Can my dog eat cooked fish?

Can my dog eat cooked fish?

PHC LLCJan 19, '21

Can my dog eat cooked fish?

Remember growing up and seeing pictures of dogs chasing off some meat? Yes, there are quite plenty. Most book illustrations, cartoons, and movie characters depict dogs as meat lovers.  

Dogs are seldom advertised eating seafood. This is probably why you feel hesitant about sharing your favorite fish with your dogs.

Yet, dogs indulging in seafood is not completely unheard of. Did you know that most dog foods have fish as an ingredient? Try scanning through the ingredients section of your dog’s favorite meal to see.

However, the long-standing debate of whether it is safe for your canine companions to eat fish remains. And it needs to be settled today. This article consulted credible experts to answer the lingering question – is it safe for dogs to eat cooked fish?

Quick Answer: Yes, it is completely safe for dogs to eat cooked fish.

Can my dog eat cooked fish?

According to veterinarians and nutritionists, fish is a safe choice for your dogs. It is rich in nutrients like proteins and fatty acids that support your pets' growth and development.

Besides safety, another daunting question is whether your dog will eat fish once you serve it. The majority of dog breeds find the fishy smell appetizing, so they would enjoy having seafood for lunch most often than not.

Overall, you can feel confident about serving your canine companion fish because dogs are born meat lovers. 

Serving Ideas

Here are some reminders on how to serve fish to dogs:

Stay away from canned fish soaked in oil and coated with flavorings and seasonings. Studies show that frequent intake of these ingredients poses some serious health risks to your paw friends. Instead, choose fish doused in water.

It is not advisable to feed your dogs raw and uncooked fish due to the risk of infectious and parasitic organisms. Therefore, cook the fish correctly to eliminate bacteria, fungi, worms, and other organisms that could make your dog sick.

Always make sure to prepare deboned fish for your dogs. Unlike cats, dogs cannot chew fishbones well enough. Serious threats of choking and physical injuries are associated with fish bones, so better check twice.

Moreover, avoid serving fishtails, scales, and even fish skin to your dogs. The sharpness and hardness of the scales may result in the puncturing of the airway or, worse, the stomach lining of the dog.

Be mindful of the proportions of your servings. For big dogs like golden retrievers, 1/3 cup is good enough. For small dogs like Pomeranians, ¼ cup of fish is suggested. Despite the health benefits of fish, you can only let your dogs eat fish no more than twice a week.

Nutritionists highly require dog owners to serve fish meat with other foods like vegetables to provide them with sufficient vitamins and minerals. 

Is fish healthy to include in a dog’s diet?

Veterinarians and multiple studies support the claims of fish being a healthy and completely safe part of your dog's meals.

In fact, fish can supply rich amounts of protein, amino and fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to your canine buddy. Other fish products like fish oil and fish jerky also have outstanding benefits for your dog's overall wellbeing.

How should fish for dogs be prepared?

Although fish is packed with beneficial components, it still needs to be prepared correctly so that it won't endanger your paw friends.

The most important thing to remember in preparing fish for your dogs is to remove the bones (every single of them), scales, head, and tail. Unlike cats, dogs cannot soften and eat these parts. In most cases, the fish bones or scales get lodged up in the dog's airway, choking them.

If you plan to buy canned fish and are worried about the salt content, you can soak the fish in water overnight. Drain and wash with the water the next morning. Afterward, you can prep the fish as you like.

It is true that vets advise not to serve fish raw, especially with its skin intact, due to risks of salmonella and other food-borne diseases. However, frying is not recommended either. Oils and seasoning can cause gastrointestinal upsets and serious complications such as pancreatitis in dogs.

You can try other cooking methods like roasting, air-frying, steaming, and sautéing to prepare a fish meal.

Buying Fish

To deliver the promise of safety and satisfaction to your fur buddy, make sure to buy only from reputable stores. Select only the fresh and firm-bodied fish. Never compromise the health of your dogs for a measly price.

We also encourage you to get the fish deboned in the shop. They might do a better job than you because of sheer experience and specialized tools.

Cooking Fish

There are many fish meals you can prepare and cook for your furry friends. You can opt to serve them directly from cans or packs. But on rare occasions, you may want to try your cooking prowess for your dogs. In these cases, it is best to first consult with your vet about the menu.

