Can Dogs Eat Sardines? The Good, The Bad, and the Fishy

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Dogs Eat Sardines? The Good, The Bad, and the Fishy
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Sardines are rich in essential amino acids, Omega3s, vitamins, and minerals, which can make a big difference to your dog’s health. Do not underestimate the nutritional profile of these small fish. They can help strengthen a dog’s heart and sharpen his brain.

Read on to know more about the health benefits sardines can offer your dog and their possible adverse effects.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Sardines to Dogs

5 reasons why you should give your dog sardines infographicSardines are healthy treats for dogs. Including these in their diet will give them the following health benefits:

1. Obtain Several Essential Nutrients

Sardines contain coenzyme Q10 and taurine, which are essential amino acids needed to keep your dog healthy. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids too.

Sardines are packed with many vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins B3, B6, B12, and D. Traces of calcium, copper, iodine, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc can also be found in sardines.

2. Promote Healthy Heart

Sardines are rich in coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinol, which is a powerful antioxidant. This nutrient slows down aging, prevents weakening the immune system, and supports heart function.

These health benefits are especially helpful for dogs suffering from congenital disorders.

Coenzyme Q10 is also crucial in maintaining good dental health. Research shows that dogs with low levels of this antioxidant are prone to teeth and gum problems.

3. Improve Brain and Eye Function

Sardines contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA. It is essential for keeping the cognitive and retinal abilities of dogs keen and sharp.

Canines cannot produce DHA on their own. For this reason, dog owners should consider adding sardines to their dog’s diet.

4. Ease Skin Problems

Omega-3 fatty acids from sardines improve your dog’s coat and skin quality. They also lessen skin inflammations, itchiness, and other dermatological issues brought on by allergies and seasonal changes.

5. Promote Strong Joints

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 also help alleviate the swelling of the joints. Plus, they ease the pain that often comes along with this problem.

The calcium and phosphorus in sardines also support the bone and joint development of canines. Large and senior dogs may need sardines in their diet since they are prone to bone and joint problems.

6. Laden with Protein

Protein is crucial for your dog’s health and vitality. It gives him the strength and energy to carry out his day-to-day activities.

Sardines are a good lean protein source, and a healthier alternative for your pooch. Plus, they are cheaper compared to low-fat meats, making them an economical option.

7. Low in Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are bad for your dog’s body as they can cause many health issues. Obesity and increased cholesterol levels are some of them.

While sardines are high in omega 3, they are low in saturated fats. Thus, the illnesses related to overconsumption of fatty food are less likely to develop as long as feeding your dog sardines is done in moderation.

4 Potential Dangers of Feeding Sardines to Dogs

Plain sardines with herbs on a white plate. The answer to “Can dogs have sardines” is yes. However, beware of the risks that may come along when feeding sardines to your canine companion.

1. May Contain Mercury

All types of fish are bound to accumulate mercury in their bodies. However, the concentrations of this harmful chemical may vary.

They mainly depend on the size of the fish and their lifespan. Larger fish often live longer and therefore tend to contain huge amounts of mercury in their system.

In comparison, small fish like sardines have lesser mercury levels because of their size and short lifespan. Unlike their bigger counterparts, they belong to the bottom of the food chain, which lessens their mercury exposure.

With this in mind, feed your dog sardines in small quantities. Giving him too much can lead to mercury build-up in his system, which may result in poisoning. If you are administering fish oils, keep this in mind too.

2. Can Cause Weight Gain and Digestive Issues

Sardines are high in healthy omega 3s, but regardless, they are still considered fats. Allow your dog to eat sardines excessively, and he will be packing extra pounds.

For this reason, this type of fish is not recommended for obese and overweight dogs.

Some dog owners wonder: “Can sardines give my dog diarrhea?” Yes, sardines can give your dog diarrhea and other gastric problems if he overeats them. This is due to the fatty content of sardines.

Oily foods can worsen the condition of dogs with digestive issues, like pancreatitis. Thus, sardines should be excluded from their dog food.

3. Potential Choking Hazard

Sardines are commonly small in size, making them soft-boned. They can be fed to dogs whole.

