Can Dogs Eat Tuna? Is It safe?

Fish is a very healthy addition to your dog’s diet. The list of benefits for your best friend goes on and on, that is IF you are choosing the right fish. There are a lot of great choices at the market to give your pup, but there are some you should avoid.

Tuna, especially canned tuna, is a handy treat you might think is fine for your dog.

But is it? Some say yes and some say no.

This article will sort through the pros and cons of letting your dog eat tuna.

Can I give my dog canned tuna?

You dog is such a good pup!

Sitting so pretty, doing their best not to beg even when that tuna you just opened smells so yummy.

You really want to give them a treat. Just a little bite.

That’s probably okay.

If it’s tuna in water, without added salt, and it’s not like you feed your dog tuna every day, then it’s a healthy snack.

If it’s a smaller kind of tuna like albacore or skipjack, then it’s a healthy dog snack.

What are the benefits of feeding my dog canned tuna?

Tuna has a lot going for it as a healthy dog treat.

  • Tuna has many vitamins your dog’s whole body thrives on like vitamin D, vitamin B3, B6, and B12.
  • Minerals like magnesium, selenium and potassium are vital to your dog’s healthy bones and nervous system.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids keep your pal’s heart ticking away, and
  • Protein builds muscles.

The dangers of feeding tuna to your dog

There are many vets, breeders and dog-lovers who say you should never feed tuna to your dog. They have strong reasons why.

  • The most immediate danger to your dog is sodium, so check the levels on the can.
  • Canned tuna is a calorie dense food, which isn’t great for the pup.
  • Then there’s mercury poisoning. Tuna are bottom fish and live a long time, storing deadly mercury away in their fat and muscles. The American Kennel Club lists these symptoms that come from eating too much mercury.
  • If dogs develop a craving for tuna, they might get sneaky and eat way more that they should, which could result in a trip to the vet.

What is the best way to feed my dog tuna?

Here are 4 great tips for feeding tuna to your pup.

  1. Smaller tuna has less mercury, and is a safer choice for a dog treat.
  2. If your dog has never had plain fish like tuna, make sure to feed them a very small amount to start so you can check for any allergies or reactions. This goes for the tuna juice as well.
  3. Consider your dog’s weight when handing out any treat. Little dogs do not need very much at all. Dog dogs are still not human size and weight. Overfeeding is very unhealthy for all animals.
  4. Try mixing a small amount of tuna into your dog’s regular food, or try a fun tuna infused treat recipe.

Those times when you should never feed tuna to your dog

Dog’s bodies are not the same as a human’s. When should you avoid tuna altogether as a treat for your dog? Here are four ways that your dog should never eat fish of any kind.

  1. Never give your dog raw tuna. Never give your dog raw fish at all. They carry parasites and bacteria that can put your dog at a serious health risk. Some want to say that dogs ate fish when they were mostly wild and that’s true. It’s probably also true that you want your dog to live a lot longer than a wild dog.
  2. Never give boney fish to your dog. Any vet will gladly tell you what the surgery is like to remove fish bones from anywhere along your puppy’s digestive track. Some dogs are fine eating small boney fish like smelt or anchovies as long as any salt is rinsed away, but avoid the bones of larger fish.
  3. Avoid larger fish like yellowfin, bigeye or bluefin. Bigger fish carry significantly higher amounts of mercury.
  4. Don’t buy tuna in oil for your dogs. The calories are too high to justify giving to a small pet. Even your bigger dogs don’t need to oil from fish cans. You can quickly drain and rinse it if it’s all you have to offer.

Conclusion: Can I feed my dog tuna?

Tuna is a once in a while treat that can have wonderful health benefits for your dog, but might cause adverse effects that you don’t want to see your pet experience.

If you decide a little treat of tuna is okay for your pup, you’ve made a safe choice. If, in your heart, the dangers outweigh the benefits, it’s a sound choice to just skip the tuna as well.

What matters is that you are caring for your dog. You are doing the research to find out what is good or bad for your pup and whether or not your dog can eat tuna.

For more healthy choices for feeding your dog, check out this video.

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