If you love sharing food with your dog or you just ran out of dog food, you may be wondering — can dogs eat tuna? Humans eat tuna from a can, cooked, or even raw, but is it safe for dogs?

We’ll discuss everything you need to know:

Opening a Can of Tuna? Don’t Let Your Dog Take a Bite

Tuna has a strong, delicious smell and flavor, so most dogs enjoy it. But whether it’s fresh or canned, you should know that too much tuna for dogs can be extremely harmful

It’s OK to treat your dog with a few chunks now and then, but it should only be an addition to its regular meals. Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t feed tuna to your dog regularly:

Tuna Is Rich in Mercury 

Is tuna bad for dogs? The fish has high mercury levels, which can lead to poisoning. It contains more mercury than almost any other seafood, so it’s definitely dangerous. Chunk light tuna has less than white tuna, so choose that instead.

Canned Tuna Contains High Amounts of Salt 

Can dogs eat canned tuna? They can, but you should only add small amounts of it to their regular meals. Canned tuna is usually packaged in fresh water, brine (salt water), or oil. The latter two aren’t good options for dogs. The high amount of salt in them can cause severe imbalances in your pet’s body and brain, potentially reaching toxic levels.

Raw Tuna May Contain Parasites 

Can dogs eat raw tuna? Never give your dog raw fish. It’s not a healthy treat and can cause a thiamine deficiency. Also, it can infect your pet with parasites. If your dog already ate some, you might want to have it checked by the vet or at least watch for signs of worms.

Tuna in Sunflower Oil May Lead to Weight Gain 

If your dogs struggling with weight issues, adding tuna in oil to its diet won’t help with weight loss. Make sure you serve the fish in spring water rather than sunflower oil if you insist on adding it to your pet’s diet. 

Tuna Isn’t Toxic, but It Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Dog’s Nutrition 

Is tuna good for dogs? That’s a more complicated question than you might think. 

Dogs require large quantities of B vitamins, but tuna provides only tiny amounts. In contrast, deer meat is full of them. But can dogs eat deer meat? If your dog has meat protein allergies, that’s among the best protein sources for its diet.

While tuna isn’t on the toxic foods list for dogs, we can’t recommend it as part of a balanced diet. Neither fresh nor canned tuna is nutritionally complete for dogs. If you want to provide essential nutrients for your pet, you need high-protein wet dog food. 

dog eating a big chunk of tuna fillet

Mercury Poisoning Doesn’t Happen From Small Bites 

Is tuna healthy for dogs? As an occasional dog treat, tuna doesn’t pose any immediate danger, but feeding it daily is certainly not safe. 

As long as you give small bites, that won’t cause mercury poisoning. You can try mixing tuna with dog food or offer some freeze-dried tuna single-ingredient treats on Amazon. 

There are many benefits of feeding your dog all-natural food. If you want only the best for your pet’s health, you can read Ollie’s dog food testimonials.

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning

Suppose your dog has consumed too much mercury over a prolonged period. In that case, you may notice the following signs of mercury poisoning:

  • Your dog gets anxious and uncoordinated. The initial symptoms of mercury toxicity are usually less noticeable. They could be very similar to those of vitamin B deficiency. They include incoordination, difficulty in walking, and anxiety. 
  • The coat starts to fall. Mercury exposure can result in dog alopecia. 
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea. While you can feed your dog tuna, the mercury in it may affect the digestive system if you give too much.
  • Your dog starts to vomit blood. That’s one of the first signs your dog may have mercury poisoning. If you notice it, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary attention immediately. 
  • Quivers. Mercury toxicity affects the dog’s nervous system, causing quivering, oversensitivity to touch and sound, and uncoordinated walking.  
  • Vision problems. Your dog might struggle to see clearly or develop an eye issue.
  • Damaged kidney. The kidneys are sensitive to the effects of mercury because the metal accumulates in them, causing urination problems and abdominal swelling. 
  • Loss of feeling in the paws. If your dog can’t move or feel one or more of its legs, that can be a sign of mercury poisoning. 

Have You Noticed Any of These Symptoms? Time to See the Vet

So, can dogs eat tuna? It’s OK as a treat once or twice a week, but giving your dog lots of tuna may cause mercury poisoning. The symptoms can look a lot like other reactions to poison ingestion, so you should leave the diagnostic testing to your vet. Early poisoning detection and treatment are crucial to avoid worsening the condition.

Is Your Pooch Hooked on Fish? Consider These Safe Alternatives

How much tuna can I give my dog? To avoid feeding too much, only offer up to a teaspoon once or twice a week. If your dog loves the taste, here are a few safer alternatives:

  • Salmon. It contains plenty of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and good nutrients for dogs. But similarly to tuna for dogs, it shouldn’t be the main portion of your furry friend’s diet.
  • Arctic char. It’s a perfect source of protein, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, including Omega-3. Plus, it contains many vitamins to support your dog’s health.
  • Flounder. It’s among the best sources of healthy proteins. Also, it’s low in calories, rich in nutrients, and easy to digest. 

Tips & Tricks For Feeding Dogs Fish

Can dogs eat tuna fish? They can, but don’t be quick to feed it to them just yet. Here are some tips and tricks for dogs and fish:

  • Remove the bones. Do that before serving, as they may damage or obstruct your pet’s throat or gastrointestinal tract.
  • Never season the fish. Don’t add any salt or other seasoning if you cook fish for your dog.
  • Steam, bake or grill the fish. These are the best ways to cook fish for your pet. You can also make vet-approved homemade dog food to ensure your dog gets all the essential nutrients.
  • Feed small portions. It’s better to give small pieces of cooked fish as occasional treats or add them to your dog’s meal.
  • Make sure it’s fresh and free of parasites. Pay attention to the fish’s color, smell, and texture to determine if it’s fresh enough for your pet.

Conclusion

So, can dogs eat tuna? Though tuna is among the healthiest fish on the market, it’s not an ideal option for your dog. While it can make a good occasional treat, it shouldn’t be a regular meal in your dog’s diet. If you’re worried that your puppy has eaten too much, speak to your veterinarian.

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