No, you shouldn’t give your dog a tuna salad. Long-lived fish like tuna and swordfish accumulate a higher level of mercury compared to other types of fish, as seen in the list of Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish released by the FDA.
Mercury as a byproduct of the manufacturing process contaminates lakes, rivers, and ocean, which is then absorbed by fish. The bigger and older the fish, the more mercury that gets into a fish’s body.
Because tuna lives a long time (10-15 years on average), it contains high levels of mercury, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.
Several studies have shown that mercury exposure is linked to various health issues, including:
- Brain problems.
- Impaired mobility.
- Severe anxiety and depression.
- High blood pressure.
- Heart attacks.
- And functional decline.
However, don’t panic too much if your dog somehow manages to steal some tuna when he jumps onto the kitchen table.
A tiny amount of mercury won’t hurt your pooch. The worst thing that could happen is your dog gets a stomach upset or diarrhea from eating something that he’s not used to eating. If this happens, you should get him to your vet ASAP.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna with Mayo?
Tuna possess a high risk of mercury exposure while mayo has a high amount of fat, and therefore, I wouldn’t recommend feeding your dog with tuna with mayo.
Although it is not life-threatening, eating too much fat can cause stomach upset and acute diarrhea in dogs. Furthermore, a high-fat diet leads to overweight dogs, and overweight dogs are prone to a plethora of health problems:
1. Hip and Joint Problems.
An overweight dog will have increased pressure in their joints. This increased strain can lead to different hip and joint problems in dogs like arthritis and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
2. Heart and Lungs.
Obesity in dogs has been linked to heart diseases and breathing problems such as collapsing trachea and laryngeal paralysis. If left untreated, these conditions can be life-threatening.
3. Back Problems.
According to the study, obese dogs are at higher risk of developing a slipped disc. This condition causes severe inflammation and pain and hinders a dog’s mobility.
4. Skin Diseases.
Overweight dogs have excess skin, which is folded. These extra skin folds make them more likely to get skin irritation and infection like mange.
5. Quality and Quantity of Life.
Overweight dogs have less vitality and less vigorous. It’s harder for them to move as they get tired quickly. Moreover, according to a study, obese dogs have a shorter lifespan of up to about two years.
Can Dogs Eat Tuna in Oil or Water?
You will not want to feed your dog tuna fish, whether canned tuna fish in oil or water, for the same reason as above.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked and Raw Fish?
Technically, dogs can eat cooked and raw fish. However, it is better to give your dog cooked fish, to avoid the risk of parasites and bacterial infections.
If you want to treat your canine friend to some fish, you should stick to the smaller, shorter-lived fish like salmon pike, flounder, ocean and lake whitefish, herring, walleye, and Arctic chair.
These shorter-lived fish, if cooked properly, can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet. You can bake, grill, or steam these fish for your dog to eat.
Keep your cooking to a minimum, avoid seasonings and greasing options because seasonings that contain toxic ingredients like garlic can cause some serious health problems for dogs.
Before cooking, make sure to remove the fish bones, or you can buy a boneless fillet for simplicity. Fishbones are small and brittle and can splinter easily in the dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, which can be painful and cause complications.
Also, don’t cook the fish in too much oil. Too much oil is not good for dogs, no matter what type of oil you use. It can upset your dog’s stomach, cause loose stool and diarrhea, and might even lead to pancreatitis.
Health Benefits of Fish for Dogs
Fish is a fantastic source of protein for dogs. It is easily digestible, which makes it highly desirable for dogs with stomach upsets or with liver or kidney diseases.
They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. For growing puppies, Omega-3 fatty acids help in developing brain function. For puppies and adult dogs, Omega-3 fatty acids help to heal sore, flaky, damaged or itchy skin.
For dogs with allergies, Omega-3 fatty acids contain an anti-inflammatory property that helps to prevent and lessen allergy symptoms — making it a good option for dogs with food allergies to more common ingredients like chicken and beef.
Commercial Fish Dog Foods vs. Homemade Fish Dog Foods
If you want to serve your dog fish-based dog foods, you may want to go with commercial fish dog foods. Today’s commercial dog foods use shorter-lived fish to reduce the risk of mercury toxicity.
And most high-quality, complete, and balanced dog foods contain everything your dog needs, so you don’t need to add additional nutritions unless recommended by your vet.
When buying fish-based dog foods, take a look at the label and see if there is the AAFCO label. This label indicates that dog food is complete and balanced.
But if you choose to serve your dog a homemade fish diet, be sure to follow the recipe exactly as instructed by your vet to avoid the risk of your dog getting nutritional deficiencies.
If you include fish as a part of a varied diet for your dog, make sure to follow for portion control since too much fish can cause overweight and obesity in dogs. You want to make sure that the treats only make up 10% or less of your dog’s overall diet.