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Can Dogs Eat Salmon? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat salmon, provided they are fully cooked. Salmon has a rich nutritional profile that enhances your dog’s health and well-being. However, to avoid its harmful aspects, you have to cook it appropriately before serving it to your pet.  

What Is Salmon? 

Salmon is a ray-finned fish that is a part of the Salmonidae family. Also, trout, char, grayling, and whitefish belong to this family. These fishes are native to the ocean waters of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and along the California coast. When cooked, salmon has a rich buttery flavor your dogs will crave.  

The nutritional benefits of a serving (3 to 4 ounces) of salmon to your buddy are listed below: 

  • EPA omega-3 fatty acid 
  • DHA omega-3 fatty acid 
  • Vitamins: A, D, and B, B12   
  • Minerals: zinc, potassium, and magnesium. 
  • Good source of protein 
  • Iron  

Is Salmon Safe For Dogs?  

There is nothing toxic or harmful in salmon that is unsafe for a dog’s consumption. Salmon is protein-rich, which makes it an ideal diet for your pet. Therefore, dogs can safely consume salmon as long as it is fresh, boneless, well-cooked, and fed in small portions. Additionally, salmon is a good source of protein substitute for your dog allergic to specific commonly available proteins. However, you should be cautious not to provide your dog raw salmon as it may lead to salmon poisoning, which could be fatal. Additionally, be mindful of offering your dog salmon with bones as they pose the risk of choking hazards to your pet.  

Why is salmon Good for Dogs? 

You can cook salmon in many forms as it is a versatile fish. You can feed your dog salmon for its deliciousness and the following health benefits:

NutrientsHealth Benefits
EPA & DHARegulates the immune systemReduces inflammation and alleviates conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.Keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy.Prevents skin allergies in dogs.Helps in the production of collagen in dogs.Promotes brain development in puppies and fetuses.Supports cardiac health and lowers blood pressure.Slows down the growth of cancer cells.Aids in weight loss in obese dogs.Supports dogs with kidney issues.Enhances cognitive function in older dogs.
Vitamin ABoosts your puppy’s immune system.Promotes bone development and the reproductive system.Enhances eyesight, prevents night blindness and cataract in dogs.Supports proper function and quality of skin, coat, muscles, and nerves.
Vitamin BKeeps away fleas and ticks.Improves metabolism and energy.Forms blood cells and nerves.Gives healthy skin and hair.Prevents heart disease and cancer.Helps the brain and the nervous system.Strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin DBalances minerals for healthy bone growth.Maintains proper calcium levels in a dog’s body.
Vitamin B12Promotes nervous and spinal health in dogs.Aids in the production of red blood cells.Prevents exocrine pancreatic deficiency (EPI), which limits the pancreas from secreting enzymes required for digestion.
ZincEnhances immunityReduces inflammation.Has good antioxidant properties.
PotassiumIt helps in the proper functioning of your dog’s kidneys.Aids in maintaining cardiac and digestive health.It strengthens your pet’s bones. It regulates the fluid levels, and promotes muscle development.

Why Is Salmon Bad for Dogs? 

Contamination of the sea by improper disposal of chemical wastes and accidental leaks have turned seafoods poisonous. Hence, as salmon is a sea life creature, its nutritional value has also been adversely altered due to various reasons as listed below: 

  1. Nuclear Radiation Seepage 

A nuclear accident took place in the Fukushima nuclear reactor in 2011 following an earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, atomic radiation seeped into the ocean. It reached the west coast of North America, contaminating the Pacific salmon in this region. Therefore, if your dog consumes the contaminated fish, the radioactive elements could build up in their bone marrow and lead to cancer or leukemia. 

