7 Fish That Are Safe For Dogs To Eat

Dog eating out of a bowl
© Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock.com

Written by Emilio Brown

Updated: July 31, 2023

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Fish is a food that is dense in nutrients, making it a great addition to your furry friend’s diet. A balanced diet is important for any breed to develop a healthy body and also helps combat various diseases dogs may be prone to. While fish is a healthy meat for dogs, not all fish types are great for your pup to eat. Always talk to your vet about any diet changes you plan on making with your dog, especially if you are adding new foods to their rotation of meals. While not all fish is recommended for dogs, this article will cover 7 fish that are safe for dogs to eat. 

Is Fish Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Even though some fish are safe for dogs, there are still some types that are not safe for your pup’s consumption. Fish with a larger lifespan like tuna, shark, swordfish, and mackerel should be avoided at all costs for dogs. The fish species that live longer tend to have more toxins, like mercury, heavy metals, and plastics that may make your dog sick.

Fish is also able to give your dog food poisoning if it spoils. Here are other possible dangers of feeding your dog fish:

  • Contaminated fish can have and give your dogs parasites.
  • Small bones in fish are a choking hazard and can irritate your dog’s stomach lining.
  • Too much oil in food can lead to an upset stomach or further illness for your dog.
  • Fish contains possible diseases like salmonella.

It is best to talk with your dog’s vet to see if there are any other risks that your dog may have if eating fish and if it is worth adding it to their diet. When avoiding fish that are high in toxins like mercury, and preparing them properly, fish can be a healthy addition to most dogs’ diets. 

When your dog is done eating you should dispose of the fish meat properly if not eaten. Old fish can grow dangerous bacteria, and attract pest animals like flies, or raccoons. It is recommended that fish is given to your pup around once or twice a week. While not good regularly, fish works great as a fun treat.

Let’s take a look at 7 fish that are safe for dogs to eat. Eating fish is a healthy source of protein for your pup, and is very nutrient dense. Getting the correct type of fish is important as not all fish are safe for dogs to eat.

Flounder is perfect for dogs since it is a good source of lean protein, omega-3s, and vitamin B.

Fish Safe For Dogs To Eat

1. Salmon

An Atlantic salmon swimming in blue water

Raw salmon shouldn’t be fed to dogs, but cooked salmon is safe


Salmon is safe to give to your dog, and the fish’s omega-3 fatty acids help with keeping your pooches coat shiny, and healthy. The nutrients in salmon also support your dog’s immune system and help reduce inflammation within its body. 100 grams of salmon per ten pounds of body weight is the recommended amount to give to your dog. 

Some dog food companies sell canned salmon, which is already safe to give to dogs. Raw or undercooked salmon is not recommended as it can cause a fatal illness like salmon poisoning, and increase the risk for parasites. Boneless filets are easier and safer to use, as they are less likely to have smaller bones your dog can choke on. When feeding salmon to your dog it is best done plain with no seasoning.

2. Herring

A massive school of Herring scad

Herring is often found in dog food and is a good choice for dogs that are allergic to chicken


Usually found in shallow, and temperate waters, herring is a good choice for dogs if served properly. Herring is one of the many fish commonly found in dog foods. This fish has around 33 g  of protein per 143 grams of meat.  Herring is a good substitute for dogs that get allergic to chicken and is cheaper than other fish proteins. 

Herring should be fully cooked when served to prevent worms. No seasoning is required, as doing so will add too much sodium for your dog. Serving herring can be done once a week, and is a good source of vitamin D. The vitamin D in herring helps give your pup strong teeth and bones, as it helps retain the calcium and phosphorus in their body.

3. Flounder

Flounder - Isolated on white

Steamed or poached


is safe to feed to dogs


Flounder is perfect for dogs since it is a good source of lean protein, omega-3s, and vitamin B. The fish has around 20 grams of protein for every 163 grams of meat. Steaming or poaching the flounder in plain water is one of the easiest ways to safely cook it for your pup, and cooking it only takes around 15 to 20 minutes. 

Checking if the flounder is fully cooked can be done with a fork, and when pulled apart the meat should be white and flakey. While a safe fish to eat for dogs, flounder, and other fish are still susceptible to containing large contaminants if they come from a very polluted area.

4. Cod

Atlantic codfish (Gadus morhua)

A popular choice of fish is cod, although it should only be fed once a week

©Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

Cod is a good protein for dogs and is one of the safer fish they can eat. This fish is a very popular fish due to its healthy protein, essential nutrients, and low mercury count when compared with other fish. It is recommended that dogs only eat cod once a week, and eat no more than 10% of their body weight. Cod is much safer for dogs since they are smaller fish, and hold fewer toxins in their body.

5. Lake Whitefish

Lake Whitefish

Lake whitefish are a safe food for dogs and a good choice for overweight pets

©NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / flickr – Original / License

The lake whitefish is one of the best types of fish for dogs to eat. These fish have much less fat than other types of meats and are a good choice of food for overweight pets. Deboned fish is recommended, and like other fish, it is best if your dog consumes no more than 10% of its body weight of white fish daily. Whitefish are extremely dense in protein, with around 38 grams per protein for each 154 g of fish. Lake whitefish are found in and can be caught in freshwater habitats, belonging to the salmon family.

6. Catfish

Channel catfish

The vitamins in catfish help prevent obesity in dogs

©Aleron Val/Shutterstock.com

Catfish are one of the most commonly angled fish in the summer and are a safe meal for your dog. Despite being cheap, catfish are packed with nutrients, like omega 3s, protein, Vitamin B12, thiamine, and phosphorus. Dogs should avoid having catfish too often since they are high in fat content. The vitamins in catfish for dogs help prevent obesity and give them the building blocks for a healthy heart.

7. Sardines

Big school of sardines

A great choice of fish is sardines which are packed full of nutrients


Sardines are a great fish for helping prevent cancer and gum diseases in dogs. This small fish is a good source of protein, with four fish having around 12 grams of protein in them. Sardines are a good way to get nutrients like calcium, coenzyme Q10, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 into your dog’s diet. Sardines can be served raw or cooked to dogs, but boneless is recommended.

Tins of boneless sardines in oil are ok for dogs to eat, but getting ones with water is best. Sardines in oils can upset your pup’s stomach, and add more fat to an already fatty meat. This small fish is not recommended in high quantities since it can contain lead and arsenic in trace amounts. Still, sardines are known to be so small they have fewer toxins than larger fish species.

Dogs that weigh up to 30 lbs are recommended to have half a sardine a day, up to three times a week. Dogs that weigh between 30 to 60 lbs are recommended a full sardine, and dogs from 60 and up lbs can have two sardines a day, up to 3 times a week.

Best Ways To Prepare Fish For Dogs

Many pet food brands have fish in their ingredients list, found in both wet and dry foods. Preparing fish on your own for your pup lets you choose fresh ingredients, and give them the nutrients they need. Raw fish is not recommended for dogs since it is home to parasites and bacteria. Some still choose to feed raw fish, but talk with a vet before doing so.

Grilling, steaming, roasting, boiling, and microwaving fish are the easiest ways to cook it for your dog. Seasoning is not required, and fish should only be eaten in small amounts by your pup. Fish can be given as a treat, or served as a meal alongside vegetables like sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and carrots.

Summary Of The 7 Fish That Are Safe For Dogs To Eat

5Lake Whitefish
Summary Table of 7 Fish That Are Safe for Dogs to Eat

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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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