When barbecue and fishing season comes around, your dog will be by your side the whole time, sniffing that delicious fishy smell. Whether you throw some shrimp on the barbie, grill that salmon to perfection, or pan fry some fresh-caught trout… is it ok to share some fish with your pup?
Yes, for the most part. Fish are a great source of lean protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and improve cardiovascular and skin health. Fish also contain a number of vitamins and minerals (varying among fish varieties) that are beneficial to your dog’s health.
Some people even suggest that people should eat more like our dogs, including healthy veggies, lean meat, and fish.
Fish can be a great way to include your dog in a backyard barbecue. Small chunks of grilled fish is a super tasty treat, just be careful to leave off salty or sugary marinades—those aren’t good for your pal.
But a few words of caution: Share only small amounts of fish with your dog occasionally. When it comes to fresh fish, only give a few bites as a treat or with your dog’s usual food. Allow it no more than weekly.
Also very important: only serve cooked fish to your dog. While in many cases raw fish is safe, you run the risk of exposing your dog to fish-borne parasites that are highly dangerous.
This is particularly true with salmon, which can harbor a microorganism that’s potentially deadly to dogs.
Be sure to remove any bones you can find before serving, though the bones of small fish like anchovies are okay to eat.
Recommended Healthy Fish
- Cooked salmon
- Cooked tilapia
- Cooked tuna
- Canned tuna packed in water, not oil
- Sardines, and anchovies (avoid varieties packed with brine)
- Cooked shellfish
- Fish skin (in small amounts), if it’s thoroughly cooked
Some vets also suggest supplementing a dog’s diet with fish oil to keep her coat healthy and shiny and to help with allergies to reduce less itchy skin, dandruff, and hot spots.
Dog foods containing fish
Salmon and other fish are common ingredients in dog kibble, including organic and grain-free dog foods that are rated high by Rover reviewers and users. My dogs eat a sweet potato and salmon kibble that I buy in large bags at a local retailer, and I even use the kibble as treats for training friends’ dogs.
Fish-based dog food can be a good option for dogs with allergies to other proteins, like chicken and beef. Most food allergies are caused by protein sources, and fish is a much less common allergen than other sources. So, switching the type of protein in your dog’s food is a good option if you think a particular type of protein doesn’t work for her.
Fishy Dog Treats
Anytime I cook salmon, my beagle stares expectantly at the oven until well after dinner, when I deliver the skin to her dog bowl. The Honest Kitchen captured the tastiness of fish skin in their Beams Icelandic Catfish Skin dental chew treats. They get great ratings on Amazon and can be a great way to introduce fish into your dog’s diet.
For a low-calorie and highly scented treat that your dog and cat will both love, sprinkle bonito flakes on your dog’s food or offer them as a training treat. You can find bonito (a.k.a. skipjack) flakes at Asian markets and online at retailers like Amazon.
Fish Recipes for Dogs
Treat your dog to some fish using some of these tips:
- Top your dog’s regular meal with some flaked, cooked salmon.
- Serve cooked fish on its own as a treat.
- Stir cooked fish in with a grain and vegetable for a homemade meal.
Sardine Ice Cream?!?
Does sardine ice cream sound like a fantastic treat on a hot summer day? Depends who you ask! My Golden Retriever says ABSOLUTELY! I used this recipe to mix together canned sardines, mashed squash, coconut milk, and powdered gelatin, into a truly fragrant concoction that had my hot dog rolling over for more.
For More Information
We offer a collection of articles on foods that are healthy or dangerous for dogs to eat, covering everything from grains, fruits, and vegetables. You might also be interested in reading “Can My Dog Eat Meat?”
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.