Is Cooked Fish Skin Good for Dogs? (Solved & Explained!)

Cooked fish and fish skin are not only safe for dogs to eat, but also contain a huge variety of essential vitamins and nutrients that are great for canine health. On top of that, fish is also a delicious treat your dog is sure to enjoy.

If you’re thinking of adding fish and fish skins to your dog’s diet, then read on to learn the key information you need to take into account to ensure your dog is happy and healthy.

Talk To Your Vet First

The first thing to remember is to talk to your vet first before adding any new foods to your dog’s diet. It’s always important to check with your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t have any special requirements that might make fish a poor choice of food.

How Can I add Fish Skins to My Dog’s Diet?

Fish skins can come either on fresh fish along with flesh that you can feed your dog at dinner time, or you can get specialized dog traits made of fish skins. Fish with the skin on is a great addition to your dog’s diet, and dried fish skins are a good alternative treat.

What are the Benefits of Feeding My Dog Fish Skins?

A balanced diet is as important to a dog as it is to us people, and dogs can benefit from all the goodness in fish. Fish is rich in protein, calcium, zinc, and iron, to name just a few of the things it has to offer. As well as that, fish, including the skin, is packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

Why Does My Dog Need Omega-3?

Omega-3 is is hugely beneficial for dogs of all ages. In young puppies, omega-3 can help with brain and eye development. This is doubly true if fish is fed to pregnant dogs to aid in the development of their puppies. In adult and senior dogs, omega-3 helps in the preservation and regeneration of joints and a healthy coat.

How Do I Prepare Fish for My Dog?

Raw fish and raw fish skin are not great for your dog. When feeding fish to your dog, it’s always a safe bet to cook the fish properly. You can prepare the fish in an oven or in a pan, but you want to avoid any seasoning or extra flavors that can upset your dog’s stomach or give them more salt than they need. It’s best to prepare the fish as plainly as possible- remember, the flavor of the fish is delicious as it is to a dog! 

Do I need to Debone the Fish?

Absolutely! Fishbones are a choking hazard for dogs. Small, sharp bones can cut your dog’s mouth and throat or get lodged in their windpipe causing them to choke. Be sure to debone fish before it gets to your dog’s bowl.

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Do I Leave the Scales On?

Fish scales offer no nutritional benefit to your dog and can be a choking hazard or upset their stomachs. You should be certain to scrape the scales off the fish before preparing it for your dog.

Why Does Fish Need to be Cooked for Dogs?

Fish skin, in particular, has the potential to harbor dangerous bacteria and parasites that can make your dog sick. By cooking the fish thoroughly, you will kill any bacteria or parasite that might be lurking and you’ll ensure your dog’s dinner is safe. Dog treats made of fish skin are already cooked, so you don’t need to do anything extra to prepare them.

What Type of Fish is Good for My Dog?

It’s best to limit the selection of fish you offer to your dog. You need to be aware of overly fatty fish, fish that live a long time and could give your dog mercury poisoning, and the waters from which the fish is sourced. Assuming you’re getting your fish from healthy, unpolluted waters, there are a few types that are great for dogs, like cod, salmon, catfish, herring, tilapia, and most ocean or lake whitefish.

What Types of Fish Should I Avoid?

Tuna and swordfish, and other fish that live long lives can pose a hazard from the mercury that builds up in their systems over time, so are best avoided. According to Dr. Jess at, you want to avoid any fish caught in polluted or unhealthy waterways, and you want to avoid fish that live at the top of the food chain because they are not a sustainable source of food. Sharks, swordfish, and tuna are among those best avoided.

Can I Feed My Dog Tinned Fish?

Tinned fish is okay for dogs, as long as you feed it in moderation and lookout for a few key things. It’s important to feed your dog only tinned fish in spring water and without extra oil or flavoring. Your best bet is also to pick salmon over tuna, as tuna is one of those fish better avoided.

How Often Should My Dog East Fish?

If you’re feeding your dog a healthy and balanced diet already with veterinarian-recommended pet food, then feeding your fish to your dog is not a necessity. However, if you want to include fish and fish skins as a healthy and tasty treat, then weekly or fortnightly is an appropriate amount. Overall, fish shouldnt make up more than 10% of your dogs diet, and ifyour dog eats other treats as well throughout the week, that number should be even lower. 


If you’re thinking of feeding fish and fish skins to your dog, by following the steps above you’ll be sure your dog stays happy and healthy with this new and tasty food. The key things to remember are:

  • Be sure to debone the fish and scrape off the scales.
  • Cook the fish through, but avoid any seasoning.
  • Stick to whitefish from clean water sources.
  • If you’re going the tinned fish route, stick to fish in springwater.
  • Feed fish and fish skins to your dog no more than once a week.