Raw Salmon Heads for Dogs: Can They Really Eat Them?

Raw Salmon Heads For Dogs: Can They Really Eat Them?

Short answer: Yes, feeding your dog salmon heads raw is perfectly fine as long as you freeze them to avoid salmon poisoning disease.

More on that later.

I’m excited to report that Missy & Buzz recently had raw salmon heads and very much liked them.

It took them about 20 minutes to eat them in their entirety, and I added that video to the feeding section in this blog post.

What’s in Raw Salmon Heads?

Raw salmon heads are a rich source of:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

They’re a great addition to a raw doggie diet for a natural boost of joint and skin health.

If you feed your pups raw fish, there’s no need to add bottled fish oil to their meals. 

Where to Buy Whole Raw Salmon Heads for Dogs

Where to buy raw salmon heads for dogs

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Asian Grocery Stores

I found the raw salmon heads at the fish counter of a local, Korean-owned, asian grocery store on my search for odd cuts of meat.

Originally I thought I might find something like raw chicken feet and/or organs. 

I actually had no clue it had a separate fish section until I got there.

However, they didn’t carry any chicken feet or organs.

It wasn’t too much of a bummer because I can get organic chicken feet from a local farm.

But they’re a bit on the expensive side which is why I was hoping to find them for less at this Asian store.

Either way, I had been meaning to check it out for a while and am glad I drove the 12 miles one way.

They had exactly two raw salmon heads left!

Of course I snatched them up before anyone else could.

Each head was frozen solid, about $5.00 and weighed 1 lb 11 oz! 

K9sOverCoffee | The raw salmon head weighed 1 lb 11 oz
Weighing one of the raw salmon heads

Regular Grocery Stores

If you can’t find an asian grocery store with a fish section, try your luck at a better stocked traditional supermarket.

I’m thinking of The Fresh MarketHarris Teeter, or Wegmans.

They might just have a salmon (or other fish) head on display that you could get your hands on.

I saw a fellow raw feeder mention that approach on Instagram and thought it was a clever idea .

Just make sure to freeze it for 3 weeks before feeding it to your pup – more on that below!

Raw Pet Food Retailers

You can also order raw salmon heads from specific raw dog food retailers.

Raw Feeding Miami carried fish heads for a while (variety mix of salmon, grouper and snapper heads), but unfortunately, they no longer do.

I’ll keep checking to see if they’ll start carrying them again.

These days, they only have salmon chunks from wild-caught Atlantic salmon.


You can buy salmon heads from this online retailer in Alaska. They ship nationwide (and also to Canada) via FedEx.

Raw Salmon Heads Can be Fed Whole

No need to debone or otherwise prepare salmon heads!

Just like any other raw meaty bones, you can feed raw salmon heads whole.

That includes gills and bones.

Remember, raw bones are soft and pliable.

They only turn brittle and can splinter when they’re cooked.

That’s why us humans pick them out of our cooked fish.

Next time you get ready to cook up a fish for yourself, pick out a raw fishbone and compare it to one that’s been cooked.

You’ll notice the difference!

My guess is that the raw salmon heads the pups ate were about 80% meat and 20% bone.

If your dog is too small for a salmon head or his teeth are in a bad condition, you could simply grind it with meat grinders such as these.

If you do a YouTube search for “dogs eating salmon heads” you’ll get a ton of hits.

Just like this one of 15 year old Border Collie Sweety enjoying her fishy snack:

15 Year Old Border Collie Eats Salmon Head (Raw Meaty Bones)

Feed the Whole Salmon Heads Outside if Possible

I decided to feed the raw salmon heads on the grass in our backyard because I really didn’t feel like stinking up the house.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fish myself and eat it just about every other week.

But I typically put it right into the pan or the oven and don’t gnaw on the raw thing for an extended period of time. 

Feeding salmon heads to Boxer mix dogs outside in the backyard

So backyard it was – if you don’t have that option, try lighting a few candles and open windows while your pup enjoys the fishy delicacy.

Or feed it in the garage if you have one.

Feeding Raw Salmon Heads for Dogs

What About Salmon Poisoning Disease In Dogs?

As I did a little research on the matter, I found out that raw salmon (and other fish) from the Pacific Northwest can carry an organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca which causes salmon poisoning.

Dogs who eat raw salmon infected with the organism can get sick and come down with high fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and ultimately die if the condition is left untreated. 

In order to avoid this scenario, don’t feed your dog fresh raw salmon (or other raw fish from the Pacific Northwest).

Make sure to deep-freeze it beforehand for 3 weeks which will inactivate the organism. 

An Alternative: Wild-Caught, Ground Salmon Heads

What if you’re not entirely convinced that whole salmon heads are the way to go for your pup(s)?

I mean, they are a bit on the messy side and there will be some smell.

One mess-free workaround is to get your hands on ground salmon heads. Ideally, wild-caught salmon heads.

Like the wild-caught, ground Alaskan salmon heads that Raw Paws Pet Food carries.

Besides ground salmon heads, they also feature ground Salmon Trim and ground Salmon Frames.

That way, you can still feed your dog(s) the plethora of nutrients salmon is naturally rich in.

Tip: Use my affiliate discount code K9Savings to get 15% off at checkout.

Wild caught ground Atlantic salmon for dogs from Raw Paws Pet Food

Raw Salmon Heads for Dogs: Bottom Line

For dogs, it’s safe to eat raw salmon heads, and I’m excited that I expanded my raw feeding adventure by yet another new cut of raw meat.

Both Missy & Buzz did fine with their respective salmon head.

Since they were rather large and heavy, they pretty much covered a whole day’s food allowance.

The pups only got a little green tripe for a later evening snack. 

Do you feed your pups raw salmon (heads) or other fish?

Let me know in the comment section below this blog post!

K9sOverCoffee.com | Raw Salmom Heads for Dogs: Can They Really Eat Them?
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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.







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