Can Dogs Eat Tuna Fish - Canned Tuna or Tuna in Oil
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Have you ever wanted to give your pup a little tuna treat but aren’t sure if it’s safe? Well, today’s your lucky day! We’ve done the research and have the answer to the ultimate question: Can dogs eat tuna fish?

Tuna is one of the most commonly eaten fish and a great source of lean protein for humans, but what about dogs? What kind of tuna should you give your dog, if any? And how should it be prepared? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.

We’ll discuss whether canned or fresh tuna is better for your pup and which types of preparation are safest. Read on to learn all you need to know about giving your dog tuna!

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Tuna?

Dog at the Vet

No, it’s not safe to feed your dog a steady diet of tuna. Tuna is fine in small amounts but it is high in mercury and other contaminants. Feeding your dog tuna can lead to mercury poisoning and have some serious problems for your dog’s health.

For this reason, we don’t recommend you feed your dog tuna because of the risk of mercury poisoning. There are many safer food options, and we don’t think it is worth the risk to feed tuna to your furry friend.

That said, some types of tuna are safer than others. For example, skipjack tuna has less mercury than albacore. And skipjack can be a great low-mercury treat for your pooch.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna in Oil?

Dog in Room Eating Dinner Out Of Bowl

The short answer to this is “no.” Tuna generally isn’t a safe food for dogs to consume, and it’s especially important to avoid giving your dog canned tuna in oil. The oil can cause digestion issues for your dog, such as vomiting and/or diarrhea. Even if the tuna isn’t in oil, it’s still high in mercury and other contaminants, which can lead to health problems.

Additionally, while it’s not necessarily toxic to your pup, canned tuna should still be avoided. Compared to fresh or frozen fish, canned varieties are much higher in sodium, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance when consumed in large quantities. In other words, the risk of any health issues isn’t worth any potential benefit that may come from feeding tuna to your dog.

The Basics of Feeding Tuna to Dogs

Dog Holding Food Bowl

At this point, you must be wondering what you should consider when feeding tuna to your dog. Let’s break it down.

Can It Be A Safe Treat?

It’s often said that feeding your puppy tuna in very small portions can be a tasty treat for them. It’s loaded with proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for keeping your canine companion healthy and fit.

But there are some precautions you must remember when feeding your pup tuna as a rare treat. Firstly, avoid using fresh tuna or raw fish, as these usually contain high levels of mercury that can cause health problems in your pet. Generally, light tuna in a can has the lowest levels of mercury but should still only be given in small quantities and in moderation.

Moreover, canned tuna in oil is high in fat and calories, so don’t overdo it! It’s better to give them a small amount now and then rather than present them with a full serving at once. And always make sure that the tuna you give them is fresh and not too old—it may have gone off otherwise!

Health Risks

Dog Getting Checked by Vet After Eating Tuna

It’s worth mentioning that while tuna can be beneficial to your pup, there are also some potential health risks associated with it.

There is a great risk of mercury poisoning. Too much mercury can lead to serious problems with your dog’s health, such as kidney damage, hair loss, vomiting blood, and blindness. A dog’s immune system is more fragile than a human’s, so consider this when deciding how much tuna you feed them.

Eating too much tuna can lead to an imbalance of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially if your pup isn’t eating a variety of other white fish. If your pup has a condition that could be affected by or exacerbated by a buildup of certain metals or Omega-3 fatty acids, you should skip tuna altogether.

Tuna in oil makes this health risk even more pronounced. Tuna in oil—and other fish canned in oil—usually contains higher fat and calories than tuna that is canned in water. This means it can lead to problems like weight gain and pancreatitis and destabilize blood sugar levels if consumed too often.

Additionally, the oils used for canned tuna are usually soybean or vegetable oils, which are not the best sources of fat for dogs, so should be avoided.

What happens if a dog eats tuna?

Dog Veterinarian Doing Checkup on Puppy

As with anything else, health issues can arise if you give your dog too much tuna. Too much of anything will be bad for them, not just tuna.

What to look out for

When it comes to consuming regular tuna or canned tuna in oil, some potential problems to look out for are:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Oily stools or foul-smelling gas
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Pancreatitis
  • Nutritional deficiencies (source of omega-3)

If you notice these signs, take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible.

