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Can dogs eat tuna?

At James Wellbeloved, we pride ourselves on producing delicious food which is proven to be healthy and optimal for your pet’s dietary needs. Fish is one of the food groups which offers many health benefits, and we provide fish-based dog food for your pet to enjoy. It is common for owners to want to find alternative foods for their dogs to eat: sometimes this is because our dogs don’t like the food we choose for them; sometimes it is because we catch our dog pining for our own food, and sometimes it simply because we want to treat them to something new. As one of the most common types of food groups we humans consume, fish is in many households where dogs reside. Consequently, many pet owners would like to know: can dogs eat tuna, and which fish are safe for our canine friends to consume?


Can dogs eat tuna?

Heavy metals which enter our oceans, lakes and rivers can accumulate in the fish that inhabit them over the course of their lifetime. Therefore, the longer those fish live, the more they accumulate those metals in their system. Tuna is a long-life fish. For this reason, excessive consumption of tuna can be dangerous to dogs (and humans alike) as they may contain high amounts of mercury. Consuming too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning. Even humans need to be careful how much tuna they eat, but for dogs, who are smaller, their tolerance is lower. You do not need to worry if your dog snatches some tuna from your plate while you are not looking, but you shouldn’t make a habit of regularly feeding tuna to your dog. You should go to a vet immediately if your dog shows any of the symptoms of mercury poisoning:

  • Loss of coordination and tremors
  • Loss of feeling
  • Loss of hair
  • Loss of sight


Can dogs eat fish?

While you should minimise feeding long-life fish, short-life fish do not accumulate the same levels of mercury, so are safer to consume. These fish include whitefish, herring, walleye, flounder, Arctic char and salmon. In fact, because these fish contain high levels of protein and omega-3, they are great for your pet’s health by providing benefits such as promoting healthy brain tissue and reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids will also give your dog’s skin and coat a healthy shine. You should not feed your dog shellfish, which contain high levels of toxins, nor smoked salmon, which contains too much salt. There are a few safety considerations when serving your dog fish:

  1. Buy boneless fillets or ensure any bones are thoroughly removed before serving the fish to your dog. Fish bones are very fine and easily swallowed but can cause nasty internal damage.
  2. Do not season the fish. Too much salt, pepper, butter and oil can be harmful to your dog and they’ll love the flavour without it. Avoid fish that comes battered, breaded, or cooked in sauce, as these contain unsuitable ingredients for dogs.
  3. The best way to prepare the fish is to steam, bake or grill it.
  4. Some dogs may be intolerant to fish, so start with small portions and see how your dog reacts. If they show signs of intolerances, take your dog to see the vet and avoid feeding fish in the future.
  5. Make sure any fish you feed your dog is fresh – if it’s not fresh enough for you to be eating, your dog shouldn’t be either.

It’s safe to feed your dog a small amount of fish as a treat, but your pets require a variety of ingredients in their diet. James Wellbeloved pet foods are formulated to be complete diets which meet all of your pet’s nutritional needs, and our Fish and Rice and Fish Grain Free diets are healthy, tasty fish-based diets for your dog.  


Can dogs eat raw fish?

In a word, no, it is not safe for dogs to eat raw fish. Although it is unlikely to be toxic to your pet, fish often contain parasites and bacteria like salmonella, which could make you and your pets unwell. You should be careful when preparing fish for human consumption, and you should treat your dog’s food in the same way.