Can Dogs Eat Fish Sticks?


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A lot of dogs love to eat fish because it has a strong scent and flavor. Certain types of fish are good to feed dogs because they are a high source of omega 3 fatty acids and other nutritional properties. This may have you wondering if it’s safe to feed your dog fish sticks.

A favorite frozen food item from the grocery store of many people is fish sticks. This crispy treat is quick and easy to prepare, making them a go-to snack for many Americans. As long as you keep it in moderation, you can give your dog fish sticks as well.

On this page, we’re going to discuss if dogs can eat fish sticks. We will cover everything you need to know about the effect fish sticks will have on your dog’s diet. Keep reading to learn more about whether or not dogs can eat fish sticks.

Should Dogs Eat Fish Sticks?

Nearly every dog owner knows what it’s like to eat a meat product with an aroma. Any time you eat fish sticks, there is your furry friend giving you those puppy eyes. Of course, if you’re enjoying a treat, you may want your dog to as well. However, the real question is, should dogs eat fish sticks?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe for your furry friend to eat a fish stick. One or two fish sticks are perfectly fine only once in a while. Anything more than that could be too much because if dogs eat fish sticks too frequently, there could be long-term effects on their health and well-being.

Are Fish Sticks a Healthy Food Choice for Dogs?

When it comes to feeding your dog a fish stick, it should only be given to them as a treat. It’s not a good idea to make fish sticks part of your dog’s weekly meals.

According to Pet Cube, fish sticks aren’t known to cause harm to a dog when they eat them in moderation. However, there are also no nutritional benefits to them. Fish sticks are processed food, which means they won’t have any positive impact on your dog’s health.

Dog owners should always be cautious about how many fish sticks they allow their furry friend to eat because many brands of fish sticks use poor quality ingredients which aren’t healthy for a dog to eat regularly.

What Are Fish Sticks?

Fish sticks (or fish fingers) are a popular item in the frozen food aisle. They are battered white fish that come in a strip or finger shape. A lot of people enjoy them because they don’t have that strong fishy odor that comes from other types of fish.

While you may be familiar with eating fish sticks, you may not have thought about what ingredients were in them until now. Fish sticks and fish fingers have their own Wikipedia page that claims they are made from a combination of whitefish that is breaded or battered.

Some of the fish that is often used when making fish sticks are:

  • Cod
  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Hake

Fish Sticks Ingredients (Gorton’s Fish Sticks)

One of the most popular brands is Gorton’s Fish Sticks, so we decided to take a look at what ingredients are used to make them. This brand is known for high-quality fish sticks that are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

The following ingredients are found in Gorton’s fish sticks:

  • Alaska pollock fillets (100% pollock fish)
  • Breadcrumb coating
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wheat flour
  • Yellow cornflour
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Onion powder
  • Baking powder
  • Yeast
  • Whey
  • Canola or soybean oil
  • Natural flavor

These may seem like normal ingredients for human food, but some of these ingredients aren’t safe for dog consumption regularly. According to the American Kennel Club, onion in any state is bad for your pet’s health. This includes onion powder.

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Can Dogs Eat Breaded Fish Sticks?

Breaded fish sticks contain many ingredients that aren’t good for a dog’s diet. This doesn’t mean they should be forbidden. If your dog were to have one or two fish sticks once in a while, it likely won’t have any impact on their health and nutrition.

Where dog owners cross a line is when they start giving their pet fish sticks regularly. If your dog were to eat fish sticks multiple times a week, the ingredients could have a negative impact. The fish isn’t the issue so much as the breaded coating.

Many brands of frozen fish sticks use similar ingredients to Gorton’s. However, some brands will use an additional seasoning that isn’t safe for dogs, garlic powder. Similar to onions, garlic is also a toxic ingredient to dogs. We recommend avoiding brands that use garlic powder if you plan to feed your dog breaded fish sticks.

Can Dogs Have Fried Fish Sticks?

You should always avoid giving your dog deep-fried food. Fish sticks already contain a small amount of oil. A small serving of vegetable oil is okay for a dog to consume, but too much will make them sick. Fried fish sticks are bad for dogs because they are cooked directly in the oil, which causes them to absorb cooking oil.

If a dog consumes too much oil, it can be very toxic to its health. This is because the oil can cause inflammation to the dog’s pancreas, which may cause the organ to start producing enzymes that are harmful to the dog’s intestine wall.

Oven-cooked fish sticks are a much safer choice for dogs as it limits the amount of oil they are consuming.

Can Fish Sticks Cause Sodium Poisoning in Dogs?

