black french bulldog fed raw salmon with chopsticks

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People eat it. Cats eat it. But can dogs eat salmon too? Before adding this popular fish to your pooch’s diet, here’s how to decide if it’s the right treat for your pup.

Is salmon okay for dogs?

“Dogs are considered nutritionally Omnivores just like people. That means they can eat all kinds of meat, including fish, “says Robert C. Backus, MS, DVM, Ph.D., University of Missouri Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, and a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

But should dogs eat salmon?

While salmon isn’t toxic or particularly harmful to dogs in small amounts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should trade in your current dog food bag for a Pescatarian diet anytime soon, according to Backus. “Dogs need a complete, balanced nutrition and most commercial pet foods already offer it, “he says.” So adding salmon to your dog’s diet must be done carefully to maintain that balance. “

How Much Salmon Can Dogs Eat?

Backus notes that feeding your dog some salmon every day is probably okay when given as a dietary supplement. But what is a little? “When adding salmon to a full, balanced diet, follow the 10 percent rule,” says Backus. “Quit adding more than 10 percent of your dog’s total daily calories Golden retriever If your daily calorie requirement is 1,000, don’t add more than 100 more calories. “

He also says that calories for dogs are calculated the same way they are for humans and suggests using an online calculator like that US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Databaseto look up calories by weight for various foods, including salmon.

CONNECTED: How much food does my dog ​​really need?

Nutritional benefits of salmon for dogs

“Salmon contains essential fatty acids that give dogs the same benefits as humans,” says Backus. “Some of these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help Dogs with dry skin Problems. “

The story goes on

There are Vitamins and nutritional supplements Designed specifically for dogs that can provide those extra omega-3s instead of going to the expensive fish counter for your pup.

Health Risks of Salmon to Dogs

“However, some dogs don’t need the extra fatty acids or the extra vitamin D that salmon contains,” says Backus. “So it is best to check with a veterinarian about your dog’s specific needs and nutritional benefits before adding salmon to their diet.”

In addition, dogs should never eat raw or undercooked salmon. It can contain bacteria and parasites that can cause Salmon poisoning (also known as fish disease). Common symptoms of salmon poisoning are loss of appetite, Vomit, fever and diarrhea, Weakness and swollen lymph nodes. They also say that salmon poisoning is treatable if caught in time. But if left untreated, 90 percent of dogs who show symptoms will die – usually within 14 days of eating the infected fish.

Which type of salmon is best for dogs?

Fresh, canned, frozen, wild-caught, on the farm – there are more varieties of salmon to choose from than your pooch can shake with a stick. But which type is best for your dog’s health?

“If you decide to include salmon in your dog’s diet, choose fish from the northern or southern latitudes,” says Backus. “Salmon from cold-water marine environments contain the most beneficial fatty acids due to the nature of the plankton

consumed in their food chain. “He says that as long as the salmon you buy comes from either of these latitudes, it can be wild-caught or farm-raised, fresh, canned or frozen. It is the origin of the fish that matters most.

How to safely cook salmon for your dog

Salmon needs to be cooked thoroughly to be safe for your dog. It should reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, so the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

When making salmon for your dog, keep it simple. “Before cooking, completely debone the fish fillet and then poach, steam or grill it. Remove the salmon skin before serving because it is particularly fatty and adds calories,” says Backus. He also recommends not adding oil, butter, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, or any other seasoning. These ingredients can cause health problems and are not needed for this naturally tasty fish to impress your dog. He adds, “Remember, dogs aren’t as discriminatory as we are. At least most aren’t!”