Can I Give My Dog Fish?

Can I Give My Dog Fish?Nutritionists say you should eat fish at least two times a week. The Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower blood pressure and reduce your chances of getting diabetes and cancer. Perhaps your dog could also benefit from fish servings? We’ll cover many of the pros and cons here.

In general, fresh fish provides a great source of amino acids which improves metabolism and can also help with weight loss. But is this even relevant for canines? In any case, with so many health benefits, people often wonder if dogs can be put on a fish-based diet.

Dogs and humans both need similar nutrients to survive and function normally. The main difference is that proteins for dogs have, over many thousands of years, been overwhelmingly been derived from consuming land-based animals.

Can I Give My Dog Fish? Answer: In small amounts on occasion

However, your dog probably shouldn’t have a diet based primarily on fish.

There’s no good reason to exclude fish from your dog’s diet altogether. You do, however, need to watch out for something called salmon poisoning. This can occur if your dog eats uncooked salmon containing potentially fatal parasites. If spoiled, all other kinds of raw fish may be equally harmful in this respect.

Fido & Fish Food

You can feed your dog many different types of cooked fish on occasion. It’s a great protein source for dogs as well as people. Naturally, there should be a limit. You shouldn’t give your dog their small fish servings more than, perhaps, twice a week. By doing that, you are avoiding mercury poisoning. You also need to be very careful not to include any tiny bones so fillets may be best.

Everyone knows that consuming fish offers great health benefits. People in North America probably don’t eat enough fish. I’d say people need fish more than dogs do. Try not to go overboard and be sure that your dog eats fish only in moderation.

Omega-3 & Amino Acids

The omega-3 found in fish contain what are considered good fats. In contrast, most meats have high levels of saturated fat. Fish doesn’t contain such unhealthy fats. 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.

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

Different Types of Fish

Different types of fish are beneficial for different reasons. It can be confusing because there are a lot of fish varieties to choose from. As an example, salmon contains the required daily dose of vitamin D and about half of the recommended dose of vitamin B12. Generally, dogs can benefit greatly from occasionally eating salmon since it provides them with lots of essential proteins. However, as stated above, you have to make sure that salmon is cooked well enough before you feed it to your dog.

Another type is sardines which can contain soft digestible bones for a calcium boost. They also provide a quarter of a daily dose of magnesium which can help with mood, among other benefits.

Careful of The Bones

Unfortunately, the presence of fish bones are not so obvious and are often sharp which can certainly be harmful for your dog as they chow down. This is one down side to serving fish, besides edible whole sardines which are safe. These pesky fish bones can easily get stuck in the throat or further down your dog’s digestive system. Carefully provide your dog some fish by screening it closely for difficult to see bones!

Conclusion on Fish

Dogs love eating fish and you’ll be happy to know that cooked fish is okay to provide in moderation. You do, however, still need to provide well-balanced meals for your canine friend so limit their fish consumption to a couple times weekly. Certain fish species may be more beneficial than others depending on your dog’s nutritional needs. Finally, it’s best to cook the fish before feeding time while also carefully checking for bones prior to serving.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie July 26, 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!

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Geoff July 3, 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.

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Saloni February 2, 2015

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

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Deborah May 19, 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.

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Soumaya December 30, 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.

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Jody January 23, 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.

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Deborah May 19, 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.

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Andrew October 24, 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!

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Deborah May 19, 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!

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