Did you know that about 89% of Americans enjoy canned tuna, probably every day? This statistic shows how likely it is to find tuna in a household.
Tinned tuna is affordable and an excellent source of nutrients. It is a highly digestible protein rich in omega-3 fats. But what if your dog eats tuna? Shall it be safe?
Tuna is a nutrient-rich diet for your dog, meaning it is not toxic and cannot cause mercury poisoning when taken in moderation. On the other hand, regular feeding can contribute to multiple health complications: cardiovascular complications, kidney issues, digestive tract illnesses, and nervous system damage.
This article explores facts surrounding the safety of tuna to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Tuna is not toxic to dogs, particularly when taken in small quantities. A small amount of tuna does not cause mercury poisoning, ensuring your dog remains healthy.
Besides, multiple commercial dog foods contain small amounts of tuna and other fish species, meaning fish is an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. Yet, excessive consumption of tuna can be dangerous to its health.
Tuna is a perfect treat that you can give your dog from time to time. Yet, you must observe various elements to avoid health complications in the long run.
First, check how long the canned tuna fish has been stored. Extended storage periods contribute to accumulated toxins, making the tuna unsuitable for the dog. Fresh foods will likely cause minimal or no mercury poisoning.
Various tuna species are available, so you must be careful what tuna you feed your dog since not all are safe. We shall explore this further in our next section.
The preservation method could also determine whether the tuna is safe for your dog. These methods range from springwater and oil to brine, yet they all have caveats. Springwater preservation is the most recommended, highlighting the least of toxins.
What’s The Right Amount Of Tuna To Feed Your Dog?
Moderate and infrequent addition is necessary when feeding tuna to dogs. It minimizes the mercury accumulation in the body, reducing the risk of cardiovascular, kidney, nervous, and gastrointestinal issues. In addition, excessive consumption of tuna can cause lesions and inflammation in the digestive tract and abdominal cavity.
The moderation requires you to add a spoonful of tuna to the dog’s diet once in a while. You can skip several weeks between these treats, ensuring the dog does not get addicted.
The breed size will also determine how much tuna to give to the dog. Smaller breeds often have a smaller mercury tolerance level, meaning they should eat approximately half a can of tuna weekly. On the other hand, a can of tuna is enough for a relatively bigger dog. Regardless of the size, let no dog eat a whole can of tuna in one sitting as it could complicate its health.
Is Canned Tuna Suitable For Dogs?
No. Canned tuna is not a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. It contains a substantial amount of mercury and other toxic elements that could affect your pet’s health.
There are two canned tuna options: Skipjack and Albacore. These two options contain lower mercury levels than bigger tuna fish, including bigeye and bluefin tuna. Yet, Skipjack tuna is much safer, thanks to its negligible mercury content.
However, you need to look beyond the mercury content when selecting tuna for your dog. Most canned tuna fish come with excessive salt, which can contribute to sodium ion poisoning, characterized by vomiting, fever, depression, tremors, and seizures. Unfortunately, feeding tuna to your dog exposes it to these complications.
Suppose the tuna fish is cooked or infused with seasoning or spices to make it tasty. In that case, expect your dog to develop stomach complications and upsets once it consumes it. The herb and spices trigger gastrointestinal tract issues, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna In Brine Or Sunflower Oil?
Brine is a high-concentration solution of water and salt, which causes sodium-ion poisoning in dogs. Tuna preserved in this solution contains a significant amount of salt, making it unsuitable for your pet. Feeding tuna preserved in brine causes diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, and dehydration.
Sunflower oil is a safer option when preserving tuna for dogs. This oil contains a negligible amount of saturated fats, making it a perfect source of energy production and incredible fur.
Unfortunately, excessive consumption of oil triggers obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis. In such instances, the dog will exhibit jaundice, urination, increased weight, and extreme thirst.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna Steak?
Tuna steaks are often cut from the fish’s loins and are suitable for your pet. These steaks offer various health benefits, including minerals, vitamins, and proteins. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which boost cardiovascular, skin, and coat health. However, you must prioritize tuna from fish with low mercury content, including Skipjack and Albacore.
At the same time, feeding raw tuna steaks to your dog is disastrous. Raw meat could contain parasites like salmonella, which trigger gastrointestinal issues and general health complications.
Mercury In Tuna
While tuna is nutritious, its mercury content is significantly high, posing various health issues. The increased amount of mercury in tunas is thanks to their extensive lifespan. Any fish that lives for a long time will likely be exposed to mercury components, accumulating them in its body. Unfortunately, mercury cannot get destroyed once consumed by the fish.
Excessive consumption of mercury damages dogs’ cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems, causing inflammation and lesions in the kidneys and abdominal cavity. Avoiding tuna will help minimize this exposure, cushioning the health and lifespan of your dog. You’ll need medical help once you notice mercury poisoning in your dog. Notable symptoms include tremors, drooling, and seizures.
Tuna is nutrient-rich and healthy. Yet, its high mercury content makes it unsuitable for dogs as it causes multiple health complications. If you decide to give it as a treat, you’ll need to consider short-lived tuna species, including Skipjack and Albacore. This, you can give in moderation to avoid gastrointestinal issues.