What are the dangers of serving raw fish to my dog?
It’s not common for owners to feed their dogs raw fish, but canines are notorious for rummaging through garbage. Most dogs do love the taste of fish, so make sure your dog can’t get into the trash to find any remnants.
First, raw fish can contain parasites, and just because you eat sushi doesn’t mean raw fish is safe for your dog. In fact, the fish that makes sushi is an entirely different grade than the stuff we find in markets and put on our dinner tables.
Your dog can also choke on the fish bones and there’s always a threat of puncturing the intestine.
The biggest danger with raw fish (cooked is fine) is that it can create a Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency in dogs. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is especially important to dogs.
A thiamine deficiency in dogs can lead to death if left untreated. Dogs will experience overall weakness, resulting in inability to walk or even hold up their heads, and there will be a complete loss of muscle, nerve and reflex control that may affect the eye muscles.
Cooked fish however, is an entirely different story. It’s loaded with health benefits, being high in protein and low in sodium. Most important, it’s a good source of those all-important omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega 3s boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and aid canine disorders ranging from allergies to arthritis and from heart disease to some cancers. EFAs have also been proven to boost mood and might help your canine with learning and behavioral challenges. Since EFAs cannot be manufactured in the body, they must be supplied in the diet.
So, by all means, give your dog cooked fish, but just don’t make it the only food in the diet or you can cause an imbalance. Add a few pieces to your dog’s food. Avoid rich sauces, of course! A good alternative is a fish chew because, not only do they satisfy that instinct to chomp, it also cleans teeth and massages gums.