Most of your life you thought that fish is suitable to feed cats, not dogs. But now you must have seen many recommendations from pet owners and vets to include fish in your dog's daily diet. This has made you wonder if it is indeed a good idea to feed fish to your dog, and if yes, what are the benefits of doing so. Here we will try to understand what are the major nutrients needed by your dog, and whether they are present in fish or not.
Benefits of Fish in a Dog's Diet
Fish is not only a great source of protein for dogs but also many kinds of essential minerals and fats. Fish is easily digestible and a better source of nutrition for dogs who are suffering from digestive or liver-related problems. Most fishes are a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and iodine for dogs. Along with such essential vitamins and minerals, fish is also a great source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which are essential for a dog's health. These nutrients act as a natural anti-inflammatory in dogs and are an alternate source of protein for dogs who suffer from allergies or intolerance to other sources of animal protein. Fish is good for a dog's bones and joints as well as the digestive system.
Many vitamins cannot be formed in a dog's body and must be ingested through food. Fish can provide these essential vitamins and help in keeping your dog healthy and wise throughout their life. Most of these vitamins and minerals are absorbed better in a dog's body when provided naturally rather than being fed as supplements. Luckily most dogs are fond of the fish flavors and smell and would be happy to gorge on them. Still, it is advisable to add fish slowly in a dog's diet, preferably mixed with other foods to start with. In the beginning, it is best to start with packaged dog food with fish as the primary source of protein. Wellness Core Grain Free Ocean Formula contains whitefish, herring, and salmon which are combined with vegetables and fruits to provide your dog with all the required nutrition.
Here are a few specific health-related advantages of adding fish to your dog's diet.
Herrings are a great source of vitamin A which is also called retinol. Retinol is essential to improve vision, especially in low light, and slows down the rate of vision loss with age.
Skin and Coat
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are very important for dogs to maintain healthy skin and a good coat. Dogs cannot produce fatty acids in their body and must replenish them from food. Lack of these fatty acids results in skin problems in dogs such as itchiness, skin irritation, and patchy coat. Herring and salmon are two of the best sources of these fatty acids.
Sea fishes are rich sources of selenium, which is essential to build and maintain a dog's immune system. Selenium also helps to limit the decay of cells and tissues. Tuna is a richer source of selenium than any other animal protein.
Iron helps in the generation of red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout a dog's body. Lack of iron can cause tiredness and fatigue in your dog. Sardines and whitefish are rich in iron.
Sea fish are a rich source of iodine, which is a critical nutrient for the production of thyroid hormones. It keeps your dog's cell activity and metabolism in a healthy state.
Tuna and salmon are rich in vitamin B complex, including niacin (B3) which can prevent inflammation of your dog's skin.
Vitamin A is essential to keep a dog's immune system in great shape. Cod is a rich source of vitamin A.
Omega 3 also helps in the overall maintenance of joints and tendons in a dog, which keeps your dog active and healthy.
Salmon, herrings, and sardines are rich sources of vitamin D, which is essential in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your dog's body. These minerals ensure that your dog's bones and teeth remain strong. Calcium and phosphorus also help in blood clots, muscle activity, cardiovascular functions, nerve functions, and the digestive system. Your dog should receive adequate amounts of vitamin D from food sources instead of supplements. However, make sure that the dog food you use does not contain too much vitamin D as excessive amounts can be toxic to dogs.
Magnesium also helps in building and maintaining bones in your dog. In addition to that magnesium is also required for proper heart functions. Fishes like salmon and mackerel are rich sources of magnesium.
Before you start to include fish in your dog's diet, make sure that the dog is not allergic to any kind of fish. And do not feed fishbones to a dog. Fishbones can internally damage a dog's digestive system. Ensure that the fish is not from an extensively farmed source. If you are still unsure about what kind of fish to feed your dog, you can always choose a commercially prepared food with fish protein in it.