What Types of Fish Can Dogs Eat?

Tags: hypoallergenic

by Irene Hislop

22 June 2020



Are you’re planning to enjoy some fishing this summer with your four-legged best friend at your side? A relaxing day at the river or lake hoping for that moment when you feel a tug on the line is never wasted, especially from your dog’s point of view. Fresh air, a change of scenery, plenty of interesting things to sniff and your company is a perfect dog’s day of summer. One question arises when you do catch a fish… or when you give up and pick some fish up at the store instead… Can dogs eat fish? It’s a definite maybe. Dogs can eat some fish if it is prepared appropriately for them.


Fish is a wholesome source of protein for dogs. While food allergies and intolerances are not common in dogs, they do exist. And surprisingly meats are the most common allergens. For dogs who can’t eat chicken or beef, fish is a wonderful alternative. It is not a second-best option by any means. Oily fish such as salmon, herring and trout are extremely nutritious. They offer your dog plentiful omega 3 oils for a shiny coat, a healthy heart and a strong immune system.  

But it is not as simple as tossing a fish to your dog or scraping fish leftovers into their dish. Fish can pose a few real dangers to your dog if it isn’t prepared right. Dogs can’t pick out those almost invisible little fish bones themselves, but they can choke on them. Sure, the battered cod at the chipper is delicious, but it’s not a great choice to share with your dog. That batter doesn’t do him any good. And don’t let your dog sample any freshly caught raw fish; that comes with a whole set of dangers.

How Can Dogs Eat Fish Safely?

Fish has a lot of nutritional benefits, but it is important to know how dogs can eat fish safely avoid the risks of bones and unsafe fish.

  • The easiest and safest way to give your dog the goodness of fish is in a wholesome, balanced dog food. A dry dog food featuring fish, such as Go Native Herring or Go Native Salmon, offers all of the flavour dogs love and the nutrition they need without any risk of bones, parasites or disease.
  • You can give your dog leftover fish from your own dinner, but you must be very careful to ensure it is free of bones. And remember, sauces, seasonings, batter and the like are not good for dogs. Plain cooked fish, free of bones, is ideal.
  • If you and your dog are enjoying an outdoor adventure camping and fishing together, you can share some of the fish you catch. But you must debone it carefully and cook it well before giving any to your dog.
a bag of go native organic fish dog food with herring and carrot and kale

Dogs do love fish. When you are preparing fish, they will be watching carefully. Few dogs are above trying to sneak some when you aren’t looking, but of course that poses some dangers. But when it is prepared properly such as in a dry dog food, fish can give your dog a stronger immune system and a shinier coat.

What to Watch for Feeding Your Dog Fish

Feeding your dog raw or left over fish does pose some dangers. It’s easy to think that because dogs are scavengers who aren’t above raiding the garbage bin, they must be able to eat just about anything. This is not true. Many dogs love to swim, but they are not natural fishers. Their systems are not equipped to digest raw fish and bones safely. So it is up to us to ensure that the fish we give them has all the benefits without any of the risks.

Bones are the number one concern when deciding can dogs eat fish safely. If you can remove all of the bones, you remove the risk of them choking or having an intestine punctured by a fish bone. Fish bones are small enough for your dog to swallow them, but they can get stuck in the digestive tract causing a puncture or an obstruction. Either way, it is painful experience for your dog and a large vet bill for you.

Raw fish is dangerous because it can contain bacteria that causes diseases including salmonella and listeria. Dogs are not immune to these bacteria, so it is important that they only eat properly cooked fish. If you take your dog fishing, you can take a secure container to store your fish to keep your dog from grabbing them.

Go Native Grain Free Dog Food Range Chicken, Slamon, Herring and Duck Flavours

If cooking and deboning fish for your dog sounds like a lot of work, you have another option. You can feed them a quality brand of dry dog food that contains fish. It is all of the benefits and none of the risks. Dry dog foods such as Go Native Salmon and Go Native Herring feature omega 3 oils and wholesome protein from organic fish. The Go Native line of grain-free dog food also includes organic salmon and herring treats if you’d like to include fish in your dog’s diet without changing foods.

Irene Hislop

Go Native

Grain Free Dog Food

Made with natural, local, traceable ingredients, Go Native offers your dog or cat premium paleo nutrition with no unwholesome fillers and no genetically modified ingredients. Our expert nutritionists and vets developed this line of food to give you the option of a paleo diet for your pet. Free of wheat, maize, soy and corn, it ensures a low allergy risk and is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

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