It is easy to notice that there are a wide variety of ingredients that are used in dog foods at most local pet stores such as bison, duck, wild boar, lamb, and fish. With such as variety, you might find it difficult to choose the best source of natural protein for your pets. If you are considering a first-based food, then tuna will probably cross your mind first. But can dogs actually eat tuna and is it good for them? Keep reading this post to find the answer.
Is tuna safe for dogs?
It depends. In fact, tuna is a good source of protein and minerals for dogs with fussy digestive systems as it is easy to digest and does not cause any digestive upset.
Canned tuna is totally safe for feeding your dog as long as it is not stored in oil or contain any additional seasonings, especially garlic and onions. The former can result in a stomach upset, while garlic and onion are really toxic to dogs. In addition, it is best to use canned tuna as a rare treat for your dogs to avoid the accumulation of sodium and mercury in their body.
Tuna steaks are also safe for dogs on the condition that these are cooked fully. While buying at a local store, you cannot be sure if the tuna fish is stored properly and cleanly to prevent harmful bacteria or virus. Therefore, undercooked fish might lead to major problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or even parasites.
How much tuna should you feed your dog?
Most dog foods are made with fish as it is rich in fatty, acids, omega 3, and protein. But tuna is not actually a common ingredient because feeding it too much can lead to some health issues in dogs.
The risk of eating tuna in dogs is, in fact, similar to the risk of eating tuna in humans: mercury. The FDA has warned that fresh tuna contains a higher level of mercury than other forms of fish, including tilapia and salmon. And the accumulation of this substance in a long time can lead to mercury poisoning, which would cause severe, even fatal health problems. In addition, canned tuna is often made with a high amount of sodium that can result in pancreatitis. Therefore, moderation is definitely the key when you want to feed your dog with tuna.
In general, it is recommended to slice the tuna into very small pieces and give your dog from 1 to 2 pieces in each meal. Or you can use it as a simple treat when training the pet. Do not overuse canned tuna to avoid the accumulation of hazardous substances, including sodium and mercury.
Health benefits of tuna
Just like other types of fish, tuna brings a lot of health benefits for dogs:
- Protein: Tuna is a rich source of lean protein, which plays an essential role in the growth of most muscle groups.
- Omega 3 fatty acid: This type of fat can be found abundantly in tuna. It is basically good for the coat, skin, and particularly the heart of your dog. In addition, omega 3 helps to prevent blood clots, irregular heart rhythms as well as improve the level of cholesterol. Therefore, a good diet with tuna would keep your dog healthy when he is living with a heart condition.
- High in important minerals for pets such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium.
- Rich in significant vitamins such as vitamin B12, B6, and B3.
The best way to feed your dog with tuna
If you want to treat your dog with tuna, the most important thing is to keep it simple. For example, canned tuna should be kept in water without additional seasonings. It is also better not to give your pet a lot of tuna juice from the can as the canine digestive system is much more sensitive than us, which would eventually lead to diarrhea or vomiting.
When you decide to choose tuna steaks, remember not to season them with marinades, oil, garlic, or salt and either broil or bake them. Dogs may find a piece of meat tasty even when you think it would be bland. Be careful with bones in tuna as they can make your dog choke easily and even get lodged in his throat.
Can puppies eat tuna?
With all the risks mentioned in the previous sections regarding the presence of sodium and mercury, it is possibly better not to feed you puppy with tuna, especially fresh tuna. In addition, the problem of small bones might be a serious concern when choosing tuna for your puppy’s meal.
To sum up, it is safe to feed your dog with tuna with a proper amount. Even though tuna itself contains a lot of nutrients and not toxic for pets, it contains a high level of mercury, which can build up in their body and lead to serious damage. If necessary, you should talk to your vet before going for tuna to avoid risky situations for your dog.