Salmon is a tasty, protein-dense fish that works with any diet plan – from paleo, Mediterranean to keto. As such, it’s easy to assume that adding this to your dog’s diet can work wonders. However, can dogs eat salmon? Is salmon safe for dogs to eat?
As pet owners, you probably know by now that some of the healthiest human foods are extremely poisonous to dogs (think grapes and garlic). That’s why it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious when it comes to feeding dogs your leftovers.
When it comes to salmon, there are a couple of must-know facts which you ought to consider before finally deciding on whether you should or shouldn’t feed salmon to your dog. Of course, we’re here to provide you with everything you need to know.
So hang on tight as we get into all the nitty-gritty details about salmon and its effect on your dog. Soon, you’ll find out the answer to your question – can dogs eat salmon? – and to all your other salmon-related queries.
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Need-To-Know Salmon Facts
Salmon is a ray-finned fish that is considered an “anadromous” – or a freshwater-born aquatic animal that lives the span of its life in saltwater. They, later on, swim upstream and go back to the river to spawn.
Considered as keystone species, salmon plays a vital role in maintaining the balance in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, salmon is facing a lot of threats, parasites and overfishing included.
The demand for salmon is increasing, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a tasty fish that offers a lot of hearty nutrients. So, to keep up with the demand, salmon is now farmed in cages. And you know what? Many of the store-bought salmon are farm-bred.
Nutrition-wise, salmon provides a truckload of health benefits. This is why many consider this a superfood. Protein-dense and loaded with omega fatty acids, this fish also contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
Farmed Salmon Vs. Wild Salmon
If budget is not a concern, opt for wild-caught salmon. However, farmed salmon will do if there’s no choice.
Both are rich in omega fatty acids and protein. The big difference is that wild-caught salmon contain more natural minerals (think iron and calcium) than farmed fish. It also has less harmful contaminants.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
The answer is a big YES. Dogs can eat salmon. This is one of the human foods which your dog can safely eat.
Fact is, salmon is a protein source commonly found in high-quality dog foods and dog treats (like salmon jerky). However, just like any other food, it is vital to feed salmon to your dog the right way to maximize the benefits and to avoid any health risks.
If you want to know how eating salmon will keep your dog healthy and how it can negatively affect your dog, read on. You’ll find everything you want to know below.
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Health Benefits Of Feeding Salmon To Dogs
Can dogs eat salmon? Yes. This well-loved and popular fish is indeed good for your furry friend.
So, if you can find fresh salmon or dog treats and dog food products with salmon listed as one of its top ingredients, go ahead and buy one.
You’ll be glad you did, knowing that this rich-tasting fish offers a couple of great nutritional benefits for your dog. Here are some:
It Is Packed With Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Deemed as “essential,” omega 3 fatty acids provide tons of rewards. It keeps the immune system in check, helps reduce inflammation, and decelerates cancer cell growth.
Apart from that, developing puppies and senior dogs will also enjoy its heart and brain health-boosting features. Older dogs would further love eating salmon because of its ability to reduce joint or arthritis pain.
Lastly, if your dog’s coat looks a bit dull and its skin dry, adding salmon to your dog’s diet might help promote healthy skin and bring that sheen back to your dog’s fur.
It Is Protein Dense
Healthy dogs need to eat a balanced diet – or a diet rich in high-quality protein. Without this, your dog will be unable to function properly. After all, protein’s role in your dog’s body includes muscle and bone development, tissue repair, and nerve function regulation.
Since this is rich in protein, salmon is an excellent alternative if your dog is allergic to beef and chicken. Beef and chicken, after all, are among the typical food allergy triggers in dogs. Fish (like salmon), on the other hand, is less likely to cause any allergic reactions.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
If you have a dog that needs to shed some body weight, you might want to add salmon to its regular diet. Eating protein-rich foods has been known to control appetite by giving the feeling of “fullness.” It also helps increase metabolic rate or the body’s ability to burn calories and use up energy.
Potential Dangers Of Feeding Your Dog Salmon
Although the answer to your “can dogs eat salmon” question is yes, giving your dog salmon also comes with risks. So, before you even think of giving that slice of fresh salmon to your dog, make sure to know all the possible hazards.
