Can dogs eat fish and seafood?

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We often think of our dogs as meat-lovers, but can dogs eat fish too? Absolutely. Fish is a quality source of digestible protein, vitamins D and B2, minerals and omega fatty acids. It can be a beneficial part of your dog’s balanced diet.

What are the benefits of fish for dogs?

1. It’s hypoallergenic

Even if your dog is sensitive to other foods, it’s highly unlikely they’ll have a reaction to fish. Meat proteins are usually the cause of allergic reactions in dogs.

At tails.com, we use hydrolysed salmon in some of our hypoallergenic diets. What does hydrolysed mean? The proteins have been broken down so they’re easier to digest, and even less likely to trigger an immune response.

  1. It’s easy to digest

Ideal if your dog has a sensitive stomach.

  1. It can be high in fatty acids

Oily fish – like salmon or tuna – is rich in omega-3s like DHA and EPA. That’s great news for your dog’s skin and coat.

  1. It tastes good

The different textures and flavours are great for adding some variety to your dog’s diet.  

What to know before you give fish to your dog

Before you give your dog some fish to try, there are a couple of things you need to consider. These include:

1. Bones

Like us, dogs can choke on bones. Make sure you’ve removed any stray ones before serving

  1. Freshness

Fish that’s past its best is likely to make your dog unwell. Only give them fish that’s fresh enough for you to eat.

can dogs eat fish

What fish can dogs eat?

Cooked plain – without any added fat, seasoning or sauces – these types of fish are all OK to give your dog:

  1. White fish

Lean fish like cod and haddock are a great source of protein and B vitamins: B6, B12 and niacin.

  1. Salmon

An excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

Try our hand-baked salmon biscuits

  1. Sardines

An oily fish that’s rich in essential fatty acids. Watch out for the bones –  sardine bones may be small, but can still get caught in your dog’s throat.

  1. Tuna

Can dogs eat tuna? In moderation, yes. It’s packed with essential fatty acids but also high in mercury and histamine, so only let your dog have a little bit.

5. Atlantic Mackerel

A good source of omega-3, Atlantic mackerel is lower in mercury than other types of mackerel, so it’s safe for your dog to eat.

What fish can dogs not eat?

Not all fish is good for your dog. Fish and seafood your dog can’t eat include:

  1. Smoked salmon

Plain salmon is fine but when this nutrient-rich fish is smoked, it’s a no-go. That’s because the smoking process involves curing the fish in brine. That makes it too salty for dogs.

  1. Shellfish

Shellfish are filter feeders, so can contain dangerously high levels of toxins like heavy metals. They’re also a common cause of food poisoning. While green-lipped mussels can be a rich source of glucosamine, it’s best to give them a miss. There are other, safer ways to give your dog this joint-friendly supplement.

Read more: Joint care for dogs

  1. Breaded or battered fish

While fish is good for dogs, stodgy, greasy coatings definitely aren’t. Stick to varieties from the fish counter, and give chip shop versions a miss.

Related blog: What foods are harmful to dogs?

Want to know more about feeding fish to your dog? Our veterinary and nutritionist team know their haddock from their halibut. They’ll happily give you all the answers.

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