Is Fish Good For Dogs?

a golden retriever holding a toy fish in it's mouth - a blog about is fish good for dogs.


Let’s start by saying that yes, fish is good for dogs. In fact, at Angell PetCo, we promote the use of fish as a healthy source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. 

The majority of our products contain fish, be it salmon, trout, haddock or blue whiting. We advocate fish for dogs in our complete dog food blends, healthy dog treats and natural supplements. We do this due to the benefits of including fish in your dog’s diet. What are the benefits of fish for dogs? A healthier coat and easy digestibility, not to mention a reduction in joint inflammation as well as being a superb way to manage weight control. 

What Kind of Fish is Good For Dogs?

When it comes to dog diets, the following types of fish are recommended: 

  • Salmon 
  • Trout
  • Haddock
  • Blue Whiting
  • Cod
  • Fish skins

Just as important as the type of fish we give to our dogs, is the way that it’s prepared. Ideally, fish should be freshly caught and local to help retain maximum nutrition. That’s why every Scottish salmon we use is farmed and caught off Scottish islands before being gently prepared using our unique cooking process. 

In this way, we preserve the nutritional goodness of every fish, ensuring your dogs get their daily intake of protein and fatty acids to help them live happier, healthier lives. 

Salmon

If you’re going to introduce your dog to fish, salmon is a great place to start. Salmon is a common ingredient in high-quality dog foods, yet you can also buy salmon supplements to introduce fish for dogs at a slow and steady pace. 

Salmon features in our Superior Adult Complete blend, as well as our Superior Puppy Complete blend. In adult food, salmon’s Omega-3 fatty acids can ease inflammation on old joints and help to maintain skin condition. That said, salmon is also great for growing dogs as it can aid cognitive development in puppies and bring eye health up to speed. 

In the training department, salmon also comes in handy. We sell salmon and kelp cookies as well as salmon and potato cookies and salmon sausages. These bite-sized treats are part of our 100% natural baked range. If you’re dealing with an overweight dog, salmon is a great low-fat source of protein that will help with weight management. Making the switch from meat or heavily processed treats will dramatically reduce your dog’s daily intake. Alternatively, salmon can help anxious, reserved dogs to come out of their shell during play. Why? Well, salmon gives off a strong, fishy smell that tends to attract and stimulate even the shyest of dogs. 

Finally, salmon supplements such as salmon oil are a simple yet effective way to aid your dog’s health by rescuing stiff joints, itchy skin, poor circulation and cracked paws. Plenty of our customers testify that adding a few drops of salmon oil to their dog’s food for two weeks is enough to start seeing transformative results. 

Trout

Trout is another example of a fish that’s high in protein and Omega-3. However, it’s important to know that dogs can’t eat raw trout or trout fillets with bones. As long as trout is cooked, it’s safe for your dog to consume, which explains why this fish type is another common ingredient in many healthy dog blends. 

Trout features in our Superior Sensitive Complete blend along with white fish and dried chicken. This trio forms a lean pack of protein that’s unlikely to cause any stomach upset. In terms of protein, beef is a common allergen which sometimes causes bald patches, chronic gas and compulsive behaviours as a result. Trout acts as a suitable alternative for any dogs with this issue.

Haddock

Perhaps a more familiar form of fish is haddock –– a common white fish that we’re often told to eat as part of our own diet. 

Just like trout, haddock is added as part of a protein blend in our Superior Puppy Complete. Joining salmon and blue whiting, haddock provides a balance of fat and protein while helping to make this dried kibble appetising to dogs. 

Fish skins

A large proportion of the fatty acids contained in a fish come from its skin. Around two-thirds of Omega-3 content can be ingested by eating fish skin. That’s why we also have a large range of naturally-dried fish skin products including 100% natural fish skin fingers, 100% natural fish skin giant slices, 100% natural fish skin tubes and 100% natural fish skin minis. With the choice of four different sizes and shapes, our range of fish skins can satisfy any dog, big or small. 

What Fish Can Dogs Not Eat?

The general theme is that fish is good for dogs. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. 

Dogs can’t eat: 

  • Uncooked, raw fish
  • Fishbones

Raw fish can contain bacteria and parasites. In salmon, a certain form of bacteria named Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite can lead to salmon poisoning. For this reason, all fish should be thoroughly cooked or frozen from fresh before consumption –– including fish skins. 

Although it can be tempting to toss your dog a freshly caught fish, the sweet spot is in finding a dog food provider that sells cooked fish packed with fresh, nutritional goodness. 

