Can Dogs Eat Sardines? Is Sardines Safe or Bad for your Dog?

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The short answer to if dogs can eat sardines is yes if offered in moderation. Sardines offer your pet protein, nutrients, essential fatty acids, and vitamins that will support his whole body health.

But that being said, sardines can contain substances that can be dangerous for your pet.

Fresh raw sardines

Below, we will look at what is in sardines that can benefit your pet’s overall health, including their skin and coat, muscles, immune system, and more, as well as how best to feed your dog this fishy snack.

What are the Benefits of Sardines for Dogs?

Sardines can be an incredible addition to your canine’s diet. A few sardines in your dog’s weekly eating regime can help boost muscle condition, improve their immunity, protect against disease and even keep their coat looking luscious.

Here are a few of the benefits that sardines can have for dogs.

  1. Sardines can help dogs eat better: If your pup is particular about what he eats, adding a few delicious, smelly sardines to his dinners can assist him with wolfing down his food as most pets love the taste and the tempting smell.
  1. Sardines supplies your canine with protein: Three ounces of sardines contain around 20 g of protein that your pup needs to build strong muscles and for his overall prosperity. The protein in fish additionally offers essential amino acids for dogs.
  1. The essential fatty acids in sardines will keep your dog’s coat looking good: Sardines are an unbelievable source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help keep your pet’s skin and coat looking smooth and shimmering, and they also help support your dog’s immune system.
  1. Sardines can make training easier: Sardines are a delectable treat that can easily be given out while training your pet. Most pups love the taste, and small amounts of fish can fill in as an incredible motivational tool for dogs.

What nutrients in sardines are beneficial for dogs?

Happy purebred Golden Retriever puppy
Adorable purebred Golden Retriever puppy running on the field

Sardines are an excellent source of various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your pooch. That small can of stinky fish is a wealth of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients, and vitamins your dog needs.

Here are some things that sardines contain that will benefit your pet.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Sardines contain fatty acids that keep your dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling great and help boost the immune system. These fatty acids also help with brain and eye development and function.
  • Vitamin D: 3.5 ounces of sardines offers your dog 330.8 IU’s of Vitamin D, which equates to about 66.2 IU’s of vitamin D per fish. Vitamin D helps balance minerals in the system allowing for healthy bone growth and muscles.
  • Vitamin B12: Sardines contain between 9 ug and 8.94 ug of Vitamin B12 per 100g. Vitamin B12 isn’t created; it has to be consumed through your canine’s diet. This fundamental nutrient is significant for cell development, burning fat, and the proper operation of the sensory system.
  • Vitamin E: 100grams of sardines contains about 2.04 mg of Vitamin E. It helps support your dog’s immune system while bolstering heart and liver function and supporting the nervous system.
  • Vitamin B1: 100grams of sardines contains about 0.08mg of Vitamin B1 or Thiamine. Thiamine is needed for energy and to properly digest carbohydrates. 
  • Folic acid: 100grams of sardines contains 24ug of folate. This essential vitamin is essential in a dog’s immune system functioning while also critical for the growth of tissues. It also helps prevent defects during pregnancy and fetal development.

What are the Health Risks of Sardines for Dogs?

Black Boxador looking up
A Black Boxador dog looking up waiting for treats – Image source

Aside from their various benefits, sardines carry some health risks, mainly when you feed your dog too many.

Fortunately, however, sardines don’t have many of the dangers of other fish as they are small and short-lived, so mercury poisoning isn’t a risk, and their bones don’t pose a choking hazard like the bigger bones and shells of other seafood species. 

Here are some of the risks sardines pose to canines, especially if they are not served correctly.

  • Trouble with digestion: Sardines are very rich and thus can cause digestive upset to your pet. Overeating this food could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain for your pet.
  • Thiamine deficiency: Dogs that derive a large portion of their protein from sardines could end up suffering from a thiamine deficiency. This could have severe consequences for your pet.
  • Weight gain: 100grams of sardines contain 11.45g of fat. This fat content could cause your dog to put on too much weight. Excess fat in your dog’s diet could lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and joint problems. 
  • Sodium-ion poisoning: Sardines contain a lot of salt – between 414mg and 505mg per 100 grams. An excess of salt in your pet’s diet could cause sodium ion poisoning, which can lead to kidney and liver failure.

