Can My Dog Eat Tuna?

Author: Mikael Öling

This article is part of a series “Can My Dog Eat X” by Pala Petfoods, where our experts review the benefits and dangers of different foods to dogs. Our mission is to help you make informed decisions that prioritise your furry friend's health and break some bad myths in the process.


The Benefits

  • High in Protein: Tuna is a good source of lean protein which is beneficial for a dog's muscle development and overall health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The omega-3 fatty acids in tuna can help support a dog’s immune system, improve coat health and reduce inflammation.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Tuna contains various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus which are important for a dog's dietary needs.

The Dangers

  • Mercury Content: Tuna may contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities over time.
  • High in Sodium: Canned tuna often contains added salt which can be unhealthy for dogs, potentially leading to sodium ion poisoning.
  • Risk of Allergies: Some dogs may be allergic to fish, and introducing tuna could trigger an allergic response.
  • Unbalanced Diet: Relying too much on tuna to feed a dog can lead to an unbalanced diet lacking in essential nutrients found in a complete dog food formulation.

The Details

  • Choose the Right Tuna: Opt for tuna in water rather than oil and without added salt or spices.
  • Check for Mercury Levels: Prefer tuna species known to have lower mercury content, such as light tuna, and avoid feeding large amounts.
  • Moderation is Key: Tuna should only be a small part of your dog's diet; moderation is essential to avoid mercury buildup and nutritional imbalances.
  • Introduce Gradually: Start with small amounts of tuna to monitor for any adverse reactions or allergies.
  • Bone and Chunk Size: Ensure there are no bones and that the chunks are an appropriate size to prevent choking.
  • Monitor Health Changes: Keep an eye out for any changes in your dog's health or behavior and consult your vet if you notice anything unusual.
  • Balanced Diet: Ensure that the rest of your dog’s diet remains balanced and nutritionally complete.
  • Watch Sodium Intake: Canned tuna can contain high levels of sodium, which is not good for dogs in large amounts. Always choose low-sodium options or rinse the tuna to remove excess salt.
  • Sustainability: If possible, choose sustainably sourced tuna to support environmental conservation.

Other Things To Note

Raw or canned tuna – which is better?

Raw tuna may preserve more natural nutrients which could be lost during canning. It also avoids the risks of added salt or preservatives oftentimes found in canned products. However, the possibility of bacteria such as Salmonella or Listeria—not to mention parasites—means that raw tuna can pose a risk of food poisoning for pets.

Conversely, canned tuna is typically safer because the canning process kills bacteria and parasites, and it's more convenient to store and use. Yet, it's important to be mindful that canned tuna may contain high levels of sodium, especially if it's not the no-salt-added variety, and some products may have unhealthy additives or be preserved in oil, which isn't ideal for a dog's diet. It's advisable to seek out canned tuna that comes in water without added salt for the safest option when choosing canned. Prior to incorporating tuna into a dog's diet, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian to ensure safe and appropriate feeding practices.

As always, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog's diet to ensure they're safe and beneficial for your pet specifically. Check out our other articles in this series for more information on what you should or should not feed your dog.


  1. "Can Dogs Eat Tuna?" - PetMD
  2. "Can Dogs Eat Tuna?" - American Kennel Club
  3. "Can Dogs Enjoy Tuna? Uncover the Benefits and Risks!" - All Things Dogs
  4. "Can Dogs Eat Tuna? (Benefits, Risks, and Safety)" - Bone Appetreat
  5. "Can Dogs Eat Tuna? Here's Everything You Need to Know" - Pawlicy Advisor