Written by Vet

Ask The Vet: Can Dogs Eat Salmon?

Miguel A. Mendoza
Written by: Dr. Miguel A. Mendoza, DVM
In this article, we will present the pros and cons of including salmon in your dog's diet. Learn if this fish should be a part of your pup's diet or not.

Can dogs eat salmon is something that many dog owners want to know, considering that salmon is very beneficial for humans.

It contains essential omega-3 acids that promote bone and brain health.

You surely were at least once enjoying that perfect salmon fillet, while your dog was begging for a piece of it (will he ever stop begging for food?).

You might have wondered in that moment: Can I feed my dog with some salmon?.

You might have realized so far that there is a lot of dog food based on salmon.

Does that necessarily mean you can feed your dog real, cooked salmon? What about raw salmon? Let us help you master dog nutrition and learn if this fish should be a part of your pup’s diet or not.

Can My Dog Eat Salmon?

Yes! You can feed your dog salmon as well as many other fish, but it is very important that you give them well-cooked, boneless salmon. That’s the real short answer, but first, let’s find out why.

Salmon is a fatty fish that is also a good source of omega- 3 essential fatty acids.

These fatty acids can:

  • Support the immune system
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Benefit dog’s skin and coat health

It’s also a great source of protein, which is given to dogs allergic to more common sources of protein, like chicken.

Salmon is rich in vitamins A, B (a whole series of B vitamins), and vitamin D, it’s also rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc.


Yes. Your dog can safely be fed with salmon under certain conditions.

Is Salmon Healthy For Dogs?

Salmon is very high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) both of which are long-chain omega- 3 fatty acids that have more potent health benefits than alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) a short-chain omega- 3 fatty acid found in foods like flaxseed.

Shortly, dogs can benefit from salmon in their diet.

Some of the proven benefits of EPA and DHA include:

  • Improves coat and skin, making it both soft and shiny
  • Regulates the immune system
  • Reduces inflammation and as such helps with conditions such as arthritis
  • Prevents skin allergies
  • Helps with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Helps in producing more collagen
  • Helps brain development in fetuses and in puppies, that’s why its common to see it included in puppy and pregnant dogs’ preparations
  • Fights heart disease
  • Help lower blood pressure and triglycerides
  • Is preventative against cancer and slows cancer cell growth
  • Helps promote weight loss in overweight dogs
  • Provides support for dogs with kidney disease and is useful in the treatment of kidney problems (frequent urination, loss of appetite)
  • Improves cognitive function in older dogs
  • The appearance of joint problems is lessened
  • Helps cachexic (the muscle wasting associated with some cancers).


Salmon is very rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega fatty acids. Its numerous nutritional values make it highly beneficial for dogs too.

How Much Salmon Feed Dog?

Giving a lot of salmon or salmon oil can have its negative effects.

If given in large amounts your dog can gain weight which can be managed with regular exercise and a healthy diet, have bad breath (especially with salmon oil), stomach aches and pain, dizziness, nausea and could even get diarrhea.

Always give an appropriate portion size, and limit his intake to once a week. Remember salmon has a lot of fat too and there is no real reason for you to do so.

Even though salmon can be very beneficial for your dog when properly cooked and served in moderate amounts from time to time, they mainly get all their nutritional needs from a diet focused around high-quality dog food, not human food.


An adequate portion of salmon should not exceed more than 100g per 10pounds of body weight. Limit your dog’s salmon intake to one portion per week.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Everyday?

Moderation is the key when it comes to feeding your dog properly. Even the safest food can lead to diarrhea (it works similarly in humans).

Plus, eating the same food each day may be boring taste-wise, and you do not want to serve your dog a plain diet.

This is why mixing and adding new ingredients can lead to better taste and overall great nutrition.

Did you know that a tablespoon of olive oil mixed with dry dog food can make taste richer and make digestion smooth?

Since salmon is commonly the main ingredient in high-quality dry and wet food you should serve it on the side occasionally.

In other words, do not give your dog salmon more than once a week.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?

It is not recommended you give your dog the salmon skin either, it does contain a lot of vitamin D and fatty acids but it also contains a lot of fats too which can get your dog very fat and cause even diseases like Pancreatitis, a disease that starts with signs similar to salmon poisoning and can eventually lead to diabetes.

A bit of skin is fine if well cooked. If the fish is grilled you can keep the skin on, which will help your filet stay intact while you cook. You can always remove it later if you prefer.

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Salmon?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat smoked salmon. This is something that should be off-limits no matter what.

Smoked salmon can harm dogs’ overall health and well-being, or even lead to a fatal outcome.

When prepared for humans, smoked salmon commonly contains the following ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Liquid smoke
  • Capers
  • Lemon slices
  • Seasoning

These ingredients may support delicious smoked salmon for humans, but almost every ingredient on this list is dangerous to dogs.

