Can Dogs Eat Tuna?

It’s not just we who eyeball tuna with love in our eyes; our fur balls do too! Tuna, that deliciously famous fish, well known for all the health benefits it brings to the dinner plate, is often the hot subject of ‘#DogParenting’ forums and chat rooms. 

And the burning question is, can Rover dig into some tuna fish like there’s no tomorrow, or would that just slide in some risks under his food mat?

Before you panic and start fishing out all the tuna cans from your pantry, it’s not all bad. Dogs can totally nibble on some tuna, but we’ve just got to keep the ‘two N rule’: No toxicity and Not too much.

So before making tuna the main event at your dog’s dinner party, consider the type of tuna, how it’s cooked, and how much to serve. And don’t worry, we won’t be setting up scales and counting tuna flakes!

Is Tuna Safe for Dogs?

Alright, picture this, you just cracked open a can of tuna, a delicious sandwich in mind, and your darling doggo gives you The Look. 

You know, those big puppy eyes begging for “just a bite”? 

But is it cool to share a little tuna love with your fluff-pup? Let’s dive into it!

Mercury Concerns

So you’d imagine dogs could handle a little tuna, right? Well, yes – but with a little caution please. One of the primary concerns with feeding dogs tuna is the mercury content. 

Tuna’s high in mercury, which could be risky for you and your dog. It does have selenium, which can counteract mercury, but maybe not enough to make it totally safe. So go easy on the tuna treats for Rover.

Observing Parasites

Heads up, feeding raw tuna to your dog could introduce parasites. Always go for cooked tuna to keep those nasty critters at bay.

Salt and Seasonings Effect

Thinking about sharing that scrumptious canned tuna or the spiced-up tuna steak? Ease a bit on the gas. Salt and seasonings can be a tricky side dish for our pooches. 

More salt or the wrong spices might send Fido on an unwanted food adventure. It’s best to serve plain tuna without those fancy frills.

So can you slip some tuna into your dog’s bowl? Sure, but make it plain and cooked, no extra salt or spices. Keep it occasional, not a menu staple. 

When in doubt, a quick chat with your vet never hurts.

Health Benefits

You know the drill—too much of a good thing. That goes for giving your dog tuna as well. While it’s got some perks, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. So, balance is key!

Nutritional Value

First up, tuna’s got a whole load of protein and those amazing Omega-3 fatty acids.

Skin Health

If Spot’s got irritated or itchy skin, those Omega-3s can help maintain healthy skin and reduce inflammation, alleviating irritation and itchiness.

Coat Condition

Omega-3s are like the ultimate hair spa treatment for your pooch’s fur, turning it stronger and shinier.

Joint Support

Omega-3 is also your dog’s gentle chiropractor, contributing to joint health, reducing stiffness and inflammation.

Immune System Support

And let’s not ignore the all-important crime-fighting immune system. Regular doses of Omega-3 can boost the system, helping your dog fight off illnesses.

Potential Health Risks

Despite its impressive benefits menu, tuna can be a bit of a diva with its own sour notes. 

Time to talk about the risks!

Mercury Poisoning

Tuna has a relatively high mercury content, which can cause harmful effects on dogs if consumed in large amounts. Nobody likes trouble walking, diarrhea, tremors, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, or—even worse—kidney damage.


In simpler terms, if the tuna’s fat content is high, it could result in pancreatitis, associated with tummy troubles and a lot of discomfort for your pooch.

Potential Allergies

Some dogs just don’t agree with fish which can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. 

In rare cases, dogs might experience more severe symptoms like hair loss, watery or bloody diarrhea, vomiting blood, or loss of coordination.

Choosing the Right Tuna for Dogs

Alright, we’ve covered the pros and cons of tuna time for your dog. Now let’s get to the ‘how.’ Picking the right kind of tuna matters as much as any other treat you’d give your furry friend. Here’s a quick guide to smart canine tuna shopping.

Commercial Dog Food

If home cooking isn’t your thing, you can tap into the world of commercial dog foods. Many of these products come with tuna.

Not only do they tick off the balanced diet box for your furry companion, they also maintain their mercury levels in check.

FYI, tuna in these foods often comes canned in water, which helps lower its mercury concentration. When picking a brand, stick to the ones you trust and always double-check with your vet, especially if you’re feeding puppies or pregnant dogs.

Home-Cooked Diet

If you enjoy playing MasterChef for your fur baby, tuna can still make the cut. Just like you pick quality ingredients for your own meals, choosing the right type of tuna is crucial when cooking for your pup.

Your top choices? Light tuna or Skipjack. They’re the goody-two-shoes in the tuna world, with less mercury than Albacore or Yellowfin. But watch out, canned tuna can be a salt mine, so go easy on it.

