Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes

Fish can be a good addition to a dog's balanced diet. It's rich in amino acids, just like other animal-based proteins. “Depending on the type, fish can provide omega-3 fatty acids which can be beneficial for skin and coat for dogs,” explains Janet Dempsey, Purina Senior Nutritionist. Quality dog foods have protein like fish as the primary ingredient. Keep reading to learn more about feeding fish to your dog. 

Is Fish Healthy to Include in a Dog's Diet?

Absolutely. There are many varieties of fish that are good for dogs. “Tuna, salmon, whitefish, cod and whiting (also known as hank) are all good fish for dogs to eat,” says Dempsey.

“Purina uses fish in our foods because it is a good source of many of the nutrients dogs need,” Dempsey explains. And fish isn’t just healthy for dogs­—they like the taste of fish, too.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

Raw fish is bad for dogs to eat. Serving raw fish is an unnecessary risk to take. Left uncooked, fish can contain bacteria like salmonella or certain parasites. “Dogs can eat cooked fish. It’s even more digestible if it’s cooked and deboned. Cooking also eliminates any bacteria from the fish you’re serving your dog,” Dempsey says. 

How Should Fish for Dogs be Prepared?

Buying Fish

Fish preparation begins at the store. Buying fish is another way to keep your dog safe. If you can, select fish that is already deboned. Dogs can eat fish skin but fish bones are bad for dogs to ingest. Bones can cause choking, harm your dog’s gums and could even damage an internal organ.

Cooking Fish

There are many ways to cook fish for dogs. Just be sure to cook it thoroughly, without seasoning. Grilling or steaming are both good ways to prepare fish since they don’t require oil or butter that can add unnecessary calories and fat.

What Benefits Does Fish Offer Dogs?

Fish is rich in amino acids, just like other animal-based proteins. “Depending on the type of fish, it can also provide omega-3 fatty acids which can be beneficial for skin and coat for dogs. That’s something that can be good for dogs of all ages,” explains Dempsey.

How Much Fish Can Dogs Eat?

If the fish you’re feeding your dog is in addition to his complete and balanced diet, then it’s a treat. “Treats should only make up 10 percent of your dog’s calories, so that means the portions you feed him will be small,” Dempsey says.

What Are Some Ways I Can My Dog Fish?

To keep fish special, rotate the treats you feed—fish one day, a fruit another, maybe a vegetable the next. Mixing things up will keep your dog excited when it’s time for a treat. If your dog loves fish, find a dog food variety that includes fish as a main ingredient.

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