Do Dogs Eat Fish?

White dog eating a raw fish

If you are looking for a one-word answer to this question, it would be a YES. Having said that, you can’t offer all kinds of fish to your dogs. You need to ensure that the type of fish you are offering is safe for your canine. Discussing the issue with your vet is an ideal way to clarify all your doubts.

Fish can be a good resource of proteins and essential amino acids. Similarly, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a number of health benefits to your dog. There are a lot of different varieties of fish that can be included in your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Have Tilapia?

A Tilapia on ice on a stone surface

Despite the doubts of some people, Tilapia is completely safe and one of the most nutritious fish for dogs. In fact, it is an excellent source of low-fat proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties of these fatty acids, they are also beneficial for your dog’s skin and fur. The presence of phosphorus, folate, and vitamin D makes Tilapia even more beneficial for your dog.

Although some people consider Tilapia dangerous for their dogs, it is NOT true in all instances. If you follow all the necessary precautions (like cooking the fish and removing the bones) before serving, it won’t do any harm to your pet. Likewise, it is important to feed small quantities of fish to your dogs. This is because they can produce amino acids within their bodies and an excessive amount of fish can cause complications.

Can Dogs Have Salmon?

A whole Salmon on a stone counter top surrounded by herbs, lemons, tomatoes, garlic and onions

Salmon can be an ideal addition to your dog’s diet if he/she is allergic to the most common source of protein, chicken. The nutritional value of this fish is what makes it a popular ingredient for high-quality dog foods. Other than proteins and fatty acids, salmon offers a range of important vitamins and minerals. Some of the health benefits of salmon for your dogs are listed below.

  • Helps with inflammation
  • Improves brain function and joint mobility
  • Healthy skin and fur
  • Strengthens immune function
  • Guards against allergies and skin irritations

Despite the benefits, it is essential to limit your dog’s portion size and frequency of salmon intake.

Salmon Poisoning

You should NEVER give raw fish to your dog because it can cause Salmon Poisoning. Uncooked salmon can carry a parasite called Neorickettsia Helminthoeca that is responsible for this infection. Some of the symptoms of this fatal disease are as follows:

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness and Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Extreme Weight Loss
  • Depression

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, immediately take your pet to a vet. It is critically important because the chances of survival are inversely proportional to the diagnosis time.  

Can Dogs Have Tuna?

A whole tuna fish on a white surface with a half lemon, mint and rosemary.

It can be a little risky to answer this question with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ without a little explanation. Even though Tuna itself is non-toxic for dogs, Mercury Poisoning can pose a lot of threats. Tiny quantities of Tuna won’t cause any damage to your pet but you can’t choose this fish for regular use. If you observe any of the following conditions in your dog, immediately take him/her to your vet.

  • Vomiting blood
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Watery Diarrhea
  • Loss of feeling in paws

The dumping of industrial waste into the seas allow heavy metals like mercury to enter the systems of saltwater fish. Given the fact that Tuna is a large, long-life fish, it accumulates a lot of mercury over the course of its life. For this reason, excessive consumption of this fish can be dangerous.  

According to The Labrador Site, only 5 (out of 20) species of Tuna are used for consumption. Considering the fact that smaller fish will have a lesser amount of mercury, it is advisable to feed only the smallest of these species to your dogs.

Consequently, researchers suggest that you should always select skipjack (42 lbs.) or albacore tuna (73 lbs.) for canines. Skipjack has 0.12 ppm of mercury content while it increases to 0.32 ppm for albacore. 

Can Dogs Eat Canned Tuna?

an open can of tuna sitting next to a white bowl of tuna with a fork on a wooden surface with parsley in the background.

A lot of commercial dog foods use tuna as one of their ingredients. In an attempt to ensure the safety of your dogs, the American Veterinarian conducted research to study this issue.

They tested different products and verified that mercury levels in commercial dog foods are not a problem (at least for now). Additionally, no case of mercury poisoning from tuna (in dogs) has been reported until now. Having said that, we MUST give a controlled quantity of tuna to our canines.

Can Dogs Eat Fish Cakes?

fish cakes in a cast iron skillet on a wooden table with a blue and white check tea towel.

Fish cakes are perfect treats for your dog on special occasions. All you need to do is to remove the bones and offer a limited quantity to avoid health issues. In order to ensure that you offer a complete meal, you can add other ingredients (vegetables, eggs, etc.) in these cakes. The following recipe of fish cake will guarantee a happy dog meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ounces of frozen peas
  • 1 large can of salmon
  • 2 cans of albacore tuna
  • 2 large eggs, hardboiled and chopped
  • Large handful of parsley, chopped and divided

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in unsalted water until tender. Let cool and then thoroughly mash them. Mix in ~1/4 of your parsley. The potatoes might be a bit dry but don’t add anything to them.
  2. Cook the peas according to the packaging.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the salmon, tuna, remaining parsley, chopped boiled eggs, and peas.
  4. You can either mix in the potatoes or, as I did, serve the potatoes stacked on top of the fish mixture.
  5. Form into patties appropriate to the size of your dog and serve!
  6. Store the rest in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Thanks to Food with Feeling for this recipe.

If you are looking for some other delicious, homemade fish recipes for your dog, click here.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.