However, this is not always the case. Whole raw sardines for dogs tend to be larger and have a bigger backbone. On the other hand, frozen sardines for dogs have tougher bones and may break easily.

If ingested, these might be stuck on your furry pal’s windpipe. So it is a good idea to purchase deboned fillets if you are looking for frozen or fresh sardines.

4. May Give Your Dog Fishy Smell

Overfeeding sardines to your dog can make him stink like fish. Reducing the amount and frequency of serving the fish will solve the problem. Although this is a minor issue, it can take a few days or weeks for his nasty fishy smell to go away.

Are sardines safe for dogs despite these dangers? The answer is yes. All of these issues commonly occur if dog owners let their dogs gorge on sardines.

If you feed sardines to your dog sparsely and in small amounts, he will not experience any of these problems.

How Much Sardines Should Dogs Eat?

A tin can of cooked sardines with tomato sauce.One small sardine contains around 175 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 25 calories. Your furry friend only needs to consume a few sardines to acquire all of their beneficial properties.

Below is the feeding guideline for dogs based on their body weight:

  • Dogs under 2.2 kilos (5 pounds): 2 sardines per serving
  • Dogs weighing 2.7–6.8 kilos (6–15 pounds): 4 sardines per serving
  • Dogs weighing 7.21–1.3 kilos (16–25 pounds): 5 sardines per serving
  • Dogs weighing 11.7–22.6 kilos (26–50 pounds): 8 sardines per serving
  • Dogs weighing 23.1 kilos (51 pounds) and more: 14 sardines per serving

A relevant question to this topic is, “Is it OK to feed my dog sardines every day?” No, it is not good to feed your dog sardines every day. We recommend adding sardines to his dog food 1–2 times a week.

Sardines should only be given to dogs as occasional snacks to avoid the risks mentioned earlier. Start giving your dog smaller amounts of sardines if it is his first time having them in his diet. This will allow his stomach to get used to the new food.

Gradually increase the quantity until your reach the recommended serving if your dog does not experience digestive upset.

Can Puppies Eat Sardines?

Plain sardines with herbs in a white plate. No, feeding sardines to puppies is not advised. Their digestive system is still in the process of development. Introducing new foods may cause digestive upset in puppies.

Keep in mind that they also need specific nutrients for their body to grow properly. Feeding them sardines can cause nutrient deficiency or imbalance. Thus, puppies need to stick with a dog food specifically formulated for them.

What Types of Sardines Are Good for Dogs?

Raw sardines placed in a white bowl. Sardines can be processed and prepared in many ways. Read on to learn which of them can be healthy treats for your pooch.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Sardines?

Canned sardines with oil.Yes, dogs can eat canned sardines. However, they should be packed in water and free from added salt, spices, and additives. Always check the ingredients list to make sure that they are devoid of any unhealthy ingredients.

Can Dogs Eat Sardines in Oil?

No, sardines in oil are not good for dogs. They contain too much fat, which can upset their stomach. If you have no other option but this type of sardines, drain out the oil before mixing the fish with your dog’s meal.

Can Dogs Eat Sardines in Olive Oil?

No. Olive oil may be good for dogs but becomes unhealthy if combined with sardines. Both are extremely high in fats, which can cause problems in your dog’s digestive tract.

Should you give sardines in olive oil to your dog, make sure to drain out the fats first.

Can Dogs Eat Sardines in Brine?

No, it is not recommended to feed dogs sardines in brine. Brine is a highly concentrated saltwater solution. It is bad for your dog’s kidneys since it can lead to the formation of uric acid stones.

Consuming large volumes of brine can also lead to sodium poisoning.

Are Canned Tomato Sardines Good for Dogs?

No, canned tomato sardines are not good for dogs. During the canning process, the acidity of tomatoes increases, and this can affect your dog’s stomach.

How to Cook Sardines for Dogs

Cooked sardines on top of a granite surface.Frozen or fresh sardines can be cooked for dogs in many ways. The most convenient method is through baking or pan-frying. If you bought large sardines that are not deboned, make sure to remove the bones before cooking.

No need to use oil when you bake or fry sardines since their own oils are enough. Be sure to serve them plain to your dog. Adding salt or other seasonings can irritate his stomach.