Dogs are man’s best friend. They are part of your family, and you want the best for them. You want them to be happy, healthy, and loved. Being aware of what they can and cannot eat is vital in providing them the best care and healthy life you want for them. Therefore, the question here is, can my dog eat tuna?
Tuna is an excellent source of protein. Many dog food brands are even using it as one of their ingredients. However, experts have arguments about its safety for dogs. Therefore, it’s good that you’re here to learn about the pros and cons of tuna and make an educated choice.
Yes, but in moderation.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Yes, dogs can eat tuna. But, it would be best if you only fed it to them on occasion as it may contain high levels of mercury.
Human industrial activities such as smelting and incineration of waste products produce airborne mercury that eventually ends up in our oceans and lakes, where innocent fishes gulp it. This means the longer the fish lives, the higher their mercury exposure is.
Since tuna belongs to large species that could live up to 30 years, they are listed as one of the fishes with high mercury levels. Therefore, excessive consumption of tuna could lead to mercury poisoning.
Here are some of the symptoms of mercury poisoning in dogs that you should be aware of:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Loss of vision
- Inability to urinate
- Abdominal swelling
- Numbness in the paws
- Loss of coordination
- Vomiting blood
- Diarrhea that is bloody or watery
This is why moderating your dog’s tuna consumption is essential. Aside from mercury poisoning, hypernatremia and thiamine inactivation are the other risks of feeding your dog tuna. Fortunately, you can prevent these complications by cooking and serving tuna to your dog in moderate amounts.
What Is Tuna?
Tuna is one of the world’s most consumed fish that belongs to the mackerel family subgroup. It is a migratory fish present in all significant ocean water bodies except the polar regions.
Most of the tuna supply comes from the Pacific Ocean. Though there are many types of tuna in the ocean, only five are the primary focus of commercial fishing.
Here are the five different types of tuna you eat:
The tuna’s size is also vital to consider when deciding to add it to your dog’s diet. We all know that the bigger the fish is, the longer it lives, the higher it’s mercury exposure is. Therefore, choosing smaller tuna fish like skipjack and albacore tuna instead of bigger types like bluefin is recommended.
The Health Benefits of Tuna for Dogs
Aside from being a good source of protein, tuna still has many health benefits for your dogs. Majority of which are the following:
- Good source of lean protein – Encouraging your dog to eat lean prevents them from gaining excessive unwanted fat.
- Rich in minerals – Your dog consumes valuable minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium when they eat tuna.
- Vitamins boost immunity – Because tuna contains a variety of vitamins, including B3, B6, and B12, your dog will develop a robust immune system from consuming it.
- Promotes healthy coat – Tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help your dog maintain a shiny, itch-free coat, healthier heart, and excellent eyesight.
- Supports muscles – Tuna encourages muscular growth, which is essential for your dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Tuna?
The simple answer to this question is yes. However, you should establish additional precautions to keep your pet healthy. For example, choose canned tuna packed in water instead of oil and ensuring there’s no salt added to it.
Although it may not seem like there’s a difference between tuna canned in water and oil, canned tuna in oil can cause digestive distress for your dogs. No matter what sort of oil it is, too much oil is not suitable for your dog even if you drain it away from the can. It is filled with calories and fat, and it can cause loose stools and diarrhea.
Plus, tuna lives in saltwater, so it typically has higher levels of sodium than other freshwater species. That explains its hypernatremia risk. Fortunately, you can prevent this risk by choosing canned tuna with low sodium. Therefore, look for the “no salt added” phrase on its label.
Moreover, when you serve tuna to your dog, it’s best to soak it in water overnight to get rid of the excess sodium. And don’t add anything to it afterward.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna with Mayo?
Typically, dogs can eat tuna with mayo, but in moderate amounts. Mayonnaise contains fat, which is an essential aspect of every dog’s diet. However, just like with humans, too much mayo is not healthy for dogs and may cause some major health problems.
Therefore, only feed your dog tuna with mayonnaise occasionally instead of making tuna or mayo a big part of their diet.
When Is Tuna Bad for Dogs?
The threat of mercury poisoning can be worrisome, but there are no reported cases yet. However, it is still best to limit your dog’s tuna intake.
Tuna can be bad for a dog if it’s not cooked well. Raw tuna, like any raw fish, produces an enzyme known as thiaminase. This enzyme can dissolve any thiamine eaten by your dog, inducing thiamine inactivation. But if you cook the fish properly before serving it, the heat will render this enzyme ineffective and eliminate this risk.
Aside from that, your dog can develop a sensitivity or allergy to any food. There is always a chance that your dog is allergic to tuna. In that case, it helps to introduce tuna slowly to your dog’s diet and observe any symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Quantity of Tuna to Be Served to Your Dog
As mentioned earlier, mercury poisoning won’t threaten dogs if you serve tuna in moderate amounts. Therefore, don’t make tuna a fundamental part of your dog’s diet, but just a special treat for them once in a while.
Adult dogs can only have a small amount of canned or cooked tuna once or twice a week. It would be best if you did not serve them more than that.
Tuna is not toxic to dogs. It provides many health benefits, like a healthier coat, an improved immune system, and a healthier heart. However, you can only feed your dog a small amount of tuna now and then due to the threat of mercury poisoning. Perhaps, you can only serve your dogs well cooked and canned tuna in water to prevent hypernatremia and thiamine inactivation.