Are there any dogs who don’t like tuna? Most likely not, as most dogs love all fish and tuna is no exception. Tuna is also quite often on the plates of its owners and so it is not at all surprising when the big dog’s eyes ask themselves whether tuna is healthy for dogs.
Can dogs eat tuna fish?
Yes, dogs are not only allowed to eat tuna, they should. Tuna provides valuable proteins and unsaturated fatty acids. It is rich in vitamins and extremely low in calories if it is not prepared with a lot of fat.
It is also easy to digest, so it is just as suitable for light foods as lean poultry.
Are there allergies to tuna in dogs?
Fish allergies are neither particularly rare nor particularly common. There are far more dogs that are allergic to beef or poultry. In these cases, fish – and especially the easily digestible tuna – is a good alternative.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to tuna can be ambiguous: some dogs have skin reactions. In these cases, the owner may only register increased scratching.
However, reactions of the respiratory tract and mucous membranes are also possible. This can lead to coughing and swelling in the throat.
If your dog has reacted this way to fish before, it is better not to give him anymore – including tuna. It’s just not worth taking unnecessary risks over it.
Tuna brings these nutrients with it
Tuna contains vitamins A, D, and E. It also contains vitamin C, but this is not important for dogs because they can make it themselves:
The dog needs vitamin A for eyes, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin E supports the immune system, has anti-inflammatory effects and, as a natural antioxidant, protects all cells in the body from aging.
The dog needs vitamin D to be able to store calcium from food in bones and teeth. In principle, the dog can produce vitamin D itself. Like humans, however, they need solar radiation on their skin for this. Most dogs, however, have fur that is too thick in summer and winter for enough sunlight to reach their skin.
It, therefore, makes sense to feed vitamin D in addition. However, you should keep a sense of proportion, because an overdose of vitamin D can cause kidney damage in the long term.
Many finished feeds contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D supplements. A well-known dog food brand even had to initiate a recall because the food inadvertently contained dangerously high levels of vitamin D.
In addition, tuna provides high proportions of all B vitamins. These vitamins are important for the entire metabolism and thus ensure mobility, concentration, and energy in your dog. Unlike the other vitamins in tuna, the B vitamins are all water-soluble.
The list of minerals and trace elements contained in tuna is also impressive. The most important here are potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Potassium is an electrolyte that is necessary for the transmission of stimuli from one cell to another. A lack of potassium leads to water retention, among other things.
Magnesium has a relaxing effect on stressed muscles, so it protects athletes (and athletic dogs) from cramps.
In addition, the tuna provides a high content of important trace elements. Zinc and copper are important for the immune system and ensure a thick, healthy coat. Iodine is important for thyroid function. Without iodine, it cannot produce the hormone thyroxine.
Your dog mainly needs fluorine to be able to store minerals in its teeth – for comparison: toothpaste for humans also contains fluorine for this purpose. There is also manganese, which the body uses for cartilage and connective tissue.
Fresh tuna also contains a little more than 20% protein and many healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Raw tuna – sushi for the dog?
You can also give your darling raw tuna with no worries. It is particularly digestible because its ingredients are not changed by heating. Raw proteins and other nutrients in fish are as bioavailable as possible for the dog, and bones are also harmless because they remain elastic.
Generations of sled dogs were fed exclusively on raw fish and seal meat. Given that the wellbeing of their humans depended on the health and manpower of these dogs, doubts about the physiological benefits of raw fish should quickly evaporate.
Risk of infection for dogs with raw tuna?
You don’t need to have any hygienic concerns. In principle, various fish tapeworms pose a risk of infection. However, this is almost impossible because in most countries food-grade fish must be briefly frozen before being sold.
That is enough to reliably kill fish tapeworms and their eggs.
This is especially true for sushi quality fish. If you like to eat sushi, your dog can get some of it. It just shouldn’t be too spicy. Wasabi is sure to cause indigestion.
Spectacular reports of worm infections after raw fish are often based on the fact that some gourmet restaurants refuse to serve their guests “frozen food” and prefer other methods of removing fish tapeworms.
If you want to be sure that a portion of fish has been frozen enough for your dog, you can ask the fishmonger exactly and, if necessary, freeze and thaw the fish yourself before you serve it. Three days at -20 degrees kill any danger.
Canned tuna and other preparations
The first thing to note about the popular canned tuna is that you can give it to your dog. Often these preparations are quite salty, which is of course less healthy.
How much salt a dog can tolerate depends on its size. A whole can of tuna will not harm a Rottweiler; small dogs can react with increased thirst.
This also applies to tuna on pizza or in salads. Of course, your dog can nibble on it, but depending on the type of preparation, these are not necessarily foods that regularly belong in his bowl.
The difference between canned tuna in oil and its juice is interesting. It cannot be said across the board that one version is healthier than the other. Each variant has its advantages and disadvantages for your dog.
Tuna in oil is generally considered to have a higher sensory quality. Since it is impossible to completely remove the oil, the fat content of the fish increases considerably.
In addition, the unsaturated fatty acid content shifts very unfavorably due to the mostly used sunflower oil. Tuna contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, in which the omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil make them ineffective.
The type of preservation also influences vitamin content. The fat-soluble vitamins are better preserved in the infusion, the water-soluble B vitamins are more stable in the oil.
Ultimately, it’s a question of personal priorities, but overall, considering the calories, the tuna in its juice is perhaps a little bit healthier.
If you want to prepare a healthy treat for your dog for free, simply add some of the infusion to a few oatmeals. You can let it lick it like that or bake cookies from it by letting the mixture dry as a cookie in the oven.
Which fish is still healthy for dogs?
If your dog likes tuna, he’ll be happy to see other types of fish as well. The same feeding recommendations apply to all fatty cold-water fish as to tuna.
These include salmon, mackerel, herrings, and sardines. You can also feed these types of fish raw if they have been frozen beforehand.
There is also dog food with tuna
If you want to serve your four-legged friend a portion of tuna more often, you have a large selection of ready-made dog foods available. Both dry and canned dog food is available in specialist shops.
If you want to use a ready-made food as an allergy diet, make sure that it only contains tuna as a protein source. In addition to tuna, some foods also contain meat products.
Tuna for dogs? But yes!
Tuna is without a doubt a completely sensible and healthy food for dogs. It is very easy to digest, so seniors or dogs with sensitive digestive organs should not have any problems with tuna.
If the tuna has not been placed in oil, it is also ideal for dogs whose owners have to pay attention to the weight of their four-legged friends. Dogs of all ages benefit from the nutritional composition of tuna and there are no restrictions for sick animals.