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Can Dogs Eat Canned Salmon? Is Canned Salmon Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

can dogs eat canned salmon

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How much does your dog want some of that salmon that you’ve just opened? Judging from those puppy dog eyes, probably quite a bit! But the question is, should you give him some of your canned salmon?

Is canned salmon safe for your dog to eat? The short answer is yes! Canned salmon is considered a safe snack, but there are a few points to be aware of.Divider 8

Canned Salmon and Your Health

canned salmon_Alesia.B_shutterstock
Image Credit By: Alesia.B, shutterstock

The healthiness of salmon has been well established, particularly its richness in omega-3 fatty acids, and as an excellent source of protein, potassium, selenium, antioxidants, and B vitamins.

Did you know that the antioxidant astaxanthin, which gives the salmon that pink hue, is linked to a number of health benefits?
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Protects the nervous system and brain from inflammation
  • Helps prevent skin damage, making for a more youthful look
  • Assists in weight control
  • Can improve brain health

Canned salmon is considered just as healthy as fresh salmon, and in some cases, it might even contain more omega-3 fatty acids than fresh fish. It is recommended to avoid salmon packed in oil as some of the omega-3 fatty acids are prone to exiting out of the fish and mingling with the packing oil. Since oil and water don’t mix, salmon packed in water are more likely to retain those essential fats.

In addition, canned salmon contains bones that, through the canning process, have become quite soft and, therefore, very safe to eat. These bones provide an extra source of calcium, and you won’t even notice them.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish, like salmon, two times a week as a part of a healthy diet for people.

So, we’ve established that canned salmon is healthy food for us humans, but what about our dogs?

salmon catch
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Canned Salmon and Your Dog

Salmon is a very healthy food for people and dogs.

Some of the health benefits of salmon for dogs include:
  • Extra source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium.
  • Weight loss for overweight dogs.
  • Minimize and control food allergies.
  • Contains collagen, which can contribute to the skin and bone health of senior dogs.
  • Helps senior dogs with brain function.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can contribute to healthy skin and coat.
  • Helps prevent cancer and slows down cancer growth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids also act as an anti-inflammatory. This supports dogs with arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Since canned salmon is as healthy as fresh fish, these health benefits are still relevant for you and your dog. However, there are a few cautions that come with feeding your dog canned salmon.Divider 4

The Downside for Dogs

The positives of canned salmon most definitely outweigh the negatives, but we still need to have a look at the challenges.


Canned salmon is available in both oil and water, but you should definitely avoid the oil-packed salmon. As already discussed, much of the healthy omega-3 fats tend to drain out of the fish when packed in oil. Also, excess fat can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, or can eventually develop into serious health problems such as pancreatitis.

Some of the signs of pancreatitis may include:
  • Severe dehydration
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse and shock on occasion

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.

High Salt Content

Canned salmon tends to be high in salt so you should opt for brands that are low sodium. Too much salt can lead to excess sodium, which will produce extreme thirst and might eventually cause sodium ion poisoning and kidney damage.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for if your dog ingested too much salt include:
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Tremors and seizures

If you observe your dog with any or all of these symptoms after eating canned salmon or any other salty food, take him to see your vet as soon as possible.

sad eyed dog
Image: Good Free Photos

Allergic Reaction

Dogs are just as susceptible to food allergies as people, and while fish allergies are rare, some dogs can develop allergies to fish.

These are some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to look out for:
  • Red and swollen skin
  • Excessive licking and scratching
  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Hot spots
  • Excessive gas and stomach cramps
  • Itchy skin and bald spots

If your dog has eaten his first canned salmon, keep an eye on him. If you notice any of these symptoms after a few hours, contact your vet.Divider 7


Salmon is a healthy and safe food for your dog, and it can contribute to many health benefits for your dog. Canned salmon has many of the same health benefits as fresh cooked salmon and is much more cost-effective and easier to prepare. It also has the additional bonus of soft salmon bones that are not only safe for your dog to eat but will provide him with extra calcium. Aim for salmon packed in water and is advertised as low sodium, and you’ll have a fantastic alternative to fresh salmon for your dog.

Observe your dog after giving him his first helping of salmon to ensure he doesn’t have any fish allergies. Be sure to have a discussion with your vet before adding anything new to your dog’s diet, just to ensure it’s safe to do so. As long as you follow these directions, canned salmon is absolutely safe for your dog to chow down on and enjoy.

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Featured image credit: Natalia Wimberley, shutterstock

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Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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