You’ve given your dog some sushi before and are about to provide him with a substantial amount… but then you think, “can dogs eat sushi?”
Now you’re wondering whether it’s safe.
And well, the answer DEPENDS.
If you’re giving your pooch JUST A TINY BITE – then there’s probably nothing to worry about.
Are you giving your pooch A LOT OF SUSHI? Then hold on… You may poison your dog by mistake.
Want to learn why? Then keep scrolling…
How Safe is Sushi for Dogs?
Let’s start with the obvious.
Just how dangerous is sushi? Can it cause severe damage? OR it’s nothing to worry about?
Once again, it all depends.
Some types of sushi you can give to your dog without a second thought. But other types of sushi are to avoid altogether.
Most dogs have strong stomachs with acids that dissolve pretty much ANYTHING. This includes bacteria that may cause harm. Sometimes, however, the food doesn’t dissolve as expected, causing issues with digestion and the like.
Here’s what to give to your dog, and more importantly, WHAT TO AVOID.
What “Sushi” To Give your Dog?
There are so many types of sushi we could spend an entire article talking about them. Luckily, the general rule is to give your dog only the CLEANEST, SAFEST, and PUREST form of fish.
You need to ensure it is free of harmful bacteria (farm-raised preferably) and thoroughly cleaned. Hence, there’s nothing that could damage (well-prepared beforehand).
Generally, sushi coming from a typical sushi place won’t cause any damage. As long as the place has an excellent reputation and you’ve eaten there before without problems, your dog will probably don’t mind.
Apart from that, remember that rice and other veggies are safe for most dogs. So it would help if you didn’t worry about that either. Just remember too much raw fish and rice can cause metabolic issues over time, so it should be OCCASIONAL.
Here are types of sushi to consider:
- Properly-prepared sushi
- Sushi with seaweed
- Sushi with chicken
- Sushi with meat
- Cooked sushi
You may be thinking… these are just A FEW types of sushi. Other types may or may not be safe.
What to Avoid?
The general rule is to give your dog clean sushi. WHY?
Because some ingredients can cause serious harm by mistake. These harmful ingredients include:
The fat in avocados is healthy for humans. Dogs, however, won’t process it so easily. They may get poisoned even with small amounts.
That’s why it’s better to avoid it altogether. Similarly, types of sushi like the California Roll are to avoid because they contain avocado. You may give your dog some of this type of sushi ONLY if you get the avocado out first.
Ginger is not dangerous in the slightest. The opposite is what happens. Ginger contains antioxidants that help your dog in many ways: blood flow, anti-inflammation, and more.
But PICKLED GINGER is not safe at all. The reason is simple: most pickled ginger contains VAST amounts of sugars that dogs can’t process so easily.
Ever heard that giving your dog sweets is wrong? The same happens with pickled ginger. Vinegar and citric acid in pickled ginger are not only slightly toxic. Still, they may also not be too tasty for your dog either.
Like everything, you can give JUST A BITE of sushi with pickled ginger. But we often recommend NOT GIVING ANY at all.
It won’t cause any problem right away. Fish contains tons of proteins and other minerals that dogs may benefit from.
HOWEVER, raw fish may also contain bacteria and parasites your dog shouldn’t eat. These bacteria and parasites may eventually cause diseases and severe conditions you probably don’t want your dog suffering from.
The only way to feed your dog fish safely is to prepare it yourself or at a secure establishment (from where you also eat) in MINIMAL AMOUNTS. Otherwise, avoid feeding your dog any raw fish.
It’s obvious why – fish contains a lot of bacteria and parasites that may cause damage. Rotten fish has MULTIPLE TIMES AS MUCH.
The general rule is NEVER to give your dog any food you wouldn’t eat. Rotten fish is one of those you probably would never.
DID YOUR DOG EAT ROTTEN FISH? This happens more often than you think. Dogs like to eat any meat, even if it’s rotten. But years of domestication made their stomach unable to process this food (especially small breeds). The solution is to get your dog to the vet RIGHT AWAY.
