Dog with small fish in mouth

While many pet parents generally see their pup as meat eaters, fish can be a great addition to their diet, too! Fish is a great source of protein, vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids, and is generally a beneficial option if you’re looking to diversify your pup’s meals.

If you are considering adding a fishy treat to your pup’s diet, it’s important to know the benefits that fish offer and what types of fish are safe to feed your furry family member.

Benefits of Fish for Dogs

Fish is an excellent source of protein that is easily digestible, especially for pups dealing with digestive issues, liver and kidney disease or even pups that are becoming intolerant to other sources of protein. Since there is a relatively low saturated fat content in most fish, it makes it a great source of nutrition and minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, iodine, iron and phosphorus for dogs. It can also be a good option for pups who are overweight or obese!

Due to its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids, fish is considered anti-inflammatory and highly beneficial for pups with joint ailments or inflammatory bowel disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also help against pollen and other environmental allergies, which can make it a great new dinner option with Spring approaching. You may even notice your pup’s fur looking exceptionally shiny and healthy!

The Best Fish Options for Dogs

While there are many fish in the sea, only few fish are best for your dog! To avoid high levels of toxic mercury, it is best to choose fish that have shorter life spans as ones with longer lives run a higher risk of mercury accumulation in their bodies. This can include large-sized fish too, due to their ability to eat other fish, which may increase the level of toxic mercury in their body. 

It is also important to be cautious of the bones that fish contain. Fish bones are quite brittle and pose the risk of perforating intestine walls and creating a choking hazard. While some dogs enjoy chewing on them without an issue, it is best to play it safe and avoid them altogether.

Typically, the best fish options for your furry family member include salmon, whitefish, herring, anchovies, sardines, flounder, walleye and Arctic char. Remember to also choose fish that are low in sodium and oil as to not upset your pup’s health.

Fish to Avoid Giving Your Dog

It is best to avoid fish with long life spans, like tuna, mackerel, swordfish and seabass. Seafood such as shrimp, crab, lobster and mussels are also not recommended due to their high bacteria content that can give your pup an upset stomach. If you decide to give your dog some seafood, be sure to serve very small portions and make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and well-cooked.

When it comes to sushi, it is best to not share it with your fur baby. Other than the concerns of parasites and bacteria in raw fish, sushi may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your pup like avocados. 

Overall, fish can be a tasty and healthy addition to your dog’s diet, provided it is low in sodium, oil additives and seasonings, does not contain brittle bones, and is a species that has a short life span. However, it is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pup’s diet.