Can Dogs Eat Smoked Salmon?


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Salmon is surely a decent alternative if your dog is allergic to the more typical forms of protein sources, such as chicken. Although many pet owners used to think of salmon merely as “cat food,” dogs eat salmon too. In fact, it is one of the best nutritive treats you can offer your furry friend. Since manufacturers are scratching their heads to find more novel sources of proteins and want to add more omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids in pet foods, salmon is becoming a more prevalent ingredient in commercial dog food day by day. It is because not only a salmon dog food product turns out to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids but also a great reservoir of proteins and amino acids.

Besides being a part of many commercial dog foods, can salmon be fed to a dog cooked or raw? Can dogs eat smoked salmon too? Read the article below to know.

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Salmon?

While salmon is safe for dogs, smoked salmon is never a good idea to add to dog food. Just bring the recipe of smoked salmon to your mind and consider the amount of salt that is used to cure the fresh boneless fillets prior to smoking. It is too much salt to be fed to the dog. Besides this, smoked salmon has been reported as the cause of deadly food poisoning in humans. Do you think pets would be safe from it? It also comes with the risk of salmon poisoning in dogs.

Salmon Poisoning in Dogs

For dogs to develop salmon poisoning, the salmon they eat is usually contaminated with a flatworm called Nanophyetus salmincola. This flatworm solely cannot harm the dogs, and it must be further contaminated with a parasitic bacteria named Neorickettsia helminthoeca. After feeding a dog smoked salmon, the flatworm enters the large intestine giving the bacteria a path to enter into the blood of the dog. Bacteria spread further, causing a number of symptoms which are collectively known as salmon poisoning.

Humans don’t get salmon poisoning; they just get a slight gastrointestinal upset.

Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning

Symptoms of salmon poisoning disease include high fever (usually above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), vomiting, diarrhea, watery eyes and nose, and the dog starving himself. Severe anorexia can be followed by the sudden loss of a dog’s body weight. Lymph nodes become swollen.

Laboratory diagnostic reports show an increased number of white blood cells, which shows that the immune system has been activated, fighting vigorously against the bacteria. As a result, the dog develops the signs of salmon poisoning within 5 to 7 days. This time period corresponds to the infection cycle of the parasite. If not treated, the dog can die within 2 weeks of eating salmon.

Some people think the hazard of salmon poisoning in dogs can be reduced by freezing the hot or cold smoked salmon below -20 or -36 degrees Celsius. But in fact, freezing smoked fish doesn’t kill the bacteria but stops its reproduction cycle. Thawing the frozen smoked salmon back increases the risk of botulism.

Salt Poisoning in Dogs

Another reason that smoked salmon should not be fed to your dog is the risk of poisoning due to excessive amounts of salts used in the dish. Before smoking, the salmon fillets are cured with a salt mixture to remove the excess water from the flesh and give the fillets a firmer texture to be smoked later on. If your dog eats smoked fish, treated with a mixture of salts and spices before, he becomes susceptible to developing salt poisoning or sodium ion poisoning. The sodium ions present in the table salt will upset the homeostatic balance of the dog’s body and will result in certain ailments.

Symptoms of Salt Poisoning

When the dogs eat smoked salmon, they may exhibit different symptoms of sodium ion poisoning. This is because too much salt used in the pretreatment of smoked salmon is likely to upset the concentration of ions and minerals in their bodies. This condition induces vomiting in the dogs, which will ultimately lead to dehydration. The common symptoms of this poisoning you will probably notice in your dog include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, laziness, lack of coordination, involuntary tremors, and excessive thirst due to dehydration. Severe cases can be fatal in the end. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, consult your vet as soon as possible. Otherwise, call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Salmon?

Never give a dog raw or undercooked salmon. Raw salmon has the risk of being infected with the parasite responsible for salmon poisoning. Wild salmon is at greater risk than farmed ones. Raw and uncooked salmon also have another bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. These bacteria are not present in the raw fish when it is in seawater. However, bacteria and parasites are produced when fishermen catch them and store them in freshwater to bring to the market.

If a dog eats raw salmon, he can develop food intoxication, also called botulism from the Clostridium. These bacteria produce toxins that, on entering the bloodstream, attach to the neurons and result in paralysis. The hind legs are paralyzed first, but within 24 hours, it can progress to the front legs, head, and face muscles. If the paralysis progresses to the diaphragm, the dog may die. If dogs eat raw fish, they can die from the poisoning.

If he has eaten raw salmon in small amounts not enough to cause salmon poisoning, he would still be at the risk of the following hazards:

Choking Hazard

Giving your dog raw salmon can cause small bones to stuck in the throat resulting in a choking hazard. As a result, the airway gets blocked, and he is not getting enough air to breathe. It is an emergency, and in this case, pet parents should know how to deal with a choking dog.

When dogs eat raw salmon, sharp bones in it can pierce the mouth’s soft tissues, including the tongue and cheeks, and the throat. The mouth can bleed, but it needs to be anesthetized to take bones out from his mouth or back of the throat.


If these bones reach the esophagus or stomach, they can cut them too with their sharp edges. Severe piercing can result in an inflammation of the internal abdominal membrane called peritonitis. As a result, stomach, intestine, bladder, and uterus all organs are at risk of being ruptured. Symptoms include abdominal pain, blood poisoning, shock, high fever, and reduced blood pressure. A sudden shock can become the cause of death. Seek veterinarian advice as soon as possible.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Salmon?

