Can Dogs Eat Fish? 7 Reasons Why Dogs Should Eat Fish

by Crystal Moore on April 07, 2023

There are many questions surrounding the topic of feeding fish to your dog. The main question lingering in many dog owners' minds is 'can dogs eat fish?'. The simple answer is YES!


Here are the reasons why:

1) Improves the appearance of skin

The cause of a dog having a dull coat is often due to a poor quality diet. This can mean the dog is lacking in protein as that your dog's coat consists of 90% protein.

Fish is great to add into your dog's diet as either the main protein, or, a supplement. This is because of the rich content of Omega-3 found in fish. Omega-3 is essential for your dog's coat to be much more shiny, therefore, making the coat look healthier. Not only does Omega-3 improve the appearance of your dog's coat, it also reduces ichiness and dryness on your dog's skin and provides answer to can dogs eat fish?

EPA and DHA are typically found together in fish, the EPA that is sourced from fish is specifically the main compound that supports your dog's skin and coat. Whereas DHA mainly supports your dog's cognitive function.

2) Cleans your dog's teeth

Dental health is one of the most common reasons for vet visits in the UK. However, it is the easiest to prevent

Fish is amazing at cleaning your dog's teeth. More specifically, fish that has been air-dried at a low temperature is the perfect treat and dental chew all in one. Air-dried fish is a fantastic dental chew because of the naturally abrasive and rough texture it has, and the scales act as a natural toothbrush rubbing against your dog's teeth. Plus, chewing is all they have to do. In some cases, the naturally abrasive texture loosens the plaque and even the tartar build-up. What's more impressive is that results can start to be seen in only two weeks of feeding 2 air-dried fishy dental chews a day.

Please note that we recommend that you start brushing your dog's teeth with a doggy specific toothbrush and toothpaste as part of your dog's routine .

3) Improves your dog's cognitive function

Without a doubt, dogs are intelligent animals, and feeding fish supports their brain health. In fact, fish is one of the top 5 brainfoods for dogs.

Fish is incredibly beneficial for your dog's cognitive function because it is rich in DHA and EPA. Specifically, DHA Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are crucial for your dog's brain to grow and develop, allowing your dog's brain function to improve. The inclusion of DHA and EPA is even more vital for younger pups to support the development of their brain and vision as much and as healthy as possible.

On top of that, DHA and EPA are not only great for puppies, but they're great for promoting good cognitive health for dogs of all ages. More precisely, DHA improves your dog's memory, trainability and attention.

4) Help with your dog's immune system

So can dogs eat fish? You may have noticed a continuous trend with the benefits of Omega-3; EPA and DHA support your dog's immune system in various ways. One way it helps is by supporting your immune system to defend itself from infection. Omega-3 is also essential in the early stages of your dog's life for their immune system to grow. Without EPA and DHA, your dog's immune system could be negatively affected.

Not only that, many nutritional aspects help your dog's immune system in numerous ways. As a brief explanation:

  • Selenium prevents damage to your dog's cells and tissues.
  • Vitamin A supports your dog's fight against illnesses and infection.
  • B-Complex Vitamins break down your dog's food and exchange that into energy.
  • Iron helps transport oxygen around your dog's body via the red blood cells.
  • Iodine helps keep your dog's metabolic rate healthy by making Thyroid Hormones.
  • Zinc aids in the formation of new cells and enzymes.
  • 5) Promotes joint health and relieves arthritis

    As your dog ages, their joints start to get more and more stiff, therefore, mobility gets a little more challenging. Unfortunately, this comes with age. However, preventing and reducing inflammation that causes stiffness can be helped by feeding fish (this will not eradicate any possible arthritis but alleviate the symptoms). The Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that aid your dog's joints and prevent possible arthritis. Specifically, EPA and DHA act as cellular signals to reduce inflammation. Vitamin D, which is also present in fish, helps your dog's body absorb calcium and phosphorus, and these are essential for strong bones and teeth.

    It is important to note that your dog should be getting the appropriate exercise alongside nutrition when weighing the question of can dogs eat fish? It is essential to keep an exercise schedule to help maintain your dog's muscle tone. As your dog gets older, their collagen levels drop; therefore, their muscle mass decreases without the correct diet.

    6) Improves eye sight

    It takes approximately seven years for your dog's eyes to appear cloudy due to the density of layers that accumulate on your dog's eyes over the years.

    Similar to cognitive function, the DHA Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are crucial for your dog's eyes to develop. Along with the benefits of Omega-3, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports healthy eyes. Not only that, it has been proven that Vitamin A is needed for improved vision at night or in any low light setting.

    One of the best sources of vitamin A for your dog is fish, specifically salmon. Hence it provides steady answers to your question of can dogs eat fish?

    Finally, another prevention method is regularly cleaning and trim around your dog's eyes.

    7) Great for dogs with allergies

    Unfortunately, allergies are pretty common in dogs and should be considered when analysing 'can dogs eat fish?' The most common allergies in dogs are food-related. Beef, Dairy, Wheat, Eggs, Chicken, Lamb and Soy are the most common food allergies. These allergies can appear as sickness, rashes, itchiness, ear infections, swelling, diarrhoea, etc.

    Fortunately, fish is a hypoallergenic source of high-quality protein. In most cases, vets recommend feeding a dog a fish-based diet when it is discovered that they have an allergy to meat such as Chicken. Fish is usually the best option because fish is not commonly used as the main protein in complete dog foods. Additionally, feeding fish minimises the chance of your dog getting an allergic reaction as that fish is high in Omega-3. Omega-3 and vitamin A are natural anti-inflammatories that can help alleviate the systems your dog may receive from an allergic reaction.

    Risks of Feeding Fish to Dogs

    Although fish itself is safe for dogs, the question remain, 'can dogs eat fish?' Fish that has been overcooked in oil might disturb a dog's digestive system or potentially trigger serious conditions like pancreatitis. Seasonings can seriously harm a dog's health, particularly if they contain toxic ingredients like garlic. But bones are the biggest danger when giving fish to dogs.

    Are fish bones considered safe for dogs?

    Fish bones are delicate, fragile, and harmful. They can infiltrate themselves inside the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines of your dog, occasionally even penetrating the organ wall. This can lead to an expensive trip to the vet in addition to being painful. While there are plenty of anecdotal stories about dogs eating fish bones without issues, in this instance, it is better to heed the advice of veterinarians and play it safe.

    Can you feed dogs raw fish?

    Salmonella and listeria are two dangerous bacteria that could be present in raw fish. This is problematic for two reasons.

    • One, it might make your dog sick and, the FDA says it might potentially make you and other family members sick.
    • If you decide to give your dog a raw diet that includes fish, be sure to take the necessary safety steps when preparing his meals, such as washing your hands and completely disinfecting all surfaces and bowls after use.

    Is too much fish harmful for dogs?

    • Consult your veterinarian about the right serving amounts of fish for your dog since too much fish might cause obesity.
    • Table scraps, including fish, are not necessary for your dog's health, but as long as owners keep an eye on their dog's weight, fish can make a good occasional treat for dogs.

    To conclude, fish has endless amounts of aspects that are incredibly beneficial to your dog. There is undoubtedly more benefits that haven't been listed on this blog when answering the question of can dogs eat fish. Therefore, if you have any other questions that you would like us to answer via email or on a future blog, let us know through our email

    Overall, it is a big 'YES!' to feeding fish to your dog, and if you have any worries, please do not hesitate to contact us.