Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Imagine what your dog craves to eat, what fuels its energy, and what cushions it against health complications. You must get everything right. You can go from being a bad pet parent to being the best by learning one simple trick: knowing what to feed your dog. One of the biggest questions is whether fish is a suitable addition to your dog’s menu.

Fish is a healthy part of your dog’s menu. However, you’ll need to learn a few things about its preparation and what it offers. These insights will help protect your dog against various dangers and health complications.

Can I Feed Fish to My Dogs?

Yes. Fish is a healthy treat for your dog. However, you must prepare it skillfully to protect your pet against adverse side effects. You must clean, debone, and thoroughly cook the fish so it’s safe for your pet. Usually, when preparing this food for your dog, you’ll avoid artificial flavors, seasonings, and spices to prevent possible stomach upsets.

However, serving your dog raw meat or fish is a disaster. Uncooked fish could contain bacteria and parasites, including salmonella. These pathogens are life-threatening, mainly when consumed in large quantities.

At the same time, you must focus on the correct type of fish for your dog.

Various precautionary measures go into feeding fish to your dog.

  1. First, feed fish to your dog in moderation, whether cooked or smoked.
  2. Excessive consumption of fish contributes to obesity and weight issues.
  3. The rule of the thumb is that it should be no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Human Food? The Answers in 2022

Further, there are specific body parts of the fish that your pet should not eat. Here is a breakdown of what you should not include in this diet:

Fish Bones

Fish bones are generally brittle, small, and dangerous. They pose a choking risk to the dog and can damage the gastrointestinal tract, exposing your pet to different infections. In most cases, they lodge themselves in the throat, mouth, intestines, and stomach.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Bones? Which Ones They Can and Can’t

Fins, Heads, and Tail

Your dog should not ingest the fins, head, and tail of fish as these elements add no nutritional value or health benefit to the dog.


Fish skin is often associated with various parasites that could transmit diseases. You’ll need to carefully remove this skin or thoroughly clean it before cooking the fish. In addition, you must remove all the scales on the fish before feeding it to your pet.

Best Types of Fish For Your Dog

Various types of fish are suitable for your dog. Yet, experts recommend fish with shorter lifespans. This option assures you of unrivaled safety and health benefits.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting the best fish for your pet.


You’re encouraged to feed your dog fish with shorter lifespans. Fish with short lifespans will less likely expose your dog to heavy metals and toxins. These elements are common in longer-lived species as they accumulate with time. Consequently, the metals severely affect the health of your favorite pet.

Long-living species to avoid include tuna, sea brass, and mackerel. Instead, focus on species that live shortly, including cod, catfish, herring, salmon, and whitefish.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?

Fat Content

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vital for energy production. These fatty acids will significantly minimize cholesterol levels, protecting the dog against heart conditions. Fish with limited harmful fat content is an excellent choice for your dog.


Prioritize smaller fish when choosing one for your dog. These smaller fish come with a limited amount of mercury, meaning your pet will not be exposed to numerous health issues in the long run. The best choice would be fish that is not longer than six inches.


First, fish have a distinct smell. Yet, you can notice when something is amiss. In such instances, avoiding giving it to your dog would be best, as fish with an ammonia-like smell will likely harm your pet.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Fish

Fish is an invaluable addition to your dog’s everyday diet. Alongside other seafood, it offers various health benefits to your dog. These choices contain multiple minerals, amino acids, and nutrients that spur growth and development. Notable health benefits include the following.

  • Fat Content

As mentioned above, fish is rich in omega-3 fat content, which helps minimize cholesterol in the body. This fat is central to limited exposure to heart conditions in the long run. At the same time, fish has significantly low levels of unhealthy fat.

Related: Is Fish Oil Safe or Toxic to Dogs?

  • Antioxidants

Fish is rich in antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals in the body.

  • Proteins

Fish is an excellent source of proteins, which boost nerve function, cell production, and muscular strength. In addition, it is highly digestible.

  • Minerals and Amino Acids

Fish contains zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, and manganese. It is also a prime source of vitamins B, C, K, E, and D.

Final Thoughts

Dogs can eat fish if prepared adequately and skillfully.

Thanks to its various minerals, nutrients, and amino acids, it is an excellent addition to dogs’ diets.

However, you must be careful not to overestimate portions since it could result in obesity and weight issues.

Thankfully, you have enough insights to make invaluable decisions on your dog’s health.

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