Can dogs eat raw fish?
Why yes, dogs can certainly eat raw fish.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.
As a matter of fact, it’s an important part of raw dog food, so don’t let anyone tell you that raw fish is bad for your dogs to eat.
My personal feeding preference is whole raw fish.
That’s because it’s the perfect mix of muscle meat, bone, and secreting organs all in one!
These three categories are the most important ones in raw feeding, and brains and eyes aren’t that easy to source.
Another alternative is to buy pre-made raw dog food with fish in it.
In this blog post, I mention where you can buy either along with these topics:
- Benefits of raw fish for dogs
- Which raw fish can I feed my dog(s)
- How much raw fish can my dog(s) eat?
- Can dogs eat whole raw fish with bones?
- Where to buy fish for raw dog food
- Raw fish dogs shouldn’t eat
- Easy raw dog food recipe with raw fish
- Raw fish alternatives
- Benefits Of Raw Fish For Dogs
- Which Raw Fish Can I Feed My Dogs?
- How Much Raw Fish Can My Dog Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Whole Raw Fish With Bones?
- Should I Feed Fish Whole, Ground, Air-Dried, Canned Or As An Oil?
- Where To Buy Fish For Raw Dog Food
- Which Fish Is Not Good for Dogs?
- Can Dogs Eat Goldfish?
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe With Fish
- Raw Fish for Dogs: Bottom Line
- Content Related to Raw Fish for Dogs
Benefits Of Raw Fish For Dogs
Raw fish is as important for immune and brain health for dogs as it for us humans!
It also does wonders for their joints and skin and coat health.
That’s because it’s naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re the ones that decrease inflammation within the body.
For an overview of the Omega-3 fatty acid content in fish, click here. It takes you to a chart from Oregon State University.
Both are considered secreting organs which are essentially Mother Nature’s multivitamins.
Which Raw Fish Can I Feed My Dogs?
You can feed any oily fish like:
Green lipped mussels are another excellent choice of seafood you can add to your pup’s (raw) meals.
They’re chock-full of naturally occurring chondroitin and glucosamine and are extremely beneficial for joint health.
A word of caution: Don’t feed green lipped mussels if your pup has a shellfish allergy.
My pup Wally can’t have them because of his shellfish allergy, but my previous Boxer pups Missy and Buzz could eat them AND loved them.
Fun fact: They’re only found in the pristine waters off the coast of New Zealand. But not to worry, you can also buy them here in the US!
How Much Raw Fish Can My Dog Eat?
Raw fish should make up roughly 10% of your dog’s daily muscle meat allowance.
For green lipped mussels, large dogs can have 2 per day, medium size dogs can have 1 per day, and small dogs can have 1/2 per day.
For fish oils such as Planopaws Wild Caught Omega-3 Fish Oil (oil made from sardines, herring & mackerel), dogs can have 1 pump of the oil per 25 lbs of body weight.
Dogs who are new to the fish oil should initially get about half of their daily target allowance.
That’s because the oil is rich and concentrated and can potentially cause an upset stomach if too much is fed.
Can Dogs Eat Whole Raw Fish With Bones?
Yes, they can.
Raw fish bones are as soft and pliable as raw meaty bones from poultry or rabbit.
I’ve been feeding my pups Missy, Buzz and Wally whole raw fish since 2016 without any issues.
Dogs can even eat larger fish heads like salmon heads.
Should I Feed Fish Whole, Ground, Air-Dried, Canned Or As An Oil?
All of these options work!
As I mentioned before, my personal preference is to feed raw whole fish, followed by ground, air-dried, canned and fish oil.
It essentially depends on your personal preference and your sourcing ability.
Single Ingredient Fish Treats For Dogs
- Out of whole raw fish
- Waiting on a new online order to come in
- Can’t find whole fish at the grocery store
…I feed single-ingredient fish treats for dogs.
My favorite ones are the dog fish treats from Icelandic+, and particularly their whole herring fish treats.
Wally LOVES those too!
Fish Oil For Dogs
I also used to feed my previous pups Missy & Buzz
Bonnie & Clyde’s wild-caught fish oil (made from sardines, anchovies and mackerel, unfortunately no longer available) as well as canned sardines.
Both are great options, but my current pup Wally has a food intolerance towards sardines and anchovies, and he also can’t have any salmon.
So that limits my choices for most fish oils from the store.
If your pup doesn’t have any particular fish allergies, try Planopaws Wild Caught Omega-3 Fish Oil (oil made from sardines, herring & mackerel)!