True, salmon is healthy even for dogs. But feeding this hearty meal to your dog can quickly turn into a nightmare if it’s done the wrong way.
Salmon, like many other fish in the sea, contains small bones. When swallowed, these small bones can easily get lodged in your dog’s airways, especially if you have a small breed dog.
The small bones may be able to go through your dog’s airways, but these may still obstruct your dog’s digestive tract. If this happens, watch out for signs of whining and hunching.
Your dog may also experience diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and bloating. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
Raw salmon and undercooked salmon (smoked’ salmon included) contain harmful parasites (think parasitic flatworms like fluke). When a bacteria-infected parasite like a fluke enters your dog’s body, you can expect this to wreak havoc.
According to MSD Vet Manual, if a dog eats raw salmon or undercooked salmon, the dog can get infected and experience the following:
Salmon Poisoning Disease
Despite the name, this infection isn’t really caused by toxins or any poisonous compounds. On the other hand, this deadly condition is triggered by a bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which can be found in fluke-infected raw fish like salmon and trout, and giant salamanders found in the Pacific Northwest.
A dog that eats an infected fish often shows signs of salmon poisoning 5 to 7 days after eating. Symptoms usually persist for 7 to 10 days. If left untreated, this can lead to death. Signs of salmon poisoning include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea (may contain blood)
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nasal and eye discharge
Elokomin Fluke Fever
Unlike salmon poisoning disease, elokomin fluke fever is a milder infection caused by the bacterium Neorickettsia elokominica. While this would less likely cause severe GI problems, your dog would most likely develop lymph node-related diseases.
Tips On How To Prepare Salmon For Your Dogs & More
After reading all the pros and cons, you might think that you’re now ready to let your dogs eat salmon. Well, you’re halfway there.
Since the risks involved are great, it’s always a good idea to follow these tried-and-tested tips. This will ensure that your dog gets to have a tasty fish dinner minus the hassle of unwanted complications that require frequent visits to the vet.
Get Rid Of All Those Tiny Bones and Scales
Since these are choking hazards, make sure to remove these parts of the fish. If you don’t have time to scale or debone the fish, you can always buy fresh boneless fillets.
Never Feed Raw Or Undercooked Salmon
Can dogs eat salmon raw? The answer is NO. Feeding your dog raw salmon and even under cooked salmon is a bad idea.
Salmon poisoning or even the milder version is not a pretty sight. As such, you shouldn’t let your dog eat raw salmon as well as those that are undercooked.
Now, you might be wondering if you can let your dogs eat smoked salmon. Eating smoked salmon is the same as allowing your dogs to eat raw salmon. Smoked salmon may still contain parasites. On top of that, this is also high in salt, which is also bad for dogs.
Serve It Well Cooked & Plain
There are plenty of ways to cook salmon. You can either poach, bake, steam, grill, or roast salmon. Whichever way you want it cooked, just make sure to serve well-cooked salmon to your dogs.
According to USDA Food Safety & Inspection, fish (in general) should be cooked at a minimum internal temperature of 145°F.
When cooking salmon for your dog, serving it plain is the way to go. Remember that oil, butter, and seasonings like onion and garlic are bad for your dog’s health.
Portion Control Is Key
Like any other food (dog food included), salmon should be given in appropriate portions. The question is: How much salmon can dogs eat?
Salmon should only be given once a week. The amount to give should not go more than 100 grams for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight.
Yes, well-cooked salmon is good for dogs. If you have time to whip up something for your dog, check out all the recipes below.
But if you’re too busy and cooking salmon isn’t really your thing, you can also give your dog salmon products that are proven safe for your furry pals.
This includes canned salmon or tinned salmon. Just make sure to choose the canned salmon variants packed in water instead of oil or brine.
Now, if you want to know if it’s okay to let dogs eat salmon skin, the answer is yes as long as it’s cooked thoroughly. Salmon skin, after all, offers the same benefits as salmon itself. Salmon oil can also be added to your pet’s dinner every now and then.
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