A dog looking at a fish on the dock it is hoping to eat.

Can Dogs Eat Fish? Types, Benefits, And Risks

Like humans, dogs also need healthy food full of nutrients. Fish is a rich source of amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, and it also provides the same health benefits for dogs as it does for humans. Dogs can be allergic to other protein sources like beef, chicken, and soy though. So, can dogs eat fish?

Dogs can eat fish. Fish can be a very healthy food option for dogs. Salmon, tuna, whitefish, and cod all make great options for your pup. Just be sure to cook the fish without any seasonings or additional oils, and also make sure it is boneless. Raw fish (or fish with bones) can pose many health risks because undercooked fish can contain harmful bacteria. So, when feeding your dog fish, always err on the side of caution, and cook it thoroughly. 

Is Fish Good For Dogs?

Fish provide high proteins with low saturated fats, which are easily digested. Moreover, it is viewed as a commercial prescription diet as many of the novel proteins in fish are very beneficial for dogs with medical conditions like food allergies and other food intolerances. Fish also provide many important minerals and vitamins that are very important for dog health maintenance.

However, fish cooked with seasoning or grilled fish is not suitable for your dogs. So, always cook fish simply, and it should not be undercooked. 

Best Types Of Fish For Dogs

Some fish are healthier and more beneficial for dogs. The following are the safest and most nutritious fish options for a dog diet:

  • Catfish 
  • Cod 
  • Light Tuna
  • Salmon 
  • Whitefish 
  • Flounder 
  • Whiting 
  • Herring 

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Fish To Dogs?

A dog laying down and looking at some fish it would like to eat swimming in a fish bowl.
Let’s just say even though there are benefits to dogs eating fish, we really, really hope this dog doesn’t eat either of these two fish.

There are many benefits of feeding fish to dogs. So, let’s start with improving a dog’s skin and coat.

1. Improve Skin And Coat

Omega-3 fatty acid, largely found in fish, provides anti-inflammatory ingredients in the diet that prevent dogs from many skin issues and provide a healthy coat (along with possibly conditioner) and skin. Fish skin also plays an important role in the health of bones and skin in senior dogs. Also, omega-3 helps reduce dry and itchy skin. Fish also contains collagen protein which keeps skin firm and flexible – preventing dryness of the skin.

2. Nourish The Eyes

Herring and cod fish contains a large amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A will prevent vision loss in old age and also promote excellent vision in low light. Eating fish also prevents many eye diseases. 

3. Promote Heart Health

Fish contain low saturated fats, which help boost cholesterol levels and blood circulation. Haddock and flounder contain very low amounts of calories as flounder contains just 114 calories, which is also beneficial for dogs’ health. 

4. Easy To Digest

The protein in fish absorbs more nutrients from less food, which helps in digestion. This property of a fish diet helps older dogs that have a poor digestion system.

5. Aid Joint Health

Salmon has a rich amount of omega-3 oil, which reduces inflammatory issues. Fish is a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine, which is beneficial for reducing cartilage breakdown in senior dogs.

What Are The Complications Of Eating Fish?

Let’s start with coking.

1. Choking 

Small bones of fish that humans are not able to detect can cause choking in dogs. These small bones are dangerous for dogs because it harms internal organs. So, dogs can eat fish if it’s thoroughly cooked and does not contain bones. Bones can cause choking and injure your dog’s gums.

2. Parasites

Feeding raw fish to your dogs is risky and produces harmful effects on dogs. It causes intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, and flukes. More specifically, these parasites infect internal organs, which gives rise to vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea.

3. Seafood Poisoning

Some seafood contains a lot of toxins that can be harmful to dogs. These toxins can cause seafood poisoning, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. More specifically, some of the most common toxins found in seafood include mercury, thiamine, and other heavy metals.

4. Weight Gain

Dogs gain weight by eating excessive fish, which eventually leads to obesity. Fish can make a good infrequent treat for dogs as long as their owner monitors their dogs’ weight. it is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that treats only make up 10% of your dog’s daily diet.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

No, dogs should not eat raw fish. Raw fish can contain bacteria that can make your dog sick. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the usage of raw fish is prohibited. Raw fish causes a greater risk of transmitting parasites that are embedded in muscle tissue, skin, or internal organs.

Also, if dogs are served with uncooked fish, it contains bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli which may harm their health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more information on dogs eating fish? Then take a look at our answers to some common questions.

What fish is toxic to dogs?

There are a few fish that are toxic to dogs, including large fish such as tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna (canned). These fish have an unhealthy level of mercury in their tissues, which can be harmful to your dog if consumed.

How much fish can dogs eat?

The amount of fish a dog can eat per week varies based on the animal’s size, age, and also health condition. Adult dogs should not consume more than one or two cans of tuna or other types of canned fish per week. 

Can dogs eat fish every day?

Yes, dogs can eat fish every day. It provides protein, it’s low in saturated fats, and it is easily digestible as a cooked product.  Many studies have shown that feeding dogs a lot of fish can be harmful, but more recent research suggests that moderation is key

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Overall, it seems that feeding dogs fish is a good idea, as long as you’re aware of the risks associated with doing so. Fish provide many health benefits for dogs, including improved skin and coat, better vision, healthier heart, easier digestion, and also stronger joints. 

However, it’s important to be careful about what types of fish you feed your dog and to make sure they’re cooked properly to avoid choking hazards. 

So, have you ever fed your dog fish? Also, what has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below! 

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.