What’s in sardines that are harmful to dogs?

Pile of canned sardines
Closeup of canned sardines with tomato sauce on a plate

Although sardines are tiny, they contain some elements that could be potentially problematic for your dog if you regularly give him sardines.

Before feeding sardines to your dog, you need to be aware of what in sardines could cause a problem for your pet. 

1. Bones

Sardines are smaller than many fish, and as a result, they cannot be deboned. That said, their bones are typically very soft and not a problem for dogs to easily crunch and digest.

While sardine bones don’t pose as much of a problem for dogs as chicken or lamb bones or the bones of bigger fish, you still need to be careful.

Tiny dogs could potentially choke on the bones of sardines, or they could form a blockage or puncture in your pet’s internal digestive system.

2. High Fat

As mentioned, sardines contain quite a bit of fat. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause him to put on a lot of weight or develop diseases associated with extra weight gain, such as joint and hip problems.

3. High Salt

As discussed, sardines have a high salt content, and too much salt in your dog’s diet is not a good thing. Sardines can also contain additional seasonings like garlic and onion powder.

Onions and garlic contain chemicals known as thiosulfates, and these are toxic chemicals to dogs and should be avoided at all costs.

4. Tomato Sauce

Most canned sardine products that you buy off the shelf include tomato sauce in their recipes.

Store-bought tomato products like tomato sauce should not be given to your dog as they usually contain additives like garlic or onion, which can be toxic for your dog, as well as unhealthy levels of salt and sugar.

Is There Any Dog Breed Allergic to Sardines?

Sick Pomchi dog laying on the couch
A Pomchi dog laying sadly on the couch due to cough – Image source

No specific dog breed is allergic to sardines, but some individual dogs might develop an allergy to any food, such as sardines, very much like people do.

The protein content in fish can make it an allergen, and pups with an unfavorable reaction to sardines can get skin rashes, may sneeze, cough, or wheeze, and experience indigestion or an upset stomach.

As every dog is unique, have a go at providing your pet a small portion of sardines at the beginning. If your pooch has an adverse reaction, stop giving him sardines and contact your vet.

What Happens If Dogs Eat Too Many Sardines?

If your dog overeats sardines, he will most likely place on weight, which could provoke heart and lung troubles. Eating an exorbitant measure of sardines all at once could cause vomiting or gastrointestinal upset to your pet.

Additionally, dogs that consume a large amount of fish, even small fish like sardines, could be at risk of mercury poisoning.

Sharpei sniffing the sardine treat
Meet Bear, a Sharpei dog that loves to eat sardines – Image source

How Should Dogs Eat Sardines?

If you want to give your dog sardines, keep them in limited quantities. Fresh sardines are best for your dog, but of course, they are not as readily available as canned sardines.

If canned sardines are your only option, look for ones that add limited ingredients to the fish.

You’ll want to keep away from canned sardines items that contain a great deal of salt and sugar, which can agitate your canine’s stomach.

Canned sardines that contain scallions, chives, leeks, onions, and garlic should also be avoided as these ingredients are toxic for pets.

Are Sardines a Good Treat for Dogs?

Indeed, sardines can be used as a treat while training your pup. Most dogs love smelly food sources, and the scent of fish can be an extraordinary inspiration while training your pet.

Just try not to get carried away, particularly if your dog has a preexisting condition like obesity.

Dalmatian can't wait to eat dehydrated sardines
A Dalmatian dog sniffing the favorite dehydrated sardine – Image source

How Many Sardines to Feed Your Dog?

When feeding your dog sardines, try not to provide him an entire week’s worth of fish in one sitting. Instead, divide it up into smaller portions each day. 

To give you an idea of how many sardines a dog can eat, dogs that weigh less than 5 pounds can have just a quarter can of sardines each week, while dogs that weigh between 6 and 15 pounds can have half a can each week.

The dogs that can have an entire can of sardines a week are those that weigh between 26 and 50 pounds.

