Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they are capable of eating anything that looks appealing and interesting to them. Yes, that sometimes includes bad stuff. However, not everything humans consume is good for dogs and can rather be harmful.
So talking about fish, is it okay for dogs to consume it? Since the question is a bit complicated to answer, let’s start by addressing the positive and negative stuff about dogs eating fish.
Fish meat contains a lot of useful protein and nutrients that will enrich the dog’s diet. It’s filled with Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammations and boost the immune system. Therefore fish is a great option for any dog suffering from food allergies (chicken, beef, lamb) and senior dogs dealing with chronic osteoarthritis.
Whenever you decide to add fish to your dog’s diet, make sure you contact your veterinarian first and make a feeding plan that will meet all of the dog’s nutritional requirements. Obviously, fish meat is an excellent meal that offers quite a few benefits, but before you start feeding your dog with fish, you need to learn about the negative aspects as well.
The bad things about feeding your dog fish are in regards to improper preparing and serving of the food. All dogs love bones and would gladly consume fish bones as well. But you mustn’t ever serve fish with bones. Once ingested, they can get stuck in the dog’s throat or anywhere else in the digestive system. Deboned filets are perfectly safe but always check for any boney residues before you feed your dog.
While the popularity of feeding dogs with raw food is rising, raw fish can put the dog’s health at serious risk. Salmonella is a bacterium that is often found in raw fish and can be transmitted to your dog by eating it. Moreover, dogs can pass the bacteria to other members of the family through the saliva. Young children and elderly individuals are especially susceptible to Salmonella. Cooking the fish at high temperatures minimizes the risk of infections through food.
There are species of fish that shouldn’t be given to dogs whatsoever. Long-lived fish species, such as swordfish and tuna, may have increased amounts of mercury that can produce acute toxicity in dogs. Smoked Salmon isn’t a good idea as well, along with crab, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and clams.
Yes, dogs can and should eat fish, but only by sticking to strict principles of preparing and serving the food. Choose the right fish (Herring, Salmon, Lake Whitefish, and Trout, etc.) and prepare 100% boneless filet. Cook the meat by steaming, baking or grilling to destroy most of the bacteria. You shouldn’t add any seasoning.
If you are giving the fish as an addition to the main meals, be careful not to overfeed your dog as this can lead to obesity in the long term. The amount of fish should be measured and calculated and given according to the dog’s nutritional needs.