Skip to Content

Can Dogs Eat Smoked Salmon?

Ever wonder if smoked salmon is as healthy for your dog as it is for you? If you’re wondering “can dogs eat smoked salmon?” you’ve come to the right place. We’ll delve into the nuance behind this food and whether or not you should feed it to your pup.

Arm of a human feeding a yellow labrador outside.
Photo credit: YayImages.

What is smoked salmon?

Smoked salmon is simply salmon, typically a filet, that has been cured then either hot or cold smoked. This preservation process uses both salt and smoke. The resulting flavor and texture will vary depending on the smoking method.

Smoked salmon is technically not cooked. Curing uses salt to preserve the fish but it does not cook it.

Should dogs eat smoked salmon?

Because of the curing process which involves a large quantity of salt, dogs should not eat smoked salmon. This can apply to other foods from the sea like seaweed too depending on how it’s processed.

This is usually a surprise to dog owners as it’s easy to assume smoked salmon would be a good option for dogs since salmon is a common ingredient in many commercially available dry foods.

There’s a big difference between cooked salmon and smoked salmon, however, and the safety of feeding it to a dog.

Like sardines, fresh cooked salmon that’s not smoked is a great protein choice for dogs providing heart-healthy omega-3 fats. However, if the salmon has been smoked, it should be off-limits to your pup.

Dish of thinly sliced gourmet smoked salmon.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Why is smoked salmon dangerous for dogs?

There are a variety of risks associated with feeding your dog smoked salmon.

  • Seasonings — Oftentimes smoked salmon is seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs. Many of these such as garlic and onion can be toxic to a dog’s health.
  • Salt poisoning — When dogs ingest a lot of salt, they can develop sodium poisoning. The salt used in the curing process makes smoked salmon a potential danger. Signs of salt toxicosis in dogs include weakness, muscle tremors or shaking and other neurological symptoms. When this occurs it can also naturally lead to dehydration in the dog causing the onset of further problems.
  • Dangerous bacteria — Like raw salmon, smoked salmon can contain bacteria that can be harmful to your dog such as salmonella or E. coli. Parasites such as flukes can also be present in raw fish. Salmon poisoning can occur when these flukes are infected with a bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. The infected flukes imbed themselves in the dog’s intestines and wreak havoc throughout the body through the bloodstream. While the chance of bacteria and parasites is low, it’s still a potentially fatal risk to be aware of as a pet owner.

What about cooked salmon?

Don’t confuse the dangers and risks of smoked salmon with cooked salmon. When cooked, salmon can be a nutritious and wise protein source for your dog. If you make your own dog food or often supplement your pup’s dry food, cooked salmon is a great choice, and a much better one than feeding a dog fish sticks.

Containing beneficial omega-3s, cooked salmon is excellent for maintaining healthy muscle, preventing inflammation, aiding in digestive issues and promoting a silky smooth coat.

Cooked salmon can be fed to your dog in canned form (likely the cheapest option), by giving them the skin of a filet you’ve cooked for yourself or even some pieces of the whole fish. As always, make sure any cooked salmon you do share with your dog is given plain without seasonings and salt.

Smoked salmon on a platter with serving tongs.
Photo credit: YayImages.

What to do if your dog eats smoked salmon

Don’t panic if your dog eats a small amount of smoked salmon. In all likelihood, they will be fine.

Most dogs will have little to no reaction from a small amount of ingested smoked salmon other than some increased thirst.

Monitor the dog closely looking for any aforementioned signs of excessive salt intake as well as vomiting, diarrhea or classic digestive upset symptoms. Call your vet if anything seems strange.

If your dog suffers from high blood pressure or heart failure, excess salt ingestion can be more detrimental to them than an otherwise healthy dog so be sure to seek appropriate care.

If your dog ate a large quantity of smoked salmon, it’s best to get in touch with the vet immediately.

The final word on smoked salmon for dogs

Save the smoked salmon for the humans in the house and stick to regular cooked salmon for the dogs.

The risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to feeding your dog smoked salmon and this should be a food that’s avoided for their health.