As a pet owner, you always want to make sure you are feeding your dog fish safely. One of the problems with store-bought fish sticks is that salt is one of the ingredients. It’s very important to limit the amount of salt in your dog’s diet because it can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

One of the biggest risks of too much salt for dogs is sodium poisoning. Before you get nervous and think “oh no, I let my dogs eat fish sticks“, this is a very rare side effect. If you stick to the rule of thumb and only let your dogs eat fish sticks occasionally, you will not have to worry about sodium poisoning. This has only been linked to dogs who have been given too much.

Is Mercury Poisoning a Risk When Feeding a Dog Fish Sticks?

When it comes to feeding a dog fish of any kind one big risk is mercury poisoning. Luckily, there have been no cases of fish sticks being harmful to dogs because of mercury. While fish sticks should never replace dog food, dog owners don’t have to worry about high traces of mercury in fish sticks.

Whitefish is the main type of fish used when making fish sticks, especially pollack. Luckily, many types of whitefish are low in mercury. The type of fish that contain higher traces of mercury are shark, swordfish, ling, and orange roughy.

This goes back to our rule about moderation. As long as you only give your dog fish sticks once in a while in moderation, you don’t have to worry about mercury.

What Fish Should You Avoid Giving Your Dog?

Many fish species are safe for dogs, but if you are worried about mercury you should avoid feeding dogs tuna frequently. Both fresh tuna and canned tuna have a high mercury count. While feeding your dog canned fish may seem like an easy dinner, tuna could be toxic.

What Kind of Fish Sticks Are Safe for Dogs?

Your dog’s health should be your number one priority when you’re choosing which foods to give to them. The problem with a lot of human food choices is they contain salts and seasonings that can upset a dog’s stomach.

If dogs eat frozen fish sticks often, they would consume more salt and oil than recommended. They should also not eat frozen fish sticks because of the different seasonings and other harmful ingredients. Some dogs have food allergies and may not be able to consume premade fish sticks. So, what should you do to make fish sticks safe for dogs?

The easiest and healthiest way to ensure you make fish sticks good for dogs is by making them yourself. This way, you are in control of what types of fish you are using and what other ingredients are used.

What You Need to Know About Making Your Own Fish Sticks?

Nearly all fish dogs love, which makes giving them fish sticks easy. When you’re making fish sticks for your dog, it lets you be in charge of what ingredients are used. This way you know there won’t be excess salt or other ingredients with zero health benefits. You can cut out all the ingredients that are harmful to dogs.

One thing you need to be cautious of is fish bones. This is especially true if you are using farmed fish. It is very important that all of the fish bones are removed before letting dogs eat fish. You want to make sure they consume only the meat, as fish bones are very dangerous.

Fish bones are small and sharp. It’s very easy for them to get lodged in your dog’s throat.

What Is the Best Way to Cook Fish for Dogs?

Cooking fish for dogs has many health benefits for dogs. However, breaded fish and fried fish aren’t the best options. There are other fish options that are better for your dogs than the fish stick. Since dogs eat fish in a number of different ways, pet owners have some easy and healthier options.

One of the best ways to cook fish for dogs is with a steamer. When you steam fish, you use vapor to cook it so you don’t have to add any oil. The strong natural flavor stays in the fish, so your dog enjoys it too.

Some other great alternatives to deep-fried and breaded fish sticks are grilling, roasting, or microwaving the fish.

Is Raw Fish Safe for Dogs?

While sushi may be a trendy food, raw fish is not safe to give dogs. According to American Kennel Club, raw fish can make your dog sick and they can spread it to other members of your household. The raw meat from the fish contains a lot of harmful bacteria. This even includes listeria and salmonella.

When dogs eat raw fish, the bacteria could be spread through their saliva. This bacteria is highly dangerous to people with compromised immune systems. It can also present a risk for small children as well.

The American Kennel Club also states that raw meat from fish is likely to make dogs ill. If your dog has food poisoning, it could show any of the following signs:

  • Abdominal pain/ cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Salivation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Inappetence
  • Slight fever

Most dogs will show signs of food poisoning within 3 to 4 days after consuming the raw meat. When they show signs, it’s crucial that you give them plenty of water and keep them hydrated within the first 24 hours. Avoid forcing them to eat during this time. You may need to contact your vet for more assistance.

Final Thoughts

Should dogs eat fish sticks? This is one question a lot of people wonder about when they are enjoying this crispy fish treat. It is safe to give your dog a fish stick or two. However, this should only be done once in a while and fish sticks should never replace dog foods.

When you buy fish sticks from the store, they are typically breaded. While the fish meat is completely safe for dogs, the breaded coating is what contains harmful ingredients. There is often a lot of salt and seasoning, which can lead to a dog becoming sick if they consume too much.

The best course of action is to make homemade fish sticks. This way you will know what is in them and can cut out the toxic ingredients.