Dog Questions
can dogs eat mackerel

Can Dogs Eat Mackerel? - A Nutrient Rich Food For Dogs

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


There are several types of fish suitable for dogs and mackerel is a common fish that is consumed as human food and an occasional treat for your best friend.
A dog sneaking fish off a table


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Now, onto the lowdown of the mackerel...

Being an excellent source of nutrients, mackerels are probably one of the best seafood options for dogs with a range of health benefits.

This is because they are a great source of protein, vitamins, and fatty acids like omega-3 fats. These largely help dogs with growth and development.

Mackerels can be fresh, and frozen, as well as a tinned fish variety. While some of them come packed with just the perfect amount of ingredients, others may contain additives such as salt, spices, and oil that are harmful to dogs’ internal systems.

A fatty fish, already a rich source of oils and protein, mackerels do not require many additives. If not consumed in the right amounts for a balanced, healthy diet, mackerel can prove to be difficult to digest.

Therefore, dog owners should go through this article to learn exactly what is healthy for their paw friends.

Below, we’ll go over which forms of mackerel are ideal for your little buddy. We'll also look at some potential issues regarding mackerel as dog food.

Can dogs eat mackerel?

Mackerel fish on tray

Yes, dogs can definitely eat mackerel! This oily fish is rich in fat and filled with many important nutrients that are essential for a dog’s health and well-being.

Some of the vital nutrients in mackerel include vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

There are multiple ways in which you can serve your dog a tasty and healthy treat with a mackerel dinner. It can be boiled, or cooked with other ingredients.

However, baking is the best way to preserve the nutrients and fatty acids for which mackerels are special.

Boneless fillets are the safest option or for a quick treat and you can mix a quarter tin of plain mackerel with no additional additives into their bowl with their regular biscuits.

This method is therefore much more beneficial for both you and your dogs than other cooking methods.

Pet owners should however keep in mind that many types of mackerels can also be harmful to dogs if consumed too much.

For example, Spanish mackerel, and king mackerel are especially best to avoid as dog food. Therefore, it should always be ensured by pet owners that mackerels are only a part of a larger diet so that their dog remains healthy and balanced.

Can dogs eat mackerel in tomato sauce?

A dog with a fish in its mouth

No, eating mackerel in tomato sauce is not very ideal for dogs. This is because sauces contain extra salt and sugar which is not very healthy for your dog’s digestive system.

Many brands also include unwanted spices in the tomato sauce which renders the mackerel unhealthy for dogs.

Since mackerels are already so rich in oil and fats, it is advised to dog owners to not go overboard with tomato sauce as it may have adverse effects on the pets.

They contain ingredients that tend to be toxic to your dog’s health, making them prone to getting sick or overweight.

Can dogs eat mackerel in olive oil?

In general, there is no harm in giving your dog mackerels cooked, dipped, or canned in olive oil. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that are an excellent source for the skin and fur coats of your dogs. However, feeding dogs with mackerels in olive oil is not highly recommended by health specialists.

This is because mackerels are already fatty food sources full of rich nutrients. Keeping them in oil only increases the fat content which might prove to be harmful.

It is alright if they are consumed in very low amounts. However, one can never know what can affect them. Therefore, it is best to avoid oiled mackerels as a part of your dog’s daily diet.

Can dogs eat smoked mackerel?

A dog looking at a fish

Unfortunately, no. Dogs should not be given smoked or cured mackerel because of their high salt content. Other additional ingredients such as oil, spices, and black pepper are also significant irritants that affect your dog’s digestive system.

Salt is the biggest problem that renders smoked mackerel an unsuitable dog food. A dog should not be consuming more than 0.5 grams of salt per day.

However, a single serving of smoked mackerel is bound to contain at least 1.6 grams of salt, which is way too high than the ideal amount of salt consumption for your pup.

Eating excessive salt can cause serious harm to your dog’s system. It can dehydrate the body, and in severe cases, even poison them. So, it is best to keep smoked mackerel and other salty food items right out of the food bowl.

Can dogs eat canned or tinned mackerel?

Tinned mackerel is not harmful to your dogs per se, but they do not come with the same benefits as mackerels in fresh or frozen forms.

They are not necessarily harmful as long as the tin of the cans is clean but what actually probes an issue are the additives in them like salt, oil, sugar, spices, etc. that are very unhealthy for dogs.

Canned mackerel also comes with a lot of oil and flavoured sauces. These might taste good but are essentially very upsetting to your dog's digestive and immune system.

Particularly curry and spicy flavours cause irritation in dogs and lead to upset stomachs or other side effects. It is, therefore, best to always treat your pup with fresh mackerels straight out of the market.

Can dogs eat mackerel in sunflower oil?

Mackerel fillets

Sunflower oil has its own benefits and any food item cooked with it is sure to contain rich antioxidants.

The omega-3 fatty acids largely help with reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure levels. It is also very good for those who have gone through a heart attack or stroke in the past.

However, this is not the ideal food recommendation if you want to maintain a healthy diet for your dog.

Since mackerels are already very rich fatty food items, adding them with sunflower oil only makes them fattier.

We definitely do not want our dogs to get obese or overweight with the consumption of extra fats. Sunflower oil also releases toxic compounds harmful to your dog’s system when heated for too long.

Therefore, dog owners should be very careful with what additives their dogs are consuming. Oil is a tricky choice as it can be healthy as well as harmful when consumed in unbalanced amounts.


As pet parents, it is one’s ultimate responsibility to know what is right and what is wrong for their dog.

Mackerel is a healthy snack or a tasty treat for your trusted furry friend, containing a natural source of essential minerals which promote a range of nutritional benefits such as helping brain function, easing any arthritis inflammation and more.

We hope you found our information on the types of mackerel and what is recommended as healthy for your dog.

So, can dogs eat mackerel? The simple answer is yes, depending on the additives, so the rule of thumb is to check your tin of fish, or fresh mackerel pack and see if it includes extra salt, pepper, flavourings, etc for safety first!

Dog owners can now feel more confident about maintaining a healthy diet for their little ones. Happy feeding furry friends!

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