Can Dogs Eat Tuna in Oil?

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Dogs Eat Tuna In OilEveryone knows that incorporating fish into our daily meals can help us consume a balanced diet. The same can be said for many dogs since the nutrients and omega-3 found in them are perfect for keeping canines healthy and happy. However, we can’t just feed them raw fish of any kind; tuna is a great source of the fresh and natural taste of the ocean which is why we answer the question, “Can dogs eat tuna in oil?” 

Can Dogs Eat Tuna?

When it comes to dogs, tuna fish can be safe to feed our dogs as an occasional treat and it shouldn’t become a staple for our dog’s diet. Like most fish, tuna provides a good source of protein as well as omega-3 which can give great health benefits to your furry friend. However, this should only be given as a rare treat and they should never be given large amounts of tuna since they can also be a source of mercury. 

While some commercial dog foods will contain tuna in their ingredients list, it’s best not to include tuna as a regular part of their diet. But if you’re keen on including fish in their daily meals, be sure to look for options that have short-lived and fresh fish with lower mercury levels. It’s also best to keep in mind that whether your dog can eat tuna or not will depend on the kind of tuna offered to them. 

Even canned tuna will come with different methods to preserve them, such as oil, springwater, or brine, each of which will offer pros and cons for your canine companion. 

What are the Different Kinds of Tuna? 

There are a wide range of tuna species in the oceans for pet owners to choose from, but there are only a few safe enough for dogs to eat on a regular basis. Generally, your pup can eat any type of tuna that humans can eat, but the different species will have varying lifespans and sizes, which can have an impact on how much mercury they’ll have in their bodies. Many experts agree that Skipjack tuna and Albacore tuna are safe enough to include in our pets’ meals. 

Health Benefits of Tuna

We all know that tuna can be a rich source of essential nutrients which include the following.  

  • Vitamins B3, B6, and B12: All promote healthy energy levels and high metabolism
  • Magnesium and Potassium: These help to support tissue and muscle health
  • Selenium: Used to maintain joints and strengthen the immune system
  • Phosphorus: Contributes to a dog’s bone density and strength
  • Fish Oil and Omegas: Fish oil is known to provide healthy skin and coat

Can Dogs Have Canned Tuna?

Unfortunately, we can’t just feed our dogs all types of fish, but as mentioned above, both Skipjack and Albacore tuna are safe, but the former is a better choice since it has lower levels of mercury. However, canned tuna will often have added salt which won’t be good for dogs. Furthermore, it’s best to steer clear of tuna with herbs and spices because they may cause illness in dogs.    

Tuna in Brine

While a small amount of tuna in brine shouldn’t harm your dog, it’s better to avoid feeding it to your pup. This is because it will contain lots of salt which is harmful for dogs; ingesting too much can lead to sodium poisoning. Instead, opt for options that use spring water which contains less fat and salt, making it the best choice for canines compared to other canned tuna. 

Tuna in Sunflower Oil

If you’re able to drain your fish thoroughly, it should be safe to give a little bit to your pooch; sunflower oil contains low levels of saturated fats and may even benefit your dog in small amounts. However, when given too much, oil-packed tuna can contribute to weight gain as well as inflammation. Both omega-6 and omega-3 can be great for your dog’s health but one can’t be consumed without the other since they balance each other out. 

Tuna Steak

While it’s fine for humans to consume raw tuna such as sashimi and sushi, dogs should never be given raw tuna since it can carry parasites and compared to cooked fish, it’s more likely to lead to gastrointestinal upset. Moreover, it’s never a good idea to feed your pooch bluefin tuna since it will come with high mercury levels. If you really want to feed your dog some fresh tuna, then be sure that it’s cooked through and served plainly.   

Mercury in tuna

Sadly, a lot of our pollutants and rubbish end up in the ocean which means that heavy metals such as lead and mercury enter the sea through rain, river, erosion, and human pollution. These then end up inside the tissues of the creatures that roam the oceans. Because tuna is a big and long-lived fish, it will consume higher levels of mercury compared to smaller fish. 

For instance, Skipjack tuna is a smaller species and carries 3 times less mercury compared to the larger Albacore. Keep in mind that whenever your pup eats tuna, a bit of mercury is introduced into their system. While this won’t be a problem in the long run, giving your pup too much tuna in a short period of time could lead them to ingest too much mercury which could poison it. 

Signs of Tuna Poisoning in Dogs 

There are potential risks associated with consuming high amounts of mercury. Symptoms of mercury poisoning in a dog include the following:

  • Bloody or watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting blood
  • Kidney damage
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Blindness
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors

Even if your dog eats a little bit of tuna, it shouldn’t hurt them but if they consume a lot and have an adverse reaction such as an upset stomach, then you need to take it to your veterinarian immediately. To minimize the risk of mercury poisoning, be sure to feed tuna to your dog in moderation. You can also look into other kinds of fish such as white fish or salmon which are safer options but they won’t offer the same kind of nutritional benefits.  

How Much Tuna Is Safe for Dogs?

Feeding your dog tuna is safe in moderation, so if you want to introduce new food into your dog’s diet such as a can of tuna, then it should be okay as long as it’s not too salty or fatty. Smaller dogs will come with a lower tolerance so they should be given very little as much as possible. But regardless of your dog’s size, you should never let them eat an entire can of tuna during a meal. 


While dogs can eat tuna on rare occasions, we also need to look out for the product’s mercury content. Unfortunately, tuna can contain high levels of mercury which can lead to potential health risks; the good news is that there are other fish to choose from. Salmon can be an excellent protein source that won’t come with large quantities of mercury, making it the best way to let your pup enjoy the taste of fresh fish every now and then!