Salt can lead to salt poisoning in dogs as well as seasoning.

Pepper or any other spicy ingredient can create a burning sensation and strongly upset a dog’s stomach leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

Plus, smoked salmon can contain dangerous bacteria or even harmful parasites that are not eliminated by the smoking process. Now, let’s see what cooked salmon is in a dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Salmon?

When cooked well, salmon is a good protein source. Not only that it makes the dog’s coat and skin healthy, but it also helps dogs build muscle.

Cooked salmon is something that may be occasionally served to your dog, as a weekly treat.

Always be mindful of portions.

Check with your veterinarian, but in general, dogs should be able to safely eat up to 10g of salmon for every 450g that they weigh.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Raw?

Raw salmon, just like undercooked salmon, may contain parasites or even bacteria that can harm a dog’s health.

Raw salmon may also contain worm-like parasites also known as fluke, that dogs usually get from eating raw seafood.

Which Salmon Is The Best?

Chinook (farmed and wild), coho, and sockeye salmon all contain significantly more omega- 3 fatty acids than omega- 6 fatty acids — a key nutrient ratio linked to reducing oxidative stress on your body.

That’s the type that causes inflammation and ultimately can lead to chronic disease.

Out of the three, chinook has the greatest content of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids, then sockeye, then coho.

Is Organic Salmon a Better Option?

Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not certify seafood as being “organic”.

Any fish (including salmon) currently sold as “organic” is imported and labeled to international farming and feeding standards.

Between farm grown (a.k.a. aquacultured) and wild-caught fish and shellfish, both provide lots of proteins and omega-3 essential fatty acids, key vitamins, and minerals. However, they may differ in the number of fatty acids.

Farm-grown Chinook has been shown to have more fatty acids than the wild Alaska chinook.

Canned vs Fresh Salmon

Some people prefer canned salmon because it’s already prepared and you can save some valuable time that would have been wasted on cooking and preparation.

Canned salmon and other fish still have the same nutritional value and benefits as fresh fish but it’s generally more cost-effective if you are on a budget.

If you were to feed your dog canned salmon, look for ones that come in water instead of oil.

If you can’t find the ones that come in water, it’s best you give them something else and avoid a problem.

It is important to remember that canned foods usually contain more additives that aim to preserve and prolong the shelf life of the canned food, additives that can cause harm with time.


When it comes to choosing the best salmon for your dog, farm-grown Chinook has shown to be the healthiest one and the richest one in omega-3 fatty acids. If you buy canned salmon, look for ones in water instead of oil.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon?

As mentioned earlier, canned food comes with additives that aim to preserve food, which is why it may not be considered to be the best option for dogs.

Your Fido may have a taste of canned salmon as long as it is the one packed with water.

Since canned salmon isn’t regular dog food, there are no correct feeding instructions.

In other words, no one can tell you how much is safe to feed your dog which is why you might want to choose not to feed your dog canned salmon.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Sushi?

No, do not feed your dog raw or anyhow undercooked salmon. Your dog will be perfectly happy living without the salmon sushi on his diet.

Raw salmon may contain bacteria or parasites that may lead to salmon poisoning diseases. Salmon poisoning disease may be fatal.

Can My Dog Get Salmon Poisoning Disease?

Never give your dog raw or undercooked salmon. It can contain the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite, which causes Salmon Poisoning disease, a very fatal disease in dogs.

The N. helminthoeca lives inside a parasitic worm, or trematode, more commonly called “flukes”.

Flukes are thick, fleshy, flat, leaf-like creatures that take in their nourishment through one or more suckers that they attach to the inside of their host animals.

Nanophyteus salmincola flukes are the carriers, or vectors, of the bacterial parasites that cause salmon poisoning disease in our domestic dogs.

Identifying the signs of Salmon Poisoning Disease in dogs is the first step to knowing if your dog requires medical attention.

Diseases and symptoms can vary, so it’s always best to consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs:

Salmon poisoning if not treated quickly and aggressively can be deadly to affected dogs.

The sooner you get the proper treatment, the higher their chances of recovery are. Fortunately, this disease does not affect people, it only affects dogs.

There are many other bacteria found in salmon and other fish that could affect your dog.

You can also find many parasites like protozoa, flukes, tapeworms, and nematodes that affect fish and can infest your dog, cat, and even humans.

In addition, raw salmon contains lots of small bones, which are brittle and can choke your dog or lodge in his stomach or intestines, causing lacerations and ulcers which can be deadly if untreated and in a lot of cases will need surgery to take out these bone pieces.


Make sure you don’t feed your dog with undercooked or raw salmon, as it could possibly lead to Salmon Poisoning Disease that can be deadly to dogs.

