Can I Give My Dog Fish?

Can I Give My Dog Fish?Experts say you should eat fish at least twice a week. In addition to its nutritional aspect, the Omega-3 may lower blood pressure and reduce one’s chances of developing diabetes or cancer. Perhaps your dog could also benefit from fish?

Certainly there are a lot of positives. Fresh fish also helps with weight loss while providing a great source of amino acids which improves metabolism. With so many health perks, we must address whether dogs can be put on a fish-based diet.

In truth, canines and humans require similar nutrients to survive and thrive. The difference is that proteins for dogs have, over thousands of years, been derived from consuming meat from land-based animals and not fish from oceans or lakes.

Can I Give My Dog Some Fish? Answer: Yes

But your dog probably shouldn’t have a diet based primarily on fish, unless you get a formulated dog food containing it.

To be clear, there’s no good reason to exclude fresh fish from your dog’s diet altogether. You just need to take some basic precautions. Case in point, there’s something called Salmon Poisoning Disease which can occur if your buddy eats uncooked salmon, for example, as it may contain potentially fatal parasites. If spoiled, any type of raw fish could be harmful in this respect.

Probably the safest, most convenient and most consistent way to incorporate fish into your dog’s diet is with a highly rated dog food containing fish in the recipe.

Fido & Fish Food

No doubt that consuming fish offers great health benefits for dogs and people alike. So, yes, you can treat your pet to different types of cooked fish and even crab on occasion. This type of food is generally a great source of protein for active dogs. However, servings should be restricted to approximately two times per week. Don’t stray too much from their regular chow. Besides, excessive consumption can lead to mercury poisoning.

Omega-3 & Amino Acids

The omega fatty acid found in fish is considered good fat. In contrast, most meats have high levels of the saturated kind. Fish oil is great as well. It’s used for treating many different diseases plus it seems to have positive effects for dogs with aggression problems.

With regard to amino acids, some are already being produced in your dog’s body. However, the most essential of them must be derived from their food supply. Meats, including fish, will help to top up amino-acid levels assuming they’re lacking in these important organic compounds.

Which Types of Fish

Different types of fish are beneficial for different reasons. It’s confusing because there are a lot of fish varieties, both seafood or fresh water, to choose from. For example, salmon contains the required daily dose of vitamin D and about half the vitamin B12 requirement. Generally, dogs can benefit from occasionally eating salmon since it provides lots of essential proteins. However, as stated above, make sure that salmon is cooked well enough before you provide it.

Another type is sardines which can contain soft digestible bones for an excellent calcium boost. They also are packing (pun intended) a quarter of a daily dose of magnesium which can help with mood, among other benefits.

Careful of Bones

Be mindful of tiny fish bones which can be quite sharp. Unfortunately, the presence of these bones isn’t so obvious but they can certainly be harmful to your dog. This is one downside to serving fish, besides edible whole sardines which are safe. Regular fish bones can easily get stuck in the throat or further down your dog’s digestive system. Carefully screen any serving for difficult to see bones before chow time!

Conclusion on Fish

Dogs love eating fish and you’ll be happy to know that cooked fish is okay to provide in moderation. It is actually very healthy but you still need to ensure that Fido gets well-balanced canine formulated meals. Limit fish consumption to a couple times weekly unless you plan to provide an excellent dog food containing fish. If you do give your best buddy some actual fresh fish, please cook it and carefully check for bones prior to serving.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie January, 2016

I lived in Alaska for 18 years and we had a black Lab/Husky mix. They are very common in Alaska as they are used as sled dogs. We took Teela to a vet who told us to feed her salmon regularly, as well as veggies, fruits, organ meats (chicken livers and hearts/turkey liver and hearts), which we did.

Teela lived to the ripe old age of 19 1/2 years (got her at 6 weeks from the pound in 1992 and she passed away in 2011 when we finally put her down due to poor health). That dog was absolutely amazing! I agree that most of the dog food these days is garbage. Good healthy food for humans and dogs alike. (Teela loved to eat carrots, apples, cherries, squash, green beans….)


Jamie July, 2015

Raw fish, whole with bones and all, is a great addition to a dog’s diet. I feed my dog raw and he gets sardines and mackerel a few times a week. He loves them!


Geoff July, 2015

The benefits of a full fish diet are well documented. If you have a dog with digestive issues or skin/coat issues, try switching to fish before spending a fortune on vet bills. Make sure there’s no grain too.


Saloni February, 2015

I am feeding my dogs fish daily and my Doberman Pinscher is putting on weight. Is there something wrong with it?


Deborah May, 2015

Either the amount of food your dog is taking in is more than they need or they aren’t getting enough exercise. It’s unlikely to be fish that is the cause, unless you are feeding large amounts of oily fish only? Their coats will look great but it’s very calorific unless you choose a low fat alternative such as tuna. Even then it should not make up all of the diet as they may be nutritionally deficient.

Fish is a great source of protein though. It’s our responsibility as owners to keep our dogs at a healthy weight. They will be happier, healthier and be by your side a whole lot longer. A visit to your vet may be worthwhile, especially as only one dog has gained weight. There may be other reasons for this. A vet can also help with dietary and feeding advice.


Soumaya December, 2014

My small dog loves fish very much, more than meat. She also loves chicken liver and cow liver but I’m not sure if liver is okay.


Jody January, 2015

Yes both fish and liver are good for dogs. Have you ever read Dr. Andrew Jones or Dr. Becker? Wolves in the wild go for the organ meat first. Also, fish that’s high in Omega 3’s is great.


Deborah May, 2015

I agree Jody. Liver is great for dogs but should be limited in quantity. Ideally a small serving once a week or a small treat daily. It’s hard to find any set guidelines to this though. Vets and nutritionists seem to agree, no more than 5% of total diet to avoid vitamin A overdose (hypervitaminosis A). In my opinion, for a large dog, a small meal weekly or a daily liver treat is enough. For small dogs, go with occasional liver treats. You’re right about how good omega-3 fish oil is too! I serve it to mine twice weekly.


Andrew October, 2014

I feed my Akita raw fish every day. It’s ridiculous to suggest that feeding raw fish with bones would be hazardous to a dog. It’s their natural diet. Akitas have been fed fish for centuries in Japan!


Deborah May, 2015

It probably depends where the salmon is from. I believe this type of poisoning is found in raw fish from the Pacific Northwest region, from San Francisco to the Coast of Alaska. We have a Labrador Retriever who loves salmon but we know where it’s farmed in Scotland and it’s fine.

Raw fish is not bad if that’s all they’ve ever been fed. Bones in fish are most harmful and do the damage after cooking! When raw they are soft. As long as you’re making sure they are getting their nutrients and some Omega-3 type fish, I’m sure they will thrive!


Pat September, 2015

Right on Andrew. We’re tired of the ridiculousness. Feed your pets real food because it’s good for dogs. A lot of the commercial stuff is making them sick. Frankly I am sick of being lied to while our pets suffer.


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