Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

Can Dogs Eat Tuna? No! Find Out Why

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7 min read

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  • Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish?
  • Why Can’t Dogs Eat Tuna?
  • What to Do if My Dog Eats Tuna?
  • Which Types of Fish Can Dogs Eat?

We all love our pets, but it's easy to forget that they are animals with specific dietary needs. Dogs love their meaty dishes which is why they are known to eat fish. If you've ever seen a dog eat tuna fish, you might be wondering if it's okay for your pet to do the same.

You may have heard that you can feed your dog tuna, but don't believe it!

Tuna is not a safe food for dogs and can be dangerous.

Though you may have heard that there are lots of benefits of feeding tuna to your dogs. But, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Read the blog further to know why tuna is dangerous for your dogs. Also, read what to do if your dog eats tuna by accident.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish?

The short answer is no!

Dogs cannot eat tuna, because of the mercury in it. You might not have a problem if your dog eats a little bit of tuna, but tuna poisoning could lead to problems.

It is important for humans, dogs, and other animals to eat fish. Fish is healthy because it has protein, omega-3s, and nutrients. Though tuna also has these nutrients, it also has mercury and lead which are extremely harmful to your dog.

However, a small amount on rare occasions will not be harmful if you want to share it with your canine. Quite honestly, there are mixed reviews about whether tuna is good for your dog or not.

It is high in mercury, so undoubtedly, it is harmful to your canine, but many dog food brands use tuna as one of the main ingredients.

It is choke-full of omega-3 fatty acids that boost cardiovascular health, stabilize blood pressure, reduce inflammation and lower the levels of cholesterol. It is also a significant source of protein that is the building block of muscles.

Here is the nutrient profile of tuna;

  • Vitamins B3, B6, and B12
  • Potassium and magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium

Can Puppies Eat Tuna?

No, puppies must not eat tuna. Since puppies are growing, specialized puppy foods have all the nutrients needed by the puppies to grow healthy. For them, tuna is not a good option.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tuna?

No, dogs can’t eat raw Tuna or raw fish!

Mercury is a heavy metal that enters the seas, oceans, lakes, and rivers from burning fossil fuels or from industrial activities. In general, larger fish that live longer have higher levels of mercury in their tissues.

Raw tuna contains high levels of mercury compared to other kinds of fish which is why it is not safe for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Tuna?

Canned tuna is often from two types of fish, Albacore and Skipjack. Albacore has higher levels of mercury, but Skipjack is safer for your pet.

Canned tuna often has salt in it. If you want to give canned tuna to your dog, look for cans that don't have any salt added.

Some canned tuna is cooked with herbs and spices. This might make it taste good for humans. But if you want to give this to your dog, you should not feed them any that has been cooked or seasoned with anything else because they can get sick from this.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna In Brine?

Although a small amount of tuna in brine isn't dangerous, it's best not to feed it to your dog. Too much salt is bad for them, and if they eat too much they could start getting sick from sodium poisoning.

It's safer to give canned tuna that has been made with sunflower oil or the one that has been made with water.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna In Sunflower Oil?

Canned tuna with sunflower oil is good for dogs, but they should only eat a little bit of it. If your dog eats canned tuna, make sure you drain the fish thoroughly.

Oil is food for your pets. Sunflower oil can be good because it has omega-6, but you need to have omega-3 fatty acids too because it helps with inflammation and an allergic reaction. You can give a little tuna that is in sunflower oil, but the best choice is tuna that doesn't have any oils in it.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna Steak?

Tuna is a difficult subject. Humans like to eat raw tuna and we eat it in sushi and sashimi. But you should never feed your dog raw tuna because it has parasites that can cause many problems if eaten. So, a bite of tuna steak or cooked tuna won’t do much harm to your dog.

You should also not feed your dog bluefin tuna because it contains mercury which can be poisonous to dogs.

But if you use the less-dangerous type of tuna (such as Albacore or Skipjack), you can give some to your dog. Furthermore, make sure it is cooked and served without anything on it.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna Salad?

Dogs can eat tuna salad, but it should not be a big part of their diet. If none of the ingredients are toxic to dogs, your dog would be fine with eating some.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Tuna?

Some fish, like tuna, has high levels of mercury. If your dog eats too much food with mercury in it, it can get sick and possibly die.

Pollution from the ground and humans goes into the ocean. It gets in fish and other animals that live there. Heavy metals, like mercury and lead, go into the ocean this way too.

When a fish lives for a long time, it can have more heavy metal. This is because they eat mercury from every meal. Mercury cannot be destroyed so it stays in the fish's body.

Tuna are large fish that live for a long time. They eat lots of other small fish, and they eat the mercury inside those smaller fish.

Some kinds of tuna have more mercury than others. For example, skipjack tuna is not as big as albacore and has three times less mercury.

Symptoms of Tuna Poisoning in Dogs

Consuming too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning. Symptoms of mercury poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Kidney damage
  • Hair loss
  • Blindness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of coordination
  • Tremors

If your dog eats a little bit of tuna, it won't hurt them. But if they eat a lot and start to have symptoms then you should take them to the vet right away.

What to Do if My Dog Eats Tuna?

First of all, if you find out that your dog has eaten a little piece of tuna, then they will be ok. But if they eat more tuna or have been eating it often, then their body might be poisoned by high amounts of mercury.

So, firstly you need to determine the amount. If you notice that they have eaten it in larger quantities then take them to a vet right away!

If mercury poisoning is confirmed, your pet will be hospitalized. They will get fluids that are intravenous, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Your vet might also give them activated charcoal and chelation therapy. That could mean they will put something in their mouth so the mercury goes out of their body through urination or vomit.

Mercury is bad for dogs. It is hard to fix when it has done damage to their heart, kidneys, or nervous system. If they have mercury in them and it does something bad, they will not live a good life.

You should keep items with mercury out of your dog's reach!

Which Types of Fish Can Dogs Eat?

In general, wild-caught fish are safer than farm-raised fish. Farm-raised fish has more mercury and parasites.

Fish that can be safely fed to your dogs are:

  • Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Whitefish
  • Herring
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Whiting

Certain fish like sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish usually grow up to be big and they should be avoided. They can have lots of mercury in them, often with parasites on their skin or inside their body.

Do not feed your dog fish that are raised on farms. These fish might have harmful dyes, antibiotic levels, and other toxins in their tissue when they are caught and processed.

Tuna - A Risky Treat for Your Canine Friend!

It is not a good idea to give tuna to your canine companion. This is because it poses a risk of mercury poisoning.

However, if you still want to feed tuna to your dogs you can buy commercial dog foods that have tuna as a minor ingredient. These foods have tuna good for dogs like skipjack.

But still, don’t make it a staple part of your dog’s diet!

Are you ready to get the ESA letter that your pet needs?

Take the first step and contact us today!

With our experienced and licensed mental health professionals, we can help provide your pet with the emotional support they are entitled to.

Let's get started by getting an ESA letter for your beloved pet. Contact us today!

Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and esteemed author at RealESALetter.com. With a profound passion for animals, Harper combines extensive knowledge and personal experience to provide insightful and informative content. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he strives to empower pet owners with the tools and understanding they need to nurture and care for their furry friends effectively. Harper’s writings reflect his commitment to enhancing the lives of pets and their owners, making him a trusted voice in the pet community.

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