What percent of a dog’s diet should sardines make up?

Sardines can be combined with other dog treats, but all treats you offer your pet should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories.

When introducing sardines to your dog, start slow, only upping the quantity if your pet doesn’t show any adverse reactions to eating this fish.

When should dogs eat sardines?

No specific time of day would be better for feeding your pooch sardines. Fish or sardines items that have been explicitly prepared for your pet are okay to feed your dog.

You can prepare sardines as a topper for your pet or search for a kibble that incorporates sardines so you can offer this protein to your canine consistently.

When should dogs not eat sardines?

If your dog battles with weight issues, it’s best to avoid feeding him sardines. Also, while dogs need protein, a few dogs with kidney and liver problems can’t consume a ton of it.

Excessive protein in these dogs’ diets could lead to bladder stones. 

Likewise, as referenced, some dogs might be allergic to sardines. If so, you ought never to feed sardines to your pet.

What Types of Sardines are Safe For Your Dog To Eat?

Raw sardines on plate
Three raw sardines on a plate

The best type of sardines for your pet to eat is as natural as possible. Fresh sardines are best, but other types may also be okay, provided they have very few added ingredients.

1. Fresh or Raw Sardines

Fresh sardines are the best type to feed your dog as they won’t contain any harmful ingredients. Unlike many other fish varieties, fresh sardines can be served to your dog raw.

2. Canned Sardines 

As mentioned, you can feed your dog canned sardines, which are much more readily available than fresh sardines. They should, however, be free of any potentially harmful ingredients such as salt, sugar, seasoning, garlic, or onions.

3. Dried Sardines

Dried sardines can be fed to your dog, but they contain more salt than fresh or canned sardines.

Freeze-drying sardines, however, is one of the best and most natural forms of preserved sardines if you can’t get your hands on fresh fish.

4. Sardines in Brine

Brine is a high-concentration solution of salt and water. It’s best not to feed your dog sardines in brine due to the high salt content.

Instead, opt for sardines in oil which will also provide your pet with an added dose of omega-6 fatty acids.

What are the Food Recipes that Can Be Made from Sardines for Dogs?

Healthy sardines mix with veggies and meat meal
A healthy dog meal with sardines, veggies, fruit, and meat – Image source

You can have a go at making a sardine topper for your canine’s kibble at home. To do so, blend sardine with other pet-safe natural ingredients like vegetables.

You can also add yogurt, oats, and rice to the combination or incorporate a few other good proteins like turkey and egg.

What Foods Can or Cannot Be Mixed with Sardines for Dogs?

Spanish style sardines in can
Delicious canned sardines in natural oil

While cooking sardines for your dog, try to keep them plain. A few pet individuals choose to add veggies, starches, or other proteins to sardines to make an intriguing dinner for their pets.

Coming up next are a few things you can and can’t blend in with your pet’s sardines.

1. (Canned sardines in) water

Most canned sardine products marketed as sardines in water are in a saltwater or brine solution. This canning method adds quite a lot of salt to the fish, and as you know, too much salt in your dog’s diet can be dangerous.

2. (Canned sardines in) natural oils such as olive oil or coconut oil

Dogs can eat plant-based oils such as olive oil or coconut oil, and sardines canned in this manner are acceptable for your dog to consume.

Just be aware of the extra calories that these oils can add. Also, these oils are generally relatively high in omega-6. While dogs need this essential fatty acid, too much could cause inflammation.

3. Tomato Sauce

As mentioned, dogs should not be fed any products that include tomato sauce in their recipes. Tomato sauce typically includes alliums like onions and garlic that can be toxic to dogs.

4. Eggs

Eggs high in protein, fatty acids, and vitamins are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. They are also one of the only complete sources of amino acids and, for this reason, are also included in many commercial dog food recipes.

Are foods made with sardines safe for dogs?

Keep an eye out when offering your pet products made from sardines that are meant for human consumption, like canned fish, fish pies, and fish fingers. These items are brimming with salt, sugar, and artificial substances and typically contain heaps of extra fats and calories that your pet doesn’t require in his diet.

Are dog foods made with sardines healthier for dogs?

