Can German Shepherd Eat Fish? What precautions to take before feeding?

Fishes are a great addition to the healthy diet of a dog. It’s great because it provides animal-based proteins like amino acids. The most significant benefit for a dog is getting a healthy coat and skin through intake of omega-3 fatty acids- an anti-inflammatory component. Besides, all the reliable dog food has fish nutrients in some form. Read more to find out how you can feed fish to your German shepherd.

Is fish considered a good food for dogs?

Is fish any good to include in your dog’s diet? Absolutely! A variety of fishes like white fish, Tuna, and Salmon are the best choices for dog meals.

Adding fish to the dog diet will provide all the necessary nutrients to your pet. Besides, apart from just nutrients, dogs like the taste of fish!

Should we feed fish to our GSD? Benefits and nutrition value

German shepherds are adorable pets; however, they have special needs when it comes to diet. Talking in general, they need to have a high-quality diet with 18-22% protein. There are multiple sources of protein like meat, vegetables, fruits, or grains. However, it’s essential to maintain a proper ratio of all the nutrients like vitamins, fiber, protein,

german shepherd eating from bowl

They require 22% of protein when they are in the growth stage. Adult German shepherds need slightly lesser i.e. 18% protein. Also, the adult ones require 5% fat for enough energy. However, puppies need 8%.

Now fish is a rich source of protein for dogs. Should you feed it to your German shepherd? Absolutely! It’s the most accessible source of whole meat protein-packed with nutrients and is also good in taste! Your GSD will never say no to such food as it’s incredibly delicious.

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Take a look at the nutritional value and benefits of fish for a German Shepherd:-

Good source of vitamin A- Improves eyesight

Some fishes are packed with vitamin A like Cod and herring. These play a vital role in improving eyesight and promote low light vision in GSD. It reduces the risk of sight loss after a certain age and helps treat several eye diseases.

Source of omega 3- excellent for coat and skin

The high content of omega 3 in fishes helps the German Shepherd maintain healthy skin over the years. Any GSD with a skin condition like rashes, irritation, or itchiness can get relief by eating fish daily.

Iron, zinc, vitamin A- improves the Immune system

A vital nutrient called selenium is present in seafood. This prevents any damage to tissue or cell and repairs the immune system of GSD.

You can get enough iodine from sea fish. Iodine is essential to develop thyroid hormones and maintain a healthy metabolic rate in German shepherds.

Another important thing is vitamins! B complex vitamins can be found in fishes like Cod. These are excellent sources of B12, B6, B3. It helps release energy from food by breaking it down the right way.

Vitamin A helps in making the immune system strong and helps fight everyday infections or illnesses. It promotes the growth of bones, keeping them healthy for years.

Omega 3 is the essential fatty acid that can help maintain tissues and joints in your pup. It helps treat joint problems like arthritis.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb phosphorus and calcium, keeping your dog’s bones and teeth more robust. That’s why it’s recommended to feed fish to your GSD as it contains all kinds of minerals in the right amount.

The last element, magnesium, found abundantly in Cod, helps improve muscle functioning and regulates the heart rate.

How to feed a fish to your German shepherd?

Now that we know it’s ok for your German shepherd to eat fish, let’s look at how to feed them the right way-

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The first step is to make sure you feed them adequately cooked fish meat rather than the raw one. It’s essential to cook the meat to remove bacteria or any kind of contamination. Cook it without adding salt, seasonings for oil.

cooked fish

However, cooked bones can be dangerous for your GSD just as much as raw meat. Remove the fish bones before cooking and then serve it.

You can feed your dog fish diet in small amounts and periodically. Moderation is the key. Just because it’s healthy, do not overfeed your dog with fish. Feeding properly cooked boneless fish two times a week in smaller amounts is just fine to maintain the nutritional level in your dog.

Precautions to take while feeding fishes

You must maintain some precautions while feeding fish to your German Shepherd.

  • Firstly remember to go for canned fish that are water-based without any seasonings or flavorings.
  • Always look for a fish with less potential for high Mercury levels to avoid Mercury poisoning.
  • When you are serving a cooked fish, make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Half-cooked fish can contain parasites and harmful bacteria.
  • Steep the fish in water overnight, so it removes the salt content before cooking.
  • Debone the fish before cooking. Any bone part can get choked in the throat of your pup and cause serious harm.
  • Make sure not to put salt or seasoning on while cooking.
  • Also, don’t feed a considerable amount of fish at once. Feed smaller portions periodically to avoid Mercury poisoning.

Which fishes can a German shepherd eat and which not?

Here’s the list of fishes your GSD can eat-

Salmon (Cooked)

Boneless cooked Salmon is the premium meal for any dog. Just make sure it wasn’t farmed. It’s a good source of protein and essential fatty acids that can have a positive impact on your dog’s shelf life.


These are also called the healthiest fish in the sea. They don’t live long and only eat planktons, giving them minimum exposure to toxins and heavy metals. These tiny fishes are packed with nutritional values like copper, omega 3’s, selenium, and fewer heavy metals.

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Herring and Anchovies

These are other fish species-rich in omega-three fatty acids. It’s not recommended to feed them as salted, pickled, or smoked as it can enhance the harmful ingredients that can harm your GSD.


It’s essential to source protein high in selenium stress minerals and omega-three fatty acids and also readily available!

Here’s the list of fishes your GSD can’t eat-


This is probably the worst fish choice for your dog. The low nutrient fish is farmed and is never wild-caught. These fishes originate from countries that don’t obey the quality standards. This fish can also live off faeces, hence better to avoid it.


Tuna is dense meat and even if you go with it, find the yellowfin tuna. You can find it at places where heavy metals don’t exist.


Anything like crab, shrimp, or lobster can be wrong for dogs. Remember not to feed the whole shellfish to dogs. You can only feed the meat part which is fresh and wholly cooked without any leftover. A couple of bites are still ok but making it a whole meal for your German shepherd is not advised.

Smoked and raw Salmon

Although we know it’s safe to feed properly cooked fish to dogs, with Salmon, you need to be extra careful. An improperly cooked Salmon can actually be deadly for dogs. It contains a parasite named Neorickettsia helminthoeca can cause Salmon poisoning in dogs.

Farmed Fish

It’s best to avoid farmed fish as they always intake low-quality food, harmful pesticides hormones, and antibiotics. Also, these are kept in dirty and small ponds, which are as foul as garbage. Not all farmed fish are brought up like this, but there is a good chance most of them come from such backgrounds.

Our Verdict

To sum up, you can definitely feed fish to your German Shepherd without hesitation. However, as you know, there are lots of considerations you must make before feeding a particular fish. You need to consider the type of fish, the way it is cooked, the amount of fish you include in the meal, the frequency of feeding it, and its nutritional value.

Before making any decision, make sure you talk to your vet about the diet of your pup. It’s important to discuss with a professional before you switch your dog’s meals to fish. Once you get confirmation, go ahead and give your dog nutrition-rich fish!

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