Anything from simple sauces to spices they’re potentially harmful to your dog given the amounts of salt, sugar, and fat they have.
For example, mayonnaise is so high in fat that even small amounts may cause stomach discomfort. Mustard and ketchup may also cause similar effects. And things like onion or garlic are also highly acidic that dogs can’t even process well.
Don’t overlook soy sauce either, as it contains a lot of salt. And sweet sauces are also to avoid, especially in large amounts.
Fried foods are not necessarily harmful to dogs. But the fat and oils that come with the food may be. Tempura, in this case, may contain enough oils and fats to cause mild to severe damage to your dog’s stomach.
Also, consider tempura as a highly seasoned food (the batter or cover may have spices). Not only is the fat and oil a bit dangerous, but the seasoning like onion, garlic, and other sauces may also be less than ideal.
You can also consider shrimp and chicken (the most popular tempura meats) to be safe. Giving them COOKED to your dog shouldn’t be much of a problem (as long as it is not tempura).
It won’t cause any damage in tiny amounts, but it’s often better to avoid altogether. Dogs may acquire the taste of wasabi and build a habit of eating it too much. As a consequence, they may eventually choke on the wasabi peas.
As a sauce, it shouldn’t be any problem. However, everything in large amounts causes damage, so it’s better to keep it away from your dog.
Symptoms of Sushi Intoxication
What happens if your dog eats contaminated or rotten sushi?
And more importantly, how would you know?
Well, your dog may be strong enough to show no signs. Its stomach my process the food without problems, and you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.
But when the opposite happens, you may see your dog showing signs of:
- Stomach aches
- Loose Stools
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Appetite
These symptoms are typical for most dogs who eat contaminated food with bacteria or parasites. Their stomach, intestines, and even immune system may start working deficiently, showing clear signs of disease.
WHAT TO DO: The obvious answer will ALWAYS be to take your dog to the vet. No one is better equipped with knowledge and tools to treat your dog than a veterinarian. Whenever you see your dog showing signs like the above, DON’T HESITATE. Call your vet and get your dog some treat ASAP!
There’s a surprisingly different type of raw fish poisoning some dogs tend to suffer from. This is called “salmon poisoning,” and it happens when dogs eat contaminated salmon.
This typically happens in the wild. Your dog is unlikely to catch the disease from sushi with salmon (commonly raised in farms).
BUT IT CAN HAPPEN.
This disease is slightly more dangerous than typical fish poisoning. It is a parasitic infection that acts directly on your dog’s digestive and immune system, causing severe damage your dog will need IMMEDIATE treatment for.
How would you know if your needs to be taken to the vet?
Here are a few signs of salmon poisoning to look for:
- Consistent Vomiting
- Diarrhea (with blood)
- Lack of Appetite for Days
- Weight Loss
- High Fever
- Overall Weakness
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Increased Heart Rate
- Muscle Tremors
- Eye and Nose Discharge
If your dog ate raw fish or salmon within 3-5 days of these symptoms, there’s a high chance she has the disease. And in that case, you need to take it seriously.
The condition is fatal when dogs are not treated. Most dogs die within a few days of getting the disease, given how rapidly it advances and how deeply it affects your dog’s main source of nutrients: the digestive system.
Luckily, it is a treatable condition like any other. Most dogs are given antibiotics and put on a nutrient-giving diet so they can overcome it. Don’t let your dog go through much time without treatment once you’ve spotted signs.
TO BE AWARE: Salmon poisoning looks similar to typical raw fish poisoning, but it’s way more fatal. If your dog ate salmon (mainly wild salmon) recently, don’t hesitate to take him to the vet.
Benefits of Sushi for Dogs
Read all the negatives about sushi? Now let’s go over the positives.