Sardines offer many advantages for your pet. However, if your dog is eating a diet that already gives him a lot of protein and a balanced amount of fats and carbohydrates, there is no reason why you need to provide him with extra sardines as treats.

On the off chance that your dog doesn’t eat plain cooked sardines, you can look for pet food that contains this nutritional component in their formula, though even that isn’t 100% crucial for your pet to lead a healthy life.

How Much Sardines Can Dogs Eat?

Ensure to feed any sardine treats to your dog in moderation and keep to the 10% rule. This suggests that any treats, like sardines, should only account for a humble part of your pet’s daily calories. 

The specific amount of sardines your dog can eat will depend on his body condition, size, and energy level, but to give you something to work off, remember one can of sardines offers about 191.4 calories.

What are the Dog Food Recipes that Contain Sardines?

Handmade sardines dog treat
A tasty handmade sardines dog treat – Image source

Want to try making a delicious treat for your dog at home? You can try making him one of these recipes that include sardines as a protein source.

  1. Sardine crisps
  2. Homemade fishy dog treats
  3. Sardine and sweet potato pupcakes

What are the dog food products that contain sardines?

Are you looking to add more sardines to your dog’s diet? Here are some commercial dog foods that feature sardines as a primary ingredient.

  1. Lotus Oven-Baked Small Bites Sardine & Herring Recipe
  2. Holistic Select Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon Meals Recipe
  3. Nature’s Logic Canine Sardine Meal Feast Recipe

If you’re not quite ready to change over your dog’s food, you could try buying him a delicious commercial dog treat, topper, or a fish supplement that already includes sardines in the list of ingredients.

Here are some commercial dog treats and supplements made with sardines.

  1. Iceland Pure Pet Products Unscented Sardine & Anchovy Oil Supplement
  2. Lotus Soft-Baked Sardine and Herring Grain-Free Dog Treat
  3. Primal Turkey & Sardine Formula Nuggets

Can Dogs Eat Derivatives of Sardines?

Beagle dog waiting for its meal
A hungry Beagle dog wondering where’s the meal – Image source

Sadly, our pets incline to eat what they shouldn’t. If your canine gets hold of canned sardines or sardine products not made for dogs, make a point to watch your dog eagerly for any signs of distress and contact your vet if necessary.

That said, all parts of the sardines are acceptable for your dog to eat, so he should be okay.

What diseases in dogs can sardines help?

You can take a stab at offering a dog a smidgen of sardines if your dog experiences allergies to other protein sources.

Furthermore, because of the great degrees of omega-three and omega-six fatty acids, sardines can assist with bringing down cholesterol levels and improve coat conditions in dogs that suffer from skin problems.

What Other Seafoods Can Dogs Eat?

Pomeranian puppy waiting for the salmon meal
A Pomeranian puppy waiting for the delicious salmon dinner – Image source

In addition to the sardines, dogs can eat most white fish, provided it has been deboned and cooked correctly.

In general, you want to opt for wild-caught fresh or ocean fish over farmed fish which can contain antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones. Here are some other kinds of seafood dogs can also eat.

  • Salmon is a protein that is associated with some first-class canine food products. It’s a sublime resource of fatty acids and doesn’t have many of the same dangers associated with other seafood products as far as your pet is concerned.
  • Flounder is also a great source of protein and unsaturated fats for your fluffy sidekick.
  • Herring and Anchovies are fantastic sources of omega-3 to help keep your pet’s skin and coat in top condition.
  • Krill Oil is rich in fatty acids and gives your pet the benefits of fish with none of the risks.
  • Seaweed is considered a superfood. Just be sure it has been prepared for eating and not just lifted off the seaside.

So, Can My Dog Eat Sardines?

As you know, your dog can benefit from eating sardines which will boost his immune system and keep his skin and coat in good condition. That is if you feed your dog fresh, plain sardines.

You need to be sure you don’t get carried away while feeding your pooch sardines, as an excessive amount could be a hazard for your pet due to the high fat and salt content of these tiny fish.

Does your pet adore sardines? We’d very much want to hear about your shaggy relative and how he loves his sardines in the comments beneath.

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