Can dogs eat fish?

In short, yes dogs can eat fish. It’s also one of the most popular ingredients found in dog food and many a pooch goes crazy for the stuff. Not only this, but fish contains many nutritional benefits meaning it can be a great part of a healthy diet. Not all fish were created equally though, so read on to find out which fish are best and why, and which you should row clear of.

Benefits of fish for dogs 

First-up, in terms of nutrition, fish has a lot to offer. It’s a relatively lean protein source, so contains little saturated fats (the bad type) but plenty of unsaturated fats (the good kind). Specifically omega-3 and 6, which are vital for a healthy heart, skin, and coat. Omega-3 can also help dogs with inflammatory bowel disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some fish have especially high levels of these good fats and are known as “oily fish”, like salmon, mackerel, and trout.

Secondly, some dogs require extra TLC than others, and whilst very rare, can suffer from food intolerances, and even rarer, food allergies. It might be surprising to hear that the most common food allergy for dogs is chicken! Yes, CHICKEN! Therefore fish can be a great option for dogs that have to avoid chicken or red meat. You just need to make sure that the recipe is single-source protein, aka only has fish proteins and fats in there.

The final pro is that fish can be a great option to get fussy pups eating. Did you know that dogs really eat with their nose? Despite having a relatively similar number of tastebuds to us, they have over 200 million more olfactory receptors in their nose. This allows them to be able to tell everything from gender and mood, to what they like to eat, before they’ve even tried it! It’s fair to say fish can have a rather pungent smell, but that’s a major part of what makes it so darn irresistible to dogs. 

What’s fish is best for dogs?

We all know there are always plenty more fish in the sea, so how do you select the best option for your pooch? The most common types you’ll see in dog food are salmon, white fish and ocean fish. Whitefish and ocean fish are really collections, with the former meaning it could include any type of white fish from pollock to tilapia, and the latter referring to any saltwater fish. Some recipes even just say “fish”, which isn’t particularly helpful and means the species and ratios can easily vary from batch to batch. So first things first, is that you need to know what’s actually in there. Once you do, our catch of the day recommendations are:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Sprats
  • Herring
  • Haddock
  • Cod
  • flounder

What fish can dogs not eat

Just because fish is on the whole a great option for your dog, doesn’t mean you can feed your dog any old fish.

You should avoid feeding your dog any type of fried fish, as the cooking oil and seasonings are likely to cause an upset tum, vomiting or diarrhoea. Or all three if you’re (un)lucky! You should also avoid feeding any raw fish, as this can very easily become contaminated with harmful bacteria or parasites that could make your pooch very poorly.

Large fish bones should also be off the cards, as these can easily become lodged in your dogs throat or intestines. Off the shelf dog food’s often contain very very small little bits of soft bone. This is totally okay as the recipes will go through a clever sieve that removes any harmful pieces, and adds extra nutrition in the form of calcium and other minerals.

The final no-no is feeding your dog any kind of smoked, cured, or flavoured fish. These may contain much higher levels of salt or sugar and could include toxic ingredients like garlic or onions.

Can I feed my dog fish everyday?

As long as you avoid the types of fish just mentioned, you can defo feed fish to your pooch everyday as part of a healthy diet.

You only need to be careful if you’re planning to feed your dog a high level of tuna, swordfish or any other large species of fish every day. As these fish are higher up the food chain, they can have a high concentration of mercury which is poisonous. That being said they’d have to consume A LOT of it to have any impact, so aslong as you opt for a good quality commercial pet food, they’ll ensure sure the levels are just right.

Scrumbles fish dog food

Now that you know your dog can eat fish, you might be on the hunt for some tasty fish dog food! We have some options to whet your floof’s appetities including our Salmon Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Salmon Wet Dog Food and brand new White Fish Wet Dog Food.

Fish dog food

We responsibly source all our fish, and carefully tailor the quantities to deliver the optimal nutrition for a happy and healthy dog. We also only use human grade ingredients, add gut-friendly pre or probiotics and avoid any nasties like added sugar or salt.


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