Tuna is better known as the ultimate cat treat, but dogs can also be attracted to the powerful smell of this popular pantry staple. So, if your dog is begging for a bite, here are a few things you should know before caving in to those puppy eyes.
Can dogs eat tuna?
Opinions differ when it comes to the question ‘can dogs eat tuna’. Tuna is safely used as an ingredient in many balanced dog foods, but when it comes to feeding extra tuna as a treat, there’s some conflicting advice out there. Some experts don’t hesitate to recommend this fish, while others advise against adding extra tuna to your dog’s menu.
There are definitely reasons to be cautious with tuna, but when fed very occasionally in moderation, tuna is unlikely to cause health issues for your dog. Every dog is different, so if you want to feed a dog tuna it’s important to offer very small quantities at first, to see how your dog reacts.
Is tuna good for dogs?
Tuna is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins – all important nutrients for a dog’s health and wellbeing. It also contains Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for the health of the skin, coat and cardiovascular system. This means that tuna is useful in some dog foods as a source of various nutrients.
When it comes to feeding extra tuna as a treat, there’s no need to give it for nutritional value. If you feed your dog a complete and balanced dog food, they should get all the nutrients they need from that.
Why is tuna sometimes considered harmful to dogs?
Although tuna is a rich source of nutrients for our four-legged friends, not all pet specialists are on board with its presence in the dog’s food bowl. Here are some of the most common reasons why the answer to the question ‘is tuna good for dogs’ is sometimes ‘no’:
Can puppies have tuna?
Puppies may have to wait a while before getting a taste of tuna. They have a lot of growing up to do and there are specially-designed puppy food formulas to give them everything they need to go through that process in a healthy way. Plus, making sure you offer them the right portion can be a bit trickier given their small size. When it comes to puppies, it’s safest to keep tuna in the cupboard for now.
Is canned tuna good for dogs?
Yes, you can feed your dog canned tuna, as long as you do so in moderation and only infrequently, and you choose the version that’s packed in fresh water instead of oil or salted water. It’s also important to check the label and make sure there is no extra salt added to the canned tuna.
Can dogs eat raw tuna?
No, dogs should not be offered raw tuna. Raw fish of any kind can be contaminated with parasites or bacteria that can make your dog very ill. There is also an enzyme called thiaminase in raw fish that stops vitamin B1 from being absorbed. When the fish is cooked, this troublesome enzyme is no longer a problem, and this is another reason why tuna should be thoroughly cooked before it ends up in your dog’s food bowl.
Want to find out more about what dogs can and cannot eat? Here is our list of harmful foods for dogs. For more handy guides about what dogs eat, check out the rest of our articles in this series including whether dogs can eat pork?