Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Linda Richard
Dogs like to eat various foods and fish are certainly included. Which brings the question of can dogs have smoked salmon or does it pose any health risks? After all, we know salmon is incredibly healthy for people right? So, it stands to reason that it’d be healthy for dogs too.
But while salmon does bring a lot of benefits to the table, there are a few major problems you’ll have to consider. So, can dogs have smoked salmon or is another cooking method more advisable? In fact, is any cooking method good enough or is salmon just bad for dogs? Let’s go over the specifics below.
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Can Dogs Have Smoked Salmon?
The question of can dogs eat smoked salmon is closely related to whether they can eat raw salmon. The reason being that salmon itself is not problematic for dogs but if the meat is raw or undercooked it can contain certain parasites that can be very dangerous for your canine. The same does apply for people too as raw salmon for sushi needs to be very carefully stored and prepared.
So, while we will cover the exact problems of raw salmon next, as far as smoked salmon is concerned – it’s generally considered “undercooked”. The smoking process just isn’t enough to reliably remove most of the potential bacteria and parasites in the salmon meat.
Additionally, the smoking process does introduce an additional problem – overly high sodium (salt) levels which can have long-term negative effects on your dog’s health. A single bite of salty fish likely won’t do anything significant but regular and high sodium intake can lead to increased risks of:
What Are The Health Risks Of Raw and Smoked Salmon To Your Dog?
So, Is salmon good for dogs when it’s raw? As we noted above, the problem with raw or undercooked salmon isn’t the fish itself but the parasites and bacteria that often lurk within it. As for the issue of “Raw salmon for dogs – is it toxic?” – no, it isn’t. But a couple of the most common health issues you can expect due to bacteria and parasites include:
- Salmon poisoning disease – the bacteria Neorickettsia helminthoeca often causes salmon poisoning disease. It is especially common in the North-American Pacific Northwest – Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver Island. The disease can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, lymph nodes enlargement, and death within a couple of weeks if left untreated.
- Flukes – elongated and worm-like parasites, flukes come in several different sub-species and typically infect the liver of the victim. A flukes infection is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Suffice it to say that risking your dog’s health and life with raw or smoked salmon is just not worth it. Your pooch will be more than happy to eat pre-cooked canned salmon or salmon that you’ve cooked yourself. Letting your dog eat off the human table is a mistake anyway, for this and for many other reasons.
Read more about: Can Dogs Have Cherry Fruits and Juice Or Are They Poisonous?
So, can dogs have smoked salmon? Technically, yes, it’s at least a little safer than raw salmon. However, it’s still far from safe or recommended for your canine. Instead, your best bet is to go with a pre-cooked canned salmon or to cook it yourself according to specifications. We’ll cover those below.
How Should Salmon Be Prepared So That It’s Safe For Your Dog?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, fish should be cooked at a minimum of 145° F or 63° C. It is worth noting that many smoked types of meat are prepared at higher temperatures than that. Most experts recommend smoking salmon at 225° F / 107° C and we’d recommend the same. However, many commercial smoked salmons are not prepared that way which makes them a bad idea.
As long as your preferred cooking method has reached 145° F or 63° C, however, or even 200° F or 93° C for extra safety, the cooked fish should be safe for your dog. Of course, that is unless you’ve added some undesirable or toxic ingredients to it yourself.
Naturally, deboning and skinning the fish is also essential. Fishbones can cause a lot of problems for your dog by getting stuck in its mouth, throat, or internal organs. Fish skin is less problematic but it can upset your dog’s stomach if you’re not careful.
So, What Recipes Can You Prepare For Your Dog With Salmon?
Just mix a 14.75 ounce (400 ml) can of salmon (with its water) together with two eggs and a couple of cups of flour. Then spread the mixture in a baking tray and bake it in the pre-heated oven for ~30 minutes.
If you want to be fancy you can also add other safe ingredients such as a bit of low-fat sour cream, shredded carrots, dried dill, a bit of bread, dried parsley, and more. Depending on the quantities and ratios, you can even make something like this a main course and not just a treat. In that case, the salmon would be there just to add to the taste, not to be the main ingredient.
However you choose to prepare it, however, the only crucial part (apart from avoiding other toxic ingredients) is to choose quality salmon and to cook it well.
What are the nutritional benefits of feeding properly cooked salmon to your dog?
Properly prepared salmon can give your dog a lot of health benefits, very similar to its benefits to humans. Some of those include:
- Better skin and fur health
- Resistance to skin irritations and allergies
- Stronger immune system
- Better brain function
- Reduced joint pains and arthritis symptoms
- Better joint mobility
So, Can Dogs Have Smoked Salmon?
Only if you’re sure that it’s been smoked properly and at high enough temperatures. Otherwise – it’s ill-advised as you can literally get your dog killed. If you’re not 100% certain the salmon has been cooked well – either cook it yourself or avoid it.