Is Fish Food Bad For Dogs?

It is a known fact that fish is a great nutritious food source, one of the best actually if you want to live a happy and healthy life. It is a phenomenal protein as well as the Omega-3 fatty acids “treasury,” known to lower your cholesterol level to aid in keeping your heart healthy. Fish also helps your hair, skin, nails, and vision be at their best. A person can choose from a variety of seafood options to suit his/her tastebuds. Some people prefer saltwater fish foods, while others eat only freshwater fish.

If you have a dog, you are probably wondering whether or not they can share in your seafood passion.  A pet parent may have been asking questions like: “Is fish food bad for dogs?” “Can my dog get seriously ill if it eats some by accident?” Let’s dig into it right now!

is fish food bad for dogs
Is Fish Food Bad for Dogs?

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Is Fish Food Bad For Dogs? Safe and Dangerous Types Of Fish 

Now, we have to get something straight right off the bat: the answer to the above question is yes, your pooch can indulge in some sea products. But you have to remember: whatever type of seafood you are sharing with your beloved pet, it has to be fully cooked, not raw. Raw fish can cause food poisoning, diarrhea, and even parasite infestation like Salmonella, for instance. What’s even worse is that a furry pal can transfer bacteria onto humans through saliva. A pretty “fishy” situation, isn’t it? 

As far as fish by-products listed among other ingredients in a mutt’s dry food-don’t worry, it is completely safe for consumption. Eating foods with an included fish supplement will be especially beneficial to a pregnant or nursing canine mom. It offers added protein benefits as well as some essential vitamins and minerals to give a female pooch enough nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. And, of course, her pup fetuses will benefit from mom’s healthy eating. 

However, not all seafood is created equal when it comes to feeding a four-legged. A few types of fish would be strictly prohibited for a hound, even if cooked. We will discuss the safe and dangerous fish types for all pet parents’ awareness. 

Safe Fish Types:

  • Salmon: rightfully, it should be considered the “the Neptune of the ocean world.” It is one of the healthiest and most nutritious types of fish your hound can indulge in. It contains a very high fatty acids percentage, loaded with vitamins, potassium, and protein. It is an essential component of a healthy diet for the two-legged and the four-legged alike.
dog eating salmon

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  • Flounder: another aqua powerhouse! It is packed with protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and B-group vitamins and is a must-eat if you or your mutt are trying to lose weight. It also aids in keeping the bones strong and, therefore is mighty suitable for those senior citizen pooches, prone to losing calcium as they age.  
  • Whitefish: contains “good” cholesterol, fighting inflammation if present. It has some important vitamins and is vital for the healthy nervous system functioning. Hence, if you need strong immune system support, look no further, indulge in some whitefish for the added health benefit.   
  • Herring: has good fatty acids in its composition, helping lower bad cholesterol, as well as keeping the heart and eye health in check. This type of seafood is also a must-eat for all those “great minds” out there as it helps the brain with its many important functions.  

The following are the fish types that should be avoided like a plague by your dog:

Dangerous Fish Types:

  • Swordfish: contains a very high concentration of the poisonous element mercury, known to hinder a fetus’s development in the womb, as it causes irreversible brain damage. It is not the best food option to eat for either dogs or people. Hence, just pass it by in the supermarket if you see it on sale.
  • Tuna: even though it has a lot of Omega-3 acids, protein, and vitamins, it also acts as a “garbage disposal” for mercury from pollution. Just like swordfish, it contains high doses of this toxic heavy metal. Therefore, may not be the best snack option for hounds. Especially if we talk about the albacore tuna-that is the worst to have.
  • Shark: not only does it look scary, but also carries some pretty terrifying substances, becoming one of the main fish types that should be avoided at all costs. Shark is a “mercury accumulation champion,” beating other types of fish we discussed above. More so, it is known to have other harmful components like ciguatoxin, lead, and in some cases even arsenic! These are all extremely poisonous toxins, leading to internal organ damage and various developed ailments.  
  • King Mackerel: this seafood type spoils fast, especially if left in the heat for a prolonged time. While Alaskan mackerel has a good reputation for being high in fatty acids, and low in mercury concentration, its Southern counterpart is not so welcome on the dinner table. The reason is pretty clear: astounding mercury accumulation percentage, sometimes too poisonous to even consume. Should not be given to pregnant or nursing canine mommas, since the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. 

And now, let’s see if hounds can indulge in some processed fish foods.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Fish?

Not recommended for a high cholesterol concentration as fried fish is prepared in fattening oils and different seasonings that might be toxic for a four-legged. However, it is a much better snack option compared to a raw slice of fish, if an owner was to choose between the two. In case you cannot resist those puppy eyes staring at you while you dip delicious fried fish sticks into a sauce, share a little tiny piece. It won’t have any nutrients really for your dog’s well-being. Therefore don’t make it into a habit, rather turn it into an occasional snack option. 

Is Fish Food Bad For Dogs If It Is Grilled Or Baked?

Compared to fried fish, grilled and baked cooking choices are much healthier, providing both the pet parent and his/her fluffy companion with many essential nutrients. All of them are kept intact because the above-described cooking options use less heat as well as don’t require fattening oils during preparation. 

dog eating fish
Fish food for dogs


The bottom line is you can and you should give your furry pal some fish once in a while as an occasional treat for behaving well. Just make sure it is fully cooked to avoid poisoning and an upset stomach syndrome. An owner needs to choose carefully what type of fish he/she is going to share with a canine friend. It is best to go with the above-mentioned safe fish options list we have described in detail.  

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stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.