Here are some of the most popular fish meals you can cook for your canine companions:

  • Fish and Sweet Potato MealThis is a delicious combination of fish fillet and sweet potatoes. You can prepare this by mixing 1 cup of steamed (or baked) fish meat with ½ cup of boiled potatoes. You can make this a regular meal by adding vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Fish Cakes – This recipe requires canned salmon, peas, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and parsley. You just have to mix these ingredients in a large bowl until evenly distributed. Afterward, shape them like patties and add a layer of mashed potato on top for carb supply.
  • Dehydrated Fish ChewYou need a special appliance called a dehydrator for this recipe. It is relatively inexpensive and can easily fit on your countertop. You shove fish meat or well-cleaned fish skin into your dehydrator to make your dog some tasty and chewy jerky.

Can dogs eat raw fish?

The American Veterinary Medical Association strongly advises against feeding raw fish to dogs.

Raw fish may contain harmful microorganisms like Salmonella, Neorickettsia, Clostridium, and Listeria, which cause serious diseases in your dog like Salmon poisoning. Dogs are the only susceptible species to salmon poisoning, and it could be fatal.

Moreover, raw fish can also contain parasitic worms like flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms that can cause health conditions like malnutrition in dogs if left untreated.

The microorganisms and parasitic organisms also pose a risk to humans. The possibility of transmission of these organisms from dogs to your family members is quite likely. To prevent this unfortunate situation, stay away from feeding your dogs raw fish and seafood.

Can dogs eat fried fish?

Although frying can eliminate the dangerous microbes and parasites in fish, fried fish remains off-limits to dogs. This is because too many unnecessary fats in oils and butter can cause gastrointestinal upset, which could make your dog cranky and moody.

Frequent consumption of fried foods can also cause life-threatening conditions in dogs like pancreatitis, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

What benefits does fish offer dogs?

Fish is an excellent addition to your dog's diet as it has various benefits, helping your fur buddy grow stronger and healthier.

Fish is rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that aids in maintaining coat and skin health. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 alleviate skin inflammation associated with allergens.

Furthermore, omega-3 can also improve joint mobility of dogs, reducing the feeling of tiredness and stiffness. Lastly, omega-3 plays a vital role in maintaining normal brain function and behavior among dogs.

Aside from healthy fats, fish is also a rich source of proteins for dogs. Their guts find it easier to digest fish proteins than kinds found in other meat. It is also hypoallergenic—thus, fish is a good alternative for dogs with chicken or meat allergies. 

How much fish can dogs eat?

The best way to determine the healthy amount of fish for your dog is to consult with your vet, considering all factors like health, weight, age, and nutritional requirements.

Just to give you an idea, normally, fish can be offered either as a treat, which must only occupy 10% of the overall diet. If provided as a dietary supplement, you can serve it a few times a week (usually twice a week). For special cases where your dog is allergic to meat, fish becomes a daily component of a balanced diet.

Can dogs eat fish skin or bones?

As discussed earlier, serving raw fish, especially the skin, poses serious health risks to dogs due to harmful microorganisms and parasites that live on it. However, with the correct preparation, dogs can eat fish skin. Dehydrated and dried fish skin is safe for dogs. Just make sure that the scales are removed. It makes excellent jerky treats for your canine friends. On the other hand, fish bones, heads, scales, and tails are strongly prohibited for dog consumption.

Can puppies or pregnant dogs eat fish?

Yes, fish is guaranteed safe for pregnant dogs and newborn pups. The extra protein, vitamins, and fatty acids that fish contains can be healthy for them. You can choose to give fish as treats or include it as part of a well-balanced meal. 

How much-cooked fish can dogs eat?

Moderation is key. Too much of anything can be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Adult and older dogs should not consume cooked and canned fish more than twice a week. On the other hand, if you wish to make fish a staple in your dog’s diet, it is best to consult with a vet for the appropriate serving size.

How to add fish to your dog’s diet

We have presented a few ideas in this article on how you can feed fish to your dog. You can start with small treats like dehydrated fish meats and skin, or you can try adding fish to their nutritionally balanced meals.

Introducing new food to your dogs can be quite a challenge. For best results, you can first try feeding your dog small fish servings and observing their reaction. If they seem satisfied and happy, then it's a success. But never forget to consult with your vet first to ensure your dog's safety.


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