Can Dogs Eat Fish: Vet Guide + Recipe

Fish is one of the healthiest protein sources in our diet, and many of us eat it frequently. But what about our four-legged friends? 

Can dogs eat fish?

The quick answer is yes. Dogs can eat fish, and it should be part of their diet, but there are some guidelines you need to follow when giving your dog fish.

If you have a few minutes, let’s talk about types of fish, health benefits, alternatives, and answers to some of the most common questions about fish and dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Yes, dogs can eat fish. Fish is a highly nutritional food, packed with beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

What type of fish can dogs eat?

Not all fish are created equal, and some are safer for dogs than others. Here are some fish types that are generally safe for canine consumption:

  • Salmon: Salmon is one of the best types of fish for high omega-3 content. Although it’s typically safe to serve salmon raw, it’s safest boneless and thoroughly cooked to avoid the risk of parasites.
  • Tuna: Tuna is another fish rich in omega-3s. But you should be careful due to its high mercury content since most dogs can’t process it well – canned tuna in water is a better choice.
  • Whitefish: Whitefish like cod and haddock are low in fat and a good source of protein for dogs.
  • Flounder
  • Herring
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Whiting
  • Sardines: make sure there is no added salt and look for MSC Certified (Marine Stewardship Council) blue fish labels
  • Tilapia: (skinned, deboned, and cooked thoroughly.
  • Lobster: (cooked, shell removed and occasionally)
  • Cooked shrimp and shellfish (completely remove shells)

Types of fish Dogs SHOULDN’T eat

  • Shark
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Albacore tuna (canned)
  • Farm-raised fish

The Nutritional Value of Fish for Dogs

Here are the following nutrients that can help your pup maintain a healthy diet and provide several health benefits:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish, particularly salmon, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial nutrients for your dog’s coat and skin health, reduce inflammation, and promote brain development.
  • Protein: Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, crucial for muscle growth and overall body maintenance in dogs.

For example, zinc and calcium are critical for your pup’s diet, as they have several health benefits, such as producing new enzymes and cells, assisting in processing carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and making their bones healthy and strong.

Also, a high vitamin B and D complex level in fish can lead to healthier and stronger joints.

The Potential Risks

Although fish is a healthy food for our furry friends, it can cause serious health problems if we don’t prepare it properly. Let’s look at the most common potential risks of inappropriately preparing fish for your doggo.

Fish Bones

Fish bones pose the biggest risk when feeding fish to dogs. Dogs can eat fast and often aren’t aware of the potential choking, which can occur easily. Fish bones are small and sharp, so they can easily be stuck in a dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines.

This can cause serious internal damage or intestinal blockage – a dangerous condition that sometimes leads to life-threatening situations.

For better insights and more tips from a vet, check out this YouTube video: Dog swallowed something stuck in throat – Vet Advice

Raw Fish

Feeding your dog raw fish is extremely dangerous, as raw fish can contain dangerous bacteria, such as listeria and salmonella. These two bacteria can make your dog really sick, but they can also harm you and your family.

This happens often, especially when kids are in the household since they’re usually more in contact with dogs than adults.

AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) warns against raw fish and protein in dog nutrition. 

Too Much Fish

Eating too much fish can lead to an imbalance in your pup’s diet, cause stomachache, and in the long run, it can also make your dog overweight. Now, you might be wondering how much fish is too much.

The rule of thumb is to not give more than 10% of a dog’s body weight of fish to them.

Mercury poisoning 

Mercury poisoning in dogs can cause: 

  • Blindness
  • Loss of full control of body movements
  • Incoordination
  • Tremors
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Convulsions


Parasites can be fatal if not treated. The symptoms dogs show when exposed to fish parasites include:

How to Feed Fish to Your Dog Safely

While fish itself isn’t dangerous for dogs, it can still cause problems for their health if we don’t prepare it properly. When preparing fish for your pup, it’s important to take the following precautions:

  • Cook thoroughly: Always cook fish before feeding it to your dog. Raw fish isn’t safe for any dog.
  • Remove bones: Be diligent about removing bones, as those can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages.
  • Moderation: Like any food, you should give fish to your doggo in moderation. Too much of a good thing can lead to nutritional imbalances.

Fish Alternatives

It’s not that simple to prepare and cook fish properly, especially if it’s for our four-legged friends. But don’t worry – I have an alternative solution.

If you want to save time but still provide your dog with all the important fish nutrients, try finding fish-based dog food for your pup. This food often contains all the beneficial nutrients your dog may need and is safe and easier to prepare than regular fish.

Here are some of the products you might want to check out: 

Homemade Recipe: Fish and Sweet Potato Dog Meal


1 cup of cooked fish (such as salmon, trout, or tilapia) – Remove any bones.

1/2 cup of cooked sweet potatoes, mashed.

1/4 cup of peas (fresh or frozen).

1/4 cup of carrots, chopped (cooked or raw, depending on your dog’s preference).

1 tablespoon of olive oil or fish oil (for additional healthy fats).

Optional: a pinch of dog-safe herbs like parsley or basil for flavor.


Cook the fish thoroughly, removing any bones and ensuring it’s boneless and flaky.

Cook or steam the sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots until they are soft and easily mashable. If using raw carrots, you can also finely chop them and add them to the mix.

Mix the sweet potatoes with the cooked fish, peas, and carrots in a large bowl.

Add a tablespoon of olive or fish oil for added omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your dog’s skin and coat.

Optional: Add a pinch of dog-safe herbs like parsley or basil for extra flavor.

Allow the mixture to cool before serving it to your dog. Make sure it’s at a safe and comfortable temperature for your pet.

Serve the fish and sweet potato mixture to your dog as a meal. The serving size will depend on your dog’s size and activity level, so consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion size.

Remember to consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet, especially if your dog has dietary restrictions or allergies. Also, be cautious with seasoning, as dogs don’t need added salt, spices, or seasoning like humans. Simple, wholesome ingredients are best for your furry friend’s health.

Vet Q&A

Can Dogs Eat Sushi?

No, feeding your dog raw fish is unsafe, as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Stick to cooked fish to ensure your doggo can eat fish safely.

Is Fish Oil Good for Dogs?

Yes, fish oil supplements can benefit dogs, as they provide omega-3 fatty acids. But if a dog consumes too much fish oil, it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Fish Bones?

If your dog ate fish bones, you should take your dog to the vet immediately and seek help.

Are There Fish Allergies in Dogs?

Yes, some dogs may be allergic to fish. Watch for signs of allergies such as itching, vomiting, or diarrhea after feeding fish.

Can Puppies Eat Fish?

Yes, puppies can eat fish, but it’s critical to get rid of its bones, cook it well, and introduce it gradually into their diet.