Fish, throughout history, has held a privileged place as one of the best and healthiest sources of protein. But can dogs eat it? If they can, what’s more, many brands of feed offer varieties where it is the main protein. Knowing its benefits and potential risks will help you make the best decisions about how and when to include it in your diet.
The sea offers us a wide variety of fish and, although the vast majority are edible, the most commonly used fish in the preparation of dog food are:
- White ocean fishing
- White river fishing
Short-lived fish vs. long life
The consideration made by experts in dog food indicates that to feed dogs with fish, you should always choose the short-lived varieties. But why?
Pollution in oceans, lakes, and rivers is a real issue, and today some studies indicate the presence of mercury and other heavy metals in the organisms of various types of marine fauna. This happens more frequently in long-lived and large varieties, such as tuna or swordfish, which depend on the consumption of smaller fish to survive. Given their longevity and position, high up in the food chain, these metals accumulate in their bodies. On the other hand, small and short-lived fish hardly manage to accumulate dangerous amounts of these metals in their bodies.
Today, several health agencies, such as EDF, establish recommendations on the amounts, considered safe, to consume tuna and other large fish that may contain high levels of mercury. So, although it is considered good food, it can involve taking an unnecessary risk with our dogs.
Risks of Feeding our Dog Fish
Fish is a very safe food, both for humans and dogs, but the way we offer it can pose a risk to your health. Raw fish is a potential source of several parasites, on the other hand, how we cook, like a fried fish, can present other problems, such as obesity.
Excess of any type of food will always represent a potential health risk, and fish are no exception. Omega 3 fatty acids, present in fish, are a great contribution to the health of the skin and coat, however, excess of these can cause vomiting and diarrhea, especially if they are consumed as supplements.
Raw fish and parasites
Raw foods are a better source of nutrients, and fish is no exception. However, as time went by, we became more concerned about the parasites present in fish, which can cause us some diseases. For this reason, today, the vast majority prefer to cook fish.
The most common parasites, and that can affect dogs, are:
- I had
These types of parasites are found, more frequently, in freshwater fish. However, saltwater fish can also contain these or other parasites, especially when they have not been stored correctly.
Although the debate on raw and cooked does not seem to end, the decision is yours. Cooking food and, in this case, fish supposes a substantial reduction in the risk of contracting parasites and bacteria.
Bones and thorns
Fishbones and spines are small, fragile, and a potential risk for your puppy. These can lodge in the mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines, sometimes causing perforations in these organs. Not only will this be painful for your dog, but it could also result in a very expensive vet visit. Although many dogs have eaten fish with bones and bones, without suffering any harm, it is preferable to avoid the risk.
The benefits of fish in dogs
Just by sticking to the list of fish that dogs can eat, and cooking them properly, these will be a very healthy source of nutrients for your pet. They are easily digestible and are an excellent source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, which will help you prevent cardiovascular diseases, as well as protect your immune system.
Depending on where you live, fish can be a cheaper option than meat or chicken. Avoid adding seasonings, including salt and pepper, and look for ways to cook that are low or fat-free, such as steaming or grilling. Never offer canned fish to your puppy, as it can come from sources contaminated with heavy metals, in addition to containing high sodium content, and fat in cases of canned in oil.
Whether you prefer the feed option or a natural diet, choosing the best ingredients will always give you the best results. Avoid products that do not specify the origin of the protein. If you buy fish, make sure it is fresh, the frozen portion options also work well.
- Can dogs eat fish? By: Anna Burke – www.AKC.org
- Can dogs eat fish and tuna fish? By: Caitlin Ultimo – PetMD
- Can dogs eat fish? Avoderm Natural
Remember, before introducing new food to your dog, first check with your veterinarian. Offering small servings for a couple of days will help you identify or rule out possible allergic reactions.
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