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Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

can dogs eat raw fish

Do you give your dog a bite of raw fish while preparing fish curry or any other delicious meal? Their nose follows the smell of everything you cook in the kitchen, and you can’t resist giving them the bite. But before giving a bite, you must be aware of the benefits and dangers of the food that you are going to feed to your pet. Fish is the common ingredient in dog foods, and it is also the favorite food of dogs. It is rich in fiber and Omega -3 fatty acids, and both are beneficial for dogs. But can dogs eat raw fish? The answer is neither no nor yes. It all depends on the type of fish that they eat.

Is Raw Fish Safe for Dogs?

It is recommended not to give your dogs raw fish because it contains bacteria and parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms. It may also contain dangerous heavy metals and bones. All of these are harmful to the dogs and can make them fall sick. In addition, dogs with weak immune systems are more prone to getting disease after eating raw fish. Moreover, very young or old animals are at a greater risk of getting an infection from the pathogens and bacteria present in the raw fish.


Raw fish may contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and listeria. Some dogs get affected by the bacteria, and some are not. Dogs with strong immune systems are ready enough to fight bacteria, but those with weak digestive systems are in more danger.


Raw fish may also contain parasites such as flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms. While some parasites are easily digested without causing any harm, others may cause disease and make dogs fall sick. Exposure to the parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, dehydration, swollen lymph nodes, making you lose your pet if not treated on time.

Heavy Metals

Raw fish may also contain heavy metals like lead and mercury. If raw fish is consumed in high amounts, it can build mercury in the body, possibly leading to various health problems.


The small bones present in the raw fish are sometimes be chewed and digested by the dogs. But these tiny bones can get stuck in the windpipes of the dogs and can be caught on the way to the stomach. As a result, they may suffer from injuries in the stomach and esophagus. After reaching the stomach, bones won’t create any problem because, in the stomach, bones get softened by gastric acids and then digested by the body. But injuries in the esophagus or choke can lead to the demise of your dog.

How Much Raw Fish Can Dogs Eat?

If you are concerned for your dog’s health, then it’s recommended to give only cooked fish in limited quantities and that too without added salt, fat, sauce, or seasoning. If your dog is already suffering from any allergy, then it’s better to avoid giving raw fish to your dog. Still, you can’t see your dog begging for the bite, then make sure that the fish is cleaned and avoid feeding raw wild-caught fish that swim upstream as it may contain a deadly parasite. Likewise, raw fish preparations like sushi, sashimi, and poke bowls are not entirely safe. Whether cooked or raw, it is best to feed fish as a complete and balanced homemade diet. Remember that your dog does not overeat because overeating any food can make your pet fall sick.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Gets Sick from Eating Raw Fish?

Some dogs are unable to tolerate raw fish and fall sick. The signs to watch for are upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, etc. Immediately take your pet to the vet before these signs turn into a severe threat. Your vet will tell you the further process of relieving your dog.


Raw fish can harm your pet due to the presence of bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and bones. All of these are harmful to your pet and can lead to severe diseases. Therefore, you must give your pet cooked fish in limited quantities and that too with no added spice and seasonings. If your dog is already suffering from any disease or allergies, then it’s better to avoid adding new food to his diet without consulting your vet. If your vet allows you to feed your dog with fish, you can give him but do not cross the limit. However, it’s clear that if you want a long and peaceful life for your dog, then it’s recommended to keep such harmful foods out of reach of your pet.

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anuja saxena author at anifirm

I am a pet lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. Currently, I have two budgies Kiwi & Koko as pets, and planning to adopt a pup soon. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.