Is Tuna Good For Dogs? (How To Know If You Should Feed It To Your Pup)

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dog with owner

As we already covered in a previous article, including fish in your dog’s diet can be beneficial to them in more ways than one. However, not all fish are the same when it comes to your dog, and this is a sensitive subject that needs a well-rounded answer.

And since you’re here on this page, you’re probably looking for an answer to the question, can dogs eat tuna fish?

Can Dogs Have Tuna?

The short answer is YES, dogs can safely eat tuna fish.

But, what can start off as a perfect supplement to your dog’s diet can quickly turn into a health hazard, if your dog eats too much of tuna and eats it in all the wrong forms that are available.

What kind of tuna should you feed your dog? Can dogs eat canned tuna fish or does it have to be fresh? Cooked or uncooked?

Should Dogs Eat Cooked or Raw Tuna?

When it comes to dogs, they can perfectly handle both forms of tuna fish, cooked or raw.

But, if you’re going to feed your dog raw tuna fish, make sure to remove all the bones at first.

If you decide to feed your dog canned tuna, make sure that it’s packed in water and not oil. Canned tuna packed in oil will just add so much useless calories to your dog’s diet that will lead to obesity and the inflammation of your dog’s pancreas, which would require immediate surgery.

Here’s a great read about why you should go with canned tuna in water instead of canned tuna in oil.

Can dogs eat canned tuna with added flavor? Any canned tuna that has added flavorings, such as spices, should be kept as far away from your dog as possible, as dogs can’t properly digest spices and they pose a health hazard.

sad white and brown puppy

You also NEVER want to feed your dog tuna that’s prepared with onion or garlic, as these two are very toxic and dangerous for dogs.

How Much Tuna Is Safe For Dogs?

Given that tuna contains much higher mercury levels than other fish around, it should only be fed to your dog in very minimal amounts and on rare occasions.

Canned tuna also contains very high sodium levels, and sodium can be deadly to dogs if consumed in large enough amounts, which is another reason you should only feed your dog tuna on rare occasions and in very small amounts.

As should be the case with any new food introduced to your dog’s diet, keep careful track of your dog’s short-term reactions after they eat tuna for the first time, to make sure your dog can handle eating tuna with no repercussions.

Some dogs are allergic to tuna, other dogs will show problematic signs due to the high protein content in the tuna, while other dogs will become very gassy due to the high levels of fat (that’s if you feed your dog canned tuna which was packed in olive oil, which you shouldn’t).

Slice the tuna fish into very small pieces and feed your dog 1-2 pieces every now and then as part of one of their meals or as a plain and simple treat, that would be just fine.

Benefits Of Tuna For Dogs

Here are some reasons why tuna is good for dogs:

  • It’s an excellent source of lean protein (which is very important in helping with muscle growth), which means it has very little levels of fat, and we all know the health catastrophes fat can cause in dogs

dog eating from owners hand

  • Rich in essential minerals for dogs, such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Rich in essential vitamins for dogs, such as vitamins B3, B6 and B12
  • Contains a high level of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial for cardiovascular health, reduce inflammations in the body, help improve dog skin condition and reduce itchiness, decrease arrhythmia, and regulate cholesterol levels for the better, reduce the risk of blood clots, and improve dog eyesight (just to name a few benefits)

Can Dogs Have Tuna Juice?

As long as it’s given in reasonably small amounts, tuna juice isn’t considered bad and doesn’t really pose much danger to dogs.

However, and since the digestive systems of dogs are much more sensitive than those of humans, stop giving your dog tuna juice immediately if you notice signs like vomiting or diarrhea, and get in contact with your veterinarian about the issue as soon as possible.

Have a look yourself at Veterinarian Amy’s opinion about dogs drinking tuna juice here.

Watch this video to learn about more foods that your dog can eat!

26 COMMENTS

  1. Have to “hide” my dogs heart medicine in tuna every day. Its the only way to get her to take her pills. Good to know about tuna in water. Also, i will try a low sodium version if i can find it. Hope she likes it just as much too.

    • We give our dog his pills wrapped in a little bit of cream cheese. After trying many ways to get my dog to take his medicine, I have found that cream cheese is the one that works every time.

  2. I wanted something to augment my dogs food since he is an emotional, picky eater. I had a cabinet full of cans of tuna so I thought it was a perfect solution.

