July 24


Can Dogs Eat Sardines?

Can Dogs Eat Sardines

We all know that sardines are good for you; they are packed full of essential trace minerals and are nutritious. They may be small, but they contain the perfect mineral ratio to supplement both you and your dog's diet. 

Yes, both your dog and cat can eat sardines, and as well as finding them delicious, they will also enjoy many positive health benefits. Like most supplemental foods for our dogs, there are some essential factors to consider to ensure your dog receives the maximum benefit.

Sardines For Dogs - What Nutrition Do They Offer?

Sardines are a convenient, nutritional treat for your dog with many health benefits.

  • Full of omega 3 fatty acids/fish oil including DHA
  • Coenzyme 10
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • B Vitamins and D12
  • Selenium
  • Niacin
  • Protein

Health Benefits:

  • Promotes brain and central nervous system development 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve allergies and reduce itchiness 
  • Assists good joint health, mobility issues, and arthritic complaints
  • Helps skin and coat
  • Regulate immune system
  • Great for eye health and cognitive function
  • Boosts antioxidant levels to support healthy heart and circulation
  • Prevents dental disease in canines
  • Aids digestion and organ function

Supporting all functions, dogs need to remain healthy and active. Sardines are beneficial to dogs in all stages of life, from puppy to older senior dogs.

Things You Should Know Before Feeding Sardines to your dog

Wherever possible, it is always preferred to buy wild-caught sardines. It promotes sustainability and will ensure that you are not buying fish that have received growth hormones or antibiotics, which you can find in farmed sardines. Farmed sardines are fed grain, which can compromise the nutritional benefit as well as introduce pesticide toxins.

When feeding canned sardines, ensure that they are packed in water, not spices, salt, mustard, or tomato sauce. As all of these ingredients are not suitable for their digestive system, and dogs don't need more salt.

Oil is safe for dogs, but they already receive a suitable amount of omega 6 in their regular diet. Too much fatty acid can lead to inflammation, best to avoid oil and opt for a water-based canned variety. 

Too many sardines can cause digestive issues. It provides terrific benefits in small amounts. Remember never to use sardines as a replacement for your dogs' regular food, and it is a supplementary item to serve in conjunction with their meat-based protein.

Some dogs may have an allergic reaction or allergy. While this is not common, it is always good to be safe, start small, and monitor your dogs' reaction to the new food.

 Do not ever serve raw salmon or trout to your dog as the fresh fish can contain parasites or bacteria, which can be fatal.

What To Know About Serving Sardines

Feeding sardines to your dog is relatively easy and straightforward.

Sardines are very rich in calories and nutrients. Each sardine contains approximately 175 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids. It is essential to make sure that you stick to the correct serving appropriate for your dogs' size. Or it can lead to weight gain and or digestive issues.

Soft boned fish are easy to digest, and the bones are a great source of calcium. 

You can feed this nutritious snack to your dog weekly, as it's low in mercury and high in nutrients.

The amount of sardines to feed to your dog will vary depending on the size of your pet, here is a general feeding recommendation:


5 lbs ¼ can per week

15 lbs ½ can per week

25 lbs ⅝ can per week

50 lbs 1 can per week

100 lbs 1 ¾ cans per week

Canned Vs. Fresh

If you can source fresh sardines, they are the preferred option, fresh sardines are often a lot larger than their canned counterparts, and you will need to adjust your portion size accordingly. Remove the backbone from the sardine as it may cause a choking hazard. They can be served raw or lightly steamed to preserve nutrients. If your dog is used to raw food, then digestion should not be a problem. There are situations when fresh sardines are not always readily available and also are not very cost-effective compared to canned. 

Canned sardines are a cost-effective and suitable alternative. Make sure that you check the ingredients and only buy sardines packed with water, not oil, spices, flavors, or salt.

Oysters are another excellent alternative for dogs, they are high in zinc and are ideal for pregnant dogs and new mums.


  • Don't throw out the water from the canned sardines. Use it to flavor gravies for your dogs' homemade biscuits, food, or even just pour the contents straight over their dry kibble for a tasty and nutritious treat.
  • Most dogs hate taking medication, and often tablets are spat out or left in their food bowls. Sardines are strong in flavor and are a great way to disguise the medication smell. Crush the tablet and mix with the water or sardines.
  • Sardines are a real delicacy for dogs, great to use as a reward for dogs in training or as a special treat.
  • Dogs need Omega-3s in their diet instead of giving fish oil supplements to your dog replace with a natural alternative, which is a much healthier option.
  • Stock up your pantry with a few extra cans of sardines, ideal to have on hand for emergencies for both you and your pets.
  • Remember to read your label, avoid salt, oil, additives, and sardines from the Gulf of Mexico or China.

What About Mercury?

All fish from the ocean will contain a certain amount of heavy metals and toxins. One element that can be harmful in large quantities is mercury, as it can damage the brain and kidneys.

Mercury exists in our oceans, and it absorbs into every living organism and accumulates in their bodies. Generally, the larger the fish and longer their life cycle, the higher the concentration of mercury and industrial pollution. For example, salmon will have a much larger mercury content than a small fish like a sardine or anchovies who feed on plankton, and as they are not fish that feed on other fish, their mercury content is lower than other fish.

When feeding your dog sardines occasionally and in small amounts, it allows time for the trace amount of toxins to be eliminated from your dog's system via urine and waste.


Try to incorporate sardines and fish into your dog's diet as there are a lot of nutritional health benefits. If using canned sardines, always opt for water over oil or flavored alternatives as the additives are not suitable for your dog. If fresh, remove the backbone as it is large and can be harder to digest. 

When introducing new foods, remember to start small and monitor your dog in case of an allergic reaction.

As always in moderation is key. Do not overfeed or use sardines as a replacement of regular dog food, it is vital to maintain the balance of vitamins and minerals in your dog's diet.

Sardines for dogs makes sense, a natural health boost, packed with essential omega 3 and antioxidants to keep them healthy longer.

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