The bottom line is that a little tuna in small doses won’t hurt your pup—just be sure to feed it to them in moderation. Make sure that if you’re feeding canned tuna it is packed in water and never in oil, and don’t overdo it. It’s always best to check with your vet before giving your pup anything new.

What Kinds of Tuna Is Safe for Dogs?

Puppy Dog Eating Out of Bowl

When determining which kind of tuna is safe for your dog to eat, there are key distinctions you’ll want to make. The first is whether the tuna has been packed in oil or water.

Tuna Packed in Oil

Tuna canned in oil is generally not recommended because the oil can cause digestive problems and other health issues, like pancreatitis. It’s also high in calories, so if your pup is prone to weight gain, keep them away from oils.

Tuna Packed in Water

Tuna packed in water (or brine) is much better for your pup, but you don’t want to go overboard here. Too much tuna can lead to Vitamin B1 deficiency and malnutrition due to improper nutrition. As a reference point, canned tuna should only make up 10-15% of your dog’s weekly caloric intake.

Also, pay attention to the sodium content when buying canned tuna, as this could dehydrate your pup if they consume too much of it at one time. Low sodium or no salt added options are best—you want a product with less than 10% of total fat per 100g serving size – and check the label for any fish bones, which you’ll want to avoid feeding your pup.

If you decide to let your dog eat tuna, light tuna generally contains less mercury than raw fish or other types of tuna. This is a better option than if your dogs eat raw tuna.

Sodium and Additives in Canned Tuna

Canned Tuna in Bowl - Tuna in Oil

There’s something else to consider regarding canned tuna in oil—sodium, and additives. Like most human food, canned tuna can contain added salt or sodium chloride. Generally speaking, you want to avoid giving your pup any added salt — too much can be dangerous for them.

You should also avoid tins with additives meant to bring out the flavor. These usually contain onion and garlic, which are both toxic for dogs — so it pays to check the label carefully!

If you do decide to give your pup some canned tuna in oil:

  • Make sure the label is clear of any additives
  • Opt for a low-sodium version, if possible
  • Measure out a serving size that’s appropriate for their size and weight — no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake
  • Offer water alongside their meal, so they can stay hydrated

Considerations About Feeding Raw or Cooked Tuna to Dogs

Dog Eating Freshly Cooked Fish

Like with other foods, if you decide to feed your pup tuna, you can offer it in a raw or cooked form. With either option, there are several things to consider.

Raw Tuna

Raw or undercooked tuna is most likely to contain parasites and bacteria that could make your pup sick, so it’s best to avoid anything raw or undercooked. It can be possible to get hold of wild-caught tuna that is already flash frozen, which may be safer than serving raw.

Saltwater fish like tuna generally contain more heavy metal than freshwater fish, which increases the chances of getting mercury poisoning.

Cooked Tuna

Cooked tuna is much safer for dogs, as long as it isn’t too salty or doesn’t contain any added ingredients that may contain seasonings or additives that are toxic for dogs. We don’t recommend feeding your dog canned tuna in oil if you’re feeding them cooked tuna, though – most brands add a lot of salt and other unhealthy ingredients that could make your pooch sick.

If you do choose to give your four-legged friend some cooked tuna, here are some things to watch out for:

  • Ensure the fish is cooked properly without any bones left in it; otherwise, it could be a choking hazard for your canine companions and get stuck in their digestive tract.
  • Don’t add salt or seasonings when cooking; these can be toxic for animals. A tuna sandwich is also not a great idea due to the added ingredients.
  • Always monitor canine consumption; human foods (over their recommended caloric intake) can lead to obesity.
  • If feeding them canned tuna in oil, drain the excess oil before feeding as it does not provide any nutritional value and can cause gastrointestinal problems.

What Fish Are Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Dog Eating Piece of Cooked Tuna Fish Off Table

So what other kinds of fish can be a part of your pup’s diet? Luckily, tons of delicious, healthy fish options for your furball are safe to eat in both canned and oil forms.


Sardines are an excellent source of Omega-3, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. They can be served straight out of the can or lightly cooked.


Salmon is lower in mercury compared to other types of fish. Canned salmon is easy to feed your pup—mix it with kibble for a delicious meal. Alternatively, you can poach or bake fresh salmon for your pup if they don’t like the canned version.

