“Can dogs eat salmon?” Believe it or not, that is a more common question than you’d realize.
I too have had my share of doubts when it comes to this.
Which is why, here I am today, sharing my experience.
Okay so let’s start with the first but most obvious question that’s probably on your mind.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon: Would my Dogs Like It?
Dogs love wet food.
They go crazy for it!
In fact, in my experience, my furry baby Caesar did eat it all up like there was no tomorrow.
Seriously. Not even a speck of salmon was to be found anywhere in his food bowl when he was done!
At first, I was fine with it. Canned fish is, after all, one of the more convenient foods to offer to dogs. Which makes life easy for me.
You know, just pick a can, pop it open, and there you have it. Doggo paradise. Besides, my friends, who are dog owners just like me, said salmon falls in the category of safe diets when it comes to dogs.
So a lazy me initially wanted to say a big YES, YES to the question of “Can dogs eat salmon?”
But alas, Caesar is way too important for me.
I wasn’t going to take any risks over him.
And so, I did what dog owners do best: Jumped into research!
And, after receiving a multitude of expert opinions, I realized that my worry was not exactly misplaced.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon Without Getting Sick?
Sadly, this is true. But not entirely.
What does that mean?
Raw or undercooked salmon can be really bad for your dog. In some cases, it might even be fatal. And we aren’t talking about a lot of salmon here. Even giving them just a little bit in the raw form can lead to salmon poisoning disease or SPD.
This is because, in the raw form, salmon contains bacteria and parasites. Specifically, a parasite known as Nanophyetus salmincola.
This micro-organism becomes especially dangerous when infected with a bacterium called Neorickettsia helminthoeca.
The way SPD syndrome comes to dogs is typically by way of a three-stage life cycle. That is, it begins when a river snail, Oxytrema silicule, ingests the bacterium. There, the snails body provides an environment which is sufficient to produce little larvae of the disease-causing agent.
Eventually, these larvae penetrate the skin of river salmon.
So, if this salmon is then fed raw to your dog, their immune system will just not be able to respond efficiently enough. The disease will spread and without proper, timely treatment, the consequences can be disastrous.
This worries me a lot.
Particularly because SPD is a difficult disease to diagnose. Which means that even if your dog has eaten poisonous salmon and is currently suffering from salmon poisoning, they won’t display any clinical symptoms for a week. And often, once they do, things are already too bad to be fixed.
Sadly, that’s not all of it.
If you have more than one dog at home, I’d highly, highly suggest staying miles away from raw salmon.
Because SPD is a transmissible disease, which is passed from one dog to another via their feces. So really, a little bad salmon can in fact do a lot of damage.
In other words, keep the precious fur baby away from raw or undercooked salmon!
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Salmon?
As much of a horror story as raw salmons are, things change completely when we talk about the same, but well-cooked fish.
That’s because cooking the salmon raises its internal temperature to a degree that is high enough to dehydrate and essentially kill the harmful parasites.
But what’s more, is all the benefits salmon can have once cooked.
For starters, it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. And because it belongs to the category of meats and fish on the food pyramid, it is also a great source of proteins which will help your dog develop a healthy lifestyle.
Some people might get concerned about the fats part, however, especially if their big furry baby is already a little too big. But with salmon, your dog gets good fats. Omega-3 fats in particular, not only allow dogs to develop healthy, shiny coats but are also great for the immune system of the body.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon Out of a Can?
Thankfully, this too is perfectly safe for dogs.
Well, before it is canned, the salmon has to be cooked. So really, all the harmful disease-causing agents in the fish have already been killed.
Yes, I know. This is indeed a true blessing for pet owners like us who often run short on time.
It is, however, highly suggested by experts that dogs should only be given salmon which has been immersed in simple water rather than oil or brine since this would lead to excessive sodium intake for the dog, which can lead to other health problems and shorten their lifespan.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon that’s Only Smoked?
