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Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin? What You Need To Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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As most dog owners know, dogs aren’t the pickiest eaters. Most dogs will eat plenty of things that a majority of humans wouldn’t touch. Of course, you’d never feed something to your pooch that might pose the possibility of harming them. You’re even researching to see if salmon skin is safe to feed your dog, which is what every discerning dog owner should do. Luckily, salmon skin is safe for your canine to consume; however, there are some caveats you need to be aware of.

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Moderate the Intake

Fish is a fatty food and salmon is no exception. While it’s not bad for dogs to eat fat, you always have to be careful with how much fat you’re feeding a dog. Dogs can gain quickly when introduced to a high-fat diet. Because salmon is so high in fat, it can contribute to weight gain very easily.

But a high-fat diet is more dangerous than just posing the possibility of weight gain. Dogs that regularly over-consume fat can develop pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening. In fact, a dog eating one large helping of fatty food can even develop this issue because of the inflammation of the pancreas when they consume high levels of fat.

Salmon is also very high in mercury. Again, in small doses, this isn’t going to pose a health risk for your pooch. But if you feed them salmon skin too often, the mercury levels can buildup in their system, causing mercury poisoning, which absolutely is a threat to their health.

Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Ensure the Salmon Skin is Fully Cooked

Salmon often contains parasites. They don’t bother us because we generally cook the salmon. But dogs can be even more susceptible to these parasites since salmon is likely not a regular part of their diet that they’ve had a chance to get acclimated to.

Because of this, it’s vital that you ensure any salmon skin you feed to your dog is completely and thoroughly cooked through. You’ll also want to make sure that there are no large, hard scales that could scratch your dog’s throat or potentially cause a choking hazard.

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Avoid Additives and Flavorings

Whenever people eat salmon, they almost always season and flavor it prior to cooking so that it tastes amazing. Rarely does anyone cook salmon completely devoid of flavors and seasonings. But if you plan on feeding the salmon skin to your dog, you’re going to need to change this up.

Many seasonings are packed full of sodium, which isn’t great for your dog. To be fair, they need some sodium in their diets, but sodium affects dogs more than humans, so they can’t eat anywhere near as much of it. For a healthy, 33-pound dog, the upper limit of sodium for a day’s intake is a mere 100 mg. Most humans are eating 10 to 20 times as much sodium as that each day.

You also need to avoid any type of flavoring that can be harmful to dogs. For instance, garlic and onion are both toxic to dogs, though humans use them for flavor all the time, especially with salmon. If you cooked the salmon with garlic, onion, or other seasonings and flavors, you probably shouldn’t feed the skin to your dog.

young hungry white labrador retriever dog puppy smells and eats a fish head_manushot_shutterstock
Image Credit: Manushot, Shutterstock

Are There Benefits to Feeding Your Dog Salmon Skin?

While the fats in salmon skin need to be fed to your dog sparingly, they can also provide some healthy benefits. Because salmon is made up of so much omega-3 fatty acid, it can actually have an anti-inflammatory effect for your dog in small doses. Furthermore, the fatty acids are great for your dog’s coat, helping to keep it vibrant and healthy.

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As long as you’ve cooked up the salmon skin with no additives, flavorings, or seasonings, it’s perfectly safe to feed to your dog in small doses. It can even benefit them to some degree, thanks to the high levels of omega fatty acids. But there’s so much fat in salmon skin that if you overfeed it to your pooch, it could contribute to weight gain and even pancreatitis. Plus, the mercury levels in fish skin are high, which could pose a potential problem as well. Just be sure to feed salmon skin to your dog in moderation and you should be safe.

Featured image credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

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