    Bad idea, I came home after work and there was so much poop on the floor that I thought a heard of cows had wandered through. I felt very bad for my dog because he would never do that in the house if he had a choice. So sad.

    Won’t ever feed him tuna again in any form!

  3. Don’t give your dog anything leave the food out for 15 min and if they don’t eat it pick it up and wait dogs will not starve themselves. This is why dogs are dying because of dumb owners

    • im sorry but thats a little harsh. dogs dont die because of ‘dumb owners’ my dog died from tumours on her pituitary gland caused from cushings disease. i am not a ‘dumb owner’

    • im sorry but you are being a little harsh! not all dogs die because of ‘dumb owners’ my dog died of tumors on her pituitary gland from cushings disease.

  4. I feed my Papillons tuna occasionally as their main meal that day. I’ve jokingly referred to them as COGS (cat dogs) for a long time but when you see them inhale that tuna they just might be.

  5. On reply to the dumb owners comment we have left our akita on one occasion nearly a week it was a terrible experience as we have had dogs all our lives we prefer not to do this as chicken fish will not harm them she is now 41 kilos and in great condition at 19 month old

  6. I give my dog canned tuna twice a month because of the sodium, have her two cans for new year’s, it was kind of like he first new year’s party, so she got the tuna, kibble carrots and a few bits of bread just for a treat and of course she loved it. Scars me though, I didn’t realize how much sodium tuna actually has so keeping a watchful eye on her.

  7. My elderly mother gave her boarder terrier a whole tin of tuna in oil this morning. As my mother thought it would help her go to the toilet as she’s been struggling to go the last few days. She was sick 3 times and my mam then decided to give her some food which was dry isms. Needless to say the poor dog has been sick yetc again. I’m worrying now if she will be OK or should I take her to emergency vet

    • YES ABSOLUTELY!!
      I’m sure by now you’ve done so.? I’ve heard of that happening b4 you mentioned it. I’m up here
      In Massachusetts,
      Aka/Taxachusetts..
      Seriously, it was tuna in
      Olive oil & this fella well into his 70’s didn’t think it would harm his pooch.
      But it did & It cost him,
      $2,600.-here @ Boston’s
      Angel Memorial hospital to save his dogs life!
      Thank you for sharing your experience, I hope the Terrier is doing much
      better by now!
      I ❤ my too! My Bff!! My Morkie!

      An
      Vets here, Boston’s
      Angel

  8. Hello my dog has atopy. The vet advice to feed him with fish and rice dry food. He really dont like it. Can I mix the dry fog föld with some canned tuna in water? Thank you

  9. My dog and his little feline buddy love canned tuna. I give them both a little bit every day, proportionately, and save the rest for myself. I believe that it’s better than store bought pet treats because tuna doesn’t have all the empty calories and preservatives. If you feed your pets chunk light tuna, it has much lower magnesium and sodium levels than choices such as albacore, which is the biggest concern with tuna and our furry friends/family.

  10. I’ve been feeding my little dog tuna packed in water for quite sometime, as I don’t always have other meat cooked that she can eat. She likes tuna, and it hasn’t seemed to hurt her.

  11. I have been feeding my cocker spaniel Tuna in oil every day, a1/4of a can mixed with her biscuits
    With the misguided knowledge it is good for her and her coat
    What harm have I done to her

  12. Hi,I Am on disability & short on money each month!!But,I want the best treats for my Gyspy Rose(my8 month old puppy!!I want to know what Doggie treats that r the healthiest that I can give Gyspy that fits my small fixed income!!I Love Gyspy & I Like Treating Her With Healthy But Cheap Treats!!

  13. I feed my dogs a can of tuna in water mixed in with white rice and their dry food everyday. It is the small can and I mix it up for 3 large dogs. Is this good for them?

  14. I have a 6yr old chiawaha she has colitis what is the best food I can give is it ok to give her 2teaspoons of tuna in spring water mixed with biscuits

  15. I had a chihuahua puppy that couldn’t tolerate regular canned food. He had blood in his feces. I took him to the vet who explained that canned dog food had too much oil in it for his little tummy. He had me put him on cooked white rice and cottage cheese he loved it and was very healthy. He ate it for the first 6 months after. No problems.

  16. I had a chihuahua puppy that had been eating canned dog food. He started having blood in his feces. I took him to the vet who told me canned dog food had too much fat for his tiny tummy and had me give him cooked white rice mixed with cottage cheese for 6 months. He did wonderful.

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