Yes, dogs can have salmon. Salmon is so rich and nutrient dense that it can be referred to as a superfood. Superfoods are a group of foods consisting of fruit, vegetables and meats that have endless benefits for our canine companions.
Salmon is packed with goodness that can help our dogs in a variety of ways and can be a great addition to their diet.
So, let’s have a look at why salmon is so good for our dogs, how we can offer it to our dogs, as well as looking at some potential risks that salmon may pose to our furry friends.
Recommended reading: Superfoods for dogs
Table of Contents
Is salmon good for dogs?
Yes, salmon is good for dogs and there are many different benefits that salmon can offer to our dogs. Salmon contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and healthy oils which can support different body functions of dogs.
Salmon provides high levels of protein which helps our dogs to build and repair tissues, regulate hormones within the body and gives our dogs bundles of energy.
Proteins are required to aid in developmental processes and help our dogs to grow efficiently throughout their lifetime.
Due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found within salmon, it could be said that salmon helps to prevent certain types of cancers.
Omega-3’s can help to prevent the cells within the body from mutation and damage, which is often the number one cause of cancer.
Thanks to 2 different types of fatty acids found within salmon, dogs can receive a dose of anti-inflammatory goodness, helping with ailments such as arthritis.
The two fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation cannot be created by the body. Therefore, they need to be obtained from a dog’s diet, through food sources such as salmon.
Salmon contains nutrients such as Vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium. Calcium is important to maintain strong and healthy bones and joints.
We can also thank omega-3 fatty acids again, as these help to support joint health, reduce inflammation within a joint and help to slow down joint degeneration.
Have a guess what helps to boost the immune system within salmon? If you guessed Omega-3 fatty acids, then you’re correct!
Along with Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate the function of immunity cells. These cells are what protects our dogs bodies (and ours!) from infection and disease.
Brain function can be improved by feeding your dog salmon. Salmon is packed full of goodness such as B vitamins and Vitamin D, which help our dog’s brains to grow and function efficiently.
It may be beneficial to feed your dog plenty of salmon as they get older. This may reduce their chances of degenerative brain diseases, such as “doggy dementia”.
A fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid (or DHA for short) helps to support eye health by offering plenty of nutrients to the retina of the eye. The retina is what processes light.
Degenerative eye diseases may also be reduced by offering your dog salmon. Thanks to a compound known as Astaxanthin, the cells of the eye can be more protected from damage.
Fun fact – Astaxanthin is what gives salmon its pink pigmentation to its flesh. Don’t worry though, it wont turn your dog pink!
Salmon can be good for dogs who are trying to maintain or lose weight. Salmon is low in calorie density whilst being high in protein. Salmon makes an ideal protein source for homemade diets, or as a treat for dogs who are needing to lose a few extra pounds.
Can dogs eat canned salmon?
Yes, dogs can eat canned salmon, as long as it has been preserved in water and not oil. Canned salmon should also be unflavored and have no added seasonings.
Canned salmon should also be carefully examined before feeding it to your dog. In some cases, canned salmon can include fish bones. These may become a choking hazard or cause a gastrointestinal blockage.
Can dogs eat raw salmon?
No, dogs should not eat raw salmon. Whilst eating raw salmon may give the highest amount of vitamins and minerals and have no processing, raw salmon can pose the risk of salmon poisoning.
Salmon poisoning occurs due to a potential parasite found in salmon called Nanophyetus salmincola. Whilst this parasite is not found in all salmon, it is not worth taking the risk and offering it to your dog.
Dogs with salmon poisoning can show symptoms such as:
- Pyrexia (fever)
In severe cases, salmon poisoning can be fatal. If you think your dog may have eaten raw salmon, speak to your veterinary surgeon for further advice.
Can dogs have smoked salmon?
No, dogs should not be offered smoked salmon. Smoked salmon is not necessarily dangerous to your dog, but it is likely that it contains high levels of sodium (salt), as well as additional flavorings and seasonings.
Due to its intense flavor, smoked salmon may also cause a gastrointestinal upset, showing symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and excessive gas.
A small amount of smoked salmon is unlikely to cause any harm. However, if your dog has eaten a large amount of smoked salmon, speak with your veterinary surgeon for advice.
Can dogs eat salmon skin?
Yes, dogs can eat salmon skin in moderation. In fact, baked crispy skins that are hard and crunchy in texture can be brilliant in cleaning your dog’s teeth.
Fish skin in general can be quite high in fats, so they should only be offered in small amounts. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause a variety of health concerns, including obesity, diabetes and pancreatitis.
Is salmon bad for dogs?
No, salmon is not bad for dogs. However, as with any new food source, you should always monitor your dog after they have eaten it for the first time.
Salmon should be offered as a wider, more varied diet, as there is the old saying of too much of a good thing!
There are some risks with salmon to be aware of:
Parasites: Raw fish, including salmon, can contain parasites. Parasites are usually killed and should not cause any harm after cooking salmon adequately. It is also important to wash your hands and any surfaces that raw salmon has come into contact with.
Parasites such as tapeworm can be found within salmon. This can cause a gastrointestinal upset, as well as weight loss and malnutrition. Your dog should be covered for internal parasites with regular flea and worming treatment from your veterinary practice.
Allergic reaction: As with any new foods, you should always monitor your dog after they have eaten salmon for the first time. Allergic reactions can occur with any new type of food. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of the eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the nose and throat
- Hypersalivation (excessive drooling)
If you think your dog is having an allergic reaction to salmon, seek veterinary help immediately.
Excess mercury: Salmon can contain high levels of a substance called mercury. Mercury can accumulate within the tissues of salmon throughout the course of its lifetime. In large amounts, mercury can be toxic to dogs.
It is unlikely that your dog will get mercury poisoning from salmon, unless they have eaten a substantial amount. To reduce the risk of mercury poisoning, offer salmon as part of a varied diet and if possible, only cook the flesh of younger salmon.
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How to cook salmon for dogs
There are a number of different ways that you can cook salmon for your furry friend. With its distinct fishy smell, they are sure to be waiting for it to come out of the oven whilst it is cooking!
Steamed salmon: Steaming salmon is a brilliant way of cooking salmon whilst keeping a high concentration of all round goodness. Steam salmon over a pan of boiling water or with the use of a steamer appliance.
Salmon usually cooks within 8 – 10 minutes. Ensure that it is cooked the whole way through by splitting the flesh with a fork. It is cooked when it is pale pink the whole way through, in comparison to its deep pink color when it is raw.
Baked salmon: Place salmon in baking parchment or aluminum foil and then cook in the oven for around 10 – 15 minutes at 350°F. Check that the salmon is fully cooked through before serving.
Salmon biscuits: Feeling creative? Then why not make some salmon biscuits to give your dog as a treat! There are plenty of recipes across the internet that include freshly cooked salmon, flour, water and eggs.
Not only will salmon biscuits be a tasty reward for your dog, but they will also help to support them with a variety of body functions.
When cooking salmon for your dog, ensure that you do not use any seasonings such as salt and pepper. Use cooking oils sparingly, but a small amount of olive oil may be beneficial for your dog too!
Can dogs eat salmon? Final thoughts
As it turns out, salmon has heaps of benefits for your dog! From helping with joint problems, to supporting eye health and even helping to prevent some types of cancers, salmon can make a great addition to your dog’s diet.
Remember that a well-balanced dog food should give your dog everything they need to function correctly. However, salmon does make a great supplement to their diet. If you are worried about your dog after they have eaten salmon, always seek the help of a veterinary surgeon.