How do I Avoid Salmon Poisoning?

Always give your dog well-cooked, boneless salmon. This will kill off the harmful parasites and bacteria that may be present.

You can poach, grill, steam or bake the salmon with almost no oil added.

It’s not recommended to add salt, pepper, onions or garlic which can affect also your dog’s health.

These ingredients are not poisonous but can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and even gastritis in your dog depending on the amounts.

Another important thing to know is that these parasites and bacteria can be killed by freezing the salmon for at least 24 hours, only then they can be eaten “raw”.

When you eat sushi, restaurants use frozen fish which is then defrosted thus eliminating the harmful bacteria and parasites.

Adding Fish To Your Dog’s Diet

Before you make any significant changes to your dog’s diet you should talk with your veterinarian.

This is crucial if you are making some massive changes like switching to raw food diet.

When you find a veterinarian whom you can trust, building the best nutrition for your dog will be easy and even fun.

It is well-known that fish offers great protein levels that dogs can benefit from, while at the same time making their skin strong, and their coat healthy and shiny thanks to omega fatty acids.

When it comes to a dog-fish relationship, you should think about safety first. That being said, make sure that you buy herring food dogs from only accredited shops.

Why is this important? This is the best way to avoid parasite contamination.

Here is a short list of what to be mindful of when it comes to adding fish to your dog’s diet.

You may think can dogs eat flounder, can dogs eat haddock, or can dogs eat salmon, but in practice, you should first learn how to incorporate fish safely into your dog’s diet safely.

Here is how you can achieve this effectively:

  • Shop fish only from accredited shops
  • Serve fish that is only really well cooked
  • Watch out for the fish bones
  • Avoid canned fish
  • Avoid fish that may be dangerous to dogs, such as sharks, tilefish, and swordfish

How Much Mercury Is Dangerous For Dogs?

Dogs are prone to mercury toxicity. This is not something that is merely limited to dogs, as it may be seen in other animals as well.

Too much mercury in a dog’s system may lead to a strong illness that may occur fast, and even to death in some severe cases.

Some symptoms of mercury toxicity may include:

  • Hair loss
  • Blindness
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting blood
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Kidney damage
  • Neurological damage
  • Gastrointestinal ulcerations

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methylmercury, which is why you should always serve fish to dogs in moderation.

Even in the smallest dosage mercury may cause digestive problems in dogs. A dose of 500 micrograms/day is acutely toxic to dogs.

Salmon Oil Supplements

There are many Salmon or Fish Oils in the market that are for dogs.

These include the omega-3 essential fatty acids your dog needs and can be added to your dog’s food or given directly in the mouth.

In my own opinion, I recommend my patients a balanced dog food rich in omega-3 because these oils that come sometimes in pumps or in capsules have too much fat content and I have seen dogs getting fat after just a few months of taking them.

Also, as with other medications and vitamins, people tend to forget, and its easier and less expensive to just buy good quality dog food than to buy supplements.

However, this changes when your dog has a disease and needs an increased amount of omega-3 fatty acids (like heart disease, or skin allergies), here you need to supplement.

Anyways, always read the labels and ask your veterinarian for the correct amounts that you should give your dog.

Can My Dog Eat Salmon – Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t feed them the salmon or the skin, they can still find the remains in the trash can.

So, always be careful handling salmon and other fish, keep them away from your dog and dispose of them correctly and properly (wrap whatever raw salmon you want to dispose of tightly to make it difficult for them to unwrap if they find them) and out of your dog’s reach.

Always remember to wash your hands after handling raw fish as with any other raw meat. Remember you can contaminate other foods this way and affect your own health.

Can My Dog Eat Salmon – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Dogs Eat Salmon Patties?

Overall, salmon that has been deboned, properly cleaned and cooked properly should be safe to serve to your dog. However, feeding your dog high amounts of fish can lead to some health-related disturbances.

2. Can Dogs Eat Salmon Bones?

Dogs shouldn’t be fed salmon bones.

In fact, dogs should never eat any kind of bones, not even chicken ones.

Bones are sharp and small and can injure your Fido, make cuts, or get lodged into the dog’s digestive tract, including the mouth and stomach.

3. Can Dogs Eat Salmon Croquettes?

If they are prepared just for dogs, without bones, properly cleaned, and contain no seasoning should be fine for dogs.

Of course, in this form salmon croquettes should be served in moderation and as an occasional treat.

4. Can Canned Salmon Cause Diarrhea In Dogs?

Some dogs may be sensitive to canned salmon.

This may be linked with ingredients or may merely have something to do with dogs having sensitive digestive tracts.

If you notice a lack of appetite, vomiting, fever, or diarrhea in your dog and you know that you have been feeding Fido canned salmon you might call your veterinarian.