A dog really is a mans’ best friend. Anyone who owns a dog understands that it is just like having a precious family member. You love them, spend time with them, and care for them. More importantly, you are also responsible for feeding them. When it comes to diet, you need to be very careful about what your dog should eat and what it should not eat. This is essential to ensure that your pet is healthy, happy, and fit.
Domesticated dogs generally eat raw meat, bones, organs, cut vegetables, as well as dog food. However, one big question is: should dogs eat seafood and raw fish, specifically, tuna? Well, this question can be answered in-depth to guide you towards the best course of action for your dog s diet.
What is Tuna?
Tuna is basically a saltwater fish, belonging to the Thunnini family. There are many different types of tuna fish, varying in size, shape, and color. It is a very popular food choice for its’ delicious taste. And it is packed with many health benefits as it an anti-oxidant and is rich in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, it has low sodium content and low levels of saturated fat.
Tuna is theoretically very healthy for everyone- but when it comes to dogs, there is a big debate on if they should eat it.
What kind of fish can dogs eat?
Generally speaking, dogs can eat fish and many varieties of it. In fact, fish is one of the most commonly found ingredients in commercial dog food brands. However, specific types of fish are used in it. Let’s take a look at the safe sea-food choices for your canine companion:
Salmon fillets are some of the best fish treats for your dog that they would surely devour. But you must make sure that it was not farmed. In fact, it is also a very healthy option and a great source of protein and fatty acids to fulfill your pet’s nutritional requirements.
It’s better to feed thoroughly cooked salmon without any seasonings- not even salt or pepper. However, you must not give it raw or uncooked salmon because it contains parasites and bacteria that can make dogs extremely sick. In addition, you need to control the portion and frequency of salmon meals for your dog. Be careful not to feed it more than once or twice a week.
Herring and anchovies are also suitable fish types for your dog to eat. Nevertheless, it must be prepared and deboned properly as the small bones can easily get stuck in your pet’s throat.
More fish options include sardines, whitefish, mollusks, catfish, flounder, whiting, walleye, and arctic char. Just remember not to give your pet dog any smoked, salted, or pickled herring fish. Simply raw or cooked is completely safe.
Is tuna safe for dogs?
Now come the real questions: can dogs eat tuna and is tuna bad for dogs?
There are actually two sides to this ongoing debate. Some vets and dog food experts think it’s okay to feed tuna, while others are completely against it. There are also some people who believe there’s a middle ground and it’s okay as long as it’s given occasionally in small amounts. We dived into this topic and here’s our verdict:
Let’s first consider what makes tuna potentially harmful to dogs. Well, fresh tuna contains higher levels of mercury compared to other species like tilapia, flounder, or salmon. Mercury is an industrial pollutant and a poisonous substance that makes its way to the water where marine life thrives. As tuna fish is larger and longer in size, higher mercury levels accumulate in it- making it a risky food choice. This is why tuna is often associated with mercury poisoning in dogs.
There is no denying the fact that mercury poisoning can be fatal for your beloved pet. But that does that mean feeding dogs tuna is a complete no-no for your dog? Well, tuna is actually not unsafe if the amount and portion are strictly controlled. Your dog is not going to get poisoned with tiny amounts.
Keeping in mind that it is such a tasty meal, you can still allow your dog to enjoy some tuna occasionally. Still, you cannot feed this regularly because it is bound to be harmful in the long run. Under any circumstances, one word of advice is to keep a check on your dogs’ physiological reaction when you first start feeding it tuna fish. After all, each dog is unique, has different food sensitivities and can react to foods in differing ways.
So can dogs eat tuna? Yes, but there are many precautionary measures you must follow.
How much tuna can I give my dog?
As mentioned before, dogs can eat tuna in a very small amount but you cannot feed it regularly and expect it not to have negative effects. Well, how much tuna is too much?
If you want to feed your dog tuna, you must keep it limited to only once or twice a week at the maximum. Remember that moderation is key. What is the appropriate and safe serving? There are many varying opinions on this, but in general, it is safe to give only one or two bite-sized pieces of fresh tuna to your dog. And you must be sure that there are no fish bones in it.
