It’s common for dog food to contain some fish since it has a high protein level and contains important omega-3 fatty acids. The question is, can a dog eat tuna? The answer is that it depends. You can feed tuna to your dog safely, it just depends on the type of tuna and how it is prepared.
Can a Dog Eat Tuna?
Tuna is a controversial source of protein for both cats and dogs due to where this fish sits in the ocean’s food chain. This is due to the heavy amount of mercury that the sea is polluted with. This mercury pollution is due to the burning of fossil fuels along with volcanic eruptions and forest fires.
Small fish will ingest mercury and then larger fish like the tuna will eat the smaller fish and eventually accumulate mercury over time. Both dog and human diets rely on tuna as a staple food, but it is also one of the more potent sources of food that contain a toxic mercury level. That’s why you should be very careful when you feed dogs tuna.
With over 20 different tuna species out there, you really only have about five of these tuna species that regularly appear as food on a human’s plate. These species include bluefin, bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack.
Dogs and Tuna
When considering if dogs can eat tuna, you need to consider the size of the tuna that is being served to your dog. A fairly small skipjack tuna will only weigh about 42 pounds full grown. In comparison, at maturity, the bluefin tuna can weigh up over 1,000 pounds. Can you guess which of the tuna fish has more mercury in it?
The next smallest tuna fish is the albacore tuna that weighs about 70 pounds as an adult while the bigeye and yellowfin tuna can each weigh about 400 pounds. So, if you feed tuna fish to your dog, opt for the albacore or skipjack tuna fish, which will have a lower mercury content with each serving in comparison to the bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna.
The following list shows the mercury content of each type of tuna fish:
Skipjack – 0.12 parts a million – is called “chunk light” when in canned form.
Albacore – 0.32 parts a million – is called “white albacore” when in canned form.
So, When Is Tuna Bad for a Dog?
Can tuna fish be safe for a dog to eat? If you have a concern about the mercury level in tuna, remember that tuna is also used sometimes as an ingredient in some commercial dog food. Researchers have not found that the mercury level found in commercial dog foods is not really a concern. Plus, there have been no reported cases of mercury poisoning from tuna find in dogs, however, it is still a good idea to limit how much tuna fish that you give a dog.
Remember that a dog can develop an allergy or intolerance to any type of food they are given. But just because tuna fish is pretty safe for your dog to eat doesn’t mean that your dog will definitely like it.
Is Tuna Ever Good For a Dog?
Tuna fish is actually a great protein source in commercial dog food, and it is also particularly good for a dog that has a sensitive stomach and can’t easily tolerate a poultry protein. Tuna used as protein can actually provide benefits for a dog with a sensitive stomach and help him to receive the nutrients he requires without upsetting his stomach.
Tuna Fish’s Health Benefits for a Dog
There are actually several nutritional benefits for dogs if they eat tuna. Not only does tuna fish have a high protein content, but it also contains tons of omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna is also beneficial for heart function, blood pressure, and your dog’s cardiovascular health.
Tuna features lots of beneficial Vitamin D, Vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, choline, iodine, selenium, and phosphorus. Interestingly enough, the selenium Tuna contains is actually a unique form called selenoneine, which has a super feature that is able to bind onto mercury and keep cells protected from any mercury damage.
Due to its high mineral and vitamin content along with its Omega-3 fatty acids, it can be determined in theory that tuna is good for a dog.
Also keep in mind that other fish like herring, salmon, and flounder can provide almost the same nutritional benefits without the risk of mercury damage. Typically, though dogs don’t need the addition of tuna because they already get all they need from their canned food and/or dry food.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Tuna?
It’s important to remember that canned tuna is packed into either oil or water, but is oil really good for dogs? Actually, it isn’t.
Canned tuna is safe for dogs to eat as long as it is canned in water and fed in an appropriate portion. Look for either albacore or skipjack instead of the larger tuna fish. Tuna fish can be a healthy and protein-rich snack for a dog, but it’s important to buy it canned in water and not oil. for your dog.
