Have you noticed that there is a lot of branded dog food in the pet stores with salmon?
You may be wondering about your options when browsing in the fresh fish aisle at the supermarket and find yourself wondering – can dogs eat salmon?
We’re talking about the real stuff, though, and not just salmon-flavored dog biscuits.
In this article, we will look at whether cooked and raw salmon is safe for dogs to eat, and if there are any health benefits of adding fresh salmon to your dog’s diet.
Yes, dogs can eat Salmon.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that boost the immune system. Salmon can keep your dog’s coat looking shiny.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Is salmon a safe food for dogs?
- What are the health benefits of salmon for dogs?
- How to feed salmon to dogs
- Can my dog get salmon poisoning?
- How is salmon poisoning in dogs diagnosed?
Is Salmon A Safe Food For Dogs?
Salmon contains essential omega-3 acids that promote bone and brain health in humans, so it makes sense that many dog foods feature salmon in the ingredients, but how safe is it to feed fresh salmon to your dog?
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It turns out that salmon, as well as many other types of fish, are a great healthy addition to your dog’s diet when served well cooked and boneless.
Keep reading to find out more about the health benefits of salmon for your dog.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Salmon For Dogs?
The great news is that not only is it safe to feed salmon to your dog, but it also has some great health benefits, making it an excellent wholesome fresh food to add to your dog’s diet.
The fatty acids that this fish contains are excellent support to your dog’s immune system.
Fatty acids can help to lower levels of inflammation in your dog’s body, meaning that it is perfect for their skin and the health of the coat.
The health benefits of both of these are more potent than the short-chain omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acids (ALAs) found in foods like flaxseed.
Here are some of the health benefits of EPAs and DHAs:
- Soft, shiny coat and improved skin
- Regulation of the immune system, helping to prevent skin allergies
- Reduction of inflammation that leads to severe conditions like arthritis
- Healthy for pregnant bitches and puppies as it supports brain development
- Lowers blood pressure and fights heart disease
- Slows cancer cell growth
- Helps obesity by promoting weight loss
- Assists in the treatment of kidney problems (loss of appetite and frequent urination)
- Improves cognitive functioning in senior dogs
- Reduced symptoms from joint problems
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For dogs that are allergic to more common types of protein, like chicken, salmon provides the perfect high protein alternative. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and D, and also minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
How To Feed Salmon To Dogs
If you want to start introducing salmon into your dog’s diet, you may be wondering how best to go about it.
What types of salmon should you choose? Is canned salmon just as good as fresh salmon?
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Should you only feed cooked salmon, or is raw salmon safe to give to your dog?
Let’s explore some of these questions.
Canned salmon is a cost-effective solution if you want to add some salmon to your dog’s diet.
It has the same nutritional value and health benefits as fresh fish, and its already cooked and comes prepared and ready to eat.
You should go for canned salmon that comes in water and not in oil. The only downside to canned salmon is that it will contain additives and preservatives that help to prolong the shelf life.
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Avoid feeding raw salmon unless you have frozen it long enough to kill parasites to avoid fatal salmon poisoning.
When feeding cooked salmon, you should remove the skin and debone the fish before feeding.
You should also avoid feeding smoked salmon, as the smoking process may not be enough to kill all harmful parasites.
You shouldn’t overfeed when it comes to giving salmon to your dog. This fish contains a lot of fat, and your dog could quickly put on weight if fed regularly.
Salmon oil can also affect your dog’s breath. As a general guide, you should feed salmon as a meal to your dog no more than once a week, with a portion size of no more than 100g of salmon per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
Can My Dog Get Salmon Poisoning?
Anadromous fish are those that swim upstream to breed, like salmon. Salmon can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus Salmincola in dogs.
This parasite alone is harmless, but when the parasite itself is infected with a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia Helminthoeca, it results in salmon poisoning.
Unfortunately, dogs are the only species susceptible to this type of poisoning. For this reason, it is often warned that you should never feed raw or undercooked salmon to a dog.
If you feed your dog a raw diet, then there is no reason why you should not feed them raw fish as well, as their digestive and immune system should be able to deal with any parasites naturally.
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However, most raw fed dog owners make sure that raw meat and fish are well frozen to kill any parasites before thawing to feed to the dog.
So if you want to feed your dog raw salmon, just stick it in the freezer for a week or so, and it should be just fine.
How Is Salmon Poisoning In Dogs Diagnosed?
If you are concerned about salmon poisoning because your dog has eaten raw salmon, keep a very close eye on your dog for any of the following symptoms and consult a veterinarian as salmon poisoning can be fatal if not caught in time.
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Your dog will need to be treated within 14 days, or they may likely die. Make sure that you tell your vet that your dog has eaten raw fish so that they can diagnose correctly and treat your dog in time.
The common symptoms of salmon poisoning are:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
Once your vet is aware of the potential problem, they will take a fecal sample, as this is where the parasite’s eggs are shed.
The rickettsial organism can also be detected in a needle sample from a swollen lymph node.
These two tests, along with the above symptoms, will lead to a diagnosis of salmon poisoning so that your dog can be treated promptly.
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Treatment is very straightforward, which can seem surprising, seeing as the condition is so severe.
Mostly your vet will prescribe an antibiotic and a wormer. The antibiotic works to kill the rickettsial organisms, which deals with the disease and the wormer works to kill the parasite.
Intravenous fluids may also be given if your dog is dehydrated. Improvement is usually seen within as few as two days.
While it’s not necessary to feed fish to your dog if they have a healthy balanced diet, it is perfectly safe to offer fish such as salmon by following the advice laid out in this article, while being aware of the risks.
Salmon can provide your dog with extra health benefits, and they will love the change on their weekly menu!
If you want to feed salmon or any other fish to your dog, think of it as a weekly treat, a bit like when humans have a Sunday roast and don’t forget to watch your dog’s portion sizes.