Is Fish Good For Dogs? The BEST And WORST Fish For Your Dog’s Health

Can dogs eat fish?

Yes, not only can they eat fish, but they love it, and it’s good for them.

The key is making sure you serve your pet the right kind of fish prepared safely. There are many types of fish that you can add to your dog’s diet as a treat.

Fish is an excellent protein for dogs, and it is a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that your dog needs. Some big brand dog foods list fish as one of their ingredients, so you might be feeding your dog fish right now and not even know it.

However, like with any new food, you want to be careful when you first let your dog try it.

Both my dogs love fish, but one can’t enjoy it without getting a stomach ache. Each dog is different, and if your dog has any issues with the treat, it may be better to skip it.

What Kind Of Fish Should You Give Your Dog?

can dogs eat fish

Your dog can enjoy many different kinds of seafood, so whether you are just learning how to fish or you’ve been fishing for years, this can be a great way to give your dog fresh food.

You want to get fish that is unlikely to have high amounts of mercury. The chemical can be poisonous to dogs in large quantities. You also want to avoid fish that are known to carry parasites.

Some of the best fish for dogs includes:

  • Whitefish
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Light Tuna
  • Flounder
  • Catfish
  • Whiting
  • Cod

So, if you’ve been wondering, ‘can dogs eat cod,’ the answer is yes!

The same goes with tuna and salmon – find out more here:

The list isn’t exhaustive, so you may want to look up your favorite fish and see if it is something your dog can enjoy safely.

Whether you are buying fish for your dog from the grocery store or you are catching it yourself, it’s more than likely OK to feed your dog.

What Type Of Fish Not To Give Your Dog

Some fish get caught when they are older.

They can have more parasites and a higher quantity of mercury by the time they are caught and processed. You should avoid giving your dog these fish whenever possible.

Some of the worst fish for your dogs include:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • King Mackerel
  • Albacore Tuna

If you’re not sure, you can check out the FDA’s recommendation for fish and skip giving your dog any that are considered high in mercury and heavy metals.

It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t feed your pet aquarium fish your dog either – especially not Glofish!

Can Dogs Eat Other Seafood?

is fish good for dogs

So now you know that there are excellent fish options for your dogs.

The next question is, what about things like lobster and crab? Can dogs eat seafood?

For the most part, the answer is yes. You just have to make sure that you fully clean the seafood.

Start with small doses of shellfish because some dogs can have allergies. Try a little at first and watch for reactions over the next 48 hours. If nothing happens, you can increase the amount next time.

Some good seafood options for your dog include:

  • Lobster
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Shrimp

Make sure none of the shells are with the food.

Shells can cut dogs’ mouths and throats. It can also cause stomach issues and harm the dogs’ digestive tract.

Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin And Bones?

Fishbones can be very dangerous for your dog.

The bones can cause many of the same issues as shells. They can cut your dog’s mouth and gums, and in the worst situations, they can cause damage to the dog’s digestive tract.

Is fish skin good for dogs?

As long as you remove the heavy outer scales and cook the skin properly, it can be a good and healthy treat for your four-legged friend.

You can turn the skin into jerky that is fun for your dog to chew on while still getting many good nutrients.

Health Benefits Of Fish

health benefits of fish for dogs

Is fish good for dogs?

Yes, it is a wonderful source of protein, and it actually offers many health benefits when you add it to your dog’s diet in a proper way.

It can help dogs control certain issues, especially as they age.

Beyond the health benefits, most dogs can’t get enough fish, so it is a fun, healthy treat. When I give Leo a chunk of fish, he gets so excited.

The fish contains omega-3 fats that your dog needs. It is one of the best ways for dogs to take in those fats and oils.

Healthy Coat

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the major ingredients in a dog’s coat.

When they eat fish, it helps make their fur thicker and more robust. It can cause a nice shine that looks good and feels good on dogs.

Inflammation Control

Fish oils can help your dog reduce inflammation.

Many dogs suffer from diseases that are caused or exacerbated by inflammation as they get older. Eating fish can help dogs manage these problems.

Giving fish to older dogs can help alleviate pain from arthritis and swelling. It is an excellent way to help your dog move a little better.

Skin Health

Eating fish can help your dog produce many natural oils that they need to have healthy skin.

It can help a dog that has skin rashes and disease. It can soothe symptoms and sometimes even fix minor skin issues before they start.

Risks To Your Dogs From Fish

Fish can be a great treat for your pet, but if you don’t handle the seafood correctly, it can cause some issues for your pet.

Always remember to clean your fish after you buy or catch it. Get deboned fish, or remove the bone yourself before you serve it to your dog.

There are some other things you have to remember before you give fish to your dog. Here are the items you want to avoid when adding fish to your pup’s diet.

Raw Fish

Can dogs eat raw fish?

You would think the answer to this question is yes, but it isn’t.

At some point in history, dogs did eat raw fish, but how we collect and store fish now makes it unsafe to eat uncooked fish for dogs.

Raw fish can give your dog a high dose of bacteria and parasites that can cause your pup stomach issues and even bigger problems.

Cooked fish is safer, and it is easier for your dog to digest. In this way, it’s a bit different from dogs eating raw chicken.

Cooked In Bad Stuff

Cooking fish for your dog is recommended, but you want to stay away from using ingredients that can harm your dog.

Butter, deep frying batter, spices, and salt can all cause your dog unintended health issues.

