Can Dogs Eat That

Can Dogs Eat Tuna? Is Tuna Safe For Dogs?

sliced fresh tuna on a platter

In short, yes, dogs can indulge in tuna, but there are important considerations to keep in mind. While tuna can be a flavorful and nutritious treat for your four-legged companion, it’s important to understand the potential risks and proper serving methods to keep your dog healthy and happy.

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits, concerns, and best practices for introducing this fish into your dog’s diet. 

Let’s dive in.

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The Benefits of Tuna for Dogs

The good news: tuna can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet when fed in moderation. This flavorful fish is rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, providing a variety of health advantages for dogs:

• Lean protein helps maintain and build strong muscles

• Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can improve cardiovascular and skin health  

• Tuna contains beneficial minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium

• It’s also a good source of B vitamins, including B3, B6, and B12

samoyed wearing kimono costume on park

The Potential Risks of Tuna for Dogs

So, tuna definitely has a lot going for it nutritionally. But before you start serving up tuna melts for your pup, there are some potential risks and serving tips to be aware of.

1. Mercury Concerns

One of the main reasons some pet experts advise against feeding tuna to dogs is the risk of mercury poisoning. Tuna are large, long-living fish that can accumulate relatively high levels of mercury, an industrial pollutant, in their tissues over time. Eating too much tuna contaminated with mercury can lead to toxicity.

sliced raw tuna on ceramic plate

Signs of mercury poisoning in dogs to watch out for include:

• Hair loss 

• Blindness

• Tremors

• Vomiting blood

• Lack of coordination  

• Watery diarrhea

• Nervousness or anxiety

• Kidney damage

medium short coated white dog on white

If you observe any concerning symptoms after your dog eats tuna, it’s crucial to promptly reach out to your veterinarian for assistance. However, the risk of mercury poisoning is quite low if tuna is only fed occasionally in small amounts. It’s a good idea to ask your vet about the appropriate serving size for your individual dog based on their size and health.

schedule a vet visit

2. Choking Hazards

Another potential issue with feeding tuna to dogs is the small bones. Fish bones can pose a choking risk or even cause internal injury by scratching the digestive tract. They may also get stuck in the throat or intestines.

To avoid these scary scenarios, carefully inspect any tuna you plan to feed your dog and remove all bones. Check for tiny, easy-to-miss pieces to keep your pup safe.


3. Sodium Content  

Another reason to be mindful of tuna is its sodium content. Unlike us, dogs don’t process excess salt as efficiently. While a small, occasional serving likely won’t cause problems for a healthy pup, it’s best to limit tuna to avoid any potential issues. Moderation is key, as always!

a dog eating on a bowl

Preparation and Serving Tips

If you decide to treat your dog to some tuna, follow these guidelines:

• Always feed your dog cooked tuna, never raw. While raw tuna is generally safer for dogs compared to raw salmon (which can harbor a dangerous parasite), cooking the fish thoroughly is still the best way to eliminate the risk of illness from parasites or bacteria. 

chunk of fried tuna fish meat served with herbs on white plate

• When preparing tuna for your dog, skip any recipes that include lots of oil, butter, salt, onions, garlic, or strong spices. These ingredients can upset your dog’s sensitive stomach and lead to digestive issues. Stick to plain, cooked tuna without any added seasonings or flavorings.

• If you opt for canned tuna, choose varieties that are packed in water rather than oil. This helps limit the fat content and keeps the treat as healthy as possible for your pup. Additionally, thoroughly rinse the canned tuna before serving to wash away any excess sodium or unwanted additives that may be present in the packaging liquid.

white dog on a computer desk kissing the owner

• Tuna should be treated as an occasional indulgence rather than a regular part of your dog’s meals. Offer only a few small bites of tuna, no more than once per week. The dog’s digestive system isn’t naturally designed to handle a fish-heavy diet, so introducing tuna slowly and in moderation is key to preventing any digestive upset. If you plan to make tuna a regular part of your dog’s meals, gradually increase their intake over time to allow their body to adjust.

white short coated dog

• When selecting tuna for your dog, consider opting for fish caught in less polluted waters to minimize the risk of mercury contamination. Look for labels such as “pole and line caught” or contact the manufacturer directly to inquire about their fishing practices and sourcing.


1. Can pups eat tuna?

For young puppies, it’s best to hold off on introducing tuna. Pu pies have unique nutritional needs for proper growth and development that are best met by specially formulated puppy diets. Th ir smaller size also makes proper portioning trickier. Wa t until your puppy matures before seeing if they enjoy some tuna from time to time.

2. Can dogs eat canned tuna? 

Yes, dogs can enjoy canned tuna as a tasty treat, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind. When selecting canned tuna for your furry friend, always opt for varieties packed in water instead of oil to keep the fat content in check. Before serving, make sure to give the tuna a good rinse to wash away any extra sodium or additives that might be lurking in the packaging liquid.

3. Can dogs eat raw tuna? 

No, dogs should never eat raw tuna or any other raw fish. Raw fish may contain parasites, bacteria, and thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down thiamine (vitamin B1), causing deficiencies. Always cook tuna thoroughly before feeding it to your dog to destroy thiaminase and eliminate the risk of parasites and bacteria. If unsure, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

What Else Can Dogs Eat?

Explore our collection of articles covering foods that are safe, harmful, or even toxic for dogs, such as vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food. While certain human foods can benefit your dog’s health, others pose risks. Learn about the fr its and vegetables that are good for your dog, as well as the spices and seasonings that are safe to include in their diet. These articles are designed to help you provide your dog with a varied diet while being mindful of their sensitive digestive system.


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.