Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Can dogs eat tuna? The simple answer: Yes, you can feed your dog fish. But there are various hidden factors to be aware of. Fish bones can be very dangerous and when selecting canned tuna you have to make sure you pick one that has been packed in water and not oil.
There are a variety of fish-based dog foods on the market, so research does show that it’s safe to feed your dog tuna. Dogs can handle both cooked and raw tuna.
Is It Safe to Feed Your Dog Tuna?
Can dogs eat tuna? As always, the golden rule is to do things in moderation. In long-lived fish like tuna heavy metals accumulate over time and the percentage of some metals present in the fish, such as mercury, can raise health concerns.
Dogs are carnivores, so their digestive system is more geared towards processing meats, which is good news if you want to treat your dog with a bit of tuna. But it is not advisable to feed your dog raw fish. Fish can carry various parasites that are usually killed by cooking. Your dog might have a robust digestive system, but it’s better to not take the risk.
The Health Benefits of Tuna
Tuna is a great protein alternative for dogs with a sensitive constitution. It is easier to digest and less likely to cause digestive upset. You will spot it in the ingredient list of many specialized foods. You could feed your dog salmon or mackerel as well, but tuna has just as many health benefits and is bit more affordable.
When buying canned tuna, check that there are no additional seasonings, especially not onions or garlic. These two ingredients are toxic to dogs. Also, canned tuna based in oil can cause unpleasant stomach upset in dogs. Look out for the water-based ones.
Tuna includes many minerals beneficial to dogs including phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and potassium. It also is a great vitamin source with B12, B6 and B3 as well as omega-3 fatty acids, promoting good heart health. It’s a great option for dogs with food allergies. Read this article to check if your dog is allergic to anything
Disadvantages of Tuna
Can dogs eat tuna? Yes, but it’s best to keep tuna as a rare treat because of the high levels of sodium and mercury. The main health risk, is the high mercury content. Also note, a tuna steak usually contains more mercury than canned tuna. And canned white albacore contains more mercury than white canned or chunked light tuna.
Canned tuna contains a high level of sodium, which can cause pancreatitis when consumed in high quantities. The salt content can also make your dog excessively thirsty, it will then gulp down lots of water that can lead to a bloated stomach or in the worst case scenario a twisted stomach, which can be fatal if not treated.
How Much is Too Much?
Rather keep pure tuna as an occasional treat instead of working it into your dog’s daily feeding routine. When used in homemade dog food recipes, you will notice that the quantities will always be low in comparison to the other ingredients.
You could spoil your dog with a tuna treat once a week if it is not already present in its daily diet. There are various factors to keep in mind when feeding your dog tuna, such as its age and general health condition. If your dog is leaning towards the overweight side of the weight spectrum, rather steer clear of feeding it tuna.
The Best Way to Feed Tuna to Your Dog
Keep it simple and as close to the tuna’s natural form as possible. When using canned tuna remember to buy the water-based one without additional seasonings. Drain the tuna before feeding it to your dog and don’t give it the leftover juice from the can.
There’s no need to season it or spice it up, you can give it to your dog bland, the dog won’t taste the difference. The tuna flakes can get stuck between your dog’s teeth, give it dry kibble or a biscuit to scrape off the lingering fish from the dog’s teeth.
It is best to first check with your veterinarian before incorporating tuna into your dog’s diet. Can dogs eat tuna? Yes, but some dogs don’t like the taste, so you have to first see how your dog responds to a little bit before incorporating tuna into your dog’s diet.
Warning: don’t ever feed your dog raw salmon. Dogs are the only known species that can catch salmon poisoning disease from consuming raw salmon. If untreated, a dog will most likely die within two weeks of digesting raw salmon.
Other Fish Safe for Dogs
Tuna is definitely the easiest fish to incorporate into your dog’s diet. You can conveniently grab an affordable tin of it at the supermarket. Some other fish types that you will find in fish-based dog foods: Ocean and Lake Whitefish, Flounder, Walleye, Herring, Salmon Pike and Arctic Char.
If you spot any of these in the supermarket and you feel like giving your dog a special treat you can bake, grill or steam these types of fish. Just remember to buy boneless fillets and don’t add any seasoning. Plus, steer clear of excessive greasing with oil sprays, butter or oil.
Homemade Dog Food: Tuna-based Recipes
Can dogs eat tuna? The conclusion is, most definitely, yes. The following are a few recipes that you can prepare at home to spoil your dog on special occasions or to enhance its general diet.
Tuna, Egg, and Greens
½ cup of canned light tuna, water-based
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of sprouts, Alfalfa or Clover
½ teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast
½ cup of cooked brown rice
Chop the sprouts up finely. Mix the egg yolk, nutritional yeast and sprouts together and then add the tuna. Add the mixture to the brown rice. This recipe is enough for one meal for a dog of between 20 to 25 pounds.
1 small can of tuna, water-based
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 celery stick
1 carrot, large if possible
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoon of cottage cheese
Chop celery stick and carrot into small pieces. Mix all the ingredients together, adding the lemon juice last. Place the mixture in blender and blend until fine pulp. Mold and shape the mixture into a tuna roll and cut into small pieces when chilled. Add one piece of tuna roll to your dog’s kibble once a week.
Detox Tuna Recipe for Skin Health
1 cup of light tuna
¼ cup of Cottage cheese
(alternative: 1 raw or boiled egg)
1/8 cup of sprouts, Clover or Alfalfa (a handful)
½ cup of lettuce
½ cup of cooked barley
½ teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese
1 Omega 3 fish oil capsule (1 000mg)
1 Evening primrose oil capsule (500mg)
Squeeze out the liquid of the Omega 3 fish oil capsule and mix with the evening primrose oil capsule. Add the tuna to the oil mixture. Finely chop the barley, lettuce and sprouts. Mix into tuna mixture. Sprinkle the Nutritional Yeast and Parmesan cheese unto the mixture. Feed ½ a cup per 10 to 15 pounds of body weight to your dog once a day instead of its regular food.
Please note: this mixture is not recommended if your dog is prone to food allergies.
Tuna Training Treats
2 small cans of tuna, water-based
1 to 1 ½ cup of flour, preferably rice flour
Handful of Parmesan cheese
Do not drain the tuna. Mash the tuna in a bowl to remove clumps. Place in blender to liquefy. Add a little bit of water if needed to liquefy completely. Pour the blended tuna into a bowl and add the flour. The consistency should be close to a cake mixture. Spread into a lightly greased or sprayed pan. Sprinkle lots of Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. When ready the edges will pull away and the texture will be like putty. Cut into small squares, about the size of a penny. Can freeze the treats. Use as rewards when teaching your dog a new trick.
2 small cans of tuna, water-based
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 lightly beaten eggs
¼ cup of parmesan cheese
Do not drain the tuna. Mix all the ingredients together with an electric mixer or in a blender until well blended. Spread the mixture onto a lightly greased cake pan. Cover and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Cut into small squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Give to your dog as little treats or mix a few squares into its kibble once a week.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
In moderation tuna can be a healthy addition to your dog’s general diet. But before adding it, make sure you have checked with the vet if it’s safe to do so. Most dogs will be very pleased with the delicious treat per occasion.
Have you tried adding tuna to your dog’s diet? What reaction did you get?