Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish
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Can dogs eat raw fish? Short answer, yes. They can. Raw fish is safe for your dog and even generally safe for most humans. But most concerns circle around raw fish and parasites.

Many raw feeders choose to supplement their dog’s diet with fish for the omega-3 benefits. Small, oily fish like sardines and anchovies are popular for this reason. While parasites can be a concern, there are ways to significantly lower the risk.

Raw Fish For Dogs

For most dogs, eating raw fish is a great addition to their diets. If your dog is healthy, parasites aren’t really a concern. .

If your dog has a compromised immune system, like cancer, you should be more cautious. If your dog develops worms all of a sudden, you may consider raw fish to be the problem. But, as we said earlier, there are ways to minimize the risk of parasites in raw fish.

Parasites In Raw Fish

The most common parasites in raw fish include:


Flukes are frequently seen on the skin or in the organs of fish. They are generally not harmful to dogs. However, there have been reports of Pacific salmon containing flukes, which can make dogs ill. Additionally, the Neorickettsia helminthoeca organism, which is spread by flukes, has lately been linked to salmon poisoning sickness, according to a recent notice from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to dog owners.

can dogs eat raw fish

Flukes can only infect members of the canid family. The disease that affects dogs, coyotes, and wolves does not affect cats, bears, or other predators. If  you feed Pacific salmon, you should be able to see the flukes because the majority of them are visible to the naked eye. They can be round or worm-shaped, or flattened and ribbon-like. If you happen to see them, simply throw that piece of fish out.

Fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, and fast weight loss are all markers of salmon poisoning, so if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after consuming Pacific salmon or trout, send him to the vet right away.


Roundworms resemble long human hair.  They have a white translucent surface and are often found lying perpendicular to the muscle striae (the pattern of striae in the flesh) found in fish.

worms in dog poop

Salmon from farms is rarely contaminated with roundworms, unlike salmon from the wild.

Unfortunately, fish raised in farms are commonly provided growth hormones and may have leftover medications that could affect your dog leftover in their tissue. The fish farms are often owned by the same companies that produce cattle feed and recycled foods. Feeding rancid foods could cause the fish to be high in trans fatty acids and lack the nutrients you are wanting to provide.

Even though there is a small risk of roundworms, wild caught fish is recommended by Canine Nutritionists. 


Tapeworms are the most common parasite found in raw fish and they’re generally found in the internal organs and body cavities. Raw feeders avoid tapeworms by only feeding the flesh of the fish and throwing out the remainder. Dogs lose out on the nutrients found in the fishes’ organs, but this can be compensated by providing organ meats from other sources.


How To Get Rid Of Parasites In Raw Fish

Some veterinarians recommend not feeding raw fish, whereas others are strong advocates for feeding them. Parasites are the main concern in many cases. Luckily, there is a way to significantly reduce the risk of any parasites in raw fish. Freeze the fish for a minimum of one week prior to feeding.

A lot of fish has already frozen before you purchase it, but be sure to check before feeding.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish Bones?

Raw fish bones are perfectly acceptable for your dog to eat. When we eat fish as humans, we carefully pick out the bones, but cooked bones are sharper and more brittle than raw bones. Raw bones are softer and often found within the fish’s flesh as they are eaten.

Canned Fish For Dogs

If you feel more comfortable, you can feed fish from a can as long as they’re packed in water without added salt or spices, rather than oil. Fish oil isn’t a good option as they’re often rancid before they even hit the shelf due to fast oxidation.

Read more:

Tapeworm Infection in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital

Roundworm Infection in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital

Just a Fluke? Trematode Infections of Dogs in the United States.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Fish?

Published by Amber L. Drake

Dr. Amber L. Drake is a celebrated author and a distinguished cancer specialist, renowned for her comprehensive research in canine cancer prevention and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her commitment to helping dogs lead long and joyful lives, as well as for her contributions to veterinary medicine education. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of the Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, she has become a respected and influential figure in the canine community, earning the admiration and respect of dog enthusiasts around the globe.

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