Can Dogs Eat Salmon? [Raw, Smoked & Canned] Is it Actually Good for Them?

Many of us feed fish to our dogs as it provides them with omega 3 fatty acids and lots of good stuff but can dogs eat salmon? Yes, they can, but can you feed salmon in any form? The answer’s a little bit involved, but stick with us and we’ll show you why.

Among some of the best human foods for dogs is, in fact, wild-caught salmon. Pet owners everywhere have seen the undeniable benefits that feeding your dog salmon can have, as long as you prepare it for them to eat safely.

Can dogs have salmon? That is the real question. With that in mind, here you will find all of the information that you need to know about the health benefits, the dangers of raw and undercooked salmon, and how to add it to their everyday meals.

As animal lovers, we all want to keep our dog healthy, and we are always looking at new ways to give them all of the nutrients that will keep them happy and safe for as long as possible.

Nutritional Benefits of Salmon for Dogs 

In recent years, salmon has been recognised as a sort of ‘superfood’ for humans, providing us with fatty acids that we cannot produce independently.

As it happens, it has also earned the reputation for being a great source of protein in dog food, as it seems to bring just as many benefits to our pups. Dogs eat salmon because it’s pretty tasty – and feeding salmon to your pets could help them in the following areas:

Brain Health

Salmon is well-known for being full of omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for brain health. In fact, salmon is among the best foods that you can give to a pregnant dog, as the fatty acids will help with the brain development of her pups. 


Another great benefit from the omega 3 fatty acids is that they are known for reducing inflammation, which is particularly good for fighting the pains of arthritis, both in humans and in dogs. For your pup, however, your vet may suggest directly feeding them salmon supplements. 

Boost the immune system

Salmon is also a brilliant source of amino acids, which are great for protecting and boosting the immune system in your pet. Due to the anti-inflammatory elements in it, too, you will be reducing the inflammation caused by all sorts of problems, therefore reducing the risk of their immunity becoming compromised. 

Reduce inflammation in joints 

Salmon is an excellent ingredient for older dogs, as healthy fats reduce inflammation in joints. For dogs with trouble walking, getting up, and generally staying active, salmon is a fantastic food to help with the old joints. 

Shiny Coat 

Due to all of the good things that salmon will be doing on the inside, it will also reflect on the outside, specifically in your dog’s coat. The salmon will help your dog’s skin, and along with it, your dog’s fur should become a lot shinier. 

Increased mobility 

Due to the reduced inflammation in the joints and the healthier immunity, your dog may muster up the extra energy to move around more. Salmon oil has explicitly shown significant positive changes in old, tired, and injured dogs. 


As mentioned, salmon definitely helps a dog’s coat and skin. Salmon can help to create a more substantial outer barrier, further protecting your dog from allergens in its environment. This will also greatly benefit their immune system. Again, salmon oil supplements are the most efficient against dog allergies. 

Is Raw Salmon Safe For Dogs? 

Dogs should never eat raw salmon – that’s the bottom line.

If your dog eats raw salmon, it could be in serious danger. Raw and even slightly undercooked salmon can contain the parasite known as Neorickettsia helminthoeca.

This particular parasite can easily cause salmon poisoning, which, in extreme cases, can be fatal. 

Moreover, raw salmon often contains the remains of the chain of bones within the fish. These are generally small but are strong and can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat, stomach or intestines. 

Cooking salmon is the best way to ensure your dog’s safety, and try your best not to buy farmed fish! For good options, check out all the raw dog food brands currently available! 

What is salmon poisoning in Dogs? 

Salmon poisoning stems from the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite that can be introduced if you feed raw and uncooked salmon to your dog. Signs of salmon poisoning include decreased appetite, weight loss, and intestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea. If left untreated, salmon poisoning disease can lead to death.

If you’re worried about signs of salmon poisoning, call a vet immediately.

How do raw foods for dogs contain salmon if it’s dangerous?

Never feed your dog raw salmon. Salmon should always be well-prepared before being fed to a dog, even in raw dog meals. In some professionally prepared raw dog food, the company will have cooked the salmon through. If not, they may have frozen the fish for a minimum of 2 weeks to kill the harmful parasites.

Can dogs Eat Smoked Salmon? 

Dogs shouldn’t eat smoked salmon either – it’s not actually cooking it thoroughly enough for it to be safe.

Although smoking the fish is a popular way for humans to ‘cook’ it, the fish is only cured and not really cooked through. This method of preparing food does just fine for us humans, but it can be just as dangerous as eating raw or undercooked salmon for our four-legged friends.

As the fish is not properly cooked, it can still contain bacteria and live parasites that can cause salmon poisoning. 

The chances of your dog getting salmon poisoning from smoked salmon are lower than they are from getting it from raw fish. However, there is still a chance that they could get infected and the only sure way to help them is by making sure that the salmon is completely cooked through, by boiling, baking, etc. 

