by Patricia Jackson
The simple answer as to whether dogs can eat tuna is yes. However, things are not always that straightforward, which should explain why it is a controversial topic. While tuna contains lots of good stuff, such as omega-3 fatty acids, it also has lots of mercury.
Therefore, while it is okay for most dogs to eat tuna, it should not become a staple or something they eat regularly. Also, whether your dog can eat tuna or not depends on the kind you are giving. For example, tuna in brine is often too salty for most dogs.
Different pet parents have varying opinions on whether tuna is suitable for their dogs or not. But the truth is that tuna is safe for your pet when given in small amounts as it provides lots of protein and many other healthy compounds.
However, feeding tuna regularly or giving it large amounts can lead to mercury accumulation, which can become dangerous over time. Overall, tuna is good and safe for your pooch, provided it does not overeat.
Like many other controversial dog foods, tuna becomes detrimental for your pet when you give it too much. Remember even in the wild, their wolf ancestors hardly eat tuna or any other fish type, which indicates that dogs are not designed to eat tuna.
Tuna can also become bad for your pup if you do not prepare it properly or give it raw. If this fish is not cooked correctly, there is a greater risk of contamination and parasites. Raw tuna contains sodium, given the fish lives in saltwater, which can lead to hypernatremia when it accumulates in the dog's body over time.
One more situation when tuna becomes bad for your pup is when it develops intolerance or becomes allergic to the fish. For such instances, you need to talk to your vet immediately you notice the dog has ingested some tuna.
Tuna is safe for your pet if you limit the amount it consumes to minimize mercury accumulation in its system. When introducing tuna to the dog, as little as just one teaspoon should be enough, but you still need to make sure you do not give it daily. Also, make sure you monitor the pet afterward for signs of adverse reactions or illnesses.
If you have a large breed, it is vital to make sure you do not give it more than one can of tuna every week. Also, make sure the pet does not consume that one can of tuna every week. For smaller breeds, the tolerance is even lower. Therefore, half a can of tuna should be the maximum amount you give it in a week.
With that in mind, you should never let your pup eat an entire can of tuna in one meal, no matter how much the pet loves this fish and whether it has eaten any other tuna in the week or not. Just a spoonful of tuna every few weeks should be enough if you want to be on the safe side.
Some of the signs that your pet is overeating tuna include hair loss, anxiety or nervousness, vomiting blood, and tremors. Also, kidney damage symptoms like abdominal swelling and inability to urinate can be signs you are giving the pet too much tuna.
Albacore and Skipjack tuna contain the least amount of mercury among all the tuna types. Therefore, it is okay to give your pet a small steak of either but make sure you prepare it properly to kill parasites and eliminate contamination. While you can give the steak raw, it is a better idea always to cook it first.
Canned tuna is perhaps the best for dogs among all options as it has been cooked and processed, meaning most of the bacteria and parasites are removed. Better still, most of the time, canned tuna comes from Albacore and Skipjack species that contain the least amount of mercury. However, avoid canned tuna with additional spices or seasoning as it can lead to illnesses.
Tuna in sunflower oil is safe enough for most dogs to eat, provided you drain away the oil well before serving. Sunflower oil contains less saturated fat and can benefit the pet's fur. But, too much of this tuna can lead to excessive weight gain.
Tuna is a controversial fish type when it comes to giving it to dogs. However, provided you give it in small amounts and choose a type that contains less mercury, such as the Skipjack tuna, it should be safe enough for the pooch.
About Patricia Jackson
Patricia just simply loves pets.
When she was eight years old, her parents got her a beautiful Maine Coon as a gift; and later an affectionate Husky.
Since then, she has raised them as her children; done minor first aid, taken in strays, administered antibiotics, bottle fed them when sick, and even midwifing.
Pat received her bachelor's degree in computer science at Univercity of Califronia Davis. She really hopes to transofrm her programming skills into something that really helpful for all pets someday. For now, lets just do that through writing.