Can Dogs Eat Catfish: Reliable Guide To Benefits Of Fish

Dogs need a varied diet and it’s up to you to prepare that for them. Introducing fish into the diet can offer a delightful variation, yet the array of fish options can be quite extensive. So can dogs eat catfish?

Yes, dogs can eat catfish in moderation. This fish is filled with nutrients that dogs need. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential issues it may pose for dogs and to be well informed on its proper preparation

Which variety of fish is known as catfish?

The catfish, characterized by its whisker-like barbels, is a freshwater species with a global presence and numerous variations. Among these, the Channel catfish stands out as a widely favored variety, commonly inhabiting ponds and rivers.

Anglers frequently encounter the Blue catfish, recognized for its bluish-gray hue and spirited resistance when caught. Notably, the Flathead catfish is a small fish distinguished by its uniquely flattened head.

Are there any nutritional benefits of catfish for dogs?

This fish has many advantages over some foods as it is known to be a good source of a few nutrients that dogs really need. 

Omega 3 fatty acid

The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil are useful for the dog’s heart and brain health. This essential fatty acid also plays a significant role in mitigating inflammation and maintaining a shiny coat. Catfish is also quite low in cholesterol and calories, meaning that it’s good for dogs that need to lose weight.

High proteins and nutrients

This food is filled with protein, an essential nutrient for a dog’s muscle development. Vitamin D and B12 are additionally featured to support bone health and healthy skin. This fish is rich in essential minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Senior dogs can benefit a lot from this food because of its nutrients.

Low in mercury

Besides all the nutritional positives, this fish is also cheap to buy and easy to prepare. Catfish, being a freshwater fish, is recognized for its low mercury content. “Mercury can accumulate in fish through the food chain from bottom sediments, so large predatory fish (those that eat other fish) and long-lived fish tend to have higher concentrations of mercury.”, according to the Queensland Government.

What are the potential risks of feeding catfish to dogs?

Even though it offers many benefits, this fish can also be problematic for dogs if not prepared properly.

Choking hazard

Fish have a lot of bones that need to be removed properly before feeding them to your dog. They are small and brittle, and can easily get stuck along the digestive system of dogs. Because they are sharp, they may damage the intestinal lining causing digestive problems.

Some dogs don’t know when to stop eating, even if they experience problems. If the dog eats too fast, it might inhale a fish bone, thus leading to choking. Breathing difficulties and panic will occur very fast, so the dog will need help from you. Knowing the Heimlich maneuver will help you in this situation.

Parasites and Allergies

Properly preparing catfish for dogs is very important if you want to avoid any complications. If you feed the fish raw, you are exposing your dog to developing an infection. Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria which can be detrimental to the dog’s health. Besides causing severe gastrointestinal issues, it can also be transmitted from the dog to its owners. Dr. Walter Grünberg explains salmonellosis in dogs in the following way”

In dogs and cats, clinical disease takes the form of acute diarrhea with septicemia and is seen occasionally in puppies and kittens or in adults stressed by concurrent disease. Pneumonia may be evident. When the enteritis becomes more chronic, abortion may occur in pregnant dogs, cats, cattle, horses, and sheep, and live progeny may have enteritis as well.

There are also dogs that can develop an allergic reaction when they come into contact with fish. Stomach and skin issues are common in this situation.

How to include catfish in a dog’s diet?

Because your dog should not eat raw fish, you should first cook it properly. Avoid adding seasonings or spices as dogs are very sensitive to them. Instead, feeding the fish plain is the way to go. Serve the cooked in moderate amounts to avoid overfeeding the dog.

In addition to giving your dog catfish, try to combine it with some boiled vegetables like carrots and peas. You can feed your dog green beans or other veggies that are safe for dogs. Small amounts of rice can also accompany the meal.

Is there anything you should do if your dog eats fish by accident?

If you want to avoid feeding catfish to dogs, but your dog eats it without your permission, you should stay calm. Take the fish away from its reach and try to figure out how much it had to eat. Monitor the dog for immediate signs of choking or digestive issues.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to call your vet and ask for advice. Explain the situation and mention if the fish was raw or cooked. Your vet will then give you advice on what to do next. If the situation requires it, they will call you to their office for further treatment of your dog.

Are there alternatives to catfish for dog meals?

Catfish is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts, but there are other foods you can try giving to your dog. Protein-rich meats including chicken and turkey should be offered plain and cooked. You can cook chicken hearts for your dog and change up its diet while providing a lot of nutrients. 

If you are adamant about giving your dog fish, there are other dog-friendly fish options. Salmon is a great option for dogs as it’s filled with useful nutrients. Tuna is another great fish, but you should be careful as it can contain a lot of mercury. Your dog can also eat trout and mackerel.

Can dogs eat fried catfish?

Allowing dogs to eat fried catfish is not recommended. The high calories and saturated fats will cause the dog to gain weight. Stomach problems and pancreatitis can also occur. Pancreatitis will appear as severe tummy pain and lethargy.

Dog looking for fish in a lake

Final thoughts – Can dogs eat catfish?

If you’re interested in introducing a new fish food option to your dog, you might consider offering them catfish. This fish is known to be a good source of many healthy nutrients that dogs need.

However, you should be careful when giving your pet catfish. Catfish bones can easily cause problems, so your main goal would be to remove them before cooking. Fish skin is also not healthy for dogs. The raw catfish should be cooked thoroughly because raw fish can get contaminated with some parasite. Besides fresh fish, fried fish is also not recommended.

Steaming the fish alongside some veggies or carbs can end up being a great meal. If you don’t like the effects catfish has on dogs, you can try offering other types of fish like salmon and tuna.


Is it okay to feed my puppy catfish?

Yes, puppies can eat this food without developing any health problems. However, their digestive systems are more sensitive to food so you should be careful of how much you offer.

Should catfish be the main protein source for your dog?

Catfish feeding for dogs is healthy and can be a part of your dogs diet. But dogs like variety and should not only eat one thing. Try giving different types of protein sources like chicken and turkey. Many variations of commercial dog food include high protein amounts as well.

Can dogs eat clams?

Yes, clams are fine for dogs to eat. Just make sure you cook them thoroughly and avoid adding seasonings. Keep in mind that you need to remove the shells before feeding too.

Can you use dogs for fishing?

Dogs can be great companions for fishermen. You can also use dog or cat food as catfish bait. A good fish dog includes breeds like Poodles and Australian Shepherds.

Can dogs eat canned fish?

You can feed canned fish to your dog in moderation. Tuna and salmon often come in a can and contain all the needed nutrients for dogs. Be careful of how much you offer because it may be filled with salt which is toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat catfish skin?

No, it’s best to remove the fish skin before serving catfish to dogs. The fish skin can be high in fat and may not be easily digestible. To make it easier, remove it even before cooking.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

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