catfish and dog on the table

Can Dogs Eat Catfish?

If you have done some research, then you will know that fish oil is excellent for dogs. It can help lubricate joints and protect them against wear and tear, and of course, it can do wonders to your dog’s skin and coat if you’re into luscious locks. Knowing this, we then wonder if our dogs can eat fish, or more specifically, catfish.

Dogs and cats have long battled for the role of man’s best friend (though we will say that dogs edge cats out just ever so slightly and actually hold the title), but now the battle has been taken to the water to catfish.

Can dogs eat catfish? Will it harm them? What are the risks? Let’s find out.

Is Catfish Good for Dogs?

Is Catfish Good for Dogs?
Photo by Raoul Croes on Unsplash

Let’s start by answering the biggest question. Yes, dogs can eat catfish, and it’s pretty good for them. Catfish, like most fish safe for dogs to consume, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a welcome snack for your pooch.

We already have fish in various recipes whether it’s dry kibble commercial dog food or fresh food, and they are known to help boost the immune system and are a better choice for those with chicken or beef allergies.

​​Preparing Catfish ​for Your Dog

Dog Stares at A Fried Catfish
Images from Unsplash

There are many dogs on a raw diet, so we’ll talk about preparing raw catfish for your dog in a bit, but first, let’s focus on cooked fish. We should steer clear of fried catfish for dogs because there is too much oil and could upset your dog’s tummy.

We generally don’t recommend any type of seasoning including salt. Anything overly flavored could risk intolerance. The best way to bring catfish into your dog’s diet is to steam it. One thing you have to be very careful with is fish bones.

Fish bones present the same risks in cooked or raw fish as chicken bones. They are choking hazards, could get lodged in your dog’s throat, or in more serious cases cause internal punctures. Make sure to completely skin and debone the fish before letting your dogs eat it.

​Can Dogs ​Eat Raw Catfish?

Very Carefully Prepared Raw Catfish for Dogs
Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

While a raw diet is growing in popularity, we would not recommend feeding your dog raw fish of any kind. Anything raw poses the risk of bacterial contamination and gives your dog Salmonella or listeria.

Not only will letting your dog eat raw fish put him at risk, but you could also be endangering the rest of your family. A dog sick with Salmonella can give it to adults or kids in the household through his saliva.

It’s not recommended, but if you’re very careful and prepare the catfish the right way according to the FDA guidelines, then there shouldn’t be an issue.

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Risks of Feeding Fish to Dogs

Raw Catfish for Dogs
Photo by Olga Lioncat on Pexels

There are risks to your dogs eating catfish, and it’s important to know what they are before committing to it.

It’s not the fish itself that is a cause for concern, but how we prepare it. Remember not to use too much oil, and seasoning, and to completely skin and debone the fish. The best way to prepare it is to steam it and make sure it’s cooked through.

Best Types of Fish for Dogs

Best Types of Fish for Dogs
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There are other types of fish you can introduce into your dog’s diet aside from catfish. They all bring benefits to your dog’s health.

You want to steer clear of fish that may contain high levels of mercury, which are longer-lived species according to the AKC such as tuna and swordfish. The ones you want are:

  • Salmon
  • Ocean Whitefish
  • Herring
  • Walleye
  • Flounder
  • Arctic Char

You will find that many of these fish make it onto the ingredients list of many commercial dog foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is catfish good for dogs to eat?

Yes, catfish is good for dogs to eat. Dogs eat fish to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids, which give joint protection, help support skin and coat health, and boost the immune system. You don’t have to go for catfish as salmon, ocean whitefish, herring or flounder will do just as well.

How do you prepare catfish for dogs?

The best way to prepare catfish, or any type of fish for dogs is to steam it without any seasoning. Frying the catfish or using too much oil could upset your dog’s stomach as will too much seasoning.

What type of fish can dogs not eat?

Dogs can’t eat fish that contain high levels of mercury. This is usually seen in longer-lived fish such as tuna and swordfish according to the AKC. It’s also not recommended to feed your dog raw fish as it could contain harmful bacteria if it’s not prepared correctly.

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Fish is a very healthy source of protein. Steaming is definitely the best way to prepare catfish or most types of fresh protein you want to add to your dog’s diet. Dogs can’t eat fish bones because they can be a choking hazard, so we would recommend completely deboning and skinning the fish before cooking catfish. If you don’t have the time, there are plenty of dog food recipes out there that contain healthy fish as the main protein source.

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