Can Dogs Eat Tuna? Important Dog-Care Information Ahead
Can dogs eat tuna? This question seems very basic and the answer is quite simple. However, a basic supplement can turn into the health hazard. Here’s how.
Many dog lovers have asked the same question before – can dogs eat tuna? The answer is simple and that is yes, they can.
However, there is only a limited amount that you should allow into their diet. At the same time, there are specifications as to which forms should be allowed to your dogs.
Having answered the initial question, let’s now ask the bigger questions – How much tuna is allowed? Is cooked or uncooked better? Is it safer to give fresh or canned tuna?
How Much Tuna is Allowed?
So we have established that yes, dogs can eat tuna. However, given the warnings, asking how much tuna you can feed your dog is the next big question to answer.
One basic fact is that tuna is a long-lived fish and therefore, has much higher levels of mercury compared to other types of fishes. This can pose health risks to dogs and should, therefore, be given a minimum amount and only on special occasions.
On the other hand, some dogs may be allergic to tuna. Since it has high protein content, some dogs end up gassy after eating some of it.
Therefore, observing reactions to this type of fish is the first priority so you can decide how much is allowed or, maybe not give it at all if the reaction is bad.
Is Cooked or Uncooked Better?
Because they have high levels of mercury, feeding raw tuna to your dog is not a good idea. In fact, even if you cook it, there is still a need to observe your dog’s reaction to it. It is better safe than sorry when it comes to adding or introducing tuna fish to your dog’s diet.
If you decide to experiment with feeding your dog raw fish, be warned of the fact that aside from high levels of mercury, raw fish may carry certain parasites that can only be killed by cooking the meat.
In fact, the FDA has warned the general public that feeding your dog raw fish or any raw meat in general, may pose health risks to yourself and your neighbors. This is even more substantiated if the raw meat is not properly cleaned.
Is It Safer to Give Canned or Fresh Tuna?
This totally depends on how your dog reacts to fish in his or her diet.
However, if you decide to give canned tuna a try, make sure you give those that are packed with water and not those that have oil. The reason has a lot to do with the extra calories that will result in inflammation of the dog’s pancreas after the onset of obesity.
Moreover, you should be very cautious with canned tuna that has spices and other types of added flavoring.
Spices pose a health hazard to dogs since they cannot properly digest it. In the same light, never feed your dog food prepared with garlic or onion as they can be very toxic to canines.
Also, remember that some canned tuna contain very high levels of sodium. Sodium, in large amounts, can be fatal for dogs. This is another reason why feeding your dog’s canned tuna should not be a regular practice if you want to keep your dog healthy.
The Health Benefits of Tuna
As a general rule, shorter-lived fish species like herring, ocean whitefish, flounder, lake whitefish, salmon pike, and Arctic char are more preferred than long-lived fish species like tuna and swordfish.
With that said, short-lived fish that are cooked properly is a good, sustainable meal for your dog. Tuna, on the other hand, can also serve health benefits, but they should be given in small amounts.
Regardless, fish in general is an excellent source of protein. They also have omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to have many health benefits including the capacity to decrease inflammation.
Dogs who have allergies with chicken or other food allergies can be fed with fish. If your dog’s veterinarian did recommend a fish-based diet, be sure to follow the recipe that contains the right amount of nutrients.
While protein and omega-3 fatty acids have great health benefits, they are not enough to sustain your dog’s health. They also need other nutrient sources like antioxidants and vitamins to have a balanced diet.
To Sum Up
Tuna is not in the top ten list of best foods to give your dogs. However, they do have health benefits if given in small portions in special-occasions basis. If your dog loves the taste of fish, go for the short-lived ones mentioned above.
You may also find fish-flavored dog food, which could be equally satisfying but made to suit your dog’s health requirements. If not, there are health supplements that provide the health benefits from fish without having to eat the fish itself. That is a pretty sweet deal.
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