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Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish [Risks & Benefits]

You see your dog staring at that tuna steak you’re grilling. Or, you might have caught your fluffer running off with a piece of tuna from your plate. You’re worried if it’s safe for them to consume. 

We understand how worrisome that is for you. So we’ve tried to answer your question!

Can dogs eat tuna fish?

The answer is both yes and no. Dogs can eat tuna because it’s not toxic for them. In fact, there are significant health benefits. But also significant health risks. The main risk is the presence of mercury and sodium in tuna. Feeding dogs cooked tuna in the right amount can avoid health complications.

Well, there is a lot more you can learn. So, If you’ve got time to invest, keep reading!

Is Tuna Safe for Dogs?

Yes, it is safe for dogs but in tiny amounts. That too on rare occasions. Hence, you can find tuna products in commercial dog products. Tuna contains omega 3 fatty acids which have many health benefits.

But due to tuna containing high levels of mercury, it’s considered a controversial protein for pets. 

Wondering why a fish would contain metal in it? Well, it’s because of the pollution in the sea. Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and burning fossil fuels cause mercury to flow into the sea. 

Little fishes take in the mercury that is later consumed by tuna. 

Tuna is a big fish so it’s not the same as feeding dogs sardines. Consuming tuna daily or in large amounts will cause mercury to build up in your dog’s body. This can cause mercury poisoning in your dogs.

So, if you have to feed tuna, it’s smart to feed in moderation. And if your dog doesn’t like it or is intolerant to it, avoid feeding tuna.

4 Types of Tuna to Be Aware of

In this section, we are not going to be studying different species of tuna. Rather, forms of tuna that are relevant to your dog’s consumption.

Raw Tuna

This is a no-brainer. Raw fish is just as harmful as raw meat.

As tuna are long-living fishes of the sea, they accumulate high amounts of mercury in their bodies. Also, raw fish contains parasites and sharp fish bones. Those can hurt your dog. 

So, even after having a stronger stomach, you should avoid feeding dogs raw tuna.

Tuna Filet

Tuna filets are a delicious meal for humans. But not for dogs depending on how it’s cooked. Did you cook tuna filets in heavy oil, or butter, with seasoning, salt, and pepper? If so then it’s best to not feed them to your pup. 

If you do, cut off portions of the filet because you shouldn’t be feeding your fluff an entire filet.

Caution: Dogs and onions should never meet each other. If your filet was cooked with onions and garlic, it’s a big NO for your pup. Both are toxic for dogs.

Tuna Sandwiches

This is another huge no. The tuna salad used in sandwiches contains mayonnaise, which has a high amount of fats. And it is hard on the digestion of dogs. And also, onions. 

Canned Tuna

Although canned tuna is available in commercial dog foods, it’s best to feed them in moderation.

Canned tuna can be a safe and healthy medium for feeding your dog. But make sure to go for tuna that is water canned and not oil. 

Choose albacore or skipjack tuna if available as they contain lower mercury. Also, ensure that there’s no added salt. Large amounts of sodium are toxic for dogs.

Keep in mind, feeding dogs cat food is not an alternative. Only feed them dog food.

Nutritional Benefits of Tuna for Dogs

Now, let’s talk about the good bits of tuna. If you’re careful and attentive to the moderations in feeding, your dog can enjoy health benefits from tuna consumption. 

Here’s a list of nutrients that tuna is a rich source for:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Can reduce any inflammation and heal injuries. Improve mobility, strengthen joints and make the coat thick and shiny.
  • Phosphorus: Improves the strength and density of bones. It works with calcium to maintain bone integrity and teeth of canines. 
  • Magnesium and potassium: These support cellular muscle health and tissue health. Magnesium can help with urinary disorders and constipation in pets. And potassium is a vital electrolyte. It promotes the electrical charge function in the nerves, muscles, and hearts of dogs. 
  • Selenium: This is a microelement and antioxidant. It maintains joints and the immune system. It also is vital for metabolism function, DNA synthesis, and reproduction. And, thyroid metabolism of dogs.
  • Vitamin B3, B6 & B12: Gives healthier cellular metabolism, energy levels, and blood cell rejuvenation. This will produce stronger muscle tissues.

There are alternatives out there that can be nutritious additions to dogs’ diets. Make sure to research before forming your fluff’s diet.

Health Risk: Mercury Poisoning

Mercury poisoning happens when your pet’s consumed too much tuna. It can cause fatal health problems for your dog. Your dog may have the following symptoms include:

  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting blood
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Damage in kidneys
  • Blindness
  • Swelling in abdomen

If your dog starts exhibiting any of these symptoms, rush them to the vet.

3 Ways to Feed Tuna to Your Dog

There are various ways to serve tuna fish to dogs. But keep your dog’s allergies in mind before making them. Here are some easy ways you can feed your canines tuna fish-

Cooking Tuna

If you want to feed your dog homemade tuna, there are 3 ways. You can prepare it by steaming, baking, or grilling tuna steaks.

Don’t add seasonings or salt, remove fish bones. Throw away fins, heads, and tails of tuna.

Meal Topper

You can top off your dog’s usual meals with cooked or canned tuna. 

Meal toppers are excellent options for introducing mixing new with old meals. That way, your pet won’t get bored with their daily meals.

Dog Treats

Mix ¾ cup of whole wheat flour, 1 egg, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, ½ tsp turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper with one tin of tuna.

Spread the mix on parchment paper over a baking sheet. Then bake for 20 mins. At 350℉ temperature.

After it cools, break into bite-size portions.

Purchase a good-quality parmesan cheese for assured quality. You should only get the best for your babies and yourself.

Here are some of our top picks:

Product 1
Product 2

These won’t disappoint you once you see your pup enjoying those treats. 

We’ve mentioned 3 ways for you. Now, it’s your time to give them a try one by one.

FAQs

Question: What other fish can dogs eat?

Answer:  Small fishes are a safe option for dogs. They’re also less likely to contain parasites and heavy metals. Such as – salmon, cod, catfish, whitefish, etc.

Question: What type of fish can dogs not eat?

Answer: Avoid feeding your dogs big fishes as they contain high mercury and parasites. Also, farm-raised fishes. They likely have toxins, residual antibiotics, and harmful dyes.

Question: How much tuna can you feed dogs?

Answer: You shouldn’t feed tuna to your dogs every day. First, check if they’re allergic by feeding 1 tsp of tuna. If they are, symptoms will appear within 24 hours. Consult your vet to guide you according to your pet’s specifications.

Conclusion

That’s all from us on whether dogs can eat tuna fish.

Consult with your vet about adding tuna to your dog’s diet. It’s best to know the right portions according to your dog’s breed, age, size, weight, and allergies.

Here’s a tip – Salmon, herring, and flounder fish provide similar benefits without the risk of mercury.

Until next time, have a good day!