Yes! Dogs can safely eat salmon if cooked, as it is found on the list of dog-friendly human foods. In addition, when fed in suggested amounts, it can provide your dogs with a number of essential nutrients which are necessary for their health and general well-being.

Apart from adding cooked salmon to your dog’s diet in moderate amounts, there are a few other things to keep in mind. When preparing a salmon meal for your dog, prefer a plain one and don’t add any spices or seasonings. Don’t forget to check for the fish bones that may get stuck in his throat. The fillets should be served steamed, poached, or baked without oil. It should be well cooked as the undercooked salmon can result in certain infections due to bacteria present in it. So, the next time you’re baking or grilling some fresh salmon for yourself, separate a small piece from cooking for your dog. It’s healthy for him, and he will definitely enjoy it.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon?

Pre-cooked canned salmon is safe for dogs. However, some people are worried if the canned salmon is cooked properly and won’t put the dog at the risk of salmon poisoning. They need to rest assured as it is perfectly safe for them. You can buy the one dipped in oil or brine for you, but it’s not safe for them. Instead, buy the salmon packed with water for your dog. While feeding salmon to dogs, keep the quantity moderate. The same is true for canned salmon; too much of it can cause stomach upset.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin?

One can let the dogs eat salmon skin as long as it is cooked. Dogs can have dehydrated salmon skin as well. The skin makes an exceptionally nutritious food, just like the flesh. But make sure any salt or seasonings are not sprinkled on it.

Furthermore, salmon skin is high in fats hence cannot be added to regular dog food. Though dogs need fats in their nutrition, too much of these are not safe for them.

Health Benefits of Cooked Salmon

Cooked salmon is among the most nutrient-dense food options available for your dog. This fish, when cooked properly, not only tastes incredibly delicious, but its consumption may also help minimize possible risks for a wide range of diseases in your dog.


Salmon is a rich source of proteins. According to USDA, a 100-gram serving of salmon constitutes about 20 grams of protein. The nutritional importance of proteins is really evident because they make up 50 to 55% of the total dry weight of each animal cell. Therefore, they are required for building muscles, hair, nails, cartilage, etc. Feeding salmon to young puppies helps develop their muscles, tendons, and ligaments, thus helping in their growth. The majority of the hormones in the dog’s body are proteins in nature. Thus, they control most of the body functions. Proteins as enzymes catalyze all the metabolic reactions in the body. Salmon being a protein reservoir, helps in maintaining all these structures.


You can feed salmon dog food to your pup and let him enjoy the benefit of antioxidants present in it. The major antioxidant found in salmon is astaxanthin. The compound reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals produced during the metabolism of food. In this way, the cellular structures, organelles, and molecules like DNA and proteins remain safe from the harm of these free radicals. As a result, the compound lowers the risk of cancer and cardiac diseases as well as maintains the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is also abundant in polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the essential fatty acids that the dogs cannot make in their bodies. Hence these must be supplemented through diet. The two major of these are EPA and DHA; both of these are associated with certain important functions in the dogs’ bodies. For example, they play an important role in assisting older dogs in preventing high cholesterol levels and obstruction of blood vessels. In addition, these promote healthy skin and reduce the risk of cancer.

How Much Salmon Can Dogs Have?

Pet owners often ask; how much salmon can dogs eat as a part of their regular diet. Well! Quantity control is crucial when feeding your dog salmon, just the same as with any other foodstuff. Serve the dogs a portion size that is suitable for them, depending upon their size and body weight. Experts recommend serving 100g of salmon per 10 pounds of body weight. Senior dogs of larger breeds can safely eat one or two cooked fillets once a week; young puppies, on the other hand, should not eat more than a quarter of a fillet.  Moreover, It is not a good idea to feed salmon to your dog every day. If you are doing this, you must limit salmon consumption of your pup to once every week or less.

What to Do if a Dog Ate Raw or Smoked Salmon?

If your dog ate uncooked fish or smoked salmon, he can develop salmon poisoning, salt poisoning, and stomach upset. Observe for the signs and symptoms of ill health if he has eaten in small amounts. If you think he has consumed a large quantity, take him to a vet without any delay. Sometimes people think that dog has eaten just now; if one induces vomiting in him, he can be saved from further harm. But that’s not right. Vomiting can imbalance the electrolytes and put the dog at the risk of more danger.

The only salmon safe for dogs is the well-cooked one.

How to Prepare Salmon for Dogs?

Choose fresh boneless fillets of salmon for your dog. Boil, grill, or bake without adding any oil. To keep your dog healthy, avoid salt and any sort of seasonings or herbs. Never let a dog eat anything from the Allium family, especially onions. They have a compound that decreases the body’s red blood count, resulting in anemia. The same compound is also responsible for reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the remaining cells. The same goes for the garlic cloves and garlic powder. Another compound found in them causes the same damage to the red blood cells. Dogs may also develop garlic poisoning that is accompanied by symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, depression, loss of appetite, and dehydration. Similarly, oregano, paprika, and other herbs also cause harm. Some of them are toxic enough to cause fatality in dogs.


Dogs can eat salmon safely as long as it is cooked. However, smoked salmon can pose the risks of salt and salmon poisoning; hence it is not safe for them. Similarly, raw or undercooked salmon can cause botulism as well as salmon poisoning.

Cook salmon for dogs without seasonings and herbs that are harmful to them. Salmon skin and canned salmon are safe, too but in small amounts. Salmon dog food products are a great choice to add proteins to a dog’s diet. They provide other health benefits too. If you think the dog has consumed raw or smoked salmon, seek the vet as soon as possible.

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