Salmon is one of the main ingredients in many commercial dog foods, both soft and hard.


Anchovies are high in protein, B vitamins, and Omega-3—a dog superfood! You might like to add anchovies to your pup’s food as a flavor enhancer or as an occasional reward; they’re available canned (in oil) in most grocery stores.

So when deciding what kind of fish is safe for your pup to eat, you have plenty of options! Usually, dog foods contain fresh water white fish. Be sure to research each type thoroughly before feeding it to your pet so that you know exactly what its nutritional benefits are for your dog’s body and any potential risks.


Two Dogs Eating Meal

What Canned Fish Can Dogs Eat?

It is generally recommended that canned fish labeled for human consumption is safe for a dog to eat as long as it is plain, meaning it does not have any seasonings, additional oils, or flavorings. It is packed in water or its natural oils, such as tuna or salmon in oil.

When feeding canned fish to a pet, one should always check the sodium label, as many canned fish can be high in sodium. It is best to find a brand with low sodium content. Additionally, canned tuna can be high in mercury, so it is important to limit the amount of canned tuna to no more than once a week. Sardines and other smaller, wild-caught species are usually much lower in mercury and can be served more often to a dog.

Canned fish labeled for human consumption but contains additional ingredients such as seasonings, sauces, or oils should also not be given to a dog.

If you have questions about the safety of a canned fish product for your pet, it is best to find an appropriate alternative or consult your veterinarian.

It is also important to ensure that the canned fish is fresh and not expired. Expiration dates can be found on the can and should be checked before giving the canned fish to a dog.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna in Sunflower Oil?

No, it is not recommended to feed dogs tuna in sunflower oil, or any oil should not be fed to dogs due to the high-fat content in oil. Dogs cannot digest large amounts of fat. The added fats not only provide no nutritional value to the dog but may also cause an upset stomach or other digestive upset. Additionally, oils can contain a high amount of calories, leading to obesity if overfed.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Tuna?

If you are considering using canned fish as a part of your dog’s diet, it is wise to read the ingredients list and look for products that contain few or no additives. The fewer additives, the better, as some can be toxic to dogs. For example, artificial preservatives such as sodium and nitrite are generally unsuitable for canines because they can cause dog sickness.

If your budget allows, it is best to choose canned fish labeled as natural or organic. These products are typically free of preservatives and contain fewer additives than conventional canned fish.

Additionally, it is a good idea to check the fat content on the label. Fat provides a lot of energy, but eating too much can lead to weight gain and potential health problems. It is best to select products containing the lowest fat content while providing the necessary nutrients.

To help ensure your dog is getting the most out of their diet, several types of supplements can be added to canned fish. Fish oil supplements can be an excellent source of omega-3, which is important for healthy skin and coat. Calcium supplements are also beneficial for promoting strong bones and teeth. A multivitamin may be essential for delivering the essential vitamins and minerals to a dog’s diet.

When deciding whether or not a dog can eat tuna fish, it is important to research the specific product. Consider the safety measures and health concerns that may be associated, and talk to your veterinarian for advice. Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure your dog gets the best nutrition and the correct amount of canned fish in their diet.

Can Canned Tuna Upset a Dog’s Stomach?

When given to dogs, canned tuna can cause an upset stomach, so it should be avoided as a treat. The reason why canned tuna can upset a dog’s stomach is that it contains mercury. Mercury is found in fish and can build up in the dog’s system causing damage to their kidneys and liver.


So, can dogs eat tuna fish? or can dogs eat tuna in oil? Yes, dogs can technically eat tuna fish—but we don’t recommend it, and there are some important caveats. We have learned that while tuna is a safe and nutritious treat for most canine friends, it should not be given as a primary food source or on more than an occasional basis. This could lead to mercury poisoning and some serious health issues for your dog’s body.

It is also wise to avoid giving canned tuna in oil to your pet, as the high levels of fat and sodium in the oil can lead to health issues. Instead, opt for canned tuna in water or freshly cooked canned or fresh fish for maximum nutrition. Following these guidelines, you and your pup can enjoy delicious meals together without worrying!

Now that you know all about feeding a dog tuna, check out our article on the perfect bedtime for your little puppy here.