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Can Dogs Eat Cod? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Beth Crane

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat_cod

Can Dogs Eat Cod? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Ocean fish like cod can provide many health benefits for humans and our dogs. Cod is a protein-rich fish that is great for dogs, and they can eat it without any problems as long as it’s prepared properly. Of course, like everything, owners should give cod in moderation, but generally, it’s very safe for dogs to eat.

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How Much Cod Can a Dog Eat?

Dogs can eat cod as part of their regular diet without any issues. You should ensure that your dog is given other foods simultaneously to provide them with a balanced diet, but a portion that’s size appropriate is a good place to start. Unlike other fish, cod doesn’t contain much heavy metal since it’s caught young.

However, giving your dog too much of certain types of fish can cause problems. For example, fish such as Swordfish and Albacore Tuna are much more likely to contain mercury, which in high levels is harmful to dogs as they can get mercury (heavy metal) poisoning.

bernese mountain dog eating
Image By: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

Is Cod Safe for Dogs?

Cod is great for dogs as it’s packed full of nutrients; it’s a low-fat, high-protein meal that any dog will likely enjoy. In addition, cod is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote immune system health, keep the skin and coat in excellent condition, improve joint health and mobility, and support healthy brain and heart function.

Cod is an excellent option for dogs watching their weight since it’s a protein that provides a lot of nutrition with little fat. It’s also a good alternative for dogs allergic to other protein sources, such as beef or chicken.

Cod provides some essential vitamins and minerals that all dogs need to live healthy lives, including:
  • Vitamin B12 helps support nerve and blood cell function
  • Phosphorus helps regulate a dog’s metabolism and provides support for a healthy skeletal system
  • Selenium provides antioxidant action and helps to support a healthy metabolism
  • Choline supports healthy brain function and development, muscle function, and heart and liver health

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How Can I Safely Give My Dog Cod?

To safely give your dog cod, you have to introduce it slowly. First, talk to your vet before going ahead since some health conditions require dogs to have specialized diets. Introducing small amounts at first can help prevent gastrointestinal upset, as some dogs’ systems are more sensitive to sudden changes in diet.

In any case, cod should always be cooked thoroughly. Raw fish can carry salmonella and listeria bacteria, which won’t only cause your dog to get sick with vomiting and diarrhea but can also make you and your family very ill. Infection with either of these bacteria is particularly bad for children; children are much more likely to get licked by a dog, and they may require hospitalization if they become sick with salmonella or listeria.

The main thing to remember when cooking cod for your dog is to keep it plain. Don’t add salt, spices, or other ingredients to your cod, particularly garlic or onions. Some spices are toxic to dogs and can cause problems with their kidneys and liver, so keep the cod plain.

If you are cooking in oil, only use a small amount; too much fat in food can cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to vomiting and weight loss. Cod can also be included in recipes for homemade dog treats as a protein that provides nutrients and a great taste.

When preparing cod for your dog, removing any bones is essential. Fish bones present a big problem to dogs as they are so small and prone to splintering. They can get lodged in the throat or cause puncture injuries to the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal; removing all bones can prevent this from occurring.

cooked cod
Image Credit: boaphotostudio, Pixabay

Can Dogs Only Eat Cod? Can They Eat Any Other Fish?

There are other fish dogs can safely eat, but any fish given should be prepared the same as above: deboned and thoroughly cooked. Fish like salmon, whitefish, and flounder are excellent alternatives to cod. These fish are a great addition to any dog’s diet as they are packed with nutrients, lean protein, and omega-3 acids.

Can I Give My Dog Battered Cod?

While we may love going to a restaurant and ordering battered cod and fries, it is far too fatty for dogs. Not only will a piece of fried fish give them digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, but it can cause obesity and pancreatitis. Sticking to plain fish with no additives will provide the most nutrition for your dog, and they’ll still enjoy it thoroughly.

Final Thoughts

Cod is safe for dogs to eat as long as your vet gives you the okay. Cod can be included in your dog’s daily diet as it’s packed with nutrients, provides key vitamins and minerals, and provides lean protein without too much fat. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids in cod help protect your dog’s brain and heart, increase immune function, and even help dogs with arthritis. You can find recipes that include cod in dog treats, so explore the options and enjoy providing tasty cod for your dog!

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