Your dog’s size also matters. Smaller dogs should eat tuna less frequently and in an even smaller quantity. Relatively, larger ones can afford to consume a little more. Keep in mind, we are talking about fresh tuna here. Your other option is canned tuna, but is it safe?
Will canned tuna hurt dogs?
When feeding your dog- canned tuna is a great and easy option to surprise your canine companions with an occasional treat. Plus, it is a rich protein source too. When it comes to this form of fish, there is an important consideration for dog owners. Is the tuna packed in water or oil? If there is oil in it, steer clear from it. This often contains additives and spices that can compromise on dog health.
You should choose canned tuna in water rather than oil. Even then, you should look on the label to be 100% sure that there is no added salt or seasoning added to the canned tuna. If it’s free of these ingredients, you can even give your pet some of the canned water and let them slurp down the tuna juice. They will surely love it.
There are a few more factors to take into account when you feed your dog canned tuna. Stay away from larger sized tuna fish as they will have higher mercury and sodium levels. You cannot risk mercury poisoning your precious pet. So you can simply opt for smaller ones like Albacore or Skipjack.
Also, make sure to carefully manage the amount of canned tuna you give your dog. Again, you can take your dogs weight into account. Typically, it should be okay to feed a can of tuna once after 3 weeks, to a 20 pound dog. If your dog weighs around 40 pounds, they can have a can after every 9 days. If your dog weighs even more, about 90 pounds, then once in five days is okay.
How do you make tuna for dogs?
There are so many ways to use tuna fish as dog food. Whether its’ cooked tuna or canned- you can whip up a number of tasty tuna treats for your pet dog.
At the same time, it’s best to mention that raw fish in any form is not going to be your best option. Since raw tuna ‘can’ possibly contain bacteria or parasites, it’s the least advisable option. One more reason to not feed raw tuna is because of the presence of the enzyme thiaminase in it. This makes the thiamin, also known as vitamin B1 in your dog become inactive. Cooked, boiled, or baked tuna is definitely preferable.
Now that you know the guidelines to feeding your dog tuna, you can experiment in the kitchen on days you want to pamper your pupper or doggo.
One idea is to make fishy dog treats at home. These are not only delicious but can also be used as rewards during dog training and making your pet learn commands. You can combine sardines and tuna, add more of your dogs’ favourite ingredients, create a mixture by hand, spread them on a baking pan and viola! These fishy treats are super soft and crumbly when baked.
You can even make scrambled eggs and fish, using tuna, for your dog and watch him gobble it up.
Benefits of tuna for dogs
Finally, you must know whether tuna is beneficial at all for your dog. Despite the risks associated with high quantities of tuna, many dog owners believe in sensibly incorporating tuna to their dog s diet. Tuna is actually good for dogs in a number of ways. Here are some benefits of feeding your dogs tuna:
One main advantage of tuna is its’ high protein content. When dogs eat tuna, it helps them gain lots of lean protein rather than getting unhealthily fat. This is why many people endorse a diet of tuna for their canine.
Another reason tuna is good for dogs is that it builds their immune system. It contains a number of vitamins such as B3, B6 as well as B12 that actually promote their health.
Everyone wants their dog to have improved eyesight, cardiovascular health, and a sleek and shiny coat free of inflammation. Well, tuna fish also contains omega 3 fatty acids that aid in these and have many more health benefits for dogs. Plus, it naturally contains many essential minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, that are good for your dogs’ growth and development.
To wrap it up, can dogs eat tuna? Yes, they can. Feeding tuna to your dog is okay and even beneficial-within its’ limited amounts. Of course, this still remains a controversial topic and everyone might have different opinions on it.
Just make sure you follow all the guidelines and precautionary measures for safe tuna consumption. In fact, we recommend adding it to your dog s diet so they can benefit from its’ nutritional content without facing any health complications.
There are many tuna types you can choose from. However, to feed your dog, albacore tuna is the best option. This is because of its’ smaller size among the different types. Tuna, being a big fish, also feeds on smaller fish that contain unhealthy contents and higher levels of mercury in them too. Hence, being extremely careful is your best route.
So let your dog eat tuna and enjoy this occasional meal, and let it reap the benefits of protein and omega 3 fatty acids while making its safety a priority.