Sushi (or fish) is actually a healthy meal, and you shouldn’t restrain from giving a bit to your dog.
The reason is simple: fish is filled with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that make your dog healthier in almost every way.
Here are some benefits to consider:
- Digestive Boost
Your dog may benefit from eating rice in sushi. Especially brown and unseasoned rice tends to have a lot of fiber that your dog can digest better.
- Healthier Coat and Skin
Fish contains tons of omega-3 fatty acids (which are more present in salmon and shrimp) that help your dog’s coat and skin, making them lusher.
- Energy and Activity
- Better Teeth
Some sushi ingredients, like carrots, tend to benefit your dog’s teeth. Other chewing items may also provide similar benefits.
- Improved Immune System
The overall addition of vitamins A, B, C, E, B3, B6, and B12 from things like shrimp, seaweed, and other veggies helps with your dog’s immune system.
- Happy Dog
Let’s be honest… SUSHI IS TASTY! Probably few foods are as tasty as sushi. And believe it or not, your dog knows. That’s why you also need to be careful with sushi and your dog around (he won’t hesitate to snatch a roll out of your hand if you let him).
So… Can Dogs Have Sushi?
Now that you’re familiar with the ins and outs of dogs and sushi – should you even feed him some?
Well, it depends.
As we said before, dogs shouldn’t be eating raw fish and other possibly harmful ingredients in sushi. But apart from those, they can pretty much eat anything – so you need to be careful.
The general rule is to get away from anything raw, fried, seasoned, or too difficult to digest by your dog. You can give anything else as long as it has the CLEANEST, SAFEST, and HEALTHIEST conditions.
For example, shellfish, shrimp, boiled rice, carrots, and seaweed are all safe. But things like tempura, avocados, soy sauce, and raw fish are not.
NOW, will your dog get sick if he eats JUST A BIT of raw fish? Probably not. As long as you know the fish comes from a safe source, there shouldn’t be any problem. BUT only if you give your dog a tiny bite. Otherwise, you’ll expose the animal to bacteria and parasites that can be genuinely damaging.
Apart from that, stay safe. Don’t give your dog anything you wouldn’t eat. And more importantly, anything that seems “fishy” or rotten.
How to Feed Sushi to Your Dog?
How much sushi should you give a dog then?
How large of a sushi roll can a dog eat?
And how often?
Here are some tips to put into consideration:
- Cut the piece tiny – your dog won’t mind eating an entire sushi roll without chewing. That’s why you must be careful and cut into little bite-size pieces before giving him anything. Otherwise, you may put the animal at risk of choking.
- Take it easy – some dogs can’t handle their mouth, so they will eat anything with passion and without stopping. To avoid choking or indigestion, give your dog sushi slowly (preferably separating meals throughout the day).
- Feed occasionally – sushi doesn’t have to be the leading food in your dog’s diet. It shouldn’t even be a consistent food as it is not the safest. You should only give sushi to your dog occasionally, if at all.
- Stick to cooked fish – dry kibble fish alternatives and straight-up cooked fish are far better than any sushi you could buy in the street. If you can avoid raw fish COMPLETELY, then do it.
- Avoid seasonings – we’ve repeated this already two times, but it’s worth repeating once more. The fact is, things like salt, sugar, and fat are not healthy for your dog at all. While not poisonous, they may increase your dog’s levels dangerously, so only give your dog UNSEASONED sushi.
As you can see, it’s nothing out of this world. But it’s worth mentioning, especially if your dog is an elderly animal or a puppy just discovering the world. You won’t cause damage to dogs in their most delicate state.
If you take something from our “can dogs eat sushi?” explanation, make it the fact that sushi is not necessarily bad in moderation (and as long as it’s safe to fish).
But otherwise, try to keep it away from your dog UNLESS you’re sure it doesn’t contain any contaminants or unwanted ingredients.
So, are you ready to feed your dog some sushi in the future? Follow our advice, and you shouldn’t have any problem.