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Can Dogs Eat Cod Fish?

Can Dogs Eat Cod Fish?

Cod is a popular type of fish that has been part of the European diet for centuries. They grow up to 150 cm long though the majority of the cod fish in Britain are less than 90 cm long. There are three main cod species, namely Pacific, Atlantic, and Greenland. All cod species have mildly flavored, white flesh, making them a popular seafood item.  

The term cod is used in various food stores for a wide range of fish species that are not necessarily within the cod genus. So, at times, it can be challenging to tell the type of fish that you are getting when you order cod fish unless it is well-labeled. Before making a purchase, therefore, verify if it is real cod that is being sold to you.

Is Cod Fish Safe For Dogs?

The short answer is YES. Cod is safe and excellent for dogs as long as it is cooked the right way. In fact, giving your dog cod fish could benefit him in several ways, including:

  • Healthy source of Protein:  If you look at the ingredients of your dog’s favorite food brands, you are likely to find fish. Why? Because most types of fish (albeit those that are safe for dogs) are believed to be a healthy source of protein and is often included in many commercial dog foods as alternative protein sources. If your dog is allergic to other sources of proteins like chicken, cod fish can be a good alternative.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Like other types of fish, cod fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to offer plenty of health benefits to dogs including decreasing inflammation, boosting heart and kidney health, boosting immune system, aiding brain development in puppies, and improving the dog’s ability to fight cancer.
  • Low in Mercury: One of the biggest concerns about fish diets for dogs is mercury exposure. Certain types of fish, especially those that have longer life spans tend to have higher mercury content. These include swordfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel, tuna, bass, halibut, and tilefish. On the contrary, cold fish has very low mercury content, making it a better choice for a healthy dog diet.  

Raw Versus Cooked Cod Fish: Which One Is Better For Your Dog?

Although uncooked cod fish may be rich in nutrients and somehow more appetizing to your canine friend, it could carry a plethora of harmful bacteria and parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes, which can all make your dog sick. Raw fish is also associated with a lethal disease in dogs, Salmon Poisoning Disease.

Although Salmon Poisoning Disease is often associated with salmon, the condition is also common in other types of fish that swim upstream.   

So, the best cod fish to give your dog is one that has been properly cooked. But if you must give your pooch raw cod fish, ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned. Alternatively, freeze it for a few weeks before you feed it to your dog to eliminate the above-mentioned parasites.

How Much Cod Fish Should You Feed Your Dog?

Too much of something can be a problem. Although cod fish is healthy and safe for dogs, it is advisable to feed it to your dog in moderation. Too much of cod fish (or any other type of fish) can lead to obesity in dogs. Excess amount of fish is also associated with thiamine deficiency, which can have severe health consequences on your dog and even lead to death in extreme cases. So, if you plan to feed cod fish to your dog on a regular basis, consult your vet about the right serving sizes for your dog.

Precautions to Take When Feeding Your Dog Cod Fish 

Fish can be a tricky dog treat to deal with. There are a few Do’s and Don’ts that you should keep in mind for your dog to get the most out of his fish treat:  

  • Before feeding cod fish to your dog, ensure that he doesn’t have seafood allergies.  
  • To ensure that cod fish is always a healthy treat that doesn’t send your dog to the vet, avoid unnecessary fats, calories, and seasonings.
  • To make cod fish a special treat to your dog, rotate it with other treats. You can give him cod fish one day, vegetables the next day, fruits another day, and healthy bone chews the other day. Mixing treats up will keep your dog excited the next time you give him cod fish. And if he loves fish, find other treats that include fish as one of the main ingredients.
  • While cod fish is great for your dog, if you choose to include it in your homemade diet, be sure to consult your vet or certified nutritionist to be certain that you are meeting all the nutritional needs of your dog.
  • Never give your dog cod fish bones as they are brittle and can lodge themselves in your pooch’s mouth, throat, and intestines. If your dog has accidentally consumed cod fish bones, consult a local vet immediately to avoid any potential health risk.


Cod fish is both a flavorful and nutritious fish that is loaded with plenty of lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. So, feeding it to your dog is a fantastic idea. As highlighted above, moderate portions are more beneficial as excess amounts of fish can cause obesity and thiamine deficiency. And always consult your vet if you plan to give it your dog on a regular basis.

Finally, if you are introducing your dog to codfish, it is advisable to start with small portions to eliminate gastro-intestinal upset, allergies, and other potential side effects.

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