Can Dogs Eat Mackerel? Is Mackerel Good For Dogs? (Vet Tips)

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Dogs and Mackerel: a match made in heaven? Or a recipe for disaster? 

Mackerel is a type of oily fish that is high in omega-three fatty acids. This makes it a popular choice for humans looking for a healthy seafood option.

But can dogs eat Mackerel? Is it safe for them to eat?

In short, yes, dogs can eat Mackerel. Mackerel is safe for dogs and is an excellent source of protein, omega-three fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, and amino acids. However, large Mackerel like the Spanish and king Mackerel are more likely to contain high mercury levels, so it’s best to avoid those.

In this post, we’ll discuss:

  • Health benefits and risks when dogs eat Mackerel
  • What types of Mackerel a dog can eat
  • What to do if your dog overeats Mackerel

We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about the topic, so you can decide whether to include Mackerel in your dog’s diet.

Let’s dive in.

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel? Is Mackerel Good For Dogs? (Vet Tips)

Mackerel Nutritional Information

Mackerel is a type of oily fish that is commonly consumed by humans. It’s in various varieties, including Atlantic mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, king mackerel, and Pacific mackerel.

However, not all are equal when it comes to their nutritional content. For example, king mackerels and Spanish Mackerel can contain high levels of mercury, which can be toxic to dogs (and humans).

Here’s a quick overview of the nutritional content of raw Mackerel (100 grams):

  • Calories: 189
  • Fat: 11.9g
  • Sodium: 89mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 19g

Mackerel is also packed with beneficial nutrients to dogs, including omega-three fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, selenium, and phosphorus.

It also contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel?

Yes, dogs can eat most types of Mackerel. However, some types (like king mackerel and Spanish Mackerel) can contain high levels of mercury, which can be toxic to dogs.

Generally, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog large Mackerel like the king or Spanish varieties. Instead, opt for smaller Mackerel like the Atlantic or Pacific varieties.

Mackerel is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-three fatty acids, which are beneficial for a dog’s overall health. However, it’s important to feed it in moderation because it is high in calories and fat.

If your dog overeats Mackerel, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or an upset stomach.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Mackerel?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Mackerel

Yes, dogs can eat raw Mackerel. In fact, some people believe that feeding your dog raw fish is the best way to give them the nutrients they need.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with feeding your dog raw meat.

 Raw meat can contain bacteria that can make your dog sick. If you choose to feed your dog raw Mackerel, buy it from a reputable source, and ensure it’s stored and handled correctly.

In addition, you should freeze the Mackerel for 7 days to kill any parasites and bacteria that may be present in the fish.

When feeding your dog raw mackerel, remove the bones and skin before giving it to them. These can pose a choking hazard or cause an upset stomach. However, raw fish bones are softer and more pliable than cooked bones, making them less likely to splinter and cause internal damage. But it’s still a risk.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Mackerel?

Can Dogs Eat Canned Mackerel

No, dogs should not eat canned Mackerel. Canned fish is often high in sodium, which can harm dogs. It can also contain other preservatives and additives that are not good for your dog.

In addition, canned Mackerel is often fattier due to the oil it soaks in. A diet high in fat can lead to weight gain and other health problems in dogs. The most significant risk is pancreatitis for small dogs and bloat for large dogs.

If you want to feed your dog mackerel, it’s best to buy fresh or frozen fish and cook it yourself. This way, you can control what goes into the dish and ensure it’s healthy for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel In Tomato Sauce?

No, dogs should not eat Mackerel in tomato sauce. Tomato sauce contains additives and can cause an upset stomach in dogs. It can also contain sugar and other ingredients that are not good for your dog.

If you want to feed your dog mackerel, it’s best to cook it without sauces or seasonings. This way, you can control what goes into the dish and ensure it’s healthy for your dog.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Mackerel For Dogs?

Mackerel is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-three fatty acids, which are beneficial for a dog’s overall health.

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Mackerel?

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Mackerel

Dogs should avoid eating smoked Mackerel unless it’s in very small amounts. 100 grams of smoked Mackerel contains 397mg of salt. This is too much salt for a dog and can lead to health problems like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, salt poisoning, and other health problems.

