Our furry friends are known to lack a picky palate when it comes to most foods. Fish is no exception and is often gobbled down in a moment's notice. Of course, deliciousness to dogs doesn't automatically mean healthy, so let's delve deeper into the topic.
Fish itself is a fantastic protein source without all the saturated fat commonly found in red meats like beef and lamb. From a nutritional standpoint, omega-3 fatty acids are as beneficial for dogs as they are for people, and fish is a prime source. Feeding your canine companion fish on occasional can reduce or prevent the need for omega 3 supplementation, and it is way more enjoyable to a dog than a pill to boot.
As for dogs who suffer from food allergies, fish can provide a much-needed escape. However, dogs need a balanced diet and while surviving on an all fish diet is possible it is not ideal for keeping your dog in top form. Therefore feeding fish on occasion or fish containing dog food is likely a better choice, variety is the spice of life after all.
There are some things to keep in mind when including fish into your dog's diet. First, avoid feeding fried fish. There is no nutritional value from adding extra oils to fish in this manner. Mercury buildup is a very real threat to dogs just as it is to humans. And just like us, sticking to short-lived fish such as sardine, salmon and most whitefish is the best way to keep mercury levels down. Try to avoid feeding tuna with any significant frequency.
Seasonings are another issue, especially if feeding your dog family leftovers. Absolutely avoid giving your canine any fish that has been seasoned with garlic powder, garlic salt, onion powder and excessive table salt during the cooking process. Do your best to feed fish as close to natural, fresh state as possible. Lastly, bones in fish are brittle and dangerous, make sure to debone as necessary prior to feeding.
Overall, feeding fish to your dog is a healthy choice with a variety of benefits. Dogs who consume fish can frequently enjoy larger portions without excess calories, protein overload or weight gain. As proof, fish is a staple for sled dogs around the world, some of the most fit and healthy doggy athletes alive. As always, just remember to keep everything in moderation.