Can Dogs Eat Catfish?

Yes, dogs can eat catfish. It’s a source of essential proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your dog’s skin, coat, and overall health.

However, the catfish must be cooked properly to kill any potential parasites and pathogens. Raw fish can carry bacteria and parasites that could cause illness.

Also, make sure to remove any bones as they pose a choking hazard and can splinter, causing harm to your dog’s digestive system. Serving in moderation is key as excessive fish intake can lead to a vitamin D overdose in dogs.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Yes. In fact, many commercial dog foods incorporate catfish into their recipes. Beware though, catfish can only be safely administered through specific steps. Continue reading on how best to give them without harming your pet.

dog in beach

Dogs can eat fish.

Fish is an excellent source of protein for dogs. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can help boost their immune system and can help alleviate allergies. Fishes are also easily digestible when cooked. Fish can be a great addition if your dog has food sensitivities.

A word of warning: some dogs can be allergic to fish. Best consult your veterinarian if you do plan to feed him fish. Although, fish allergies are less common compared to other food allergies such as chicken.

Common fishes that are deemed safe for your dog are:

  • Certain types of salmon (Raw or smoked salmon is a no-no. They can contain a parasite called, Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which can cause Salmon poisoning in dogs.)
  • Ocean whitefish
  • Lake whitefish
  • Herring
  • Walleye
  • Flounder
  • Arctic char

The risks of feeding fish to your dog.

Certain fishes contain high amounts of mercury that can be dangerous for your dog. The general rule is that the longer and larger the fish lives, the higher amount of mercury are present. Fishes such as tuna, king mackerel, and swordfish have a higher amount of mercury. Avoid feeding these types of fishes as they can cause mercury poisoning.

Raw fishes may also contain parasites and bacteria that are harmful to your dogs. Bacteria such as SalmonellaListeria, and Clostridium can be easily transmitted in raw meat. They can not only affect your dogs but can be passed on to other family members as well.

fish market

What are the benefits of eating catfish?

First off, catfish are budget-friendly. They are a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids that can help prevent obesity. Not only that, but they are also good for senior dogs who suffer from joint problems such as arthritis.

Catfish are easy to prepare. You can easily make it along with dinner for other family members. They are known to be a low mercury fish (no worries there!) making them a great choice of fish. They can be caught in the wild or bought from fish farms. If you do decide to buy, catfish farms are very common. Produce from catfish farms have little to no mercury at all.

Can dogs eat raw catfish?

I highly discourage feeding raw catfish – or any raw fish for that matter – to your dogs. Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause various
illnesses in both your pets and family members. Salmonella, for example, can be transmitted through an infected dog’s saliva. This is especially dangerous for small children who come into closer contact with dogs than adults do.

Thankfully, the harmful bacteria found in raw catfish can be killed through cooking. This is why it is important to give cooked fish to humans and dogs alike.

What about canned fish?

If you choose to use canned fish like canned salmon, be sure to look for fish in water rather than in oil. Make sure that there are no added flavorings to them as well. Look for variants that have no added salt. You can look for “no salt added” in the can’s packaging just to be sure.

How do I give catfish to my dog?

Just like human food, catfish need to be thoroughly cleaned and cooked. Here are some of the dos and don’ts in cooking catfish.


  • Do clean them.
  • Remove the fins, the tail, and the head. They should not be fed to dogs.
  • Cook fish skins thoroughly if you plan to include them. Fish skins are a great source of collagen. However, fish skin can also be dangerous.
  • Remove fish bones. Fishbones are dangerous for your pet. They can cause injury to your dog’s mouth and sometimes even damage other organs.
  • Cook them thoroughly. Steaming them without adding any seasonings is best. (They’d still love it trust me.) 


  • Do not use oil, butter, salt, garlic, or pepper when cooking them. They can cause intestinal upsets like vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Do not give fried catfish to your dogs. The oil and butter used to cook them can add unnecessary fat.


Catfish are a great way to add a new flavor to your dog’s usual food. They are packed with essential fatty acids, very easy to prepare, and is relatively cheap. However, do remember to remove the bones and cook them thoroughly to avoid any illnesses. (Steamed catfish is the best way!) The fins, tail, and head, should also be removed. You can choose to give or remove the fish’s skin as they may contain parasites that are harmful to pets. Catfish should only be given in moderate amounts.

Generally, balanced dog food does not need additional nutrition unless recommended by a licensed veterinary nutritionist. Catfish, in this case, is considered a treat. By rule of thumb, treats and snacks should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily diet. To get an idea of how much catfish you can give, ask your vet. Your vet will give you a recommendation based on your dog’s weight and how active they are.

Follow these tips for a safe and delicious way to give catfish to your dogs.

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