Question: Can dogs eat salmon? And is salmon good for dogs? Or is salmon bad for dogs?
Answer: Generally speaking, and as we previously answered in another article, fish is good for dogs to eat (if properly prepared and served that is).
Different Fish, Different Answers
However, not all fish is created equally when it comes to your dog. Some kinds of fish are more than fine for them to eat, while others cause potentially fatal problems if consumed by Fido.
And, since one of the most common kinds of fish to come to mind is Salmon (probably one of the most favorite kinds of fish as well, if not the most favorite), what’s the deal with this type of fish? Can dogs eat salmon fish? Or is salmon fish bad for dogs?
Is Salmon Good For Dogs?
The short answer to this question is YES, dogs can eat salmon fish! However, when have we ever stopped at saying that a short answer to any one of these “can dogs eat” questions is enough? Never! 🙂
That’s because there are many issues you have to be aware of before you head out and get some salmon to feed your dog, so read along.
But first, let’s have a quick look at why exactly salmon is good for dogs to eat.
- Is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids
- Is an excellent source of high quality protein that your dog benefits from as part of their overall diet
- Is rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc
- Ir sich in vitamins such as vitamin A, B (the whole series of B vitamins) and vitamin D
- Ensures your dog’s coat is healthy and shiny, even fighting against skin irritations
- Improves your dog’s immune system
- Helps keep allergies away from your dog and fight against existing ones
- Helps improve your dog’s brain functions
- Helps reduce inflammation in your dog’s body (most commonly of which is arthritis), much thanks to the high amounts of Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in salmon fish
- Is an excellent treat for your dog which you can use when you want to praise them, since dogs absolutely go nuts about the smell of salmon
How Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
You NEVER want to feed your dog raw salmon fish, because chances are high that it will give them salmon poisoning, which we will be talking about in the next section.
When it comes to how exactly you can feed your dog salmon, you should feed your dog only well-cooked salmon fish, because only this way will you be sure about killing any potential harmful bacteria that might make its way into your dog’s system.
Bacteria that makes its way into your dog’s system if they eat raw salmon can cause anything from mild stomach upset, gastrointestinal problems and all the way to potential death.
You must also ensure that you remove any bones in the salmon fish before you serve it to your dog, to make sure that you remove any possibility of a choking hazard or intestinal damage.
Many dog owners feed their dogs salmon (and other types of fish) with the bones in them, only to have to rush to the animal emergency care center shortly after because their dog is choking on these thin pieces of salmon bone.
Last but not least, make sure that you never feed your dog any salmon that has been prepared with potentially toxic substances such as garlic and onions.
Salmon In Dog Food
The best way you could ever feed your dog salmon, and the way that makes most sense in terms of how a dog’s diet should really be structured, is by buying your dog a dog food product that has salmon as its main source of protein.
This way, not only will you have the guess-work taken out of the equation for you, as the manufacturing company has done all the research and determined what amount of salmon your dog should eat is ideal, but you also won’t risk on overfeeding your dog on dietary proteins.
Many dog owners want to reap the benefits of feeding their dogs salmon, but are adamant on doing so in addition to feeding them their regular dog food that’s comprised of a main meat source from something like lamb, beef or duck.
What ends up happening in this situation is that their dog gets all the dietary protein they need in their diet from the dog food they’re feeding them, and they get excess amounts of dietary protein that they don’t need anymore (and that will prove to be harmful to them down the line) from the salmon that they’re eating as a “snack” or a “treat”.
So, if you really look forward to having your dog benefit from the dozens of advantages that eating salmon has in store for them, then do yourself and your dog a favor and focus on achieving this by feeding your dog a dog food recipe that’s built around salmon.
Salmon Poisoning In Dogs
Believe it or not, dogs are the only species out there to be at risk of catching salmon poisoning disease if they eat raw salmon fish.
Salmon poisoning in dogs is commonly seen in dogs that consume raw salmon fish, as such fish are usually infected with the parasite Nanophyetus salmincola.
The parasite in and of itself doesn’t cause any potential danger to your dog, but it becomes very dangerous when this parasite itself is infected with a microorganism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which is responsible for salmon poisoning.
Symptoms of salmon poisoning in your dog will usually appear within 6 days of your dog’s consumption of a fish infected with Neorickettsia helminthoeca.
These symptoms include:
- Decrease in appetite
- Weakness and lethargy
- Weight loss
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Discharge from your dog’s nose and eyes
If you see any of the aforementioned symptoms in your dog and you suspect/know that they have consumed raw salmon fish, you should get your dog immediate veterinary care, because salmon poisoning in dogs will lead to death if not properly treated within a time frame of 14 days.
The sooner you get your dog proper treatment before that time frame, the higher their chances of recovery are.
Even if you don’t directly feed your dog raw salmon fish, you must ensure that any raw salmon fish you handle remains as far away from your dog’s reach as possible. Many dog owners simply throw it away in the trash can, without knowing that dabbling around the trash can, retrieving food from it and eating whatever their heart pleases is probably one of the easiest things dogs can do.
To ensure that your dog never finds their way to any raw salmon fish you have at home, wrap whatever raw salmon you want to dispose of tightly (so you make it as hard as possible for your dog to unwrap) and dispose of it somewhere not within your dog’s reach.
How Much Salmon Can I Give My Dog?
Generally speaking, you want to err on the side of moderation when feeding your dog salmon and only feed your dog small amounts of salmon fish every now and then.
You most definitely don’t want to over-do it, especially since there’s no real reason that requires you to do so.
Even though salmon can be very beneficial for your dog when properly cooked and served in moderate amounts from time to time, your dog mainly gets all their nutritional needs from a diet focused around high quality dog food, not human food.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?
As long as you properly cook any salmon you want to give to your dog with its skin, then dogs eating this skin is fine.
However and knowing that salmon skin (just like any other fish skin) is really high in fat levels, you should only give your dog minimal amounts of salmon skin and only on rare occasions (pro tip: use salmon skin as one of your most powerful dog treats for when you need it most).
If your dog consumes more levels of fat than their body can handle, they risk developing a deadly condition called pancreatitis.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon?
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t give your dog canned salmon, although it SOMETIMES is doable.
Many people prefer to feed their dogs canned salmon because it’s already fully prepared for dogs to eat and saves valuable time that would have otherwise been wasted on cooking and preparation processes.
The problem with canned salmon is that many people look to feed their dogs canned salmon options that come in oil instead of water, and any type of food swimming in that amount of oil is terrible for your dog’s health.
If you were to feed your dog canned salmon, look for ones that come in water instead of oil.
If you can’t find canned salmon that comes in water, then unfortunately this is not an option for you to go with, you’ll have to manually prepare the salmon yourself.
Even if you find canned salmon in water, whenever the choice of feeding your dog a food that has been canned or feeding your dog the same food in its most natural form, the latter is always a better choice to go with.
In the case of canned salmon (as is the case with anything else that has been canned), there usually are many more additives that aim to prolong the shelf life of the canned food, additives that will cause harm to your dog with time.