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Q & A: Can dogs eat fish, salmon and seafood?

Our question today comes from Leanne and her chocolate Labrador Bailey, 32kgs of pure joy

Question: “I have a question I have been meaning to email you and ask. Can dogs have seafood? Salmon and basic white fish? Do you think dogs get allergies to that type of thing?"

Most Dogs love fish and most kinds of seafood too in my experience.  There are no reported allergies and white fish is often recommended for dogs that do have allergies.  It is often high in zinc which is great for their skin.

For food safety, unless you are sure of the freshness and the source, I recommend that seafood is cooked. However, you do need to be aware of bones. I run my fingers over raw fish and it is pretty easy to feel bones and remove them – often just pulling them will get the bones out. Salmon tail doesn’t usually have bones, so I like to buy it to share with the fur kids.

The bones in sardines and other tinned fish, salmon, tuna, mackerel are fine to eat as they are softened by the extreme heat required in the cooking of tinned fish and still are a good source of calcium. Try to buy low salt when possible in the tinned variety. I often have tinned fish as a standby when not sure what we are having for dinner or a good quick breakfast.

Dogs also like calamari, whitebait – whole tiny fish – is another quite affordable fish and available frozen in the fishmongers usually. Smoked salmon, nom nom nom, is a delicious treat and something I have resorted to when it is particularly nasty medicine to get down.

The rest is up to individual taste if you are eating it, then share and see if your dog is up for it.

Beanie loves white fish, any kind, when I have fish and chips she gets a portion too. My dogs haven’t taken to clams, oysters or other shellfish, and frankly, I don’t usually share lobster if I get because I like it with champagne and keep it to myself! However, I do know plenty of dogs who get oysters as a treat. They are a very good source of zinc. Green-lipped mussels are a well-known benefit for dogs with arthritis, usually powdered, but giving them fresh is a real treat. Out of the shell of course!

We all know the benefit of Omega 3 fatty acids that are in the cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines but don’t limit the fish to this benefit. Fish is an excellent source of low-fat protein, and please do whatever you can to buy sustainably sourced and a variety of fish. We all want to give the oceans a break, and we can do this by asking the right questions.