Smoked salmon is only partially cooked. Which means that bacteria continue to reside in it, making it very dangerous for dogs to eat.
Besides, the high salt content in cured salmon can once again, be harmful to your pet.
So long story short, always ensure that the salmon is properly cooked and stay away from techniques which will leave the fish under cooked.
Best Ways to Prepare a Salmon Based Diet
So, while most of us don’t usually have the time to prepare food for our dogs, it might still be a good idea to take out some time every now and then. A good meal which isn’t dry or pre produced, can be truly nourishing for your fur baby. Even if it’s just twice or thrice a week.
To prepare home cooked salmon, take some fresh, boneless fillets (avoid bones since these can lead to choking) and either steam, grill, poach or bake them. If you have it on hand, try adding one to two tablespoons of cooked rice with it.
Just like that, you have the perfect dog food filled with fiber, protein, and necessary fats.
Make sure not to add in any salt, seasoning, or oil to the salmon, however, since this would lead to a high sodium content.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon: Salmon Recipes For Dogs
1. Salmon and Broccoli
- Salmon (with skin): 1 lb.
- Oil: 1 tbsp.
- Broccoli: 1 cluster
- Sweet Potatoes: 3 pieces
- Carrots: 2 pieces
- 1 squash: 1 piece
- Drizzle some oil onto a skillet.
- Add in 1lb. salmon and let it fry for a few minutes until the color turns brown
- Transfer the salmon into a bowl and let it sit
- Meanwhile chop the broccoli, carrots and squash into small bite sized pieces and steam in a separate dish
- Next, boil the sweet potatoes until well done and add them to a bowl
- Using a fork, smash the salmon out into smaller, chewable pieces.
- Using a potato smasher, smash the boiled sweet potatoes.
- Finally, combine the mashed salmon, potatoes and chopped vegetables in a bowl and mix using a fork.
- Serve the delicious meal to the best pet in the whole wide world!
2. Salmon With Other Meats:
- Salmon: 1 lb.
- Canned Sardine: 85 grams
- Beef liver (ground): 0.25 lb.
- Cooked rice: 2 cups
- Cooked sweet potatoes: 0.75 lb.
- Coconut oil: 1 tbsp.
- Drizzle some oil into a skillet and heat for a few seconds
- Add in the chopped salmon and some water or bone broth
- Also add in the sardines and allow to cook
- After a few minutes add in ground liver and allow it to cook
- Mix in the chopped broccoli, sweet potatoes and cooked rice.
- Serve after letting it sit for a little while.
In addition to this, dogs can eat salmon with a lot of other food variations. But, I believe that doing your research before hand is always a good option. Which is why, I’d encourage you to check out some of our other articles on this topic just to be safe.
Can dogs eat Salmon: Some Fun Facts about Salmon
- Salmon is high in selenium which is good for protecting bones
- Salmon can be a very good source of vitamins, especially B12, B6 and Niacin.
- It contains something known as Astaxanthin which lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidation of bad cholesterols
Can dogs eat salmon: Caesar’s Experience
Having read through everything that I have just told you about, it prides me to say that Caesar has been the happiest pup. And I too am happy for having learnt all that I did because now, I know the disaster I have avoided by educating myself on SPD.
So, the next time someone suggests a new diet or product for your pet, please be sure to learn everything you can about it before giving it to them.
Because really, what could be more important than keeping your pet as safe as possible?
How much salmon should my dog have?
Dogs can eat salmon as a proper meal once or twice a week.
Can dogs eat salmon everyday?
No. Dogs need to have a balance diet just like humans do. Which means that giving them a particular dish every single day is not suggested.
What about salmon eggs?
Yes. But only if they have been processed into caviar. Caviar, however, is high in salt contents and should therefore only be given in very limited amounts.
Can dogs eat salmon skin?
Yes. But only if it is properly cooked and given in moderation as treats.
Can dogs eat salmon that is rare or medium done?
No. This is because without thorough cooking, the bacteria can still persist and cause harm.