Does your pup like eating fish? Do you occasionally have sushi and when you’re not watching, your fur baby grabs a bite? Welcome to the club! This is a common problem that many pet parents have shared online! Dogs love to eat almost anything, including raw fish. The raw fish may be that found in sushi, but it could also be a dead fish found laying around near a stream or river. Just know that you’re not alone.
Can sushi or other types of raw fish be harmful? Is it safe for dogs? We’ll take a look at these questions and tell you why raw fish, even sushi, could be dangerous for your dog.
Where Does Sushi Come From?
Sushi is a part of Japanese cuisine that’s known for its variety of fish and rice. You can get sushi from a Japanese restaurant, or you can make it at home. Sushi was originally made with raw fish, but the rice itself was cooked before being served. The idea of eating raw fish in a rice roll came about in Japan sometime during the 9th century in the form of a dish called narezushi.
Japanese fishermen would catch fish, mostly the golden carp, and then prepare it for the narezushi. The carp would be packed within salted rice and then firmly compressed under weights to help with the fermentation process. It took at least half a year to complete the process of this “primitive” form of sushi. Understandably enough, at that time, wealthy upper class people were the only ones who ever really ate them.
Nowadays, the concept of sushi has evolved tremendously and you can find many types of sushi aside from the narezushi. Sushi can be eaten by itself, or with added seasonings or condiments, such as soy sauce and wasabi. It is made up of sushi rice, which can be either white rice or brown rice, which is then filled with many different sushi ingredients.
The common ingredients for sushi include veggies such as cucumbers and nori, raw seafood such as raw salmon, and many more! Internationally-known types of sushi rolls include nigiri sushi, sashimi, the maki roll, the uramaki roll, and the temaki roll.
So, is Sushi Good For Dogs?
When it comes to sushi, there’s a possibility it can be high in salt and sugar. Rice contains simple sugars that can add to weight gain, or even lead to diabetes. Rice can also contain salt, as does the soy sauce used in sushi.
Even so, if you’re asking whether or not sushi is okay for dogs to eat, the answer is, “it depends.” Whether or not a sushi will be safe for your furry companions to eat will depend on what’s inside the particular sushi itself.
Rice, both white or brown, are relatively safe to be a part of a dog’s diet. Some veterinarians may even prescribe that your dog eat boiled rice to treat a stomach ache!
Furthermore, seaweed is also safe for dogs to consume, as long as they’re the kind of seaweed you yourself eat. If they’re munching on the kind of seaweed scattered all over beaches, then that’s a whole different matter entirely.
A carrot, a cucumber, or a mango is acceptable for dogs, but avocados are not. That is because they contain persin, a substance that can cause your dog to have a barrage of issues such as difficulty breathing nose congestion, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and an accumulation of fluid around their heart.
Additionally, dogs shouldn’t eat fried foods. So, make sure your sushi doesn’t have any tempura pieces in them. It’s a good idea to avoid wasabi and soy sauce, as well. Sushi condiments tend to have a lot of sugar and salt content in them, which may be harmful if your dog is ingesting them in large amounts.
The one thing you should put a lot of consideration in is the raw fish part of sushi. Sushi-grade raw fish is prepared in such a way that would generally make it safe for dog owners to feed sushi to dogs. In fact, fish is a great source of protein for both you and your dog.
However, there is always the smallest possibility that a raw sushi fish is ill-prepared, and ends up having some harmful bacteria and parasites. When this happens, then it might pose problems for your furry friend.
The Facts About Raw Fish
Raw fish can be safe for your dog—dogs and humans have been eating raw fish for thousands of years. Furthermore, uncooked fish also has some health benefits for dogs.
Sushi and other types of raw fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid, which helps support a dog’s skin and coat. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties, making this a healthy supplement to help your fur baby if he has autoimmune disease, allergies, and more.
So, yes, your fur baby can have a little bit of sushi now and then. By keeping a keen eye on the ingredients, feeding sushi to your pet dog should be relatively harmless. But it’s important to know the possible risks that come with sushi and the symptoms to watch out for in case your canine companion becomes sick.
Raw Fish & Health Issues in Dogs
Fish that is old can definitely cause health problems for a dog. So, never feed your dog leftover sushi or fish that’s been around for a while. While these can make a dog sick, there are some other dangers to be concerned about with raw fish, including small bones that can become lodged in a dog’s throat or intestines.
However, the biggest danger comes from parasites that can be carried in some types of fish. If your dog is generally healthy, then parasites may not be a huge concern. But for dogs with compromised immune systems or other health issues, parasites can make them very sick, or even cause a life-threatening illness.
There are three main parasites that can be carried in raw fish:
- Roundworms: also known as nematodes, these worms stay in the muscles of fish, and they are a whitish, translucent color. These are most often found in salmon, especially those that are farm-raised.
- Flukes: also called trematodes, are usually found in the skin or organs of fish. Salmon from the Pacific can carry these parasites, and while they’re usually harmless to our fur babies, they can cause a condition known as salmon poisoning. These little guys are usually easy to spot in the fish.
- Tapeworms: also called cestodes, are found in the internal organs and the body cavities of fish.
We’re sure you’re crawling all over after thinking about these parasites or possibly feeling nauseous, so we’ll move on to symptoms to watch for!
Symptoms Your Dog May Be Sick from Fish
Here are the main symptoms to watch for after your canine companion’s snarfed down some sushi:
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Distended abdomen, abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
These could be an indication your dog is suffering from some type of intestinal parasite. If he is showing these signs and symptoms, it’s time to call the vet.
In the end, you should know that raw fish can be safe for your dog. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are risks to eating raw fish and sushi. If you do feed your dog sushi, or any other human food at that matter, make sure it’s the right kind and that it is prepared well. This will make sure your furry friend doesn’t end up with any unwanted parasites or other infections. Be aware of the ingredients as well, and watch out for the possibility of harmful bacteria being present in their food.
Even if your beloved pup does get infected by raw fish, don’t freak out. In most cases, with early treatment, your fur baby should be just fine! You should simply make sure that you have a plan and a go-to veterinarian you can consult in if your dog seems to be experiencing any unwanted illnesses after ingesting your California roll.
As a whole, it’s OK to give your furry pet a sushi roll or two every once in a while, but don’t make it a regular habit. Another good rule of thumb is to always put leftover sushi away once you’re finished, so your canine companion can’t get it when you’re not looking!