Can dogs eat sardines for a healthy diet? | The Dog Effect

Can dogs eat sardines for a healthy diet?

You may have heard about giving your dog fish oil supplements for a healthy coat, bones and general health.  But what about just feeding your dog fresh fish or canned fish or oily fish or ... Im so confused, how about you?

Can dogs eat sardines

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Sardines: Worlds healthiest food!

The Worlds Healthiest Foods website lists sardines on their list. The below chart lists the %DV - or the percent of our daily requirement of nutrients we get in a serve (3.20 oz) of sardines.

Can dogs eat sardines

What are sardines?

Sardines are a little shiny silver and blueish coloured fish named after the island of Sardinia. Sardines are eaten across the globe for their nutritional value, delicious taste, versatility and abundance in many areas.

Although they are often caught and eaten fresh, sardines ares commonly canned to preserve them for eating later making it an easy way to get good fishy oils into our diet.

Can dogs eat sardines

Health benefits of sardines

Sardines is one of the highest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as many important vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids contain two vital properties, EPA and DHA which are primarily found in fish​. EPA and DHA have an outstanding positive effect on our health. 

Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels with one serving (3.25 ounce can) containing over 50% of the daily value. Being so concentrated in Vitamin B12, it can reduce the build up of nasty plaque in our arteries.

​Bone Health

Sardines are a rich source Vitamin D which helps to increase the absorption of calcium and plays an important role in bone health.  In additional the phosphorus, homocysteine and vitamin B12 in sardines all support bone health. Omega 3 can also help with joint stiffness from arthritis and may help aid the benefits of taking  inflammatories.

Mental Health

These are studies that suggest omega-3 fatty acids  can help with mental health and mood including anxiety and​ depression. EPA is thought to play an important role in maintaining healthy brain function.

Blood Sugar​

Sardines are packed with both healthy fats and protein, which both work to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. Combining high protein and healthy fat foods helps the body to release glucose (sugar) from the carbs into the blood stream more slowly which  is especially important for people who have diabetes or conditions related to insulin resistance.

Healthy weight

A diet high in protein and healthy fats and low in sugar keeps us feeling full for longer and keeps the food cravings at bay.  Sardines are high in both protein and healthy fat and low in calories and helps to control blood sugar levels. These will all help to improve metabolism, energy level and help to maintain a healthy weight.

Do sardines contain dangerous mercury levels?

Mercury is found in the environment from various sources, help you to maintain a healthy weight. pollution. This mercury eventually finds it's way to the ocean.  Then a little food chain reaction occurs where the little fish get eaten by the big fish which get eaten by the bigger fish, increasing the levels of mercury as we move up the food chain. 

Can dogs eat sardines

Source: Wikipedia

No fear! Being so small and feeding on krill, Sardines are at the beginning of this food chain. You are very safe from the risk of increased mercury levels by of eating sardines.

Which sardines to feed my dog?

If the sardine is fresh or frozen, remove the back bone and any larger bones. This will be a choking hazard and can damage your dogs throat. It wis worth the time as vet bills are expensive.

An alternate option is to choose canned sardines. Get sardines canned in water not loaded with extra oil, salt, sauce or other flavourings.

How do I feed my dog sardines?

A guide to feeding your dog sardines:

  • Introduce the food slowly to prevent an upset stomach. 
  • Add a little amount each day or two to your dogs food so that you spread the can over the week.  
  • Remember to reduce the amount of your dog's other food as you are adding calories with the sardines.

Here is a simple guide to how many sardines to feed your dog .​

Dog weight

Fresh Sardines 

Canned 3.75 oz

20 lb / 9 kg

1  / week

0.5 cans per week

40 lb / 18 kg

2  / week

1 can per week

60 lb / 27 kg

3 / week

1.5 cans / week

80 lb / 32 kg

4 / week

2 cans / week

Stinky dog breath after eating sardines

Well.... yep, your dog may get stinky breath after eating sardines but dogs often bad breath for many reasons. There are some ways to help reduce your dogs bad breath. 

  • Brush your dog's teeth
  • Get a dental chew toy
  • Vet check up and teeth clean
  • Parsley! Yep add this to your dogs food.

When is is not safe to feed sardines to dogs?

All dogs can have allergies and even healthy foods can be the cause. Test your dog first with a small amount of sardine.​ Bones can be a serious ​hazard to your dog. Always remove the bones or buy canned sardines. Feed your dog a balanced diet and not sardines alone and keep an eye on over feeding.

As always, check with your vet​ if you have any questions about your dog's diet and general health and wellbeing.

What about fish oil supplements?

You may choose to supplement your dog's diet with fish oil rather than adding sardines to their diet. There are many fish oil supplement that have been specifically formulated and designed for your dog.  PetMD explains the benefits of fish out supplements for your dog.

How do sardines get in that can?

If you are interested how those little fishies get in that can, then have a look at this:​


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