Can dogs eat fish skin? (Yes or No?)

This blog post will answer the question, “Can dogs eat fish skin?” and talk more about the specific categories of fish that dogs can or cannot be fed with. 

Can dogs eat fish skin? 

Yes, but there should be a few things that need to be considered to exploit its nutritional values rather than poison the dog with parasites. Fish skin should be prepared as thoroughly as possible. 

Fish is a great source of protein and contains Omega 3 fatty acids which contain anti-inflammatory properties that support a healthier coat. Fish skin is an especially viable source of Omega 3 acids. Fish can also be great for dogs with specific food allergies that limit what they can eat. In other words, if we look at this side of fish skin, dogs should definitely eat fish skin so dogs can take these mentioned benefits. 

The issue comes in when we consider the fat content of fish skin, or its potential to contain dangerous parasites, especially if it is not thoroughly cooked. So from this perspective, deciding on whether or not you should feed fish skin to your dogs can be tricky. However, as a compromise, Cecily Sailer from The Dog People thinks it should be fine to share fish skin for so long that you follow these steps: 

  • The fish skin is completely cooked. 
  • The scales of the fish are not unusually large or sharp. 
  • The fish did not come from polluted waters. 
  • You only share fish with your dog periodically (to avoid mercury exposure). 
  • You only share a small amount of fish skin with your dog, and not the skin from a whole fish. 

You can also peel the cooked skin off a salmon filet at home, and chop or tear it up into bite-sized pieces for your dog. Or, to be much safer, give your dog a safely prepared fish skin treat like the one in this website

We also try to look at specific categories of fish and determine whether or not they benefit rather than harm the dog’s health. 

Can dogs eat canned fish? 

For as long as the canned fish you give to your dog is not filled with lots of added salt or packed in oil, dogs can surely benefit, health-wise, from canned fish. A quarter of can added to your dog’s daily meal will be enough to give it some protein and extra nutrients. 

Can dogs eat raw fish? 

No. As much as possible, please avoid feeding your dog with raw fish. This carries harmful bacteria or parasites that can make your dog very ill. The most common parasites found in the raw fish include flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms. All of these will harm your dog’s health rather than benefit it. 

Can dogs eat fish bones? 

Fishbones are not to be fed to dogs because these are small, brittle, and are capable of occupying the dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. You would not want to find out that a tiny bone stuck in your dog’s stomach has made it uncomfortable to breathe or walk properly. If you think this is the case, take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid any more harmful damage. 

Can dogs eat fried fish? 

There is absolutely zero nutritional value from feeding your dogs with dried fish. Adding extra oils to fish will only deteriorate your dog’s overall health in time.

Can dogs eat catfish? 

Yes. Dogs can eat catfish for so long that the catfish is properly prepared. Catfish is actually the fish used in most, if not all commercial dog foods. If you do feed your dog with catfish, make sure to use boneless fillets because bones, as previously mentioned, may get stuck into your dog’s system and prompt further, more harmful problems. 

Can dogs eat cod?

Absolutely! Cod is an excellent fish for dogs in that dogs may get a lot of nutritional benefits from them. Just make sure that you properly cook it. 

Can dogs eat mackerel? 

Mackerel is a fish rich in and a natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are the acids that improve skin conditions, restore health, and even reduce your dog’s tendency to shed. This should also be served in moderation and not be fed to the dog regularly. 

Can dogs eat salmon? 

Yes, it is safe to feed your dog with cooked salmon. You can either steam, roast, grill, poach, or bake the salmon without added oil or seasonings. What is unsafe to feed your dog with, is raw salmon because this may actually kill your dog. A parasite called Neorickettsia helminthoeca is found inside raw salmon and could cause your dog to die of salmon poisoning. 

If, in any case, you did feed your dog with raw salmon, and notice any of these signs: 

  • vomiting,
  • lack of appetite,
  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • weakness,
  • swollen lymph nodes, 
  • dehydration,

make sure to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately!

This Washington State University website talks more about salmon poisoning disease. 

Can dogs eat salmon skin? 

Yes, but make sure that you cook this thoroughly and add no seasonings. Dogs will enjoy its flavor and will gain a lot of healthy nutrition from salmon skin just as much as in salmon flesh. 

Can dogs eat canned salmon? 

Dogs can eat canned salmon for so long that the salmon inside the can is packed in water and comes without added flavorings and seasonings. Bones in canned salmon are soft and will not cause any issues about being stuck inside your dog’s system. 

Can dogs eat smoked salmon?

Try to avoid feeding smoked salmon to your dog as much as possible. Excessive amount of salt is applied in smoked salmon. Furthermore, smoked salmon can kill your dog because it contains harmful bacteria that causes salmon poisoning disease. 

Can dogs eat sardines? 

