Can Dogs Have Tuna Fish – What You Need To Know

If you’re a dog owner, then you’ve likely asked yourself at some point whether or not it’s safe for your furry friend to eat tuna fish.

And if you haven’t, well, here’s everything you need to know about whether or not dogs can have tuna fish.

Spoiler alert: they can! But as with any human food, there are certain things you need to keep in mind before feeding your pup this tasty seafood dish.

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of giving your dog tuna fish, and how to serve it to your dog – the safe way!

Can Dogs Have Tuna Fish – Everything You Need To Know

Tuna fish is a type of saltwater fish that is commonly consumed by humans as part of a healthy diet.

It’s ok for dogs to eat – but in small amounts – as it’s an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals – like magnesium, potassium, and selenium.

Omega-3 fatty acids are especially beneficial for dogs, as they help to support a healthy coat and skin, as well as joint health.

Tuna fish is also relatively low in mercury compared to other types of seafood – making it a safer choice for dogs (and humans!) than some other seafood options.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before feeding your dog tuna fish.

First and foremost, tuna fish – like all seafood – can contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick.

That’s why it’s important to only feed your dog cooked tuna fish, as cooking will kill any harmful bacteria present in the fish.

Second, tuna fish – especially canned tuna fish – often contains added salt, which is not good for dogs in large amounts.

So if you’re feeding your dog canned tuna fish, be sure to choose a variety that is labeled ‘low sodium’ or ‘no salt added.

Thirdly, it is high in sodium which is not good for dogs with certain medical conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure.

And last but not least, tuna fish – like all seafood – can contain harmful toxins like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

While the levels of these toxins are usually low in tuna fish, they can still be harmful to dogs – especially in large amounts.

So if you’re feeding your dog tuna fish, be sure to choose a variety that is labeled ‘low mercury’ or ‘no mercury added’.

Health Risks of Dogs Eating Tuna Fish (Due to Mercury Poisoning)

Let’s take a closer look at the potential health risks associated with feeding your dog this seafood dish.

tuna in can on a light blue background

As mentioned previously, tuna fish can contain harmful toxins like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

While the levels of these toxins are usually low in tuna fish, they can still be harmful to dogs – especially in large amounts.

The most common health risk associated with feeding your dog tuna fish is mercury poisoning.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea – this is the most common symptom of mercury poisoning in dogs.
  • Vomiting – is another common symptom of mercury poisoning in dogs.
  • Lethargy – dogs with mercury poisoning may be more tired or ‘sluggish’ than usual.
  • Loss of appetite – some dogs may lose their appetite altogether when suffering from mercury poisoning.
  • Tremors – some dogs may experience muscle tremors or ‘twitching’ as a result of mercury poisoning.
  • Anxiety – some dogs may become more anxious or ‘jumpy’ when suffering from mercury poisoning.
  • Kidney damage – in severe cases, mercury poisoning can lead to kidney damage.
  • Hair loss – although not as common, some dogs may experience hair loss as a result of mercury poisoning.
  • Blindness – this is a very rare but potentially serious symptom of mercury poisoning in dogs.

My Dog Ate Tuna Fish – What Now?

  • Small amounts – don’t worry

If your dog ate a small amount of tuna fish – especially if it was cooked – chances are they will be just fine.

However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your dog for any potential symptoms of mercury poisoning – like diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy – just to be safe.

If your dog does experience any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian right away.

  • Large amounts – go to the vet

If your dog ate a large amount of tuna fish – especially if it was raw or canned – and is showing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

During a physical examination, your vet will likely look for signs of dehydration – such as sunken eyes, dry gums, or skin that ‘tents’ when pinched – as well as any potential neurological symptoms – like tremors, seizures, or blindness.

Safe Types of Fish Your Dog Can Eat

Of course not all fish are created equal – some are very healthy and safe for dogs to eat. So what types of fish are safe for your dog to eat?

black dog eating fish head

Some of the best (and safest) fish for dogs include:

Salmon – this fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is a great source of protein. This type of fish is also relatively low in mercury.

Herring – herring is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and calcium. This helps keep your dog’s coat healthy and can also reduce shedding.

Catfish – this contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep your dog’s coat healthy. It is also a good source of protein.

Whitefish – this fish is safe for dogs to eat and is a good source of protein. In addition, whitefish are relatively low in mercury.

Cod – cod is also a good natural source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being low in mercury.

How To Serve Tuna to Your Dog – The Safe Way

Now that we’ve answered the question “can dogs have tuna fish?”, let’s take a look at how to serve this seafood dish to your four-legged friend in a safe and healthy way.

As mentioned previously, feeding your dog raw or canned tuna fish can be dangerous – due to the potential for mercury poisoning.

The best way to feed your dog tuna fish is to cook it first. When cooking tuna fish for your dog, be sure to:

Remove all bones – as these can splinter and cause choking or other gastrointestinal issues.

Cook the fish thoroughly – this will help to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Avoid adding any extra seasoning – such as salt, pepper, or other spices – as these can be harmful to dogs.

Once the fish is cooked, you can then add it to your dog’s regular food bowl or feed it to them as a treat.

When feeding tuna fish to your dog, be sure to start with small amounts and watch for any potential allergic reactions – such as itching, redness, or swelling of the skin.

If your dog does have an allergic reaction to tuna fish, stop feeding it to them immediately and call your veterinarian.

How Much Tuna Can I Give My Dog?

The amount of tuna you can give your dog will depend on their size, weight, and overall health. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to start with small amounts – such as 1-2 tablespoons for a small dog or 3-4 tablespoons for a large dog.

beagle looking away from the table with cooked fish

What Canned Tuna Can Dogs Eat?

The best-canned tuna for dogs is light tuna in water – with no added salt, seasoning, or other ingredients. This type of tuna is safe for dogs to eat and is relatively low in mercury.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Tuna?

Dogs can’t eat tuna because it could potentially lead to mercury poisoning. Mercury is a poisonous metal that can be found in high levels in fish – such as tuna and swordfish. When consumed in large amounts, mercury can cause neurological problems, blindness, seizures, and even death.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Tuna?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked tuna. In fact, this is the best way to feed your dog this type of seafood – as it reduces the risk of food poisoning and mercury poisoning. When cooking tuna for your dog, be sure to remove all bones and avoid adding any extra seasoning or spices.

What Canned Fish Is Good for Dogs?

Canned fish like sardines can be a good option for dogs, as long as it is packed in water or oil (not brine). Fish packed in water are generally lower in calories than those packed in oil, making it a better choice for dogs who are overweight or working hard to maintain their weight.

Conclusion

In conclusion, dogs can have tuna fish – but it’s best to cook it first. When cooking tuna fish for your dog, be sure to remove all bones and avoid adding any extra seasoning or spices.

If you’re feeding your dog canned tuna, look for light tuna in water – with no added salt, seasoning, or other ingredients.

In addition, it’s important to start with small amounts and watch for any potential allergic reactions. If your dog does have an allergic reaction to tuna fish, stop feeding it and call your veterinarian immediately.

What is your opinion about feeding fish to your dog? Let us know in the comments below!

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Lovelia Horn

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