Fish should also be deboned before giving to a dog to enjoy. This is for the same reason that dogs can’t eat meat carcasses as bones can snap and splinter. Fishbones are particularly small and brittle, posing problems if a bone gets lodged in your dog’s throat. 

Dogs shouldn’t regularly eat:  

  • Fish sticks
  • Fried fish 
  • Fish with high mercury content
  • Smoked salmon 

There are other types of fish and fish products that are not necessarily toxic or dangerous to dogs, though they shouldn’t be given to a dog on a regular basis. Things with little nutritional value like fish sticks and fried fish should be limited and monitored so as not to cause weight gain. 

In the same way you would limit your own consumption of fish with high mercury levels –– like tuna –– you should also limit your dog’s. Although tuna is one of the varieties of fish that is safe for dogs to eat, an excessive amount of tuna could lead to mercury poisoning with symptoms such as anxiety, loss of coordination and kidney damage

Finally, smoked salmon is perhaps the only variety of salmon that you should avoid introducing into your dog’s dinner bowl. Although we might see smoked salmon as a luxurious addition to a brunch, for dogs this salmon variety is unnecessarily salty which leads to dehydration. 

Is Fish or Meat Better For Dogs? 

Some of our clients ask which protein type is better – fish or meat? The answer is more complicated than holding up a clear winner. 

As previously mentioned, fish is good for dogs for a variety of reasons including being a healthy source of protein for dogs with allergens or weight issues. As fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, this ingredient does wonders for a dog’s health. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for coat maintenance, cognitive development and all sorts of other bodily functions. 

However, meat is a great source of protein too, with lean meat often taking centre stage in our dog’s diet. For example, lamb features in our Superior Maintenance Complete blend. Chicken, on the other hand, is one of the main ingredients in our Superior Sensitive Complete blend. We also have a whole host of healthy and tasty meaty dog treats including 100% pig’s ear strips, duck fillets and Irish beef patties

Again, the way that meat is sourced and prepared plays a huge role in whether the finished product is good for your dog. When using any meat in dog food formulas the raw ingredient should be human-grade, as well as free from all artificial additives, preservatives, flavouring and non-nutritional fillers. 

So long as you source good quality dog food, your pup can eat either fish or meat –– or a balance of both. 

Funnily enough, fish will most likely be the most popular decision with dogs despite marketing around dog’s diets primarily being about meat. The smell of fish is incredibly appealing to dogs, allowing them to eat with their strongest sense first. 

How Often Should Dogs Eat Fish? 

Your dog can eat fish every day –– as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Giving fish regularly to your dog will help to ensure they get enough protein and Omega-3. 

If fish is part of your dog’s daily food blend, you should follow the instructions on the packet as to how many grams of dog food you should feed in each sitting. Our serving sizes are displayed on every Complete Dog Food product page as it correlates to your dog’s weight. 

As for treats containing fish, be aware that treats should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s diet. If your dog is on a weight management plan, you might even limit this allowance further. 

If you’re hesitant about introducing fish into your dog’s diet or switching to a new food blend but still want to reap its benefits, you might consider supplementing mealtimes with a few drops of salmon oil. In this way, your dog will be getting the best from fish without you having to interrupt his/her daily feeding routine. To do this, make sure you purchase a pure salmon oil that hasn’t been stabilised with vitamin E or compromised by any other artificial ingredients. Ideally, salmon oil should be locally sourced and made from the whole pressed fish like our bestselling 100% Scottish salmon oil.

Finally, if your dog is trying fish for the first time, you’ll want to introduce fish slowly into your dog’s diet before upping the frequency –– as you would with any other kibble. Start slow by mixing one part of the new kibble to three parts of the old kibble. After a few days of this, you’ll be able to increase the fish kibble to roughly two parts of each meal before gradually increasing to three parts fish kibble. During this time, monitor any changes in behaviour, as well as a change in stool consistency. 

In short, the frequency of fish feeding is dependent on your dog. 

For this reason, we offer a variety of payment plans on all of our products. Customers can choose from one-off purchases, recurring orders and bulk buys to suit their needs. In our Complete Dog Food range, kibble can be purchased in a variety of bag weights and recurring delivery can be arranged as often as weekly or as infrequently as every six weeks. 

Looking to introduce your dog to fish? Shop our salmon oil, fish treats and range of Complete Dog Food where three of our four formulas are fish-based.

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