Can Dogs Eat Seafood? A Comprehensive List
If you’re anything like us, there’s every chance that you do everything you can to ensure that your dog’s getting the right nutrition in their diet. If you’re near the ocean, you might be tempted to feed your dog some seafood but, can they eat it? Equally as important, should they?
Should You Feed Seafood to Your Dog?
There are some great benefits to seafood for everyone, from humans to our four-legged pals. When prepared correctly, it can be wonderful for their diets! The main benefit of fish in a dog’s diet is that it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are wonderful for the condition of skin and bone!
Also, the quality of the protein in fish is wonderful, compared to red meat, which can be quite fatty. The fat level of fish is great, too - there are typically very low levels of fat, which is ideal for weight control.
Finally, we come to one that your pup will care about - flavor variety. There’s a lot of variety of flavor in different types of fish, meaning that you can find a few varieties that your dog quite likes, and work those into their diet.
There are always risks to adding things to your dog’s diet, and seafood is no exception. Here are some important risks to bear in mind.
The first thing that you should be wary of is the potential to introduce toxins, heavy metals, and pollutants to your pup’s diet. Because a lot of human waste goes into the ocean, and fish spend their lives there, some trace amount of heavy metals can make their way into seafood.
There is an increased risk for bacteria like salmonella and listeria, which you should always be watching out for. If properly stored and cooked, this risk is minimal.
Finally, canned fish contains preservatives that are harmful to dogs. Therefore, it’s worth only feeding your dog non-canned fish.
Seafood Dogs Can Eat
There are plenty of bits of seafood out there which your dog can eat, but there are some specific ones that are wise to include in your dog’s diet.
Your dog can easily eat lobster and shrimp, though you must always make sure that the seafood has been fully cooked without any spices or seasoning. As well as that, the legs, shell, and tail must be completely removed. It’s worth starting them off with an extremely small portion and seeing how they handle it, as some dogs can be allergic to shellfish.
One fish that’s wonderful for dogs is wild-caught salmon. When it’s cooked, the luxurious meat becomes a wonderful meal for your dog that’s full of great nutrients and healthy oils. Ideal! Make sure, though, that you don’t serve it raw. When raw, it can transpit a fatal parasite which can kill your dog very quickly.
Sardines can be a wonderful dietary supplement for dogs, thanks to the wonderful nutrients within them! As a bonus, these fish are extremely easy to debone, and can be bought canned in water. If you must buy canned fish for your dog - get fish canned in water, not oil. Seasoning and oils do not agree with the dog's digestive systems.
Finally, flounder is a wonderful fish for dogs. There’s a lot of protein in each bite, and it’s packed with essential fatty oils. Just make sure to cook it completely, and do not add any fats or spices.
Seafood Dogs Can Not Eat
There are a number of things to remember when giving seafood to your dog. If you’re cooking fish that you know they can eat, then you only need to steer clear of spices and fats. However, there are some fish that you should completely avoid.
First things first, you must stay away from fish with long lifespans. These fish include tuna and swordfish. As long-lived fish swim in the oceans, a trace amount of heavy metals will build up in their systems. When they’re in human diets, it doesn’t matter so much since we have advanced digestive systems that can filter out impurities. Dog’s digestive systems are less advanced, though, and cannot cope with these small amounts of heavy metals. Therefore, stick to types of fish with shorter life spans.
Also, make sure to avoid raw seafood. Some examples of this are oysters and clams, which can include high levels of bacteria, viruses, and algae. This is safe for humans, but can certainly make your dog sick. While you might be able to track down clean, safe versions of these types of seafood, your best bet is simply to steer clear.
Finally, make sure to avoid fish with tiny bones in it. If you are going to feed your dog with fish, you must ensure that any fillets or portions of fish have been completely deboned, otherwise, the little bones pose a hazard for choking and digestive obstructions.
The same thing can be said about fish bones (or any bones) which have been cooked. Raw bones can be chewed on by dogs safely, but cooked bones with shatter in the digestive system, leading to a number of small fragments which can be especially dangerous. Therefore, always make sure to completely debone any fish that you’d like to give to your dog.
Some examples of fish with very small bones are anchovies, herring, and sardines. These can all pose risks to your dog’s digestive health.
As a final note, it’s worth bearing a couple of other small things in mind when feeding your dog with fish. Firstly, make sure to remove skin and scales from any fish before giving them to your dog. The scales pose a choking hazard, and the skin is where a lot of impurities are likely to be. Your dog might enjoy fish skin if it’s been dried to jerky.
Finally, make sure not to give your dog any fins from fish. These pieces of meat are virtually impossible to debone, and so pose a risk to your dog’s health.
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