Flaky, perfectly cooked salmon is a light, mouthwatering option for your dinner. You can put it over a bed of greens, pair it with a side of couscous, or enjoy it alongside steamed vegetables. No matter how you enjoy your salmon, its abundance of fatty acids make this a nutritious choice if you’re watching your weight. While there’s no doubt that salmon is good for you, can the same be said for your dog?
Can Dogs Have Salmon?
Yes, salmon is quite good for your dog! It’s a great way to add fresh protein to their diet, and many quality dog food recipes include salmon as the main ingredient. Salmon is wonderful for dogs who are on a limited-ingredient diet because it’s easy to digest. Salmon skin and oil have been shown to help relieve minor allergies in dogs, including itchy skin and paws and digestive upset.
Salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids work to protect the immune system while improving the condition of the both the skin and coat. If your dog has a dull, dry coat, chances are they simply need more fatty acids in their diet.
How to Safely Feed Salmon to Dogs
If you’re giving your dog fresh salmon, it has to be cooked. You should never feed raw salmon because of the risk of parasitic infections. Salmon, both wild and farm-raised, can be infected with a parasite known as nanophyetus salmincola that causes something called salmon poisoning. Dogs with salmon poisoning present with vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, no appetite, and lymphedema, a swelling along the route of the body’s lymph system. Untreated salmon poisoning is fatal, but it’s easily treated if your vet knows to test for it. Always let your vet know that your dog has had something outside of their normal diet so they can run the appropriate tests. Salmon poisoning is treated with de-worming medications and antibiotics. Easy, right? The good news is the parasite is killed when the salmon reaches a high temperature so always practice safe cooking practices.
Cook your dog’s salmon to the same temperature you’d cook it for yourself, usually when it starts to flake with a fork or it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Skip any seasonings or additional fat to prevent any stomach upset. Ensure all of the bones are removed. When fish bones are cooked, they become lodged in the dog’s throat, stuck in their gums, or even clog up their intestines.
Giving Your Dog Salmon Oil
If you’re interested in the effects of fatty acids on your dog’s skin and coat, your best bet will be giving them an oil supplement. Salmon oil is great for treating dry skin or a dull coat, but you should always consult your vet before you start supplementing your dog with anything.
Salmon oil does more than just improve the skin and coat. It can also help with brain development in growing puppies and it works as an anti-inflammatory supplement for older dogs with arthritis. It fights heart disease, prevents cancer, promotes weight loss, and regulates the immune system.
If your vet has given the go ahead for you to give salmon oil, then you need to know that there are potential side effects that indicate the need to stop administering it. Sedentary dogs can experience weight gain, so mitigate this side effect with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Some dogs will get a stomach ache, while others experience nausea or loose stool. When you notice anything off, stop giving the oil immediately and consult with your veterinarian.
Salmon offers plenty of benefits for your dog if it’s cooked and fed in moderation. Most of your dog’s nutrition should come from a quality dog food, so make sure you aren’t giving your dog so much salmon that they don’t have an appetite for their food.