Can Dogs Eat Fish?


If you’ve ever taken a look at your dog’s food, you’ve probably seen fish or fish oil in the list of ingredients. But is it safe to assume that fish is good for your dog? Well, not every type of fish should be eaten by your pup. Before feeding your dog a fish-heavy meal, it’s important to know the benefits fish have, and what types of fish are safe to feed your pup.

The Benefits of Fish for Dogs

Dogs love the smell of fish. You’re probably aware of this if you’ve ever eaten fish and your dog won’t leave your side. Not only do fish smell great to dogs, but they’re also a very healthy alternative for pets with food sensitivities triggered by common proteins, like chicken or turkey. Adding fish to your dog’s diet can also provide them with a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Also found in avocados, these essential fatty acids have been linked to supporting a healthy, beautiful skin and coat for your pup.1 Lastly, fish contains low levels of fat, making it an excellent alternative for supporting weight.

What types of fish can dogs eat?

There are many types of fish to feed your dog, but not all can provide the same health benefits. The most commonly used fish in dog foods are shorter-lived species such as salmon, ocean whitefish, lake whitefish, trout, herring, walleye, flounder, and Arctic char.2 These fish are safe for dogs to consume due to a shorter lifespan and fewer traces of heavy metals like mercury. Mercury builds up over time in a fish’s system which will lead to heavy metal toxicity. Smaller fish will also contain less mercury because of their size and diet of smaller sea life.

AvoDerm Natural® products offer a variety of fish-based dog food formulas, using short-life, smaller fish like trout and salmon. Our recipes use tasty, real food ingredients to make sure that your pup is eating the best foods while receiving all of the necessary nutrients and proteins in their diet. With a mixture of fish, healthy vegetables, vitamins, and nutritious avocados, you can rest assured that your dog’s diet is not only sustaining them, but also giving them the right nutrients in the right proportions.

As mentioned earlier, fish can help dogs maintain weight easier because of their low-fat levels, but not all dogs enjoy the taste of fish. AvoDerm Natural products also include a range of weight control formulas, in case you’re worried about your pup’s weight if he’s a picky eater.

Types of Fish Dogs Should Not Eat:

While feeding your dog a fish-based meal is a great idea, it’s important to know the types of fish to avoid. Avoid feeding large fish to your dog, as well as those with a longer lifespan. These types of fish generally feed on smaller fish, thus accumulating high levels of mercury and other toxins over the span of their lifetime. Canned tuna should also not be eaten by dogs because canned tuna has higher levels of mercury than most other fish, while also containing several preservatives and additives.1

Other fish to avoid are those with small bones that may be ingested by your pet. If ingested, fish bones can pose a risk of choking or intestinal wall tearing.3 Pet owners should also avoid feeding farmed fish to their dogs, due to their unhealthy living conditions. Over time, the additives found in farmed fish could greatly affect a dog’s health. Smoked fish and crustaceans such as lobsters and crab should also be avoided, as these foods can be too rich for your dog and can cause an upset stomach or other digestive issues.

How to Prepare Fish for Your Dog

When preparing fish to feed your pet, it’s vital to make sure all bones have been removed from the fish, as they can lead to serious health problems if accidentally ingested. While some fish can be eaten raw, cooking all fish thoroughly is an easy way to avoid any possible issues.2 Be sure to avoid seasoning any cooked fish, even with something as simple as butter, salt, or pepper. The canine digestive system is not as complex as a human’s, and seasoned foods can lead to an upset stomach for your pup.

Fish can be a healthy source of essential nutrients, especially for dogs with any sensitivities to common sources of protein. Try a carefully formulated fish-based recipe from AvoDerm Natural products to add irresistible tastes and healthy variety to your dog’s diet.


  1. Ultimo, Caitlin. “Can Dogs Eat Fish and Tuna Fish?” PetMD.
  2. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Fish? – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 10 Jan. 2017.
  3. Vuckovic, Angela. “What Types of Seafood Can Dogs Eat? Risks, Safety, and Benefits.” Petcube, 21 Mar. 2018.
  4. AvoDerm Natural® is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.
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