Can Dogs Eat Fish Sticks?

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: January 6, 2023
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Plain fish is a healthy addition to a dog’s diet, but what about fish sticks? The breading and the way fish sticks are cooked make them much less healthy than feeding plain, white fish to dogs.

In this article, we’ll discuss whether dogs can eat fish sticks, the risks, and what you can feed your dog instead.

Are Fish Sticks Healthy for Dogs?

Fish sticks

Fish sticks aren’t toxic to dogs, but they aren’t healthy either.

© Banaszuk

Fish sticks aren’t toxic to dogs, but they aren’t healthy either. Small amounts of cooked fish sticks are unlikely to hurt your dog.

Fish sticks tend to contain breading, which adds carbs, salts, and oils to the fish. The deep-frying process also adds fats, and too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

If your dog gets into a whole tray of fish sticks, you’ll likely notice stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Watch for symptoms of pancreatitis, including vomiting or diarrhea, loss of appetite, increased thirst, urination, and lethargy or depression.

If you think your dog has pancreatitis, call an emergency vet clinic right away. This is an emergent condition that can be deadly without treatment.

Gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the gut, is another emergent condition to watch for, with symptoms similar to pancreatitis. Dogs sometimes throw up to the point that their vomit consists of foamy yellow bile.

Risks of Fish Sticks for Dogs

Fish sticks come with only a few risks so long as they’re cooked, don’t contain toxic seasonings, and are eaten in small amounts. But when this isn’t the case, they can be dangerous to dogs.

Toxic Seasonings

If the fish sticks contain toxic seasonings, like garlic and onion, then they can poison your dog. 

It takes around five grams of onion per kilogram of weight to poison a dog, and garlic is less potent–but because they have the same toxic compound that can work together to harm your dog.

Onion and garlic powders are more concentrated, so it takes even less of them before your dog will show symptoms of poisoning.

If your dog eats fish sticks that contain any toxic ingredients, call a pet poison hotline or emergency vet clinic right away. Best case, they don’t think your dog needs to be seen, but worst case, if you don’t call, is that your dog gets sick or dies from poisoning.


Fish sticks are high in fat. Any fatty food can cause pancreatitis, especially when eaten in excess.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking or urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shock
  • Depression

If your dog shows symptoms of pancreatitis, call an emergency vet clinic to have it seen right away. Don’t wait for treatment because pancreatitis can be deadly.

Raw Fish Sticks

Raw fish sticks, like any other raw meat, can contain harmful bacteria that make your dog sick. It can also catch parasites from the fish.

Risks to eating raw fish include:

  • Salmonella
  • Listeria
  • Tapeworm
  • Longworm
  • Flukes

While some people advocate for raw diets for dogs, fish sticks aren’t a healthy part of a raw diet. It’s also important to note that both the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) and American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) advise against feeding dogs raw meat.

Alternatives To Fish Sticks for Dogs

Fresh baked fish

An alternative to fish sticks for dogs is fresh, baked fish without seasonings, oils, butter, or breading.


A simple alternative to fish sticks is to feed your dog fresh, baked fish without seasonings, oils, butter, or breading. Also, make sure the fish you feed your dog don’t contain bones. Fish prepared this way is much healthier for it.

Fish are full of beneficial minerals, including iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. They’re also a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamins D and B2. 

Avoid fish with high mercury levels, such as tuna, as these aren’t healthy for dogs. The best fish to feed are white fish like salmon, herring, cod, walleye, and flounder. 

Other white meats, like chicken and turkey, are also excellent for your dog when served plain, cooked, and without bones.

There are also many treats and dog foods on the market that contain fish, and these are good for your pup as well!

Remember to always follow the ten percent rule when it comes to treats. 90% or more of your dog’s diet should be made up of high-quality dog food. This ensures it gets the right nutrients and stays healthy and happy!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Gorodenkoff/

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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