If you have a dog, and you love them, then you would want everything best for them. The list of best things begins with a comfy sleeping place and a healthy, yet delicious, diet. Although commercial dog food suffices the nutritional needs of your little pooch, however, in the long run, it does more harm than good. Therefore, you might want to mix things up a little and add healthy and natural food to the diet, which is delectable, as well.
With that in mind, you might be thinking of tilapia, and why not, it is a splendid meal. However, is it one for the dogs? Can dogs eat tilapia? If you skim through the list of ingredients of different canned foods, you will notice that there is fish in most of them. However, it does not imply that your dog will eat any fish you throw at them. So, let’s find out whether your dog will savor a tilapia or not.
What is a tilapia
For those who are scratching their heads and wondering what a tilapia is, let me catch you up. Tilapia is a freshwater fish, an African cichlid, precisely, originally found in lakes, ponds, and streams in Africa and Asia. Nowadays, tilapias are everywhere around the world.
Tilapias are inexpensive and a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients. Usually, it is fried and cooked with salts and butter. Recently, there have been reports concerning farming practices, such as feeding animal poo and harmful chemicals, which raise a red flag. Nonetheless, safely farmed tilapia brings a low-cost nutritious meal.
What is in a tilapia
Tilapia is a magnificent source of proteins along with minerals and vitamins. A 100 grams serving of the fish contains a quarter of its weight of proteins, Vitamin B12, Omega-6, Omega-3, Niacin, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Moreover, it only amounts to 128 calories. Hence, it has all the makings of a yummy healthy meal.
The tally is impressive for us and makes for an ideal meal. Also, it makes you question whether it is good for the dogs too? The answer to that is yes, to some of them, as too much phosphorous is damaging. Nonetheless, the proteins and other nutrients are beneficial for the dog’s brain, skin, bones, and cardiovascular system. Now let’s answer the main question at hand; Can dogs eat tilapia?
Can dogs eat tilapia?
To answer briefly, yes, dogs can eat tilapia. As I mentioned above, it is a great source of proteins, vitamins, and unsaturated fatty acids. Moreover, it helps to improve the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the skin, and in improving cognitive functions.
However, feeding them tilapia is not a question of a mere yes or no. You must be cautious as the fish might contain bacteria and other deleterious parasites. Moreover, you must be careful about how you feed your dog. Worry not! We have got it all!
How to serve tilapia to your dog
Now that you know that your dog can eat tilapia; the next question is how to feed them. Serving the dogs raw fish is a bad idea like it is for us humans. The raw tilapia is highly likely to contain bacteria and other deadly microbes that can harm the dog. However, unlike you and me, dogs will not enjoy it fried, and they will not like it salty and buttery either as it can harm the dog’s body system.
If you are going to feed your dog a tilapia, first, remove the fish bones, you don’t want it to put a tear in the stomach, and cook it well. Unlike a cat, your dog cannot digest raw fish. Make sure that the tilapia is unsalted and thoroughly cooked. However, you can add a sprinkle of salt if you feel like it. Also, feed the dog in the form of scraps. Trust me, you wouldn’t look stingy doing that. You should be feeding small portions to your dog which they can easily digest.
How much is enough tilapia for your dog
It is true what they say: an excess of everything is bad. You should not be looking at tilapia for your dog as if it’s a daily meal. Instead, make it more of a treat for your little buddy. There are reasons for you to do it that way. Fishes, including tilapia, contain mercury and phosphorous. The more you give the dog tilapia the more will be the mercury and phosphorus in their body. While mercury is poisonous, too much phosphorous can be detrimental to the dog’s kidneys.
Therefore, you should give only a small portion of the fish to your dog in multiple servings. Also, be sure to take out the bones to reduce the calcium and phosphorous content and cook the fish completely to remove any leftover bacteria.
Risks of feeding fish to your dog
Although there are a lot of benefits of feeding tilapia, other fishes, and seafood to your dog, you must be aware that they might not be as good as they seem. The water life is rife with toxins, pollutants, and deadly chemicals, thanks to us. So, the fishes residing in water consume these poisonous materials and it becomes a part of them.
Ultimately, if your dog feeds on these fishes, and that too excessively, then the poison enters their body system and damages it. Unfortunately, the pet dogs are dainty little creatures, and taking in the poison sends them to the farm if you know what I mean.
Moreover, several different bacteria either infect the waters in which the fish live or the market where they are sold. The list of bacteria includes the deadly salmonella and listeria which can make the dog very sick debilitated or even dead.
If you are thinking of bringing tilapia into the pooch’s diet, then it might not be as effortless as you think. Nonetheless, here are some tips and tricks to get you started.
- Start Slow; An abrupt change in the diet would be unpleasant for the dog’s stomach. So, start with small portions of the fish and increase the serving gradually.
- Choose smaller fish; Consider it a rule of thumb that small-sized fish will have low levels of mercury and vice-versa. Since you don’t want mercury in your pet’s body, opt for smaller fishes.
- Clean the bones; Sharp fish bones can be damaging to the stomach and intestines. The dog could choke on the bone, as well. Therefore, you should choose the fish that is easy to debone.
- Cook completely; Cooking the fish can get rid of toxic bacteria, and hence, prevent several diseases and keep your buddy healthy.
To sum it all up in a nutshell, yes, you can give your dog tilapia. However, make it in small portions periodically. Tilapia is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, but the excess of phosphorus and calcium is harmful. So, make it a treat instead of a regular meal for your dog.
Also, make sure that you clean and debone the tilapia, and then, cook it properly without salting. Otherwise, your pal will be in trouble. Your pet dog will love tilapia if you serve it right. With that said, bon appétit!