Fish is a great source of high-quality protein for humans. But is it the same for dogs? You might be asking yourself, “can dogs eat fish?”, and before you risk serving it to them, you want to become better informed. For example, what are the benefits of giving fish to your dog? Are there any dangers to fish in dogs? If these are some of the questions you have in mind, you’re in luck!
This article answers your inquiries about dogs eating fish.
Can Dogs Eat Fish?
Dogs can absolutely eat fish. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the skin and coat of dogs. In addition, fish (as well as chicken) is a healthy protein alternative for red meat such as pork which may upset your dog’s belly if they have a sensitive stomach or are prone to allergies. Moreover, other health benefits from fish include a decrease in inflammation.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?
Ideally not. Raw fish can be dangerous for dogs. Uncooked fish may contain bacteria such as salmonella and parasites. Cooking fish eliminates most bacteria from the fish. Dogs should ideally only eat cooked fish, as it is safer and more easily digestible.
Dangers of Fish in Dogs
Bear in mind that, despite all its benefits, fish can pose a threat to your furry baby’s health if you aren’t careful. First and foremost, fish itself is not a danger to your dog, but the ill preparation of it might be. For example, if you cook fish in too much oil, you may cause GI upset in your dog. Such a reaction may lead to serious illnesses such as pancreatitis. Furthermore, cooking fish with seasonings is also dangerous due to the toxic ingredients they may contain, such as onion or garlic.
However, the biggest risk for dogs is the fish bones.
Keep in mind that fish bones are extremely small and brittle. They can easily splinter in your dog’s mouth and/or injure the throat and pierce the stomach or intestines. Although of course dogs have eaten bones without any issues, it is not a risk that is worth taking. Remember that the potential consequences are life-threatening and potentially very expensive!
If your dog ate any bones or if you suspect that they might have eaten any, contact your vet immediately.
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How to Safely Serve Fish to your Dog
Safety is important when it comes to serving fish to your dog. As already mentioned, fish is not dangerous, but the preparation of it can be.
First of all, make sure you buy the right fish for your dog. Preferably, select deboned fish. In addition, select the right species. The most common types of fish that are found in dog food are short-lived species such as:
- Ocean whitefish
- Lake whitefish
- Arctic char
Avoid buying longer-lived fish species such as tuna & swordfish. These species are longer-lived, and they may contain heavy metals such as mercury which build up over time in the fish’s system. Mercury can lead to heavy metal toxicity and subsequent poisoning in dogs.
When you serve fish to your dog, always offer it in small pieces without any bones.
How Much Fish to Give to your Dog
Remember that too much fish, no matter how healthy, is never good. Thus, make sure that you serve plain, cooked, steamed or grilled fish to your dog in moderation. All treats and human food should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Ask your online vet about the right serving size for your dog based on their medical history, age, and weight.
Still looking for answers about your dog eating fish? Schedule an instant video consultation with our qualified veterinarians and get tailored advice from the comfort of your home – today.