Can Dogs Eat Tuna? A Guide for Dog Owners

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6 min read
6 min read

Updated - Aug 28th, 2023

Key Points

  • Yes, dogs can eat tuna, but it should be given in moderation and prepared appropriately.
  • Tuna offers omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for a dog’s heart and skin health.
  • Some dogs might not like the strong flavor of tuna.
  • Overconsumption can lead to mercury poisoning; always monitor your dog’s tuna intake.

The ubiquitous tuna, a popular fish enjoyed by many, often sparks curiosity among dog owners. Can our four-legged friends savor this delicious treat? While the short answer is yes, there’s more to the story. Dive in as we explore the ins and outs of tuna for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna?

Yes, dogs can eat tuna. However, it’s essential to ensure it’s served in moderation and prepared correctly. Fresh tuna, in small amounts, can be an excellent treat for dogs. But, with everything, it’s about balance. Too much tuna can lead to mercury poisoning, especially in smaller breeds.

Understanding Tuna Poisoning in Dogs

Tuna contains mercury, and excessive consumption can lead to mercury poisoning in dogs. Symptoms include loss of coordination, impaired vision, and muscle weakness. It’s crucial to monitor the amount of tuna your dog consumes and opt for smaller fish like sardines or salmon, which typically have lower mercury levels.

Benefits of Tuna for Dogs

Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and can give your dog’s coat a nice shiny boost. It’s also a good protein source. However, it’s essential to ensure the tuna is fresh and not packed in oils or spices.

Tuna Recipes for Dogs

When offering tuna to your dog, opt for plain, cooked tuna. Avoid tuna with added spices, sauces, or those preserved in oil. Freshly cooked or canned tuna in water is the best choice. Below are quick recipes you can use to treat your dog.

Tuna Patties for Dogs


  • Fresh tuna (boneless) – 1 cup
  • Cooked quinoa or rice – 1/2 cup
  • One egg
  • A handful of finely chopped parsley


  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Shape them into small patties.
  • Cook on a non-stick skillet over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.
  • Let them cool before serving.

Portion Size:

  • Small dogs: 1 patty
  • Medium dogs: 2 patties
  • Large dogs: 3-4 patties

Tuna and Veggie Mix


  • Fresh tuna (boneless) – 1 cup
  • Cooked peas and carrots – 1/2 cup
  • Cooked rice – 1 cup


  • Flake the tuna into small pieces.
  • Mix tuna, peas, carrots, and rice in a bowl.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Portion Size:

  • Small dogs: 1/4 cup
  • Medium dogs: 1/2 cup
  • Large dogs: 3/4 to 1 cup

Best Ways to Serve Tuna to Your Dog

When serving tuna to your dog, ensure it’s boneless and not seasoned. Fresh tuna is the best option, but if you’re using canned tuna, ensure it’s in water and not oil. When serving tuna to your dog, it’s essential to ensure it’s safe and digestible:

  1. Bone-free: Whether you’re offering canned tuna or fresh, ensure it’s free from any bones.
  2. Plain: Avoid feeding tuna with added sauces, spices, or seasonings. If using canned tuna, opt for those packed in water rather than oil.
  3. Cooked: If you’re offering fresh tuna, make sure it’s thoroughly cooked. Raw fish can contain parasites harmful to dogs which can be fatal.
  4. Moderation: Tuna should be an occasional treat, not a regular meal. Due to concerns about mercury levels in fish, it’s best to limit tuna intake.

Mix with other foods: You can mix tuna with some plain rice or vegetables like carrots and peas, creating a wholesome, balanced meal or treat.

Tuna Toxicity in Dogs

While tuna offers various health benefits, it’s essential to be aware of its mercury content. High levels of mercury can be toxic to dogs, especially smaller breeds. Always ensure you’re feeding tuna in moderation and monitoring for any adverse reactions.

Tuna Allergy in Dogs

While tuna is generally safe for most dogs, some might develop an allergy or sensitivity to it. Tuna allergies in dogs are rare but not unheard of. Symptoms of a potential tuna allergy include excessive itching, red or inflamed skin, swelling, especially around the face and ears, and digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea. If you introduce tuna to your dog’s diet and notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to stop feeding them tuna immediately and consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on whether the symptoms are indeed due to a tuna allergy and advise on alternative protein sources.

Alternatives to Tuna

If you’re looking for alternatives to tuna for your dog, there are several other fish and protein sources that can be both nutritious and delicious for them:

  • Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat. Ensure it’s fully cooked and free from bones.
  • Sardines: These are small and usually bone-free, making them a safer fish option for dogs.
  • Chicken: A lean protein source that’s widely accepted and loved by dogs.
  • TurkCan Dogs Eat Turkey?ey: Another lean meat that’s often used in dog foods and treats.
  • Lamb: A more novel protein source, suitable for dogs that might have sensitivities to more common meats.

Always ensure that any fish or meat you offer is cooked without added salts, spices, or sauces.

Monitoring Dog’s Diet

It’s essential to keep a close eye on what your dog eats. While treats like tuna can be beneficial, they should not replace a balanced diet. Always consult with your vet before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet.


How Often Can I Feed My Dog Tuna?

Tuna should be given as an occasional treat, not a regular part of your dog’s diet. Offering a small portion once a week is generally considered safe, ensuring it doesn’t lead to any health issues.

Can Puppies Eat Tuna?

Yes, puppies can have tuna, but in smaller quantities than adult dogs. Always ensure the tuna is bone-free and plain. Introduce it slowly to monitor for any adverse reactions or allergies.

What About Tuna Bones?

Tuna bones can pose a choking hazard and might cause internal injuries. It’s essential to ensure that any tuna you offer your dog is thoroughly deboned. Canned tuna typically doesn’t contain bones.

Is Canned Tuna Okay for Dogs?

Canned tuna in water without added salts or spices is suitable for dogs. However, avoid tuna canned in oil or with added seasonings, as these can be harmful to your pet in large quantities.

Can Tuna Cause Allergies in Dogs?

Some dogs might develop an allergy or sensitivity to tuna, though it’s rare. Symptoms to watch for include itching, swelling, or digestive issues. If you suspect an allergy, consult your vet.

How Do I Know If My Dog Ate Too Much Tuna?

Overconsumption can lead to issues due to mercury in tuna. Signs to watch for include lethargy, loss of appetite, and coordination problems. If you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek quick veterinary advice.

Are There Any Tuna-Based Commercial Dog Foods?

Several commercial dog food brands offer tuna-based options. When choosing such products, always opt for reputable brands, and thoroughly check the ingredients to ensure they’re safe for your pet.

Bottom Line

While tuna can be a delightful treat for dogs, moderation is key. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are undeniable, but potential mercury content warrants caution. Always prioritize your dog’s health, and when in doubt, consult with a veterinarian.

Pumpkin Team

Pumpkin Team

Passionate Pet Experts & Parents
We are a team of writers, designers & product developers who all double as passionate (ok, obsessive) nerds of the pet world.
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