  1.  Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) are highly toxic industrial compounds. Since these artificial chemicals are carcinogenic, the Governments have banned their use since 1970. However, the products before the ban contained this chemical. As a result of improper waste disposal and accidental leakage, they have contaminated the ocean, which reflects today in all the seafood available. The adverse effects of PCB’s include: 

  • Skin problems 
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Bronchitis 
  • Nervous system disorders 
  • Cancer
  1. Heavy Metals 

Heavy metals are industrial by-products that don’t break down properly. As a result, they contaminate the seawater and the creatures in it. Some of the heavy metals include: 

  • Mercury
  • Lead 
  • Cadmium 
  • Arsenic 

Although fishes don’t contain harmful levels of heavy metals, it is still a threat to dogs as over-accumulation of the same, may lead to heavy metal poisoning. Some of the ill effects observed include:  

  • Gastrointestinal Disorders 
  • Nerve system disorders 
  • Cancer 
  • Liver damage 
  • Kidney damage
  1. Dioxins and Furans 

The wastewater from municipalities and manufacturing units contains environmental wastes such as dioxins and furans, which reach the ocean and cause the following issues in dogs: 

  • Skin issues 
  • Liver problems 
  • Immune system issues 
  • Reproductive issues 
  • Cancer 
  1. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) 

Farmed salmon are those organisms whose genes have been modified to make them hungry year-round. This way, they eat more and grow up quickly to be fished and sold in the market. Although GMO salmon are deemed to be safe, no long-term studies ensure their safety. However, it is crucial to understand the symptoms due to the consumption of other GMO foods: 

  • Organ damage 
  • Digestive issues  
  • Allergies
  1. Parasites 

Raw salmon may be infested with a fluke called Nanophyetus salmincola. In the event of a bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca affecting these flukes, they become harmful to dogs. Once a dog consumes raw or undercooked salmon with an infected fluke, the bacteria enter a dog’s bloodstream and spread to other organs resulting in salmon poisoning. Signs appear after six days of consumption. 

Signs of salmon poisoning in dogs: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Fever 
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Weakness 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Dehydration 

For this reason, it is unsafe for your dogs to consume raw salmon, especially those found in the Pacific Northwest. Therefore, exercise caution when you walk your dog through an area with scattered dead salmon. On the other hand, if you feed store-bought salmon, ensure to cook the salmon appropriately or freeze it for a week to eliminate any parasites. 

  1. Choking Hazard 

When your dog consumes raw salmon, it could swallow the small bones available in it. Since these bones are quite brittle, they can get caught into your dog’s throat or his intestine, posing a choking hazard or intestinal blockage.  

Signs of intestinal blockage in dogs 

  • Lethargy 
  • Drooling 
  • Lip-smacking 
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Abdominal pain (praying position) 
  • Difficulty defecating 

How Much Salmon to Feed Your Dog? 

Serve your dog with not more than 100 grams of salmon per ten pounds of their body weight. Additionally, limit his salmon intake to once a week or less. Remember, moderation is the key to assure a healthy lifestyle to your pet.

Which Type of Salmon is suitable for Dogs? 

If you wish to feed salmon to your dog, they are available in a variety of forms-  

  • Fresh  
  • Canned  
  • Frozen  
  • Wild-caught  
  • Farm-raised 

However, the most beneficial type of salmon comes from cold-water marine environments. The fishes of this region benefit from the rich plankton growth as they get fatty acids from their food chain. Therefore, what matters the most is the fish’s habitat.  

How to Serve Salmon to Your Dog? 

It is essential to cook the salmon properly before serving it to your dogs. Then, you can either top up their regular diet with some cooked salmon or serve dehydrated or freeze-dried. Hence, the steps to safely serve salmon to your buddies include: 

  • Cook the salmon to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F as recommended by The United States Food Safety and Inspection Department. 
  • Debone the fish and remove its skin as it contains a high-fat content. 
  • Poach, grill, roast, steam, or bake the salmon without oil, salt, pepper, or other seasonings, such as garlic or onions

Serving Cooked salmon 

Once you cook the salmon, you may: 

  • Add cooked salmon to your dog’s regular meal. 
  • Treat your dog with cooked salmon individually. 
  • Prepare a homemade meal with a combination of salmon, a grain, and a vegetable. 

You can try cooking the below recipes for your canine mate: 

  1. Salmon Dog Treats 

Ingredients 

  • Pink salmon packed in water -1 14.75 ounces can 
  • Two cups of flour 
  • Two eggs 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. 
  • Empty the salmon and its juices into a large mixing bowl. 
  • Flake the meat apart with a fork and mix in some eggs.  
  • Add the flour into the salmon/egg mixture. 
  • Dump the dough mixture onto a baking sheet. 
  • Use flour on the dough to prevent it from sticking to your hands. 
  • Flatten the dough and make it thicker or thinner without perfect corners. 
  • Cook the dough in the oven for 25–35 minutes based on your preference for a soft or crunchy treat. 
  • Remove from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. 
  • Once cooled, break the treats to a convenient size, pack and freeze it for the next two months. 