Smoked salmon also contains more salt. Too much salt in your dog’s diet could be the cause of sodium poisoning and, at the very least, dehydration. 

What About Tinned Salmon? 

You can indeed feed canned salmon to your dog, and it makes for a great, occasional treat. 

Canned fish will have already been cooked through properly, so if you do not have the time to prepare salmon yourself, buying it canned is an excellent way of providing the great nutrients from the fish to your dog. 

Although the dog canned salmon may still contain some of the fish’s small bones, they will have been softened to the point where they are no longer dangerous to your pup. 

Oil or Water?

It is always best to get tinned salmon in spring water, however. Fish tinned with oil or brine will automatically contain a lot more fat and salt, which will be dangerous for your pup to consume. 

Check the packaging as well to see if it is farmed salmon and to check the sodium content. Some tins of salmon have a far higher sodium content which could also prove hazardous to your dog. 

Salmon Skin for Dogs – A Healthy Treat?

Can dogs eat salmon skin? Yes – though feeding salmon skin to your dog can be a bit tricky to do safely. However, if prepared correctly, it does make for a great, healthy treat. 

First of all, check the source of the fish. If the fish came from polluted waters, then the skin will be dangerous for your dog to eat. 

Secondly, make sure that it is thoroughly cooked through. Just as with fish meat, the skin can contain bacteria and parasites that are very dangerous to dogs. If you cook salmon, do also be careful about avoiding any added salt. 

Thirdly, make sure only to feed this to your dog now and then. Too much of the skin could be dangerous for them, so only occasionally and in small amounts. 

Finally, if you cook in the skin before you feed your dog salmon, make sure that it is not covered in extra oils, fats, and/or spices that could harm them. 

Dog Salmon Oil 

Why is salmon oil good for dogs? It’s all down to those hidden nutrients. But, can dogs eat salmon in this way regularly? All signs point to yes.

Dog salmon oil supplements are recognised as being some of the best that you could provide to your dog.

Your dog will benefit from all of the fatty acids and nutrients from the fish that will help their heart health, their skin, their coat, their joints, and even their allergies (if they have them), as well as strengthening and boosting their immunity. 

You can simply add it to their diet by mixing it in with their everyday food. Make sure to check the label before adding any, as it will recommend a dosage depending on the age and the size/weight of your pooch.

It is also crucial that you consult your vet before making this change in a dog’s diet. Your vet will know better than anyone what is ailing your dog and whether or not this oil could help. Always listen to your vet’s recommendations. 

How Much Salmon to Feed Your Dog?

Salmon is a great food source for dogs but will only have benefits if fed properly to them. Of course, that means cooking it through properly, but it also means limiting their intake. 

In order to reap the benefits of this super fish, your dog should only feed on salmon once or twice a week, maximum, and only in small amounts. Too much of this fish will cause more harm than good, including weight gain, diarrhoea, and vomiting. 

A good way of managing their intake is by using dog food brands that have created formulas specifically to regulate your dog’s intake. 


Does Salmon give dogs diarrhoea? 

If not cooked through, or fed too frequently to your dog, then yes, salmon can give them diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can be a sign of a parasite, so consult your vet as soon as possible. 

Can dogs eat salmon every day?  

No, too much salmon can cause your dog to gain unhealthy body weight and develop stomach aches – which could lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. Salmon should be a part of a balanced diet and you should minimise their intake to about once a week.  

My dog has allergies – can I give him salmon? 

Depending on your dog’s allergies, salmon can indeed help with some painful symptoms. Always consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet, especially if they have allergies.

What’s the best dry food with cooked salmon? 

The best dry dog food with cooked salmon contains pure, wild salmon, no unnecessary fillers, no artificial ingredients, and is super tasty! For more information, check out what the best dry dog food is with our comprehensive guide and reviews.


Pacific salmon (Pacific Northwest) and other types of low mercury fish carry incredible health benefits. If you’d like to feed salmon to your dog, then remember:

  • Farm-raised salmon is not as good as wild-caught (for the environment and your pet!)
  • If you are planning on preparing it yourself, opt for fresh boneless fillets.
  • Always make sure your dogs eat cooked salmon and avoid too much oil.
  • If dogs eat raw salmon or undercooked salmon, they risk salmon poisoning disease.
  • Dogs can eat salmon skin – but do make it a rare treat!

Dogs eat canned salmon, fresh salmon, or salmon dog food. Whatever you choose to feed them, you may notice changes in your pet like better mobility, healthy skin, and maybe even more energy.

For more advice, there’s plenty more out there on the health benefits of salmon in dogs. Cook it or provide canned food to your pets regularly – though not too much – and you might well see healthy dogs in no time. Can dogs eat salmon? Yes – we highly recommend it, but keep away from raw fish at all costs.

John Devlin

Blogger and owner of George and Henry. Two gorgeous goldens that couldn’t be more different. One is a dream loving and caring, and his sibling is as naughty as can be. When I am not blogging about dogs, I love watching sport and travelling with the family.
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