Our dogs eat things they shouldn’t all the time. How many times have you asked a vet or Googled questions about something you found your dog chewing? For food-motivated dogs, there’s nothing fishy about eating the unknown.
If your dog loves to eat, you’ve probably found yourself debating which so-called ‘human foods’ are safe to share. Which brings us to today’s dog food question: Can dogs have salmon and salmon skin?
The short answer: Absolutely, dogs can eat salmon! However, there are a few restrictions. The good news is that the rules for feeding your dogs salmon are simple.
Here’s a piece of salmon trivia: There are seven species of Pacific salmon. Five of those are available in North American waters. But there is some debate about whether or not Steelhead Trout is a type of Pacific salmon.
While we can’t say we’re experts in that debate, we can say that trout is in the same boat as salmon when it comes to feeding your dog. Your dog can eat salmon, but is salmon good for dogs?
We’ve all met a dog that is more vacuum cleaner than an animal, satisfied to swallow food that can’t possibly taste good. We have a lab crossed with a German shepherd so we know all about it. While we question our dog’s taste buds (ours has a penchant for chicken poo), you can be confident that salmon is digestible and beneficial to your dog’s diet.
Adding salmon can benefit your dog’s diet. Salmon is a source of essential minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 supports your dog’s immune system, decreases inflammation, and makes your dog’s fur shiny and healthy.
Salmon also provides amino acids that can help your dog stay healthy and active. Amino acids can help reduce skin irritation.
But can puppies eat salmon? Dogs of all ages can benefit from salmon. It can aid in brain development for puppies and help older dogs with cognitive function. Younger and older dogs can improve their brain power with a salmon boost.
If your dog is allergic to raw chicken or other common meats, salmon can be a great protein alternative.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Salmon?
Raw salmon may contain the parasite Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which causes salmon poisoning disease. If your dog contracts the disease, seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.
Salmon poisoning disease can be fatal, with an upset stomach or gastrointestinal issues common for minor cases. Other symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle weakness.
Raw salmon also contains plenty of tiny bones. The sharp bones can cause problems if they get stuck along the dog’s digestive journey. Salmon bones can also be a choking hazard.
While feeding dogs raw foods has its benefits, there are a few cons as well relating to parasites and that sort of thing.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon?
Canned salmon is an option, but not any canned salmon will do. It would be best if you select salmon canned in water rather than in oil or something like that. If possible you should choose a canned salmon that is low in sodium.
Canned salmon can be a fantastic way to make serving sizes and preparation easier. While there will be fewer chances of finding bones in canned salmon, it may also be easier to spot if there are any leftovers. You can eliminate some of the math since the can already has the weight, making it more straightforward to measure out appropriate portion size.
How Much Is Too Much?
Portion control is essential for any food, and that includes salmon. Salmon is high in fat. While healthy fats are an essential part of your dog’s nutrition, too much can lead to unwanted weight gain.
If you want to add salmon to your dog’s diet, consider it a special treat or an alternative meal. You should avoid making salmon your dog’s dinner staple. Once a week is often a fair limit, but you shouldn’t exceed more than twice.
The general recommendation is that you shouldn’t feed your dog more than 100 grams per 10 pounds of their body weight. For example, if your dog weighed 20 pounds, you shouldn’t offer more than 200 grams of salmon.
How To Feed Salmon To Dogs
There are two options for adding salmon to your dog’s diet: cooking it yourself or buying dog food with salmon.
One is obviously easier than the other, though each has its own pros and cons. Fresh salmon will be better for your dog (generally speaking), while salmon in kibble is less beneficial. Nevertheless, it’s all good for your dog!
Dog Food with Salmon
With option one, you can find an assortment of salmon dog food. You might choose dog treats, such as salmon jerky, or you might offer your dog dried food made from salmon.
Here are a few brands that make salmon-based dog food and where you can buy them:
Raw salmon is off the table for your dog, but well-cooked salmon can be served as a meal or as a treat. While you can debone the fish yourself, you can also buy boneless salmon fillets. Even with store-bought boneless, you should always double-check for any tiny bones before you start cooking.
You might wonder, while you’re removing bones, can dogs have salmon skin? As long as it’s cooked, skin isn’t a problem. Although, if your dog is a picky eater, they might avoid the skin.
You can use any preferred method of cooking, including baking, grilling, roasting, or steaming. Whatever process you choose, don’t use spices, oils, seasoning, or non-stick sprays.
However, smoking salmon is not an option, as it cures the meat rather than cooks it. Smoking also tends to use more salt, which can be dangerous for your dog. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and an upset stomach.
Is Salmon Good For Dogs?
The next time your dog is eyeing your salmon on the grill or sniffing the air when you’re baking salmon fillets, you can add one more serving for your curious pet. Just remember to keep their serving plain and well-cooked.
Can dogs eat salmon? Absolutely yes, and they’ll love you for it. Salmon skin is great for them too, so don’t be afraid of giving them those leftovers!