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Can Dogs Eat Flounder? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQs

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

newly caught flounder fish

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs have been living beside humans for a very long time. Therefore, they have evolved to eat a lot of the same things as humans. Fish falls into this category. While dogs don’t usually catch fish by themselves, they can eat fish if fed them. In fact, fish provides lean protein, as well as many omega fatty acids.

Therefore, flounder can be a healthy snack for your dog.

However, flounder isn’t all good. You cannot feed your dog just flounder, as it doesn’t meet all the nutritional needs of your canine. Furthermore, flounder can contain mercury and other chemicals, as does practically all seafood.

For this reason, flounder can be an occasionally positive snack. However, you shouldn’t feed your dog too much flounder.

The Benefits of Flounder

Flounder contains a lot of lean protein, and dogs need quite a bit of protein to thrive.1 While most dog food does contain a suitable amount of protein, adding more protein usually isn’t a bad thing for most dogs. Therefore, it’s a great snack that isn’t high in sugar and carbohydrates—which dogs don’t need a ton of.

Flounder isn’t a common allergen. Usually, dogs become allergic to proteins that they eat often, such as chicken and beef. Therefore, flounder can be a good protein for dogs that have allergies. Many allergen-friendly dog foods have fish as their main protein source.

All fish, including flounder, also contains omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids benefit dogs in a variety of different ways. For instance, omega fatty acids can help with joint issues,2 and supplementation is often recommended for dogs with arthritis. Furthermore, omega fatty acids may even help with aggression.3

Therefore, flounder does seem to be a positive snack for many dogs. You can supplement dogs with flounder if they need more protein than their dog food provides. Because it is so lean, it can also be a useful option for obese dogs.

raw flounder fillet
Image Credit: page frederique, Shutterstock

Possible Negative Consequences of Flounder

However, flounder isn’t the best option for all dogs.

Like all sea fish, flounder does contain mercury and other chemicals. However, flounder doesn’t contain as much mercury as other fish out there so it is a better option than most fish. Still, you preferably don’t need to feed your dog high levels of flounder. Doing so could cause your dog’s mercury levels to rise.

Furthermore, raw fish isn’t a good option. Flounder should only be fed when cooked. Raw fish can contain food-borne pathogens like listeria. Dogs can become sick from these bacteria, just like people. However, there is also a chance that you’ll get sick by feeding your dog raw fish. The dog can leave pieces on the floor, which can infect those that touch them (even if they are very small). Children are most at-risk, as they tend to touch the floor much more often than people.

You shouldn’t give any flounder with fish bones as they can be a choking hazard. Furthermore, they can also puncture a dog’s stomach and intestinal lining. Therefore, they can be extremely dangerous for many canines.

Sometimes, flounder can upset a dog’s stomach as dogs can be sensitive to new foods. Therefore, if you want to introduce your dog to flounder, you should start with a very small amount. This allows your dog to get used to the food addition with minimal health problems.

When preparing the flounder, you should be cautious about involving any added oils or seasonings. Some of these extra oils and seasonings are toxic to dogs. Even if they aren’t toxic to dogs, they can upset your dog’s stomach so it’s a better option to use minimal oils and little to no seasonings.

dog wanting to eat salmon
Image Credit: O_Lypa, Shutterstock

Other Fish That Are Safe for Dogs

There are many other fish that are suitable for dogs, as well. These fish are a great option to use instead of flounder, though flounder is also a great option. Diversifying your dog’s diet can be helpful.

  • Whitefish
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Whiting
  • Light tuna fish

These fish have lower mercury levels, and they are less likely to contain parasites. Therefore, they are the best options for most dogs.

Fish Dogs Cannot Eat

There are some fish that dogs cannot eat, including some types of flounder. Here are some fish that should always be avoided:

  • Shark
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Albacore tuna (canned)

Dogs are much smaller than people (usually), so they are much more sensitive to mercury. Therefore, these fish should be avoided altogether.

two raw fresh swordfish
Image Credit: Picture Partners, Shutterstock

Furthermore, these larger types of fish can have more parasites. These parasites can be given to your dog if they consume the meat.

We do recommend avoiding farm-raised fish too. These fish can be fed lower-quality ingredients, which does affect the nutrients they provide. Furthermore, they tend to be very overstocked, which leads to waste and chemicals building up in the water. These chemicals can be passed onto your feline.

Furthermore, many fisheries use antibiotics to prevent the fish from getting sick, which is quite common when you crowd so many fish together. These antibiotics often stay in the fish when they are prepared for consumption.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Fish?

We don’t recommend feeding your dog fried fish as these fish are quite high in fats. Not only are these bad for dogs in high amounts, but the oil can upset a dog’s stomach. Gastrointestinal upset is practically guaranteed. Plus, excessive consumption can lead to serious stomach problems, like pancreatitis.

Furthermore, many fried fish recipes utilize seasonings. Some of these may be toxic to dogs, such as onion and garlic. Therefore, you should avoid feeding your dog any fried fish, especially if you aren’t the one that made it.


Flounder is a lean protein that is a suitable snack for many dogs. It isn’t toxic and contains many nutrients that dogs may benefit from, including omega fatty acids. It can also be a great main ingredient in a dog food. Very few dogs are allergic to flounder, so it may be a particularly good choice for dogs that are prone to allergies.

However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Flounder does contain mercury, like all fish. Therefore, it isn’t always the best choice for exclusive feeding. Feeding too much flounder can make your dog develop a buildup of mercury, which can cause health issues. Furthermore, it can upset some dog’s stomachs, especially when they first eat it. Therefore, you should introduce this food slowly.

Featured Image Credit: URRaL, Shutterstock

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