Can Dogs Eat Tuna? When it is or isn’t an Emergency

Disclaimer: The content on is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Tuna isn’t toxic to dogs so it’s something that dogs can eat in moderation. That said, there are safer alternatives when it comes to feeding fish to dogs.

Why tuna isn’t safe for dogs

Although the tuna meat itself isn’t toxic, there are a couple of other safety concerns that dog owners should be aware of. First, consider how the tuna or tuna-based product is prepared. You shouldn’t, for example, let your dog eat canned tuna stored in brine due to the high sodium content. You should also feeding tuna-based products that may be high in fat content such as tuna mayo. Canned tuna stored in spring water, on the other hand, would be safe for dogs to eat in small amounts.

There is also the concern around mercury with tuna known for containing one of the highest levels of mercury among store-bought fish. Instead of tuna, you may want to feed your dog a safer alternative with lower levels of mercury such as tilapia or salmon. These fish species offer great health benefits as they also contain omega-3 fatty acids and other important nutrients.

Dangers of Mercury Poisoning

A small amount of tuna is highly unlikely to cause mercury poisoning but dogs that are fed tuna consistently may end up with such issues down the road. Dogs that suffer from mercury poisoning will start to display a number of symptoms such as stomach pain, lack of coordination, and tremors.

Want to know what other human foods might potentially be unsafe to dogs? Visit our human foods for pet database to find out!

Can dogs eat tuna in brine?

The brine is the problem. Tuna stored in brine is going to be packed with sodium, which will cause plenty of health problems for dogs if they were to ingest a large amount of it. You could try rinsing the tuna but it’s best to not let your dog eat tuna in brine if you want to be on the safe side.

It’s not just the salt that’s the problem. Tuna is considered to have a relatively high amount of mercury. According to Oceana, tuna is responsible for almost 40% of dietary exposure to mercury in the US. Given our pooches are much smaller in size, the risk of mercury poisoning also becomes a lot higher.

Stay away from canned tuna when possible. Instead, consider feeding your dog fish like whitefish and flounder, which are considered safer choices. Make sure any fish that’s intended for your dog is cooked plain without any seasoning.

Can dogs eat tuna in sunflower oil?

Tuna chunks in sunflower oil are not considered toxic to dogs but could still potentially cause digestive upsets if a dog was to eat too much of it. Sunflower oil is considered to have less saturated fat than other types of cooking oils so the long-term health implications it may cause are less serious for dogs.

That said, it’s very important to moderate the amount of fat your dog consumes and it is very likely that your dog is already getting his fat intake from his regular dog food. You don’t want to go overboard and put your dog at risk of long-term health issues like obesity and arthritis.

If you want to let your dog eat a bit of tuna then we would suggest offering a small amount from tuna chunks that are canned in spring water instead.

Can dogs eat tuna and mayo?

Tuna and mayo isn’t “toxic” to dogs but that doesn’t make them healthy either. Here are the reasons why you should avoid feeding your dog anything that contains tuna and mayo, including salads, pasta, and sandwiches.

Why tuna and mayo is bad for dogs

Mayonnaise is bad for dogs due to having a high fat content. Dogs that eat a high-fat diet are prone to developing serious health conditions like pancreatitis later on. In terms of immediate effects, dogs with sensitive stomachs may suffer from clinical signs like vomiting and diarrhea because their body can’t deal with the high fat content.

Tuna should also be avoided because it is known for having one of the highest amount of mercury among all edible fish species. Feeding tuna infrequently and in small amounts is unlikely to cause much harm but the last thing you would want is for the level of mercury to build up over time in your dog’s body. That can happen if you let your dog eat meals like tuna and mayo on a regular basis.

There is also the concern of supplementary ingredients that goes into meals like tuna and mayo salad. Some recipes may utilize ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions and garlic.


Leave a Reply