K9sOverCoffee | How to feed raw fish for dogs

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish? How to Feed Raw Fish For Dogs-UPDATED 2023

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.

how to eat raw fish for dogs - wally likes his herring whole from Raw FEEDING MIAMI
Wally demonstrates his favorite way of eating raw fish – whole!

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.

But of course you can also grind whole fish using a food processor or meat grinder if you prefer not to feed it whole!

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
K9sOverCoffee.com | How to feed 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.

The benefit of feeding whole fish is that it includes the fish brains along with the fish eyeballs.

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:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Smelt
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Smelt
how to feed raw fish for dogs - salmon head
Weighing a raw salmon head
how to feed raw fish for dogs - About to cut up raw rainbow trout for raw dog food
About to cut up raw rainbow trout for raw meal prep
K9sOverCoffee.com | My dog Wally with his raw dog food featuring wild venison, beef, duck, thread herring, lamb, and veggies and herbs.
Wally’s raw dog food features a whole thread herring
how to feed raw fish for dogs - cutting up raw mackerel for raw dog food
Cutting up mackerel for Wally’s raw meals with a knife
Cutting up raw mackerel for raw dog food meal prep with scissors
Cutting up mackerel for raw dog food meal prep with scissors
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A post shared by K9sOverCoffee 🐕☕️ (@k9sovercoffee)

Raw dog food topped off with canned sardines in water
Raw dog food topped off with canned sardines in water

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!

K9sOverCoffee | THK's base mix with raw chicken breast, green lipped mussels, and a chicken neck
Raw dog food with two green lipped mussels from Raw Feeding Miami

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.

Can dogs eat whole raw fish with bones?

Dogs can even eat larger fish heads like salmon heads.

K9sOverCoffee | Feeding salmon heads outside in the backyard
Missy and Buzz eating raw 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.

A raw dog food order from Raw Feeding Miami includes raw mackerel
Raw dog food order from Raw Feeding Miami

It essentially depends on your personal preference and your sourcing ability.

Single Ingredient Fish Treats For Dogs

When I’m:

  • 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.

Best fish treats for dogs for itchy skin

My favorite ones are the dog fish treats from Icelandic+, and particularly their whole herring fish treats.

Wally LOVES those too!

Full disclosure: I love them so much that I finally joined the brand’s affiliate program.

how to feed raw fish for dogs - an air-dried herring alternative
Air-dried herring fish dog treats from Icelandic +
Aid-dried capelin and herring fish treats from Icelandic +
Air-dried salmon chips, herring and capelin from Icelandic+

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.

Raw fish selection at a fish market
Divine raw fish selection at a fish market close to the ocean

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!

Where to buy fish for raw dog food

Thankfully, there are several online raw dog food retailers that carry raw fish.

For example:

  • 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.

Which fish is not good for dogs?

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.

I add Dr. Harvey's Paradigm to my raw dog food
Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm

Of course you can also choose other complete grinds to mimic this recipe.

For example, any complete grinds from Raw Feeding Miami or Raw Paws Pet Food.

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.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Convince your anti raw vet with a balanced Raw dog food recipe

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:

  • Whole
  • Ground
  • Air-dried
  • Canned
  • As an oil
K9sOverCoffee - How to feed raw fish for dogs

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:

  • Sardines
  • Smelt
  • Herring
  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • 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!

Raw Dog Food Game Changers


Get 20% off my Raw Dog Food Math & Meal Prep Bundle! Includes pre-calculated raw feeding charts, puppy and adult dog worksheets (BARF & PMR values), meal prep tips, and 2 simple recipes.


Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They’re located in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.


Save 10% on your first order of anything at Raw Feeding Miami with this referral link.


Mighty Paw’s Slow Feed Insert combined with Yeti’s Boomer 4 Dog Bowl. Both are top rack dishwasher safe.


Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Base Mix. It’s low-carb which is particularly great for dogs on a keto diet and those with health issues like diabetes and cancer.

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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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