Fish – Is It Safe For Dogs?
Watching wild dogs, wolves, foxes, and other canines in the wild., this seems like a silly question. Canines are meat eaters, so of course, they can eat fish, right? To make a long story short, yes, fish is a great option for pet owners who are looking for safe and healthy options for their domesticated pups. There are some considerations to make and provisions to put in place however, as years of genetic altering and breeding have made our furry family members much more sensitive than their wild ancestors.
You can rest assured that many types of fish can be fed to your dog safely, provided they are fully cooked, have no added oils or spices added, and are deemed to be mercury-free.
To make sure you are making the right choice of what fish to give your dog, be sure to contact your veterinarian. In the meantime, here is what you need to know if you want to add fish to your dog’s feeding routine.
Benefits of Fish for Dogs
Dogs love the smell of fish, which is a carryover from their ancestors who fed on fish and other meat prey to survive. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and other essential vitamins and minerals that all dogs need to stay healthy. Fish is also a nice option for dogs that might not be able to eat other meats such as chicken or beef as it is easy to digest and is relatively low on the allergy index.
Fish is a great addition to most dog’s diets, but if you choose to do so, regular checks with your vet will be needed. This can help ensure you are still meeting your dog’s nutritional needs and that they are not accidentally getting too much fatty oils, proteins, or mercury intake through the fish they are eating.
The first time you offer fish to your dog, do so in small quantities and e sure not to add or change anything else with their diet. Every couple of days, you can increase the amount slightly until you get to the level your vet has recommended. This ensures your dog can get all the nutrients and benefits from the fish without the risk of overfeeding and causing intestinal upset or other issues.
Can Dogs Eat Fish and What Kinds are Best
So, dogs can safely eat fish in moderation, but are there some types that are best or that should be avoided? Let’s look at some of the most readily available fish and see how they rank:
Safe Fish for Dogs
- Light tuna fish (canned)
Smaller, younger, wild-caught fish tend to be safe as they have not been exposed to as many toxins in the water and generally have a lower chance of causing issues for pets, so long as they are species listed here.
Unsafe Fish For Dogs
- Albacore tuna (canned)
These fish species tend to be much older and larger when caught, which means they can have higher levels of mercury in them and also are more likely to have parasites on the skin ad tissues that could cause problems for dogs when consumed.
Risks of Feeding Fish to Dogs
Fish on its own is not harmful to dogs; it is the way it is caught, stored, and prepared that can be problematic for dog owners. Fish with oil and excessive fats from cooking sprays, butter, and oils can cause stomach and digestion issues as well as pancreatitis. Seasonings may also cause problems if it is something toxic to dogs, like garlic or onions or if artificial sweeteners have been used in a sauce that fish is cooked in.
One of the biggest threats that pet owners must be mindful of when offering fish is the bones. Fish bones are small, brittle, and dangerous. They can easily get stuck in the throat or mouth and may also loge themselves in the stomach or intestines. This can be very painful for the dog and will usually require a visit to the vet to address it.
Raw fish should not be given to dogs ever due to the risk of contamination from bacteria like salmonella and listeria. This is bad because your dog can sick, but even worse, according to the FDA, it can also spread to family members and make them sick. This is can be deadly to small children and older family members as their immune systems might not be able to handle such exposure.
And as with any new food you introduce your canine family member to, fish should be introduced slowly. Moderation is key to keeping your pup happy and healthy and ensuring they enjoy the benefits of fish. Can dogs eat fish? Yes, they can!