Were you enjoying a good snack and wondered whether you could share with it your dog? We’ve all been there!
Let’s take tuna in this case.
For humans, tuna carries several health benefits, making it one of the go-to healthy snacks. However, it poses the threat of mercury poisoning.
It’s absolutely essential that you research on the proper intake for dogs, or if they can ingest them at all. Just like humans, the threat of mercury poisoning is present, and even larger due to varying bodily proportions.
We’ll break it down to the aspect of yes or no through health benefits, proper servings of how and how much, symptoms of mercury poisoning, and certain restrictions.
Cutting to the Chase: Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish?
To plainly answer the question, it’s a yes, but we’ve got to dig deeper.
For sufficient protein intake, most dog food brands incorporate meat and poultry to best equip your dog. However, dog owners are known to opt for natural options, and that’s where tuna plays a part.
Now that the ‘yes or no’ has been addressed, the important details lie within the questions of benefits and servings.
Health Benefits of Tuna for Dogs
As previously mentioned, tuna has become the go-to snack for its label as “healthy.”
And the same applies to your dog!
First of all, the high protein content and omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for their cardiovascular health to keep your dogs up to speed.
Another component of tuna fish is Selenoneine, a type of selenium, which binds to mercury and protects the body cells from mercury damage.
There’s a long list of vitamin and mineral content that have immeasurable benefits: vitamins B and D, magnesium, choline, selenium, potassium, iodine, and phosphorous.
When weighing between the different fish types for your dog, keep in mind that flounder, salmon, and herring carry the identical benefits — without the risk of mercury poisoning.
According to The Labrador Site, your dog’s current branded food is compressed with everything your dog needs to be at optimal health.
How to Serve Tuna for Your Dog
Before diving into proper proportions, let’s tackle how.
Once and for all, do not feed raw tuna. In any case, feeding them any raw meat or fish is an absolute bullet to be dodged. Among many other reasons, the enzyme Thiaminase present in most raw fish causes the thiamin or vitamin B to be inactive, which is primarily essential to the nervous system.
Canned anything induces natural hesitation and it’s a good instinct.
If you’re unfortunately living by convenience, purchase the right one! Canned tuna may either be sitting in water or oil, and it’s best to choose ones in the water. Furthermore, tuna fish thrive in saltwater, to begin with; therefore, a good move is to settle for a low-sodium can of tuna.
Among all the serving options, cooked tuna is the best.
In terms of purchasing, tuna in forms of boneless steaks is the safest. Additionally, by stating “cooked,” we mean through baking or boiling the tuna. Unlike humans, dogs prefer bland tastes — skip the seasoning!
The part that matters most, is knowing the quantity to serve.
Your Dog’s Safety: How Much is Too Much Tuna?
The rule of thumb is small portions in an occasional manner.
Although it’s difficult to dictate quantitative limits, you should take your dog’s weight and size into consideration. Ultimately, the bottom line is feeding tuna as small treats and weeks apart to be perfectly safe.
To reiterate the importance of keeping it minimal, let’s get into the why.
Mercury in bodies of water is caused by industrial water pollution. As you move up the food chain, the mercury content increases through accumulation.
The biggest risk is mercury poisoning, which leads to severe health complications that may potentially be fatal. The more ingested, the higher the risk of causing mercury poisoning — hence, the emphasis on minimal amounts, occasionally.
Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning in Dogs
Like any new food you’re introducing to your dog, the first trial should be in small amounts that are followed by observation on your part. If an allergy occurs, the symptoms will likely manifest within 24 hours and you can consult your veterinarian.
According to the American Kennel Club, the symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
- Kidney damage (difficulty urinating, abdominal swelling)
- Loss of feeling in the paws
- Vomiting blood
- Hair loss
- Loss of coordination
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
In the event of these symptoms, pay a visit to the vet immediately.
Tuna + Dogs: Additional Restrictions
For the following cases, some may recommend small proportions, but it’s best to be perfectly safe.
For puppies and pregnant dogs, the advice is to completely avoid due to their small size and potential accumulation, respectively.
To sum it up in one word, “Can my dog eat tuna?”, the answer is yes.
Although, as a dog lover, your instincts must include research before action. And if you’ve reached here, you’ve done your role in research!
In all cases, non-dog foods should be fed in moderation through small amounts in an occasional manner. However, with tuna, extra pre-cautions are encouraged due to the risk of mercury poisoning.
If you observe any symptoms, call your vet immediately.
Stick to healthy eating for your best-friend!
Featured Image Source: Alvan Nee on Unslpash