Always check the ingredient list before feeding it to your dog. For example, it’s best to avoid giving your dog smoked Mackerel that is high in salt or has other additives.

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel Skin?

Dogs can eat mackerel skin, but it’s best to remove it before feeding it to them. The skin is hard to digest and can cause an upset stomach in dogs.

In addition, the skin often contains harmful toxins and chemicals that can be dangerous for your dog. This is the part of fish that harbors the most mercury, so it’s best to avoid feeding it to your dog. 

If you want to feed your dog mackerel skin, it’s best to cook it until it’s soft and easy to chew. This will make it safer and more digestible for your dog.

Is Mackerel Safe For Dogs?

Yes, Mackerel is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Mackerel is a nutritious and healthy option for your dog, as long as it is cooked correctly and without any added salt, seasonings, or sauces. Just stay away from the larger Mackerel, as they can contain high levels of mercury.

In addition, avoid feeding your dog smoked or canned Mackerel, as these can be high in salt and other harmful ingredients. If you want to feed your dog mackerel, it’s best to buy fresh or frozen fish and cook it yourself. This way, you are in control of what goes into the dish. 

Otherwise, Mackerel is completely safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

Is Mackerel Good For Dogs?

Mackerel is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-three fatty acids, which are all beneficial for dogs’ well-being. As long as it is fed to them in moderation, Mackerel is a healthy and nutritious option for your dog.

Here are a few of the benefits a dog can receive from Mackerel:

Improved Heart Health

The omega-three fatty acids found in Mackerel can improve your dog’s heart health. It can help to prevent heart disease and keep their heart healthy and functioning properly.

Boosted Immune System

Mackerel is also a great source of vitamins B12 and D, fiber, and magnesium, which are all essential for a healthy immune system. These vitamins help to keep your dog’s immune system functioning properly and can help to prevent dogs from getting sick.

Improved Joint Health

The omega-three fatty acids in Mackerel can also improve joint health. They can help to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints and keep them healthy and functioning properly.

Improve Brain Health

Omega-three fatty acids and Vitamin B12 benefit a dog’s brain health. They can help to improve cognitive function and memory and keep your dog’s mind sharp as they age. This can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia in dogs.

Skin & Coat Health

Mackerel is also a good source of omega-three fatty acids, which are beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat health. They can help to improve the quality of your dog’s fur and keep their skin healthy and free from itchiness and irritation.

Dangers Of Dogs Eating Mackerel

While Mackerel is safe for dogs to eat in moderation, there are a few dangers to be aware of.

Here are three of the biggest concerns when feeding a dog Mackerel:

Allergies

Dogs can be allergic to fish, just like people. If your dog is allergic to fish, they may experience itching, swelling, hives, diarrhea, and vomiting.

If you think your dog may have allergies, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian before feeding them Mackerel.

Bacteria & Parasites

mackerel bacteria

Mackerel, like all fish, can contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick. This is why it’s important to cook the fish properly and avoid feeding them raw or undercooked Mackerel.

Some common bacteria found in raw fish are listeria and salmonella. These can cause food poisoning in dogs and can be very dangerous. In addition, fresh raw fish can carry parasites that can infect your dog.

So always be cautious when feeding your dog mackerel, and ensure it is cooked properly.

Mercury Poisoning

Mackerel, like all fish, can contain mercury. Mercury is a toxic metal that can harm humans and animals. In large amounts, it can cause mercury poisoning, which can be very dangerous.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis 
  • Seizures 
  • Tremors 
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody urine or stool
  • Excessive drooling or saliva production

In order to avoid this, buy low mercury mackerel and feed it to your dog in moderation.

How Much Mackerel Can A Dog Eat?

One of the most important statements I have learned in my lifetime is, “Moderation and balance are key.” While adding Mackerel to a dog’s diet can provide them with plenty of health benefits, it’s important not to overdo it.

Feeding your dog too much Mackerel can cause them to gain weight and lead to mercury poisoning. So always make sure to feed your dog mackerel in moderation and appropriate amounts for their size.

Since Mackerel is high in fat, it’s also important to avoid feeding it to dogs that are overweight or obese. This can cause them to gain even more weight and lead to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

If your dog already has a steady diet that gives them all the nutrients they need, then Mackerel would be considered a treat. Meaning it should account for less than 10% of your dog’s daily intake.