Sometimes owners will give their dogs the water that the tuna is canned with. If you do this, just make sure that the tuna doesn’t have any extra salt. Remember that tuna fish lives out in saltwater, so they will naturally have a higher sodium level than fish from freshwater. Also, look for canned tuna fish that either has no salt added or is low in sodium.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Tuna?
Sushi is popular and delicious, but is it safe to feed your dog raw tuna? No, it is not a safe choice because it can carry parasites and bacteria that can make your dog sick if he or she consumes it. For example, freshwater salmon can carry bacteria that can give you dog salmon poisoning, which can be fatal to a dog if not treated. While tuna is not known for the same type of danger, it just shows the danger of eating raw fish for a dog.
Raw fish also contains thiaminase, which is an enzyme that makes Vitamin B1 in your dog inactive. But if you cook tuna, then the thiaminase is destroyed. Dogs probably prefer tuna if it is cooked first, but remember that it is definitely safer cooked than raw for your dog.
Can a Dog Eat Tuna Mixed With Mayo?
Yes, a dog can eat tuna that is mixed with mayonnaise. Just remember not to feed your dog a lot of mayonnaise, which can be more fat than is good for your dog. While fat is important in a dog’s diet, either too little or too much mayonnaise can cause dogs health issues. Tuna with mayo should only be fed to your dog every so often and shouldn’t be made a large portion of his diet.
Can a Puppy Eat Tuna Fish?
It’s probably not a good idea to feed your puppy tuna fish. While there are beneficial features to tuna such as omega-3 fatty acids, you also need to consider the tuna’s mercury content. Plus, his or her puppy food should be giving him all the important nutrients that he requires. Through your puppy’s first year of life, his or her gastrointestinal and digestive system is still developing, so it’s important to avoid any potential stomach upsets.
Can a Dog with a Sensitive Stomach Eat Tuna?
Sometimes tuna is used in commercial dog food that is designed to help a dog with a sensitive stomach because they have a hard time processing the other types of protein like poultry. Every dog is different, and food intolerance and sensitives can differ from dog to dog, so there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to whether eating tuna will help a dog with his stomach problems.
Some pet nutritionists do believe that fish can help counter sensitivities because of their lower fat level, which makes fish easier to digest. But that doesn’t mean that a dog’s sensitivity to proteins has gone away, it only means that you can be able to control them.
Anytime you feed a dog new food, only give him a little of the food at first. After you see if there is a reaction or not, then you should let your dog eat a larger portion.
Should I Give My Dog Tuna?
Feeding your dog tuna should only be done as a treat and not as the main part of his or her diet. It’s important to follow some healthy portion guidelines to make sure that the tuna you are feeding your dog is safe for him or her.
Typically, health guidelines suggest that you limit your dog’s tuna portion and base it on how much he or she weighs. The average 20-pound dog should consume an entire can of tuna over a three-week period if it’s chunk light or over 10 weeks white albacore.
The average 40-pound dog can have a can of chunk light spread out over nine-day and a can of white albacore over four weeks. Dogs that weigh around 90 pounds should consume a can of chunk light over five days and a can of white albacore tuna over two weeks. Larger dogs that weigh 150 pounds can eat one can of chunk light over three days and one can of white albacore over nine days.
How Do You Prepare Tuna For a Dog
It’s important to try tuna out with your dog slowly to see if he or she likes tuna. Either debone and cook tuna or open up a can of tuna that is packed in water with no added salt. Give your dog just a little at a time to see how he will react.
However, if he or she has a sensitive stomach and you want to find out food that he likes, look for dog food that contains fish like tuna as an ingredient instead of poultry. You still want to introduce it to your dog slowly to see if he or she has a reaction to the tuna or any of the other new ingredients.
Tuna Alternatives For Dogs
If you are interested in feeding your dog new types of protein, but worry about the level of mercury in fish, here are a few alternative protein options:
As long as your feed tuna to your dog carefully, tuna fed to your dog occasionally is fine. Just make sure the tuna is cooked, is either albacore or skipjack, and doesn’t have an added salt. Also, feed your dog tuna that is in proportion to your dog’s weight. This will help to keep the possibility of mercury poisoning down while also give your dog the added benefits of tuna’s mineral and vitamin content along with omega-3 fatty acids.