Homemade diets

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Mariana Castanheira
By Mariana Castanheira, Licensed vet. September 19, 2017
Can Dogs Eat Fish?

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The benefits of salmon oil and cod liver oil for dogs are becoming more widely known, but can dogs eat fish? What types of fish are good for dogs? How should we give them fish? Is it necessary to cook the meat, or can they eat it raw? Undoubtedly, these are just some of the doubts we face when embarking on a homemade diet or hybrid feed (when the animal is offered both bought feed and food made by us).

Of course, if you are one of those who opt for the latter option you should know that it is not recommended to mix fish with natural food, it is necessary to offer it separately and at different times of the day. This is because these products follow completely different digestive processes and, therefore, making the dog eat them at the same time could spark serious health problems, including gastric twist.

Read on to discover all about dogs eating fish on AnimalWised.

You may also be interested in: Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?


  1. Can I give my dog canned tuna?
  2. Benefits of fish for dogs
  3. How to give fish to your dog

Can I give my dog canned tuna?

We are often asked this question on AnimalWised, as well as "can my dog eat cooked fish?" or "can i feed my dog cooked salmon?" You indeed can.

Fish is good for dogs and, despite popular beliefs about the consumption of this product, none of them used to show signs of toxicity in dogs, except for cases of fish allergy. Thus, we can offer our furry companions any type of fish, both white and blue, since each offers different benefits and interesting properties for efficient development of dogs. Of course, take into account that blue fish contains a higher caloric intake than white. If, for example, our dog needs to lose some weight, it is much more advisable to opt for the white rather than the blue. Also, this higher caloric intake also translates into a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, so that blue fish is better suited for improving dogs' fur, as well as protecting their immune system and preventing the onset of cardiovascular diseases.

For dogs, their protein intake must occupy the highest percentage of their total daily dose of food. Therefore, the consumption of both meat and fish is recommended to cover it. The important thing when we decide to venture into homemade diets for our animals is to cover all their nutritional needs, to maintain a correct balance between phosphorus and calcium, and to work with quality products - ecological being the most recommended.

Now, although all fish are good for dogs, it is true that some of them stand out above the rest for the benefits they offer to our four-legged friends. So, the most recommended fish are the following:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Hake

Benefits of fish for dogs

As we have seen, both white and blue fish have great benefits for dogs, so including them in our dog's diet is more than recommended. Now, what exactly do those benefits consist of? Undoubtedly, the first of them, common in both types of fish, is the high protein intake.

Dogs require lots of proteins to stay healthy and strong, because without them their body could not produce the enzymes, hormones, tissue and cells needed for their proper functioning. As for the rest of the properties for dogs, we will now detail them depending on the type of fish:

Benefits of white fish for dogs

White fish, also known as lean fish, differ from the blue ones, mainly, by the percentage of fat - there are much less fatty acids in white fish. In general, 100 grams of white fish usually contribute about 110 kcal, so it is highly beneficial for those dogs with obesity, which require a special diet to lose weight. Likewise, it is also a recommended product for elderly dogs, both for its protein content and for its low caloric intake and other benefits that we named below.

White fish is also an excellent natural source of B vitamins, with B3, B9 and B12 being the most prominent, and vitamin A. On the other hand, white fish gives dogs a considerable amount of essential minerals for their correct development, such as calcium and phosphorus, already mentioned above. As we indicated, maintaining the balance between these minerals is essential to avoid a deficiency of one of them. If the dog's body detects that, for example, they need more calcium, they will tend to extract it from their own bones, something totally counterproductive. So, by offering this food to our furry friend, we not only avoid this situation, but also favor their bone system and help them prevent the development of diseases related to it, such as osteoporosis, arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Although we have highlighted hake as the most recommended white fish for dogs, we can offer any other type, such as cod, gilthead, etc.

Benefits of blue fish for dogs

Blue fish, unlike white, has a high percentage of fats. However, the fats that we find in this type of fish are the so-called 'polyunsaturated', the omega 3 fatty acid is present in the blue fish. In this way, we see how products that are part of this food group represent one of the best natural sources of omega 3, a substance very beneficial for dogs. These fatty acids can improve the capillary health of the animal, enhancing brightness, softness and giving vitality to their coat.

Also, omega 3 has the ability to protect the animal against possible cardiovascular diseases that they can develop, because it greatly reduces plaque formation in blood vessels. On the other hand, it also has important anti-inflammatory properties, indicated for patients with joint pain, such as that produced by canine arthritis.

In addition to its omega 3 content, blue fish is good for dogs because of the variety of vitamins that it possesses; vitamin D, A, B12, B3, B2 and B1 being the most outstanding.

The ideal is to offer salmon, since it is the blue fish that most favors the health of our furry friends. However, mackerel, sardines, tuna and herring are also advisable.

How to give fish to your dog

Now that you know that dogs can eat fish and receive a number of benefits, it's time to talk about the different ways to offer this product and include it in their daily diet. In this sense, the ideal and most recommended is to pre-cook the fish and remove all the spines and bones, since this way we eliminate any type of bacteria. For this, it is best to make boiled or grilled fish, never fried or batter. Of course, to keep all of its properties intact, it is necessary to cook the fish at a low temperature, without exceeding 70 degrees, and leave it semi-firm, so that it is sealed on the outside and slightly crude on the inside. If you follow the BARF diet and want to offer your pet raw fish, it will be necessary to clarify its origin to confirm its quality.

Once cooked the fish, we will wait until it is cooled to crumble it and serve it with a touch of olive oil. For more information, do not miss our article on the benefits of olive oil for dogs.

On the other hand, we can also offer versions of canned fish from time to time, always in water or in olive oil. An example of this is canned tuna.

How much fish can I give my dog?

There is some controversy as to the exact amount of protein that a dog should consume per day, as some professionals say it should be about 80% while others suggest that the ideal is 70%. We recommend you try both percentages and you can determine the best one for your dog. In any case, the remaining 30 or 20% should be made up of fruits and vegetables suitable for dogs, and even cereals such as rice or oats one day a week.

Now if you are looking for an indicative amount in grams, we can say that for every 10 kilos of weight, you can provide the dog between 120 and 150 grams of fish per day. On the other hand, it is not advisable to feed your pet fish every day. Try out some recipes with fish twice a week.

Can I mix fish with other food?

Of course, as long as you keep the indicated amounts. In this way, you can combine the fish with pieces of boiled vegetables like carrot or squash, or with a little boiled rice. Of course, if you ask "can i mix fish with dog food?", the answer is a resounding NO. As we have already said, natural foods and commercial feed requires different times and digestive processes, so offering them at the same time could cause serious health problems and damage your pet's digestive system.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Dogs Eat Fish?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

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Can Dogs Eat Fish?