Since you’re reading this article, you’ve probably heard that fish is good for your dog. And that’s certainly true, fish does have a ton of health benefits. But have you ever wondered which types of fish are ok to feed to your pup, and which ones aren’t?
After all, there are so many different options. Like tuna. So what about tuna? Is it ok to feed or not?
Benefits of fish for dogs
In general, fish is very nutritious for dogs because it’s high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids which:
- Reduce inflammation
- Are good for the skin and the coat
- Support the immune system
- Are good for the brain
However, some fish are less healthy than others because of the polluted waters, caused by industrial waste, they swim in. Fish that are particularly prone to heavy metal toxicity are larger fish that eat a bunch of smaller fish.
Unfortunately, tuna is a larger fish. That means that it absorbs a much higher amount of heavy metals, and particularly mercury, than smaller fish does.
Feed your dog tuna in very small quantities
Since tuna is less clean as far as heavy metals are concerned, it’s best not to feed it on a regular, let alone daily, basis. However, since it’s a readily available source of fish that you can find canned at pretty much every grocery store, I believe that it’s ok to feed every now and then.
It’s the cumulative exposure over many years that’s harmful. At that point, mercury poisoning can happen and:
…causes problems ranging from nervous system disorders to endocrine issues, reproductive problems and accelerated aging. Quote from Dogs Naturally Magazine, Can Dogs Eat Seafood?
I personally am a raw feeder and as such I feed raw fish very regularly. It makes up about 10% of my dog’s raw meat diet. But I’ll only buy a can of tuna a few times per year when I’m out of other types of fish and will mix it in with my pup’s raw meals.
The main reason why I buy canned tuna as opposed to raw tuna is that few of my local grocery stores carry raw tuna.
That being said, canned tuna that’s ok to feed to your dog is the kind that’s canned in water or olive oil. You’ll want to avoid the kind that’s canned with spicy condiments because those can pose a serious health risk to your dog’s body. The excess amount of salt and other spices aren’t good for dogs, and will likely also cause diarrhea.
Healthier alternatives for your dog than tuna
In case you’re wondering which types of fish are ok and safe to feed on a regular basis instead of tuna, I listed them below. I’ve fed them all but had to cross a few off my list of fishy options after I received the results of a food sensitivity test for my current pup Wally, a Feist mix:
- Thread Herring
- Green Lipped Mussels
Cutting up raw mackerel for Wally's raw dog food
Wally about to eat a raw thread herring
Sample raw dog food recipe with fish (thread herring)
Here’s a sample raw dog food recipe that includes fish. Everything but the ground lamb is from Raw Feeding Miami (the lamb is from a local grocery store):
- Thread Herring
- Beef Heart
- Ground Lamb
- Monstermash (secreting organ mix)
- Duck Feet
Raw dog food recipe with fish
For more raw dog food recipes, check out my ebook 20 Raw Meals for Dogs.
Where to buy the healthier fish alternatives
I get my pup’s raw fish mainly from local grocery stores, and two online raw dog food retailers, Raw Feeding Miami and Raw Paws Pet Food. One time, I was able to find raw salmon heads at an asian fish store – that was a great deal and my former pups Missy & Buzz loved them!
See my article For the more adventurous Raw Feeder – Salmon Heads for Dogs for more information on this topic!
15% off (fishy) orders from Raw Feeding Miami & Raw Paws Pet Food
Use code K9Savings for 15% off your order from Raw Paws Pet Food.
15% off your order from Raw Feeding Miami by clicking this link.
Leave your comments or questions in the comment section below!
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