Although there’s plenty of fish in the sea, cod leads the pack as one of the most popular fish we humans eat. Although we might not think of it as being as healthy as other seafoods like salmon, it’s still a super protein source with lots of vitamins and minerals.
You might assume your mutt can munch cod, but can dogs eat cod and is this scrummy seafood just as safe and nutritious for our furry friends?
Dogs can eat cod, and this lean fish often finds its way into various recipes of dog food because it’s a great source of protein. If your pooch is allergic to other meats like beef or chicken, a bit of cod could provide them with the protein they need without upsetting their allergies.
Any kind of cod is good for your dog whether it’s Atlantic or Pacific, just as long as it’s cooked and plain. Cooked cod is easier for your dog to digest and it’s unlikely to make your pooch sick compared to raw fish.
You can cook your cod any way you like, but you must make sure you don’t use any fats, oils, seasonings, or sauces that could irritate your dog’s digestive system or make them sick. Grilling and steaming cod is ideal because it keeps the fish plain.
Make sure any cod you feed your dog has been deboned because fish bones can cause problems if your pup swallows them. It could cut their mouth, irritate or injure their throat, or even puncture an internal organ. You also shouldn’t feed your dog the fish’s head, fins, or tail.
Dogs can eat cod skin as long as it is cooked, plain, and the scales have been scraped off. Scales can irritate and injure your dog’s insides because they can be sharp.
Your dog could eat cod raw, but it might make them sick. Raw fish can cause stomach ache, gastroenteritis, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Raw cod can also be contaminated with harmful bacteria like salmonella or E. Coli that could make your dog, and yourself, very ill. Uncooked cod can also contain a number of nasty parasites like flukes, roundworms, and tapeworms which will harm your dog.
Meanwhile, plain, cooked cod is just as delicious for your furry friend and it’s much easier for your dog to digest. Plus, any harmful nasties like worms or germs will be killed off during cooking.
Dogs can definitely eat frozen cod as long as it’s been cooked thoroughly, and it’s probably the easiest and cheapest way of feeding your pup this scrummy seafood. Just follow the same rules as feeding Fido fresh fish, make sure the cod is completely cooked, kept plain, and that there are no bones in it.
Your dog shouldn’t eat battered cod because it is higher in fat than a piece of plain cod. Even if you flake the fish out of the batter, it would still have soaked up a lot of the fat and oils used to cook it.
Eating too much fat can put your dog at risk of obesity and pancreatitis. Although giving your dog a tiny bit of fish flaked out of a battered cod once in a while should be safe, it’s better not to do it.
Yes, dogs can have cod liver oil as a supplement in their diet. However if your dog is eating healthy dog food, they should be getting all the nutrients they need in their meals and shouldn’t need any supplements.
Cod liver oil isn’t safe for all dogs though. It’s a great source of omega-3, but it’s also high in vitamin A and D. Dogs with liver problems shouldn’t eat fish oil because their liver will be put under excess strain and struggle to filter out the vitamins they don’t need.
Any dog that eats too much vitamin A could suffer from vitamin A toxicity. Plus, fish oil and any other supplements, even if they’re natural and “safe”, can interact with other medicines or supplements your dog has, which could make them sick or make their medicine less effective.
If you’re wondering whether your pooch would benefit from fish oil you should talk to your vet or a canine nutritionist. They’ll tell you if it’s safe and suitable for your dog’s individual needs.
Cod roe is a kind of caviar and it isn’t toxic for dogs, but it’s not an ideal snack for them. For starters, it’s not exactly budget-friendly!
Cod roe is packed full of salt, which must be moderated in your dog’s diet to keep them healthy. Plus, the nutrition in cod roe isn’t dissimilar to a piece of fish, which is no doubt easier to get hold of (and easier on the wallet.)
Your dog isn’t really going to enjoy cod roe any more than any other treat, so you might as well offer them something meatier, tastier, and healthier like a chunk of cod.
Cod is good for dogs and an excellent addition to their diet as a treat or part of their dog food. It's safe to eat, nutritious, and can help to keep your pup healthy.
Firstly, cod is an amazing protein source and it’s full of amino acids that your dog needs to make new proteins in their body, like hormones, muscle, and skin. But cod is also low in carbs, fat and calories, making it a really lean and healthy choice of meat for your dog to eat.
Cod is also a source of B vitamins, including B12 which is used to create new blood cells. There are loads of other vital vitamins and minerals inside this flaky fish, including phosphorus and selenium.
Dogs need phosphorus in their diet to grow strong teeth and bones, healthy cells, and to be able to store and use energy in their body. Selenium helps to keep their thyroid healthy and has antioxidant properties that provide benefits like preventing cell damage, cognitive decline, and even fighting cancer.
This fantastic fish also contains iodine which will help to keep your pooch’s thyroid healthy, and lots of omega-3. You probably know omega-3 is brilliant at helping to keep your brain and joints healthy, and it’s the same for our dogs.
That means cod and other fish is a great addition to an old dog’s diet to prevent cognitive decline and help manage arthritis. But, omega-3 has tons of other benefits, including helping to reduce inflammation, soothing itchy skin, and settling allergies. Omega-3 is vital in your dog’s diet anyway, but it can work wonders on some sick dogs whether it’s alleviating allergies or helping to manage heart disease.
Raw cod can be a problem for your pooch because eating it might make them unwell, and if you’re unlucky, they could carry parasites. Simply cooking cod before feeding it to your dog is enough to prevent these tummy troubles and uninvited pests.
One of the worries about feeding fish to our pets is the mercury levels. Some fish, like certain species of tuna, can contain high levels of mercury that can build up in your dog’s body and make them sick. However, cod is a relatively small and shorter-lived fish so it’s low in mercury, making it a safe and healthy seafood for Fido.
There is one uncommon problem with eating cod or any fish too much, and that is thiamine deficiency. However, your dog won’t be at risk unless they eat nothing but cod for an extended period of time. Vitamin deficiencies, including thiamine deficiency, are easy to prevent by simply making sure your pooch eats a balanced diet.
If you’re feeding your pooch cod and it isn’t an ingredient in their dog food, then it’s a treat. All treats, including cod, should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s recommended daily calorie intake, whilst the other 90% will be from their meals.
Your pooch can eat more cod if it’s an ingredient in their dinner. If you’re making their meals yourself, you will need to discuss with a vet or canine nutritionist how much cod your dog can eat because it will depend on their size, age, and individual nutritional needs.
If your dog has cod in their dog food it will already be in appropriate proportions to keep them healthy, you just need to give them the right portion size for dinner. If your pooch is eating Pure, their food will already be tailored to meet their individual needs and we’ll let you know exactly how much to give your dog to keep them bright-eyed and waggy-tailed.
There’s no bones about it, dogs can eat cod! You just need to make sure there are no bones in your fillet of fish and that it’s plain and properly cooked before feeding it to Fido.
Cod is a fantastic protein source for dogs and it’s low in fat, salt, carbs, and calories so you don’t need to be super stingy with their portions. This flaky, tasty fish can be used as a healthy treat or as an ingredient in your dog’s dinner.
However, certain types of fish are often the main protein source in many complete dog food recipes, such as our Pure salmon recipes. We use salmon to get all the goodness from the salmon, omega 3 oils and protein, alongside being super tasty for your dog too! Give it a go, your dog will thank you for it later!
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.