Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish? Is Tuna Good Or Bad For Dogs?

FurryTips is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
can dogs eat tuna fish

Today’s question: can dogs eat tuna fish? Is tuna good or bad for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.

We as dog owners have been trying to feed our dogs healthier diets and diets that are rich in seafood.  Fish oil and other benefits from seafood have been shown to be helpful within a dog’s diet and also improve their overall health.  Fish oil also reduces skin allergies and gives dogs a health, shiny coat and sparkling eyes.  While offering your dog protein from meat sources that includes fish, what types of fish can we offer our dogs? Can dogs eat tuna fish?

Can dogs eat tuna fish?

The short answer is yes. Tuna from a fisherman, bought from a butcher, or caught free range is the best type of tuna to offer your dog.  Although, canned tuna with its juices such as olive oil, brine, or water can be given to dogs with moderation only. Any other sauce that the canned tuna may be in (tomato sauce, spices) should be avoided. Tomatoes contain atropine which can cause irregular heartbeat, dilated pupils, and tremors.

In short, dogs may eat tuna.  The fresher the tuna, the better for you and for your dog.   Canned tuna is good, but only on occasion, and dogs should not eat tuna that has been canned with other ingredients due to potential cross contamination.

Health benefits of tuna

Provides Omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins

Tuna contains proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. These benefits have been shown for nutritional value in humans, but protein and omega 3 ensure that dogs will get the same benefits as well.

Many dog owners may wonder how to improve skin and fur texture in their dogs, in a natural way.  Dogs may ingest vitamins and nutrients that humans consume, and most dogs will benefit in the same way.  For example, protein and omega 3 work beautifully for humans in regards to our skin and hair. The same is true for your dog!  Your dog needs protein and fatty acids to have and maintain their shiny coat and smooth skin. When their nutrition is unbalanced, your dog may be at risk of developing painful, itchy skin diseases and an unsightly coat.

Your dog does not have to ingest tuna to receive the benefits of the tuna.  If your dog does not like, or tolerate, the tuna, you may offer other supplements that provide the needed protein, fish oil and fatty acids. You may also bathe your dogs in special shampoo that may contain elements of fatty acids and fish oil.  Using the ingredients topically is a good alternative to ingestion if you have a finicky dog.

Granted, dogs in the wild do not take inventory of nutritional value before hunting their own food, but when given a choice, a domesticated dog owner has the ability to provide proper food with a nutritional balance designed to meet the unique needs of your dog.  Vitamins are included into the dog food you may buy at the store, but you may also include these vitamins in your dog’s diet through supplementing.  Tuna is a great supplement because of the variety of vitamins and the amount of vitamins within each bite.

Tuna is high in minerals that are healthy for your dog such as potassium, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is also a good source of vitamins B3, B6 and B12.  Dogs require many more vitamins and nutrients than many dog owners perceive.

When incorporating seafood and other nutrients into your dog’s diet for the first time, be careful how much of each vitamin is being ingested.  For example, Vitamin B6 along with folic acid will lower the levels of homocysteine which is a compound in methylation cycle. Too much homocysteine will clog the arteries which in turn may lead to atherosclerosis.

Some vitamins are great for dogs and do not cause harm if a lot is ingested.  Other vitamins need to be given only in moderation as too much can cause side effects.  Research as much as possible about particular foods and compare them to your dog’s breed.  Also be sure to talk to your vet and ask for advice.

Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent blood clots, irregular heart rhythm, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have also shown to reduce arrhythmia in animals and people. Here is a list of dogs who are prone to arrhythmia.

Helps with skin problems

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help dogs with skin problems. Fish oil relieves itching or inflamed skin. Dogs suffer from allergies just as their owners do, if not more so because dogs generally do not take allergy preventatives such as Claritin to reduce the onset of itchy, inflamed skin and eyes.

Dogs that have skin irritations may scratch and chew relentlessly, cutting their own skin and causing infections.  Allergies that take hold of the skin bring about a lot of issues in dogs that can be avoided if simple precautions are taken in advance.  Adding fish oil to your dog’s diet and using lotions or shampoos with added fish oil, may help reduce the appearance of the skin irritations and also calm irritations once they have presented on your pup.

Improves eye sight

Omega 3 is also said to be great for dog’s eye sight.  Taking care of your dog’s eye sight is a gift you can give your pet.  Many may look over the health of their dog’s eyes because not much is known and information is not spread as often about the eyes of your dog, compared to your own eyes.  Dog owners go to the optometrist on occasion and have their eyes checked, but dogs generally do not.

Dogs also cannot tell you when their vision begins to decline or sights become blurry.  You can prevent this from happening to your dog by taking care of their vision in advance, before trouble occurs.  The most natural method to caring for your dog’s eyes is through proper nutrition and vitamin supplements.

You can also give fish oil supplements instead of tuna

Another way to make sure your pet is getting enough Omega-3s is through fish oil supplements. Some supplements come in a liquid or capsule form. Liquid forms give you more flexibility in dosing. You can use the liquid form as an additive to the dog food, either kibble or wet, or upon a treat.  Your dog may never even know you added a vitamin!

However, be careful not to give too many fish oil supplements. Excessive amounts of fish oil supplements may have adverse effects in dogs and cats that include gastrointestinal adverse effects, lipid peroxidation, platelet function, weight gain, harmful wound healing, and effects on glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. Talk to the veterinarian about dosing recommendations for your dog before giving Omega-3 supplements.  If your dog has swallowed more than the recommended amount of supplements, be sure to notify your vet and watch for any side effects or behavior changes in your pet.

Your pet’s skin and coat should also improve in 6 weeks after starting with fish oil supplementation.

Downside of eating tuna

Tuna contains high amount of mercury compared to many other fish. Tuna should not be a staple, everyday food for your dog. Canned tuna contains less mercury than tuna steak and canned white or chunked light tuna has less mercury than canned white albacore.

Canned tuna contains high amount of sodium which is not good for dogs. Too much sodium may cause pancreatitis. Also, salty foods make dogs thirsty and they may drink too much water which may lead to stomach bloating and twisting. This is dangerous for dogs and may be even fatal if no medical  attention is received.

Also, be careful with the variety of canned tuna that contains sunflower oil. Too much of sunflower oil can be difficult for your dog to digest and may cause stomach discomfort.

Don’t feed your dog tuna if it is made with onion or garlic. Onion and garlic are both toxic to dogs.

How much tuna should dogs eat

Dogs can digest tuna without problems. However, tuna may get stuck on dog’s teeth and produce a bad breath. If your dog eats tuna for the first time ever, keep an eye on him/her to make sure there is no adverse reactions to the new food. Some dogs may react to the high protein amount in the food.

Some pets may even be triggered by the high fat content of tuna which may lead to excessive flatulence. Feeding your dog tuna only will not satisfy the recommended nutritional needs for the dog.

Raw or cooked tuna for dogs?

Dogs can eat both cooked plain or raw tuna. However, take out all the bones if feeding raw fish to your dog.

Can dogs eat tuna juice?

According to ASPCA dogs can have tuna juice in small quantities. However an animal’s digestive system may be too sensitive to it. If you see any signs of vomiting or diarrhea then stop giving it to the dog immediately. Also, remember that 90-95 % of the caloric intake should come from nutritionally balanced pet food.


Related Articles:

Can Dogs Eat Beans

Can Dogs Eat Crab



Leave a Comment