If you are looking to give your dog Mackerel daily as part of their main diet, then I suggest consulting your vet. Your dog’s size, energy levels, age, and health condition will all play a role in how much Mackerel they should be eating in their diet.

How to Properly Feed Mackerel To Your Dog Safely

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel

If you want to give your dog Mackerel, you can do a few things to ensure they can eat it safely.

First, make sure your dog does not have fish allergies. You can do this by consulting your vet or testing their stomach with a small amount of fish. If you feed them a bit of fish and find them having an allergic reaction, then it’s best to avoid feeding them Mackerel altogether.

Second, make sure the Mackerel you are feeding your dog is cooked properly. This means avoiding raw or undercooked fish, as this can contain harmful bacteria. If you want to feed them raw fish, make sure to freeze it for 7 days hours to kill any parasites and bacteria

Third, buy low mercury Mackerel and avoid canned and smoked Mackerel.

Fourth, make sure to remove the bones and skin and only feed Mackerel to your dog in moderation.

What Fish Can Dogs Eat?

what fish can dogs eat

Certain fish is considered dangerous for dogs to eat due to the levels of mercury.

Here are some low mercury fish that are safe for dogs to eat:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Lake whitefish
  • Mahi-Mahi
  • Cod
  • Whitefish
  • Flounder
  • Walleye
  • Herring
  • Arctic char

Here are some fish you should avoid feeding to your dog:

  • Shark
  • King mackerel
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Swordfish
  • Orange roughy
  • And any farm-raised fish

These fish are all considered “slow-growing” fish. As a result, their fish bones are harder, and they usually have higher levels of mercury.

They also have a higher chance of carrying dangerous parasites. So keep these fish out of your dog’s diet.

Further Reading: Can Dogs Eat Fish Heads? Dangers & Benefits (We Asked A Vet)

What To Do If Your Dog Accidentally Overeats Mackerel?

So your dog got into a plate of Mackerel and gobbled them all up before you could stop them.

First off, don’t panic! Here is what I learned from Dr. Littlejohn.

When speaking with a veterinarian over the phone, they will attempt to examine your dog for health problems by asking questions.

This is done so they can first see whether or not your dog has eaten enough to warrant concern and to see if they are displaying any symptoms of illness.

Taken from a conversation I had with Dr. Littlejohn, vets usually ask about the following things:

  • How long ago did your dog eat the food?
  • How much did they eat?
  • Are there any toxic ingredients?
  • How big is your dog?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your dog’s behaviors?
  • Is your dog drinking water?
  • Any signs of physical pain or discomfort? Vomit? Diarrhea? Blood?
  • What’s the color of your dog’s gums?

Every scenario is unique depending on how much they ate, what kind of Mackerel they ate, and how big your dog is. So there is no one size fits all answer.

If a small dog overeats Mackerel, the biggest risk is pancreatitis due to the high levels of fat. Furthermore, large dogs are more at risk of bloat.

*Important note: If you know your dog ate a dangerous amount for their size, go see a vet as soon as possible.

In this situation, all you can really do is wait to see how your dog responds. They may show symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased gas
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal enlargement/distension
  • Distress or inability to get comfortable

These symptoms usually go away after your dog’s digestive system has had time to process the food. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most common but usually go away after 24 hours. However, if they persist for more than 24-48 hours, see your veterinarian.

Always be cautious and observant of your dog after they’ve overeaten.

You can also use online services to speak directly with a vet for immediate help if you are concerned. Click here if you wish to talk to a vet online right now.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article provided some clarity if dogs can eat Mackerel.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are going to give your dog mackerel, make sure to:

  • Buy low mercury mackerel
  • Remove the skin and bones
  • Feed in moderation

And as always, if you are not sure about something, always err on the side of caution and speak to your veterinarian.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Can Dogs Eat Mahi Mahi? Benefits & Dangers (We Asked A Vet)

Can Dogs Eat Fish Sticks? Are Fish Sticks Safe For Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Fruit Snacks? (Incl. Motts & Welch’s Fruit Snacks)

Can Dogs Eat Truffles? Can Dogs Eat Truffle Oil? (We Asked Vets)