Fish is an excellent source of protein and other vitamins and minerals which are essential for your dog’s health and development. You can either feed your dog fish as a treat or as a diet supplement, depending on how much nutrients your dog requires at the moment.
However, our focus is more on fish sticks than it is on fish. If fish is safe and even beneficial to dogs health, can we say the same for fish sticks? Find out for yourself how fish sticks are made and just how safe fish sticks are for dogs, all in this article. Let’s go!
Can Dogs Eat Fish Sticks
Technically, a few bites of fish sticks will not hurt your dog but the question is, are they safe for dogs to eat? They do not provide dogs with so much health benefits and are not considered one of the safe human foods for dogs.
Fish sticks are highly processed foods and are not very healthy for both humans and dogs. Even though dogs can eat fish sticks, they should not. First let’s look deeply into how this food is made. Here is how fish sticks are made:
The most common species of fish used to make fish sticks is white fish. Wondering what white fish is? Hake, Pollock, Cod, Haddock and the likes are all in the white fish family. So any one of these fish types is selected, the fish is chopped and grinded, including the bones. After this, the grinded fish is battered and then frozen.
Fish sticks can be deep-fried or oven-baked while still frozen, without first allowing it to melt. However, this is very unhealthy as sudden melting of the frozen fish sticks or any frozen food at all can bring about bacteria. This goes to emphasize how unhealthy this food is.
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Just so you know, frozen fish sticks are quite cheap when buying them from the frozen food aisle in stores. Their cost clearly indicates their poor quality.
What Are Fish Sticks Made Of?
Most of the food brands that produce fish sticks use seasonings and other additives that are toxic to dogs. This is what makes us wary of dogs eating fish sticks. Some of the seasonings used in fish sticks are garlic, onions and high amount of salt in the breading.
Onion and garlic are highly toxic to dogs and can cause issues like diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting and anemia. Excessive salt is harmful for dogs and can result in salt poisoning, seizures and extreme dehydration, even humans.
Fish sticks also contain too much oil, soaked up in bread, which can be very undesirable and can lead to bloating, indigestion, obesity and pancreatitis as a result of excessive fat.
How To Prepare Dog-friendly Fish Sticks
Determining if a fish is safe for your dog’s consumption is not just about what type of fish it is but more so about how it is prepared. As we earlier mentioned, although it is better and wiser to avoid feeding your dog any fish sticks, a few bites of fish sticks will not hurt your dog but if you must feed your dog some fish sticks, here is how to:
- Use healthier fish options like mackerel and salmon instead of white fish. White fish has very low quality and nutritional value compared to most other species of fish.
- Make a point of removing all the bones from the fish before cooking it for your dog.
- Cook your dog’s fish sticks plainly or with very little seasons. Use only a pinch of salt and completely avoid onion and garlic.
- Cook your meals separately from dog’s meals. This is because not all human seasons are safe for dogs’ consumption like onions and garlic. Make sure you do not feed your dog any remnants from your plate.
- Preferably bake your fish sticks in an oven. Deep-fried fish sticks usually contains too much oil and this can upset your dog’s gastrointestinal tract or cause pancreatitis.
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Types Of Fish For Dogs
There are very many types of fishes but we would be listing them in two categories. First, the types of fish that are safe for dogs consumption and the types that are not. Let’s begin. Safe fish for dog consumption includes:
Herring, Whiting, Hank, Cod, Lake Whitefish, Salmon, Canned light tuna, Flounder, Arctic char, Catfish, Walleye, amongst others.
These types of fish provide your dog with lots of health benefits and have little or no parasites so you can feed them to your dog. They also have relatively low levels of tissue mercury. Generally, young, small-sized species of fish are healthy for dogs.
Unsafe fish for dog consumption includes:
Swordfish, Canned Albacore tuna, Tilefish, Shark, King mackerel.
Unlike the fishes in the safe category, these fishes mentioned above have ridiculously high levels of tissue mercury, contain lots of parasites and are typically a larger species of fish. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advise against feeding your dog any of these unsafe types of fish.
Fishes raised in farms are equally advised to be avoided as these fishes are at a higher risk of having very dangerous levels of toxins and antibiotics. The quality of food they get are also likely industry-regulated.
Health Benefits Of Fish To Dogs
There are some important benefits that fish provides to dog that are essential for their sound health. Here are some of the health benefits that fish provides to dogs:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Beneficial for dogs suffering from arthritis, bowel or joint diseases; a natural anti-inflammatory nutrient; improves kin health.
- Protein – Beneficial for dogs with food allergies, to minimize and generally manage the allergies.
- Collagen – Improves skin health and aids stronger bones in older dogs. Collagen is gotten from fish skin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Fish Sticks?
Absolutely not! Dogs cannot and should not eat frozen fish sticks. They are contained with harmful substances that will do your dog no good such as salt, preservatives, some other harmful seasonings and even parasites.
All of these substances can lead to severe health issues for your dog, as dogs have very sensitive stomachs. For this reason, frozen fish sticks should be avoided.
What Happens If Dogs Eat Fish Sticks?
Dogs can eat fish stick quite alright but if they consume fish sticks in large quantities, it can be poisonous. Taking in too much fish sticks means taking in lots of salt, accumulated tissue mercury levels, carbohydrates, bad fats, preservatives and empty calories.
These can lead health issues in your dog such as poisoning, weight gain, vomiting and diarrhea, amongst others. If your dog happens to eat too much fish sticks accidentally, immediately to consult your veterinary doctor to get him checked and treated.
The only type of fish that you can feed to your dog either raw or cooked is the tuna fish, all others must be cooked as they are very likely to contain parasites like salmonella. Even the tuna fish should be consumed in moderation, including all other safe types of fish for dogs.
Whatever you do, fish sticks cannot be a part of your dog’s regular diet. As with all other human foods, even though they are safe for your dog’s consumption, you should only feed them small amounts per time, preferably as an occasional treat.
Now that you know all about fish, fish sticks and dogs, you know what to and what not to feed your dog.