Cooked wild salmon meat as well as scaled wild salmon skins are excellent addition to their regular meals as they are healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These support your dog's immune system and help him to maintain a healthy, shiny coat. However, there are a few feeding guidelines you should always follow.
Though you may may be a big fan of sushi, unless you spare no expense for your pooch and plan on only offering him the absolute finest sashimi grade raw fish from a reputable source, you should only feed him cooked salmon. Raw salmon (even human grade) can transmit a dangerous parasite called nanophyetus salmincola (NS for short) to dogs. Most importantly, this parasite only has a serious affect on dogs (though it may give you a mild stomachache) so it is possible for a restaurant to be a bit lax with it, and let some infected pieces of salmon slip by as it won't cause serious harm to people. On the other hand, the effects of "salmon poisoning," on your dog include diarrhea, rapid weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, enlarged nymph nodes, anorexia, and dehydration. In short, don't take the chance, even with human grade raw fish. Always cook before offering to Fido as a snack!
Types of Salmon
Retailers often label wild-caught salmon as "Pacific salmon" (Oncorhynchus). This genus consists of seven different species, which all die shortly after spawning. The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a single-species genus, typically farm-raised and capable of spawning repeatedly. We urge you to opt for wild-caught salmon (for both you AND your pet) as it generally contains less contaminants, pollutants, calories, sodium and cholesterol than farm-raised salmon. Wild fish also harbor fewer cancer-causing PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyl), heavy metal and mercury levels than their farm-raised cousins.
Important: Though salmon can be tasty and nutritious snack if fed properly, dogs cannot subsist on fish alone as it doesn't fulfill their basic carbohydrate and vitamin requirements for optimal health.
Quick and Dirty Tips: Gross Things Dogs Do
Healthy Pets With Dr. Karen Becker: Warning -- The Very Food Your Pet Is Addicted to May Contain Deadly Ethoxyquin
Roy's Fish & Seafood: Recipes From the Pacific Rim
Cesar's Way: Dog Approved People Food
Dog Channel: Cook Salmon Before Feeding to Dogs
Northeast Fisheries Science Center: What Is the Difference Between the Atlantic Salmon and the Pacific Salmon?
The World's Healthiest Foods: Should I Be Concerned About mercury in Fish and what Fish Are Safe to Eat?
Dr. Gourmet: Chef Tim Says…. Salmon
Farmed and Dangerous: Frequently Asked Questions -- What Are PCBs, and Why Are Higher Levels Found in Farmed Salmon?
Environmental Defense Fund: EDF Seafood Selector -- Fish Choices That Are Good for You and the Oceans -- Salmon
The Healthy Eating Guide: Farm Raised Salmon vs. Wild Caught Salmon
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Salmon Poisoning Disease
Healthy Pets With Dr. Karen Becker: If You Feed Salmon to Your Pet (or Eat It Yourself), Please Read This
National Geographic News: Farmed Salmon Decimating Wild Salmon Worldwide
About the Author
A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.