Where To Buy Fish For Raw Dog Food
Of course you can find raw fish at some local grocery stores, depending on your geographical location and how well the store is stocked.
For example, I can find raw rainbow trout at my local grocery store Harris Teeter here in NC, but that’s it as far as my local fish selection goes!
Thankfully, there are several online raw dog food retailers that carry raw fish.
- Raw Feeding Miami
- Raw Paws Pet Food
- My Pet Carnivore
- Hare Today
Raw Feeding Miami carries dehydrated green lipped mussels and smelts, as well as ground salmon, ground and whole thread herring, salmon chunks, mackerel, sardines, and smelts.
->Save 10% off your Raw Feeding Miami order with my referral discount link.
Raw Paws Pet Food carries whole smelt, ground Atlantic salmon, as well as a mix of beef and mackerel that’s ready to feed as is.
-> Save 15% off your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.
My Pet Carnivore carries ground lake herring, whole lake herring, whole sardines, ground lake trout, whole lake trout, and ground lake whitefish.
Hare Today carries whole sardines, ground sardines, ground Atlantic herring, ground sardines and bone, green lipped mussel powder, and dehydrated ground salmon.
Which Fish Is Not Good for Dogs?
Dogs shouldn’t eat larger raw fish like tuna and shark, at least not on a regular basis.
That’s because the larger the fish, the more heavy metals and toxins they come with.
If you’re feeding raw fish from the Pacific such as salmon, you need to freeze it for a minimum of 3 weeks before feeding it to your pup(s).
That’s because it can carry a parasite that’s known to be fatal to dogs.
The freezing process gets rid of the parasite, but if you want to be on the safe side, don’t feed any raw fish from the Pacific at all.
Dogs who have a specific fish intolerance obviously shouldn’t eat the kind of fish they don’t do well with.
For my pup Wally, that includes green lipped mussels, sardines, anchovies, and salmon.
Can Dogs Eat Goldfish?
Well, it depends on which type of goldfish we’re talking about…
If you’re asking about the goldfish from your fish tank or garden pond, the answer is yes. Technically speaking, your (water crazy) pup can eat that goldfish.
Maybe they shouldn’t though because your kids may get upset!
Now, if you’re asking about the goldfish crackers, the answer is: ideally not.
Goldfish crackers are a highly processed human snack that’s not exactly good for us either, at least not when consumed on a regular basis.
So while your dog will be OK if they sniff out and eat a goldfish that “accidentally” fell on the floor, do yourself a favor and don’t make it a habit.
There are much better single-and limited ingredient dog treat alternatives your pups (& their bodies!) will love.
Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe With Fish
Here’s a super easy raw dog food recipe for your pup that features raw fish.
The main ingredient is a complete source of raw dog food.
Complete means that it can be fed as is because it consists of muscle meat, secreting organs, and raw meaty bone, the 3 main components of raw dog food.
In this particular recipe, I chose rabbit grinds from Raw Feeding Miami.
I mixed them with Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm and added some rainbow trout from a local grocery store.
Paradigm is a dehydrated mix of low-carb veggies and healing herbs.
It only needs to be rehydrated with warm water, which makes it a very convenient way of adding healthy plant matter to raw dog food.
Of course you can also choose other complete grinds to mimic this recipe.
Tip: Save 10% off your Raw Feeding Miami order with my referral discount link.
Or save 15% off your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.
Raw Fish for Dogs: Bottom Line
Raw fish is an important ingredient in raw dog food and should make up around 10% of your dog’s daily muscle meat allowance.
That’s because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory food that’s important for brain and joint health.
Fish can be fed:
- As an oil
If you’re lucky and live near the ocean or a well-stocked grocery store, you can potentially get your hands on a large, local selection of fish.
Otherwise, there are a several raw dog food retailers here in the US who carry raw fish such as:
- Green lipped mussels
Remember not to feed any raw fish from the Pacific without freezing it for a minimum of 3 weeks.
That’s a safety precaution to get rid of a parasite that can be fatal to dogs.
Happy fish feeding!
Does your dog have a favorite fish? Let me know in the comment section below!
Content Related to Raw Fish for Dogs
- Phytoplankton for dogs
- The benefits of kelp for dogs
- How to make a dog’s coat shiny
- Your raw feeding FAQs answered
- Can I feed my dog (canned) tuna?
- Difference between mackerel and herring
- Where to buy green lipped mussels for dogs
- Raw salmon heads for dogs: Can dogs really eat them?
- Why Vital Essentials Minnows Make The Perfect Dog Treat
- 5 Natural Antioxidants for Dogs That Boost the Immune System