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Can Dogs Eat Swordfish? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Bynewsmagzines

Jun 2, 2023
Chopping and slicing a swordfish


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

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

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Many dog owners choose to feed their canine companion a kibble based diet, which has been proven to be a reliable source of all the necessary nutrients their dog needs. While high quality commercial kibble is the number one choice, homemade food can be an excellent addition to a standard kibble diet. A great way to mix things up for your dog is by adding “human food” that is safe and delicious for them. Fish is an amazing source of proteins and nutrients for dogs, and its taste is one of the favorite treats for dogs.

While there are many types of fish your dog would enjoy, it is crucial to learn which fish species are safe for consumption and which you should avoid. While Swordfish itself is not technically toxic, it is not recommended to be fed to dogs due to the high levels of mercury it contains. Make sure to read more about the safety of Swordfish for dogs below, and keep your dog healthy with this crucial information.

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Recommended Dog Diet

When it comes to the ideal diet for a domesticated dog, you should remember that while every dog is an individual with individual feeding requirements, it is always perfectly acceptable for their primary food to be a pure kibble diet. If you would like to mix up their diet,  you can add cooked meat, vegetables, fish, and rice. These treats and additions should account for no more than 10% of their total daily calories, to ensure that their diet remains balanced. If you do decide to feed your dog mainly home cooked meals, it is important to have a dedicated veterinary nutritionist formulate their meal plan with the right mix of ingredients and supplements.

Tips for a healthy diet:

  • Always choose human-grade food, as certain meat products might contain preservatives
  • Ensure your dog has a constant source of fresh water
  • High-quality commercial food tailored to your dog’s age will provide all the nutrients your dog needs
  • Young puppies need to have several smaller meals throughout the day of growing puppy food
  • Avoid feeding your dog foods such as milk, chocolate, onion, garlic, salts, oils, and greasy food
close up of a dog eating from the bowl
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Eat Swordfish?

Generally speaking, fish is not only a delicious food that dogs love but a healthy source of nutrients. Fish is a standard part of many commercial kibbles, providing your dog with many beneficial vitamins and minerals. You can also include fish in your dog’s homemade diet if your veterinarian agrees. Fish is an excellent source of protein while it is low in fats.

While Swordfish are technically not toxic for pets to consume, they usually contain high levels of mercury. Swordfish, along with other larger species of fish, are also more likely to contain parasites in their skin, organs, and tissue since they are usually older when harvested.

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What Fish Is Safe for Dogs?

When considering the types of fish that are safe to feed your dog, always choose fish with low levels of mercury.

These fish include:

  • Flounder
  • Catfish
  • Herring
  • Whitefish
  • Salmon
  • Whiting
Salmon Fillet
Image Credit: Andreas Lischka, Pixabay

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Benefits of Fish for Dogs

Fish contains healthy protein which should be included as a regular part of a dog’s diet. If your dog may have food allergies and has not had fish before it can be used as a  novel protein source during a diet trial. Another benefit of fish is the omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly valuable for dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits, such as improving mobility, controlling inflammation, and ensuring healthy skin and a shiny coat. Omega-3 is also a good choice for senior dogs as it can help alleviate symptoms of degenerative diseases and boost their immune system.

The Risks of Fish for Dogs

The biggest factor in feeding fish to dogs is preparing and cooking the fish properly beforehand. Fish should be thoroughly cooked and plain, avoiding oil or seasonings.  If you feed your dog raw fish, you risk giving your dog harmful bacteria such as salmonella. The bones are another risk of eating fish, both for humans and dogs. As you probably know, fish bones are tiny, sharp, and brittle, and eating them can cause serious damage and even pierce an organ wall.

woman is cooking food in the kitchen
Image Credit: Joe L, Pexels

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Final Thoughts

After learning about the risks of feeding Swordfish to your dog, you’ll likely want to avoid it when picking out fish for your pooch. This is mostly due to the high levels of mercury in Swordfish, but also due to the risk of parasites. Stick to the fish you know is entirely safe, such as salmon, whitefish, and flounder.


Featured Image Credit: ubert, Pixabay

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