Yes. Canned sardines are small and low on the food chain and contain only minimal amounts of mercury relative to larger fish, so the threat in canned sardines is way less. 

Can dogs eat tilapia? 

Yes. Tilapia can be safely ingested by a dog for so long that it is not fried or cooked in rich flavorings and seasonings, salt, or butter. 

Can dogs eat tuna? 

Tuna is probably the safest fish for dogs. Dogs can consume this whether cooked or raw! The only thing you need to consider are bones. If you want to feed your dog with raw tuna fish, make sure that you remove all its bones first. If the tuna is in a can, make sure that it is packed in water rather than in oil. 

Can dogs eat mollusks? 

Mollusks are excellent in providing protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium. Mollusks can therefore be added to your dog’s daily meal and let it benefit from its many nutrients offered. 

Can dogs eat mussels? 

Mussels contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and of course the omega 3 fatty acids. This makes them a great supplement to your dog’s diet. In fact, you should feed your dog with mussels because they are considered to be the superfood for dogs!

Can dogs eat scallops? 

Dogs can eat scallops but make sure that these are not fried or coated in butter. 

Can dogs eat oysters? 

No. Experts do not recommend feeding oysters to your dog for they may contain toxic algae called dinoflagellates, whose toxins concentrate in its tissue and can be capable of causing paralytic shellfish poisoning in both humans and dogs. 

Can dogs eat shellfish? 

Yes! You just need to make sure that you cook and clean their shells thoroughly. This applies to shrimps, lobsters, and crab as well. Also make sure to give them the fully-cooked meat only. 

Can dogs eat crab? 

Yes, and there is absolutely no need to steam the meat or season it. The meat itself is nutritious and healthy enough. Your dog will love the meat as it is so spicing it up will only require more effort from you. 

Can dogs eat crab meat? 

It is not rare for dogs to be allergic to crabs. Before you feed your dog with crab, make sure that it is not allergic to it. If this is the case, feel free to feed it with crab and your dog will love this!

Can dogs eat lobster? 

Cooked lobster can feed your dog with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. A lobster dinner for your dog will be a treat for it and it will pick up some nutrition too!

Can dogs eat shrimp and prawns?

The hard coating in shells of shrimp and prawns can be very hazardous for small dogs. Once you make sure that these are thoroughly cooked and the shells are removed, your dog can benefit from shrimp and prawns because they can provide your dog with protein and vitamins. 

Can dogs eat squid and octopus? 

Squid and octopus are rich in protein and cause no problems with your dog. This can therefore be a go-to meal for your dog!


This blog post answered the question, “Can dogs eat fish skin?” and talked about the specific categories of fish that dogs can or cannot be fed with. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin? 

Is fish skin good for dogs to eat?

As long as it is properly cooked, salmon, including its skin, is safe for dogs. Grilled salmon is absolutely fine to feed to your dog but avoid feeding your dog with salmon that has been cooked with substances that are toxic to dogs like garlic and onions.

Is salmon skin okay for dogs to eat?

As long as the salmon is cooked without toxic ingredients, salmon skin is safe for your dog to eat. However, salmon skin is high in fat, so only share it with your dog rarely or as an extra-special treat.

What will happen if a dog eats fish?

Fish, in itself, is not actually harmful to dogs. The issue of health arises when we consider how the fish was prepared. Fried fish cooked in too much oil can cause GI upset in dogs, and can even be the root cause for serious illnesses like pancreatitis. Seasonings and flavorings may also lead to serious health problems for dogs, especially if they contain toxic ingredients like garlic and onions.  

What types of fish can dogs eat?

Tuna, salmon, whitefish, cod, and hank are some of the good fish to feed to your dogs. 

Is olive oil safe for dogs?

Olive oil may be considered safe for dogs for some doctors but others say that this might irritate the gastrointestinal tracts of dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs. So if your dog is exhibiting signs of diarrhea or vomiting, make sure to visit the vet as immediately as possible. 


  1. Sailer, C. (2018, May 29). Can My Dog Eat Fish Skins? Retrieved December 30, 2020, from,also support a healthier coat.&text=You only share a small,skin from a whole fish).
  2. Renee. (2020, November 04). Fish Dogs Can Eat and Fish Harmful to Dogs. Retrieved December 30, 2020, from
  3. Dunn, E. (2020, November 19). Do Dogs Eat Salmon Skin? Retrieved December 30, 2020, from
  4. Can Dogs Eat Salmon? (2020, September 09). Retrieved December 30, 2020, from
  5. Burke, A. (2018, March 19). Can Dogs Eat Fish? Retrieved December 30, 2020, from
  6. Ultimo, C. (2020, November 03). Olive Oil for Dogs: Is It Good for Them? Retrieved December 30, 2020, from

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