When it’s time to put on your apron, ensure the tuna is fully cooked, and leave out the salt, any fancy oil, and spice. And be careful about those sneaky fish bones. Your fur buddy doesn’t appreciate them.

A homemade dog meal is all about balance – just the right mix of protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. 

Preparation and Servings

So you’re on board with giving your dog a taste of the big tuna world. Awesome! Now it’s time to turn MasterChef for Mr. Woof, and guess what, it’s easier than it sounds.

Preparation Methods

Sushi fan? Your dog might not share the love. Raw fish is risky business for pups because of bacteria and parasites. Baking or grilling the tuna is your best bet. You’ll keep the nutrients while skipping the extra fats.

Now, before you go all Gordon Ramsay on that tuna, whip out your deboning skills (or a good knife!). Those little pesky bones could bug your dog’s tummy or, worse, become a choking hazard.

Also, leave out the butter, heavy oils, or other canine-unfriendly ingredients. A little egg or a light dip in oil can help keep Mr. Tuna from drying up while cooking.

Portion Sizes

Tuna’s loaded with great stuff like minerals, vitamins, lean protein, and omega-3s, but too much tuna in one sitting can spell trouble.

When it comes to serving sizes, imagine it like planning treat portions – an occasional luxury. Imagine tablespoons as ‘tuna treats’; small doggos get one treat, and the bigger pooches might get 2-3. It’s all about tuning it to your dog’s size.

Remember, turning your dog’s diet into a tuna-fest is a no-go! Moderation is the magic word here. If you’re unsure or have questions, your vet is always the best source for diet changes.

Other Fish Alternatives to Tuna

So your dog has gotten a taste of tuna and is begging for some yummy seafood? No worries! The canine seafood journey doesn’t have to stop at tuna.

There are plenty of other fish in the sea to give your pup that fishy fix. Time to explore other ‘sea-lections!’


First off, Salmon, the under-the-sea superstar! It isn’t just people who go crazy for salmon; it’s puppy-approved too.

The Omega-3 levels are through the roof, blessing our dogs with shiny fur, flexible joints, and a super immune system. But remember, give that salmon a good sizzle before serving – uncooked or undercooked salmon might have nasty, hidden bacteria.

Herring & Flounder

Next, let’s dive deeper and check out Herring and Flounder – the underrated fishy underdogs. Low on fat but high on protein, vitamins, and minerals, these guys are a killer combo for dogs who need to watch their weight or those who need more low-fat diet-friendly options.

Arctic Char

The Arctic Char resembles salmon in taste and texture, has fewer contaminants like mercury, and packs a bunch of Omega-3 and other goodies. That’s a win-win!

Ocean Whitefish 

Ocean Whitefish may also join our canine’s dine-and-dash scene, but remember to mix and match to keep things balanced. And if the fish comes from a farm, even better! They typically follow rules avoiding high mercury and other contaminants.

The Unwanted List

Lastly, a shout-out to those fish we’d rather not give to Fido: Tilefish, King Mackerel, and some types of shark. They are just a big bag of mercury. 

Fish-friendly alternatives to tuna, like Salmon, Herring, Flounder, and Arctic Char, can add a drop of sea magic to your dog’s bowl. Just make sure you cook them well and toss them into a balanced diet. 

Dog and Tuna Questions Answered

Should My Dog Eat Cooked Tuna?

Cooked tuna has good stuff like omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins. But it also has mercury, which isn’t so good. So it’s fine to feed your dog tuna sometimes, but not every day.

Is Canned Salmon Safe?

Canned salmon can be okay for dogs, but don’t serve it too often. It has Omega-3s that are good for your dog’s brain, fur, and immune system. Just be sure it doesn’t have added salt or spices.

Are Other Fish Good for My Dog?

Yes, other fish like whitefish, sardines, and herring can be good for your dog. They have less mercury and a lot of nutrients. Always cook the fish and only give it to your dog once in a while.

Can My Dog Eat Tuna with Mayo?

Nope. While a small amount of tuna is alright, mayo isn’t. It has lots of fat and can make your dog really sick.

Can My Dog Eat Tuna Every Day?

Not a good idea. Because tuna has a lot of mercury, it’s better just to give it to your dog as a treat every once in a while.

Can My Dog Eat Tuna in Sunflower Oil?

Avoid tuna in sunflower oil because the oil can upset your dog’s stomach. If you give your dog tuna, make sure it’s plain and that you drain off any extra liquid first.

Wrapping It Up

  • Dogs can eat tuna, but only a little now and then. Too much isn’t good for them.
  • Tuna has something called mercury, which isn’t healthy for dogs.
  • When giving tuna to your dog, be sure to choose the right kind, cook it properly, and only serve a small amount.
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