Stay away from giving your dog fish that has too many unnecessary additives. Dogs don’t need anything added to the fish to make it more fun; they love the treat just the way it is.

Spices and sauces can give your dog an upset stomach. They can also sneak in toxic ingredients like onions and garlic. These can cause significant problems for your dog.


Some preservatives can be dangerous for your dog.

You want to be careful when you give your dog fish from a can or highly processed source. Not only can these items add unwanted spices, they often have extra preservatives.

The preservatives might be acceptable in humans, but dogs, who can often be much smaller, may not be able to handle the same doses.

You may want to check the preservatives in the packed fish you give your dog.

Can a Pregnant Dog Eat Fish?

As long as you cook the fish thoroughly and take out all the bones, fish can be a good option for your pregnant dogs.

The extra healthy protein and fat can be great for the dog. Stay away from any of the fish options with high mercury content, and they should be fine.

Fish shouldn’t be the only thing you are feeding your pregnant dog. You should make sure they are getting a balanced diet to stay strong and have a robust litter of puppies.

Can Puppies Eat Fish?

Can puppies eat fish?


Giving puppies fish is a great way to help them grow big and strong. The high percentage of good fats and excellent protein can help the developing pup add muscle.

Make sure you stick with the good fish groups that offer minimal heavy metals, and they should get a lot of benefits from a fish snack to add to their balanced puppy diet.

Best Ways To Add Fish To A Dogs Diet

Now that you have seen all the benefits of adding fish to your dog’s diet, you might be trying to figure out how to serve fish to dogs.

The main thing is to not overthink it. Dogs want fish in its most basic form.

You can grill, bake, broil, or steam the fish to serve it to your dog. Don’t add any oils, fats, or spices when you cook the fish

You need to make sure you cook fish to 145 degrees or higher. Some seafood has special conditions, so look up shellfish separately for the best guidelines to make sure it is safe to eat.

Once you finish cooking the fish, wait for it to cool down fully before giving it to your dog. Hot food can harm your dog, so you want to make sure it’s cool to the touch before serving it.

How Much Fish Should My Dog Have?

Fish can become a daily treat for dogs, especially if you add it to your dog’s diet to help with inflammation or skin problems.

It is also great to give your dog a few times a week, even if they don’t have any other issues.

If you are considering putting your dog on a new diet, you will want to check with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s new meal plan delivers all the vitamins and minerals they need.

You may have to add mineral powders to get everything into their diet.

Fish For Dogs FAQ

Here are some quick answers to popular questions about feeding dogs fish.

Can Dogs Eat Tilapia?

Tilapia usually comes from farms. If you are getting tilapia for you or your dog, you want to make sure the farm uses best practices.

Check if the tilapia comes from certified farms. Also, make sure the fish is deboned and cleaned before you cook and serve them.

Can Dogs Eat Swordfish?

Swordfish tend to have a high mercury count, and they also are more likely to have parasites that can harm your dog.

It is best to skip this fish when serving your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Carp?

Carp is often a farmed fish. If you get carp, you want to make sure the farms use good conditions and processes.

You can look for certifications from groups that test farm conditions for fish. If it is from a good source, your dog can eat carp.

One product that has carp is Chippin Fish Jerky (here on Amazon). It contains wild-caught silver carp, sweet potato, and carrot, and the treats are oven-baked in the USA.

Find out more in our Chippen Pet Treats review.

Can Dogs Eat Catfish?

Catfish is one of the most common industrial dog food fish sources. It is also a farmed fish, so you want to make sure the farms are safe.

Catfish has bones, including many that are very small, so it’s important these are removed before giving it to your pet.

If you serve it correctly, catfish should be safe for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Sardines?

Sardines are fine. When picking sardines for dogs, you want to avoid options that are heavy in salt.

The additives to sardines could be a problem, but if you get ones that don’t have extra salt, they should be fine.

Can Dogs Eat Clams?

Clams are fine for your dog if they are cleaned and cooked right.

You don’t want to share clams with your dog if they are deep-fried or if you cooked them with heavy spices or butter. Some of the additives can be a problem, but normal clams are great for your pup.

Fishing For Your Dog

is tilapia good for dogs

Catching your own fish is a great way to reduce the overall cost of dog ownership. If it’s a hobby you enjoy anyway, then why not?

In many areas, the only fish that can be caught are not great for human consumption.

For example, fish that are bottom feeders are not desirable for people to eat. Where I live there is a lot of red cod in the ocean and it is easily caught. We tend to feed this to our dog after boiling it.

Whatever area and in whatever way you are fishing, make sure you have the right type of fishing reel and rod for the job. And if your dog is out fishing with you, keep a close watch on him!

Feeding Dogs Fish

So can dogs eat fish?

The answer is an emphatic yes.

Most dogs love fish.

They will get so excited and happy when you put some in their food bowl, and when you make it properly, it is entirely safe for dogs.

Using the right dog food bowl can be important.

For example, a slightly raised bowl is the best dog food bowl for French Bulldogs. It accomodates for their short necks and low bodies.

You can see a lot of healthy benefits from adding fish to your dog’s diet, making it a great treat that has nutritional value.

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which are often in dog supplements (and can help calm hyper dogs).

If you have ever been interested in trying fish with your dog, you can start right now. A can of tuna in water is a great way to test if your dog will enjoy the treat.

It is low cost and low effort, and you will see just how much your dog might like fish in their diet. Not many dog food delivery services offer fish options, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great for them!

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