Can Dogs Eat Pilchards In Tomato Sauce

Can Dogs Eat Pilchards In Tomato Sauce?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

When eaten alone, pilchards are incredibly healthy for dogs. However, tomato sauce is high in salt, so do not feed your dog pilchards in it.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Pilchards In Tomato Sauce?“.

Many pet owners wonder if fish can benefit their dogs health since everyone knows that fish is good for your health.

Can Dogs Eat Pilchards In Tomato Sauce

Although salmon is an expensive option for your dog pilchards are a more convenient option and are readily available.

Can you give your dog pilchards in tomato sauce for example? Thats not so easy.

Despite being packed with essential nutrients pilchards have a high-fat content that you should be aware of. In addition the sauce they come in isnot quite healthy either but it isnot toxic either.

You should give your dog pilchards in tomato sauce as an occasional snack and we’ll explain why this type of food should become a staple of his diet.

Pilchards vs Sardines. What is the difference?

Many people are confused by the term pilchards wondering if they are the same as sardines. Technically they are the same species of fish and both belong to the herring family.

Small sardines are referred to as pilchards in the United Kingdom which are commonly caught in the northeastern Atlantic the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Throughout the world the same fish is simply referred to like sardines.

In the end pilchards and sardines are the same and have the same nutritional value.

How nutritious are pilchards for dogs?

The main advantage of feeding your dog pilchards is that they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals.

The calcium content of pilchards per 100 grams is 382 mg while the iron content is 2.92 mg.

You can feed your dog pilchards because they contain no carbs if you exclude the sauce.

The majority of Pilchards’ calories come from fat and protein. You might want to limit the amount of fat your dog consumes but the high protein content is good for his health as it helps him build muscles and keep fit.

Pilchards in tomato sauce on average contain 200 to 250 calories per 155 g can (depending on the brand).

You should keep in mind that this type of food is highly-calorific and might pose a problem if your dog is prone to obesity.

There are many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids including:

  • Aid in the prevention of cancer by strengthening the dogs immune system.
  • Reduce inflammation which is great for pets that suffer from arthritis.
  • Keep their skin and coat healthy. Flaky dry skin can be treated with Omega-3 acids.
  • Enhance and maintain cognitive functions which is important for puppies whose minds are still developing as well as senior dogs who are suffering from age-related cognitive decline.
  • Promote heart health and support circulation.
  • Reduce allergy symptoms.

How might the tomato sauce affect a dog?

Generally pilchards are quite good for your dog but you need to read the label carefully because the tomato sauce may contain ingredients that can be potentially harmful.

You will find that a regular can contains only 65% fish and 35% tomato sauce. There is nothing wrong with tomatoes; they are good for your dog. Dogs are only toxic to the green parts of the tomato plant.

However if you look at the label you’ll see that a regular can contains 1.55 grams of salt. Its approximately 26% of the average persons recommended daily intake (RDA) according to the manufacturer. Thats quite a bit especially if we’re talking about small breeds.

Vomiting diarrhea trembling fever and seizures may result from eating too much salt.

A can of pilchards does not contain enough salt to cause salt poisoning but if you feed your dog salty fish every day he may develop health problems.

Pilchards in tomato sauce vs brine vs sunflower oil

You should choose fish in sunflower oil if you can choose between various types of sardines and pilchards.

Considering tomato sauce contains a lot of salt its not the best choice for a dog.

The salt content in pilchards in brine is even higher so they should be avoided completely.

However you may end up giving your dog too many fats if you use sunflower oil. The amount of fat in a balanced diet for a dog should not exceed 15%.

Pilchards in tomato sauce have 8g of salt per 100g serving while sardines in sunflower oil have 14g of fat per 100g serving. The amount of fat in your dogs diet will have to be assessed so that canned fish would not be excessive.

Theres a simple trick you can use to eliminate excess fat from your dogs treats.  Remove the pilchards from the tin and place them on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. You can also do this to get rid of the salty tomato sauce.

Raw fish is the best thing to feed your dog if you can find any.

Are pilchards and mackerel the same thing?

Pilchards and sardines are interchangeable but mackerel is a completely different species of fish.

There are a number of fish families that live in both temperate and tropical glasses of water that are known as mackerel.

Markel is bigger than regular pilchards regardless of what family they belong to so its impossible to confuse the two types of fish.

When it comes to fish sardines herrings and mackerel are the healthiest options as they are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in toxic elements such as mercury.

Mackerel and pilchards are both good for your dog but mackerel has less cholesterol.

Mackerel has more vitamins B6 B12 and D Vitamin B12 and selenium compared to pilchards which are higher in phosphorus calcium and iron.

In addition pilchards contain a low amount of sodium which is very important since too much salt is harmful to dogs.

You can choose between pilchards and mackerel both of which are quite affordable.

Fish has been used in many different ways by humans over the years but your dog will be quite happy if he gets a small treat straight from the can.

Are the bones in the pilchards a choking hazard to a dog?

Pilchard bones are too small and fragile to pose a choking hazard so you need not worry about them. Small dogs would not have a problem whether they chew the treat or swallow it whole.

You can however chop the pilchards into smaller pieces and put them on his food plate if you are concerned about fish bones.

If your dog is not happy with his regular food you can use this trick to make him happier. It is possible that a picky eater will lick the bowl clean due to the enticing smell of fish.

Can you feed pilchards in tomato sauce to your dog every day?

It is beneficial for your dogs health to feed him pilchards but you need to strike the right balance between salt content and fat content to avoid health risks. Your dogs weight determines how much pilchard you can give him.

A very small dog weighing less than 5 pounds should not eat more than two pilchards per week according to experts.

A six to fifteen-pound dog should consume four pilchards a week while a larger dog (26 to 50 pounds) can consume eight pilchards.

You should not feed your dog the full amount of pilchards hes allowed per week the first time you give him pilchards. Give him a small amount first and watch his reaction. If he does well you can give him more the next day.

You should spread the recommended fish portion over several days to prevent your dog from consuming too much fat all at once if he has a sensitive stomach.

Is mercury in pilchards a concern?

It has been reported that fish in the oceans are full of mercury and other toxic chemicals. Pilchards are not as dangerous as most other fish so do not worry about them too much. Pilchards do not live long enough to accumulate much mercury in their bodies so they are safer than other types of big fish like tuna.

Alternatively some believe that strontium is a greater threat than mercury. Sr 90 which does accumulate in pilchard bones is particularly dangerous. Over time your dogs body can accumulate this type of radioactive isotope but there are few health risks associated with it. The pilchard bones can be removed if you are concerned about that. Taking out the spine isnot too difficult.


Occasionally feeding your dog pilchards provides many health benefits as well as making for a much-appreciated treat. Pilchards are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids which promote the immune system brain function and heart health.

Nevertheless you should keep in mind that pilchards in tomato sauce have a lot of salt which is dangerous for dogs. Remember too that those small fish are loaded with calories. It is not a good idea to add a can of pilchards to the dogs regular food since it might lead to weight gain.

Nonetheless if given in moderation according to your dogs weight pilchards will keep your dog healthy and looking beautiful since the omega-3 fatty acids make the coat shiny and silky.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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