Can Dogs Eat Sardines?

Though you may read about the many risks of eating fish, you need to take such details with the proverbial grain of salt. Just stop to consider both sides of the argument. The opposition says:

  • Fish has mercury
  • Fish has easily swallowed bones
  • Some fish can lead to health problems.

On the other hand, those in favor of fish in the diet say:

  • Fish is full of Omega-3 oils
  • Fish is a remarkably healthy source of protein
  • Some fish can reduce health problems.

All of this conflicting information can leave the average person dizzy. Things are worse when you are trying to figure out whether it is a good idea to give a beloved dog some fish in order to improve their diet. After all, will you harm or help the dog by adding foods such as sardines to their eating plan?

The answer is fairly simple: you can feed your dog sardines without risking their health, but the key is to feed them salt-free packed in water (not oil).

Here is the basic gist of why sardines are one of the healthiest and safest fish for a dog: they are chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These are great for the skin and the coat, but they also help to reduce inflammation and give a nice boost to the immune system. Thus, the dog with allergies will benefit from sardines as well as a dog with arthritis or some autoimmune conditions too. Because the natural oils in sardines are good for brain health, it is a good idea to supplement a dog (and a puppy’s) diet with the fish too.

Note we just said that sardines are a good supplement. This is the best way to give such a healthy food to a dog. A single sardine averages around 175mg of Omega-3 acids. This means that you can use one water-packed fish as an added treat or mashed into their wet food. If a dog is larger, you can give them two servings safely. You do need to stick with the water-packed varieties as they are lower in sodium and contain only the Omega-3 oils.

Like other fish, you can substitute pink salmon or even mackerel, but always use low-sodium and water packed varieties, and only supplement the diet with these healthy snacks. It is unwise to give dogs a steady diet of fish, but sardines make a nice “extra” to a healthy eating plan.


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