish is a great source of protein and contains Omega 3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory properties of fatty acids are useful for the cardiovascular system, brain, joints, skin, and fur of your dog.

All these nutrients are healthy for your canine and do not cause any harm. To put things into perspective, a 100-gram serving of Tilapia contains:

  • Calories: 128
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Protein: 26 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • *Niacin: 24% of
  • *Vitamin B12: 31%
  • *Phosphorus: 20%  
  • *Selenium: 78%
  • *Potassium: 20%

* These values are for RDI (Recommended daily intake)

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tilapia?

Raw Tilapia fillets on a cutting board

Your dog isn’t a cat and should NOT be given raw fish at all. If you intend to feed your dog some fish, make sure that it’s cooked well. Uncooked fish contain bacteria (salmonella, listeria, etc.) that can cause serious problems. For example, they can make your dog sick (vomiting and diarrhea). In addition to that, your pet may transfer these parasitic germs to small children.

Even though canines with strong immune systems are protected against raw fish, it is often not worth the risk. Likewise, it is not a good idea to feed your dog salted Tilapia or any curry. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Moderate cooked, boneless tilapia treats with no salt are best for your pooch.

Another issue with feeding raw Tilapia to dogs is the fish bones. They are brittle and dangerous for your pet because they can get lodged in his/her gastrointestinal tract. This can cause some serious damage to the tissues lining the organ walls. Similarly, stuck fish bones are painful for dogs and the removal procedures often come with a hefty price tag.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Tilapia?

close up of pan cooked Tilapia

Excess of anything can go downhill really quickly. This phrase is the best possible way to describe a dog’s eating habits. Maintaining a proper balance in your dog’s diet is critical for his/her health. We know that cooked fish in moderation is safe for your canine friend. However, too much fish can lead to problems.

Many dog owners tend to forget that dogs, unlike humans, don’t need a change in their diet. A canine fed on a commercial dog food doesn’t need any additional nutrition unless recommended by a veterinarian. Although fish is good as an occasional treat for your pup, it shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Tilapia?

Fried Tilapia with a side of fries on a plate

Your dog will enjoy cooked tilapia that is not fried and has not been cooked in rich flavorings. Fried or buttery fish contain too much unhealthy fat and rich flavorings that can shock your dog’s system. The same can be said about feeding your dog too much fish. Therefore, feed tilapia in small amounts only periodically—as a treat or added to your dog’s usual food.

When the fish is fried in excess oil, it can upset your dog’s stomach and cause him/her diarrhea. Likewise, seasonings like onions and garlic are toxic to puppies and must not be included in their food.

Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin?

plate of fried fish skins

Just like bones, fish skin is also NOT safe for your dog. Several dangerous bacteria could be present on fish skin that can be harmful (and even deadly) for canines. Consequently, it is important to remove the skin and bones before feeding Tilapia to your pet. Once you have removed the dangerous parts, bake, cook, or grill the fish to feed it to your dog.


Tilapia is an inexpensive, commonly consumed fish that is farmed all over the world. It carries a lot of health benefits for your dog. Fish are full of nutrients and are safe for your dog as long as you exercise moderation. He/she will enjoy an occasional fish treat and will remain healthy as long as you are careful.

NEVER feed your dog raw or skinned fish if you want to avoid bacterial infections. Deep-fried fish with lots of oil is also not suitable for your pet. Similarly, a lot of seasonings (garlic, onion, etc.) that humans eat are poisonous to canines. Always contact a vet as soon as possible if your dog eats something potentially toxic.

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