Your Guide To Feeding Your Dog Salmon

fisherman with caught salmon

Generally speaking, and as we previously answered in another article, fish is good for dogs to eat (if properly prepared and served that is). However, not all fish is created equally when it comes to your pet.

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? Or is salmon 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 furry friend, so read along.

But first, let’s have a quick look at why exactly salmon for dogs is good.

Benefits Of Salmon For Dogs


  • Is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Is an excellent source of high quality protein that your canine 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 immune system
  • Helps keep allergies away and fight against existing ones
  • Helps improve brain functions
  • Helps reduce inflammation (most commonly of which is arthritis), much thanks to the high amounts of Omega-3 essential fatty acids
  • Is an excellent treat for your dog which you can use when you want to praise them, since they absolutely go nuts about the smell

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.

raw salmon meat

When it comes to how exactly you can feed them salmon, you should feed them 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 their system if they eat raw or smoked 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 pet 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 they’re choking on these thin pieces of salmon bone.

Last but not least, make sure that you never feed your canine 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 pet salmon, and the way that makes most sense in terms of how a dog’s diet should really be structured, is by buying them a 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 them on dietary proteins.

Many pet 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 canine gets all the dietary protein they need in their diet from the 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 them a favor and focus on achieving this by feeding your dog a 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 canines is commonly seen then they 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 them, 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 their consumption of a fish infected with Neorickettsia helminthoeca.

These symptoms include:

sick yorkie

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Discharge from 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 them immediate veterinary care, because salmon poisoning will lead to death if not properly treated within a time frame of 14 days.

The sooner you get them proper treatment before that time frame, the higher their chances of recovery are.

Even if you don’t directly feed them 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 pet 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 they never find 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.

Learn more about salmon poisoning in canines in this video:

How Much Salmon Can I Give My Dog?

Generally speaking, you want to err on the side of moderation when feeding them salmon and only feed them 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 canine when properly cooked and served in moderate amounts from time to time, they 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 them with its skin, then dogs eating this skin is fine.

salmon with herbs

However and knowing that salmon skin (just like any other fish skin) is really high in fat levels, you should only give them minimal amounts of salmon skin and only on rare occasions.

(Pro tip: use salmon skin as one of your most powerful treats for when you need it most).

If they consume 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 pet canned salmon, although it SOMETIMES is doable.

Many people prefer to feed their furry friends canned salmon because it’s already fully prepared for them 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 their health.

If you were to feed your canine 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 them 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.


  1. i need a quick answer do you mean salmon is a danger to dogs if lets ay you go fishing and your dog ends up eating a fish or something its harmful then or like lets say you bought some raw frozen salmon fillets from the store and they end up eating it Since i have my dog on a raw food diet and have read and heard that fish is excellent for dogs. And freezing salmon at – 4 degrees and under can kill any parasites.

    • You’re still good. Freezing it kills the parasite (if it has). Salmons infested with that parasite are within a small area in the extreme North Pacific, but remember that fishes also migrate.

      To cut it short, YES it’s still SAFE. Since you’ll kill all the possible unwanted stuffs there, you don’t have to worry. Salmon is a great food for dogs when cooked properly or frozen properly.

  2. If the issue with salmon is bacteria, then I disagree with feeding a dog raw salmon or frozen salmon. I disagree that freezing kills bacteria. It would be better to microwave the food for at least five minutes to kill any bacteria. Pasteurization kills bacteria and it is essentially heating to a very high temperature for a short time, which is similar to the use of a microwave.

  3. My dog is 13 yrs old, no teeth, nearly blind and full of arthritis and she loves canned salmon. I remove the bones and flake it up for her. Yum, yum she says and it is given as a treat every now and then just to add more variety to her diet.

  4. My pup has inoperble liver shunts internal and external. she eats mostly fish (white fish cod wild caught) I give her wild caught salmon also. Not often since it’s very expensive. The article states to feed your dog “dog food” ya, I wish. I tried that and spent lots of money on great liver diets etc…. my point is that it’s not one size fits all. Feed your dog what works for them, if it’s dog food, wet, kibble, then lucky you.

    Thanks for reading Peace- Hope

  5. A lot of great information, but DUH. How helpless and mindless are people?? If there’s a concern about oil in canned salmon, there’s this modern miracle called running water. You can strain out most of the liquid in the can, and then put the salmon in a bowl and let running water remove a good percentage of the excess oil (and salt, for those worried about that). Sure there will still be some fat in there, and fatty oils are great for dogs as long as they don’t get too much, but who said we have to give our dogs canned salmon straight out of the can?? I haven’t tried it, since I don’t give my buddy salmon every day and am not worried about the fats, but I assume letting the salmon soak in a large bowl of water (running slowly, or not) will allow a good amount of the oil to float to the surface, since oil is lighter than water. Breaking the salmon up into smaller pieces (in the water) will release even more oil, which can be poured or skimmed off the top, and the rinsed fish given to your dog. I’d bet 50% or more of the oil/fat content of salmon that comes packed in oil could be removed this way. Let’s exercise our critical thinking muscles, people!! LOL.

  6. Well I found recently that my litte Yorkshire loves salmon. Since he is a senior 17 yo with no teeth and seriously arthritis making him not able to walk anymore – I feed him cooked salmon as much as it pleases him. He needs to keep his weight and it’s his lunch and dinner for sure.


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