dog eating fish

Can Dogs Eat Fish? What Types Of Fish Are Safe For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Fish? What Types Of Fish Are Safe For Dogs?

As a dog owner, you may wonder if dogs can eat fish. Fish is often an essential component of commercial dog diets that are formulated to provide a balanced nutritional profile. You can also incorporate fish into a diet that you prepare at home for your dog that is both nutritious and delicious. Fish is an excellent source of protein, has a moderate amount of saturated fats compared to other types of meat, and is simple to digest once it has been prepared.

Many commercially available prescription diets use fish as a protein source because of its potential health benefits for dogs suffering from medical issues such as food allergies or other types of dietary intolerances. Fish is also an excellent source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals, all of which play crucial roles in the process of keeping your dog healthy throughout his entire life.

fish for dogs

Health Benefits Of Fish For Dogs

Fish has a distinct odor that dogs find irresistible, and there's a good reason for that. Fish is a nutritious source of protein, and for this reason, it is frequently used in commercial dog foods as a replacement for other types of proteins. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in high concentrations in fish, and some veterinary experts believe that these acids may have health benefits, including the ability to reduce inflammation. Dogs who suffer from food allergies to more common components, like chicken, may find relief from their symptoms by eating fish instead.

If you choose to give your dog a homemade meal that includes fish, you should make sure to speak with your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure that you are meeting all of your dog's nutritional requirements. Fish can be an important component of a home-cooked diet. When you give your dog fish for the first time, give only a tiny piece until you decide whether or not your dog can take that particular fish without having an allergic response or an upset in their digestive system.

Potential Risk Of Feeding Your Dog Fish

There are risks associated with feeding fish to your dog, despite the fact that there are positive health effects that fish can have on your dog. There are a number of risks associated with giving your dog fish, including the following:


Although fish is a natural source of protein, there are certain dog breeds that are more likely to have allergic reactions to eating fish than others.


When dogs consume raw fish, they run the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria (such as listeria or salmonella), which can result in vomiting, a bloated stomach, and diarrhea.

dog licking a fish

Oil Content

Fish that has been canned and packed in oil, such as anchovies or sardines, should not be fed to dogs. Excessive amounts of oil have been linked to health problems such as obesity and pancreatitis.


If you feed your dog raw fish, there is a significant possibility that your dog will contract intestinal parasites such as flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms. They could make him throw up, induce diarrhea, and cause weight loss.

Choking Hazard

Fragile fish bones, which are unlikely to be detected by people when eating raw fish, pose a choking risk for dogs and can even cause harm to their internal organs. Your dog's mouth is susceptible to being pierced by bones.

What Types Of Fish Can Dogs Eat?

There are a number of species of fish that your dog is able to consume in moderate amounts, provided that you prepare the fish and remove any bones. Dogs are able to eat:


Cod is a typical ingredient in commercial dog food, and it can be a wonderful source of protein for your dog. Commercial dog food also frequently contains chicken.


As a source of protein, you can supplement your dog's diet with haddock that has been prepared. Beneficial omega-3 fatty acids can be found in abundance in haddock.

fish on a cutting board


Salmon that has been cooked offers your dog nutritional benefits because it is a source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. However, dogs should not consume smoked salmon because it has a high salt content and may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to salmon poisoning.


These fatty fish can provide your dog with a dose of protein in addition to the important fatty acids they need. If you want to eat fresh sardines, you should always steam them rather than fry them, and if you want to eat canned sardines, you should choose fish that is canned in water rather than oil.


Despite the fact that it is a mild-flavored fish, should not have any seasonings added to it when it is being prepared for your dog. Tilapia, like other fish options, are a healthy and nutritious fish that you dog can benefit from.

Types Of Fish To Avoid Feeding Your Dog

Farm-raised fish should generally be avoided, particularly those from regions where there are few industry rules limiting the type and quality of diet fed to the fish. This is especially important to keep in mind when purchasing fish from these regions. When farm-raised fish are caught and processed, there is a greater chance that the fish's skin and muscle will contain hazardous amounts of leftover antibiotics, dyes, and other possible poisons. This is because antibiotics are used in the farming process. Avoid feeding your dog the following types of fish:
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • King Mackerel
  • Albacore Tuna

When these fish species are harvested, they are often older and larger than when they were caught. Not only are they more likely to have an accumulation of mercury at levels that are unhealthy in their tissues, but they also frequently harbor parasites in their skin, muscular tissues, and internal organs. Mercury is a neurotoxin that affects the central nervous system.

dog eating a raw fish in the snow

How Much Fish Is Safe To Feed My Dog?

Fish in any form—raw, cooked, steamed, or grilled—is acceptable for dogs to consume in moderation. Because eating an excessive amount of fish can cause obesity in dogs, it is important to discuss the proper portion sizes of fish with your dog's veterinarian, particularly if you intend to make fish a regular component of his diet.

It is not necessary for the health of your dog to consume table scraps, including fish; nevertheless, fish can make a pleasant treat for dogs on occasion, as long as owners keep an eye on their dog's weight. A good rule of thumb to follow when determining how much food to give your dog is to limit treats at no more than 10 percent of the total calories it consumes each day.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

Fish that has not been cooked has the danger of harboring pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and listeria. This presents a problem for two different reasons. First, it has the potential to make your dog sick, and second, the FDA warns that it also has the potential to make you and other members of your family sick.

This is a cause for concern for people of all ages, but particularly for young children because they are more likely to come into touch with the saliva of your dog than adults are, as well as for people whose immune systems are already damaged. If you decide to feed your dog a diet that includes fish, you need to ensure that you take all of the necessary precautions for the preparation of your dog's meals. These include thoroughly disinfecting any surfaces and bowls that have been used, as well as washing your hands.

Can I Give My Dog Fish Bones?

The bones of fish are notoriously fragile and difficult to handle. They have the potential to become lodged in your dog's mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines, and they can even puncture the organ wall in some instances. This is not only quite unpleasant, but it might also require a trip to the veterinarian, which is very expensive. It is best to accept the advise of veterinarians and play it safe in this situation.

cooked fish on a plate

Review: Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Certain kinds of fish that have been cooked and deboned are safe for dogs to consume. Do not give your dog fried seafood like fish sticks or fish with high levels of mercury like tuna. Instead, give them fish that are low in mercury like whitefish, salmon, and sardines. Cook fish fillets from fresh or frozen fish without adding any seasonings, and make sure to remove any bones before serving.

Including any raw fish in your dog's diet is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Fish that has not been cooked could have harmful parasites, such as flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms, which could cause a variety of health issues for your dog. You can give your dog fish oil supplements if he does not have an allergy to fish. This will promote good skin on your dog as well as a boost to their immune system. Shellfish such as scallops, mussels, and clams are among the types of seafood that dogs are able to consume.

Find the perfect gift for your dog