Fish is an excellent source of protein for your canine pal and can help provide a nutritionally balanced meal for your pet. However, there are parts of the fish your pet should not consume. The bones, fins, head, tail and scales of fish are not safe for your dog to eat and should not be included in their food. There are many risks to the health and safety of your dog.
This article goes into detail about why fish heads should not be included in your dog’s diet, what parts of the fish are safe to eat, the benefits of fish in your dog’s diet, how much they should eat and how to implement them into your dog’s diet.
Table of Contents
- Can fish heads be fed to dogs and are they good for them?
- Does this mean I should avoid fish altogether for my dog?
- Why should I implement fish into my dog’s diet?
- What is the importance of protein and omega-3 fatty acids in my dog’s diet?
- What are the types of fish that are best to feed to my dog?
- What types of fish are unsafe for my dog?
- Is raw fish good for my dog?
- What types of bacteria can be found in raw fish?
- Is fish safe for all breeds of dogs?
- Should dogs eat the bones, fins and or tail of the fish and what is the risk of feeding these to my dog?
- Can dogs eat the skin off a fish?
- Can puppies, senior dogs, or pregnant dogs eat fish?
- How much fish should my dog eat?
- How do I start implementing fish into my dog’s diet?
- Can I feed my dog fried fish from the fish and chip shop?
- Can my dog eat Tuna or Sardines?
- My dog has food intolerances and allergies, so is fish safe for my dog to eat?
Can fish heads be fed to dogs and are they good for them?
According to veterinarian Dr Leslie Gillette from Pets MD, no they should not be fed to dogs and are not good for them. Fresh-caught fish should have the head carefully removed prior to feeding to your dog.
Does this mean I should avoid fish altogether for my dog?
Absolutely not! There are many benefits to adding fish into your dog’s diet, but it is crucial to learn how to do it safely and how to keep your dog’s diet healthy and balanced.
Why should I implement fish into my dog’s diet?
Fish is a great source of vitamins and minerals for your dog including vitamin A, iron and zinc. It also contains high amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
What is the importance of protein and omega-3 fatty acids in my dog’s diet?
So many benefits! Protein is low in saturated fats, is easily digestible and may assist in minimizing food allergies. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. They are also a natural anti-inflammatory which can help dogs with medical conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
What are the types of fish that are best to feed to my dog?
Whitefish, Flounder, Salmon, Herring, Catfish, Cod, Whiting and Light tuna fish (canned
). These) are the fish types that are less likely to include parasites and bacteria. They also have a low mercury content.
What types of fish are unsafe for my dog?
Fish that are larger and older when harvested. These include Shark, Tilefish, Swordfish, King mackerel and Albacore tuna (canned). It is also recommended to avoid farm-raised fish as these are not regulated.
Is raw fish good for my dog?
No, raw fish contains a high risk of parasites and bacteria entering your dog when consumed. This also applies to undercooked fish, so any fish consumed by your dog should be thoroughly cooked. It also contains mercury which is poisonous for canines and should be avoided.
What types of bacteria can be found in raw fish?
The most common are Salmonella, Listeria and Clostridium. These are not only a risk for dogs but for humans also. All fish consumed by humans and dogs must be thoroughly cooked.
Is fish safe for all breeds of dogs?
Yes, all breeds of dogs and all ages can consume cooked fish as part of their diet. Consult with your veterinarian for your dog’s specific dietary needs.
Should dogs eat the bones, fins and or tail of the fish and what is the risk of feeding these to my dog?
No, they should not be fed to dogs. Fresh caught fish should be cleaned, deboned, and filleted prior to feeding to your dog. If swallowed, they can cause aggravation or serious injury to the digestive tract of the dog. Fish bones can also move through the walls of the stomach and penetrate internal organs. They can also cause internal blockages which can be fatal if left untreated.
Can dogs eat the skin off a fish?
Fish skin should not be fed to dogs if it is uncooked as it may contain bacteria or parasites. It may be given to dogs if it is cooked or in a Jerky style with the surface scales removed. Fish skin is a great source of collagen, especially for older dogs.
Can puppies, senior dogs, or pregnant dogs eat fish?
Yes, and they would benefit from the extra protein in their diet. As with all dogs, the fish should be fresh, cleaned and deboned prior to serving.
How much fish should my dog eat?
Depending on their age, weight and medical needs your veterinarian can guide you on how much your dog should be eating. This ranges from an occasional treat to several times a week as part of their regular diet.
How do I start implementing fish into my dog’s diet?
Fish is commercially available at supermarkets to purchase and introduce to your dog. It can also be prepared at home to include as part of a home-cooked diet for your dog.
Can I feed my dog fried fish from the fish and chip shop?
Although it is cooked and thus bacteria and parasites are killed in the process, fried fish is not recommended to be fed to dogs. The heavy oils and butter can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting.
Can my dog eat Tuna or Sardines?
Yes! Tuna canned in water (not oil) can be offered to dogs. Tuna is a quick easy source of fish to grab from the supermarket ready to give to your dog. Sardines that are packed in water and contain no added salt are safe for dogs to eat. They can be eaten whole due to their small size with both the skin and bones.
My dog has food intolerances and allergies, so is fish safe for my dog to eat?
Fish is prescribed in many prescription diets for dogs according to Dr Lisa Gillette, as it is a nutritional alternative to traditional dog meats. Please consult your veterinarian for specific diet advice for your dog. Some dogs, especially those overweight and any dogs with a history of allergies to fish or other seafood should not consume fish.