Can Dogs Eat Tuna? Is Tuna Safe For Dogs?

Canned tuna portion served on white dish with parsley.

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Can dogs eat tuna? Perhaps this is something you’ve found yourself thinking about if your dog begged for a taste while you were opening a can of tuna or preparing a tuna steak to throw on the grill. If humans can eat tuna, can dogs also safely eat it?

The short answer is no, dogs can’t safely eat tuna. Technically, your dog is unlikely to experience a negative reaction if they sneak in a tiny bite or so of tuna. However, there are issues with potential mercury poisoning, so you should really avoid feeding tuna to your beloved canine.

Here’s what you need to know about tuna and dogs.

Why Is Tuna Bad For Dogs?

Tuna isn’t necessarily a toxic food for dogs. In fact, fish in general is low in fat and high in protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, so it sounds, in principle, like a great addition to any dog’s diet. But there’s the problem of mercury levels in tuna to consider.

Tuna has some of the highest mercury levels out of all fish, and this applies to both fresh tuna and canned tuna.

If your dog consumes too much of a food that contains mercury, they run the risk of developing a case of mercury poisoning, which could become lethal in some cases.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Tuna?

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First of all, if you discover that your dog has managed to scarf down a little piece of tuna, there’s a high chance that they’ll be fine. But if you find out that they’ve eaten a much larger amount of tuna or have been consuming it on a regular basis, there’s a chance that mercury poisoning might set in.

Some of the most common symptoms of mercury poisoning in dogs include:

  • Acting very nervous and losing coordination
  • Vomiting up blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Losing their hair
  • Tremors
  • Damage to the kidneys
  • Blindness

If you notice any of these symptoms appearing after your dog eats tuna, call up an emergency vet and follow their advice.

In cases where your dog might seem to constantly want to eat tuna, it’s smarter to consider other safer fish options, including salmon, arctic char, and flounder.

Have you ever adopted a dog who loved tuna? How did you make sure your dog didn’t become sick from eating tuna? Let us know in the comments below!