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Our dogs are important family members, so we want to feed them foods to help them live long, healthy lives. Most dog foods are specially formulated to give your pup a balanced diet, but some brands have shown not to be as healthy as they advertise. Sometimes dog parents prefer to make something from scratch, so they know all of the ingredients that their fur child is consuming.
You can find many recipes to create meals for your dog, but it may be challenging to determine which foods are beneficial for your dog and which are potentially harmful. If you’re asking yourself, can dogs eat fish? The short answer is yes but read on to learn about the risks and benefits.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Fish?
Dogs can eat cooked fish in moderation, but too much may lead to obesity. You can cook fish for your dog by baking, grilling, or steaming. When cooking, try boiling vegetables that your pup can eat to add to the flavor.
While fish itself isn’t harmful to dogs, some cooked fish can have too much oil upsetting your dog’s GI tract leading to severe illnesses like pancreatitis. You should not feed your dog table scraps of fish that you prepare for yourself because many seasonings can harm your pup. Fish is often cooked with garlic, which is toxic to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?
Dog’s stomachs are different from ours. They have strong stomach acid that helps them break down bacteria, but you should still err on the side of caution when it comes to feeding your pooch raw fish. Raw fish can contain parasites that can lead to a lot of health complications for your pup.
You may be thinking that people enjoy sushi, so your pup should be able to as well. Just like us, if you want to feed your dog raw fish, look for sushi-grade options. High-quality raw fish can be good in moderation, but be sure to monitor your dog for signs of intestinal parasites:
- Weight loss
- Distended abdomen
While some dog owners prefer to feed their pooch a raw diet, it may be more beneficial to feed them cooked fish or simply buy pre-made dog food and treats that have fish in them.
Should Dogs Eat Fish Bones?
Bones like beef bones are a good source of nutrients and minerals for your dog. Beef and synthetic bones can also remove buildup on their teeth, preventing gum disease. However, your dog should not eat fish bones. Fishbones are dangerous for dogs because they are small and brittle and can get lodged in their throat, stomach, or intestines.
While a fishbone may be small enough to pass without issue, ingesting one may lead to a trip to the vet because fish bones can perforate their intestine wall causing severe pain.
Health Risks and Benefits
Some dogs have allergies to other types of animal protein, making fish a great alternative protein source.
Despite some fish having more vitamins than others, most are packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. Some of the healthiest fish for people and dogs include salmon, freshwater trout, and freshwater whitefish. These fish have a lot of vitamins that help your pup live a long, happy life.
Like with us, omega-3 fatty acids are great for your dog’s skin, helping to give your pup a beautiful, shiny coat. This fatty acid conditions your dog’s skin, preventing itching and hot spots that could lead to ear and other skin infections.
The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids help improve your dog’s immune system and protect your dog from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and mange.
B vitamins, specifically B12, are essential for your dog’s immune and nervous system health. Fortunately, fish are high in vitamin B12, which improves brain function and supports blood cells’ formation and growth.
If your dog has a B12 deficiency, you will notice that they may become confused, have a decreased interest in playtime, become weak, lose weight and muscle mass, and in extreme cases, can have seizures. To make sure your dog gets enough B12, incorporate supplements or foods high in B vitamins, like fish.
Similar to us, vitamin D helps dogs absorb calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D supports your pup’s skeleton by increasing bone cell activity, supporting bone formation and growth, and speeding the healing of fractures. Vitamin D has also been shown to prevent heart disease, improve joint health, and prevent dental issues.
Despite all of its benefits, vitamin D is controversial for dog health. Too much vitamin D can become toxic to your dog. Although most fatal vitamin D overdoses are from your pup ingesting your supplements. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so that it can be stored in fat deposits. If you think vitamin D has reached toxic levels in your dog, look for loss of appetite, excessive thirst, muscle weakness, and lameness, and contact your vet.
Consuming the appropriate amounts of phosphorus will help support your dog’s cardiovascular and urinary systems. Phosphorus is important for kidneys and flushes toxins from your pup. This mineral also promotes healthy heart function by helping your dog maintain a regular heart rate, especially during exercise.
As with vitamin D, it is crucial to monitor your dog’s intake of phosphorus. Too much phosphorus in your dog can reverse its benefits to the kidneys causing bladder stones or leading to kidney disease.
The Bottom Line
We may treat our dogs like furry people by dressing them up, talking to them, and exercising with them, but dogs are quite different from us. They should not eat many of the foods we enjoy, and even if they can eat some of the same foods as us, our seasonings may cause them harm.
So, can a dog eat fish? Yes, but like most things, it is best served in moderation unless your vet says otherwise. If you want to feed your dog a lot of fish, consider giving them food specifically made for dogs with fish in the ingredients.