2. Salmon cakes 

Ingredients

  • 1 14.75oz of salmon 
  • Two egg whites 
  • ¼ cup sour cream free from fat
  • Two tsp dried parsley 
  • Half cup shredded carrot
  • Half cup plain bread crumbs 
  • One tsp dried dill leaves

Instructions

  • Warm up the oven’s temperature to 375° F. 
  • Remove water, bones, and skin from the salmon. 
  • Mix salmon, egg white, sour cream, parsley, and carrot together in a large mixing bowl. 
  • In another dish, stir in dill leaves and the plain bread crumbs.
  • Scoop a ball of the mixture and make it into a patty.
  • Coat the patty with bread crumbs and dill leaves. Place it on a greased cookie sheet. 
  • Repeat for the rest of the salmon mixture. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and repeat for the same time. 
  • Topple the cake on a wire rack to cool and freeze it for up to two months. 

3. Mini Omelette Recipe for Dogs 

Ingredients 

  • Two eggs 
  • Half a cup of cooked boneless salmon
  • Half a cup of diced green pepper

Directions 

  1. Grease the frying pan with oil and maintain it in medium/high heat. 
  2. Empty the contents of the eggs into a bowl and stir well. 
  3. Pour the mixed eggs into the center of the heated fry pan. 
  4. Tilt the pan and spread the egg evenly.
  5. Check for firmness and sprinkle some green pepper and salmon. 
  6. Fold the egg into half and heat until it appears firmer.  
  7. Remove the omelet from the pan and place it onto a plate. Allow to cool before serving. 

Freeze-dried Salmon: In this process, the salmon is frozen at an appropriate temperature to extract the moisture from it. This way, the nutrients are preserved, and your canine mate is served a healthy diet. 

Dehydrated Salmon: This process involves the removal of moisture and bacteria from the food. Hence its quality remains unchanged for several weeks. Additionally, it locks the nutrients and flavor, making it an excellent option for a healthy diet.  

 What If My Dog Ate Raw Salmon? 

If your dog ate an infected salmon, he might develop the symptoms of salmon poisoning six days after eating. When you notice these symptoms, take him to the vet immediately. Your vet can confirm your suspicion with a diagnosis of: 

  • Your dog’s fecal sample, which is checked for the presence of the parasite’s eggs or
  • A sample from the swollen lymph node.  

The treatment for salmon poisoning involves a prescription of an antibiotic to kill the poisonous organisms and a wormer to kill the parasite. However, once treatment starts, most dogs show rapid progression in a couple of days.  

Alternatives to salmon 

The presence of high amounts of EPA and DHA makes salmon a highly sought-after food for dogs. However, you can consider feeding your dog other food sources that don’t come with the risk, like a salmon: 

Green-Lipped Mussels: Native to New Zealand, the green-lipped mussels get a healthy dose of EPA and DHA from phytoplankton in the water while filtering it.  

Brain and Eyes Of Any Prey: Organs like the brain and eyes constitute a higher amount of EPA and DHA. Hence, you could feed them to dogs.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?

No, dogs cannot eat salmon skin as it contains a high-fat content and could lead your dog to gain more weight. As a result, refrain from feeding salmon skin to your dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Salmon?

No, dogs cannot eat smoked salmon as they have a high salt content and may contain harmful parasites and bacteria that can make your dog sick. 

Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon?

Yes, canned salmon is relatively safe for dogs but ensure they are packed in water instead of brine or oil.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Eggs?

Yes, dogs can eat salmon eggs provided they are processed into caviar which can be fed as an occasional treat. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Salmon?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked salmon. They can be freeze-dried or dehydrated. 

Can Dogs Eat  Raw Salmon?

No, dogs cannot eat raw salmon as they might contain harmful parasites that can be fatal to dogs. 

Conclusion

Dogs can consume salmon as they are quite beneficial to a dog’s health. However, ensure to understand the cooking methods and other concerns surrounding salmon to offer a healthy lifestyle to your dog.

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