Can Dogs Eat Sardines In Oil

Can Dogs Eat Sardines In Oil?

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

Sardines are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, they are safe for dogs and provide many health benefits. Despite the fact that sardines in oil are not harmful to your dog, it’s best to give him sardines packed in water or even raw ones.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Sardines In Oil?“.

Despite the fact that not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat sardines are actually quite healthy.

Can Dogs Eat Sardines In Oil

Of course there are certain things to remember such as your dog having a sensitive stomach or weight concerns so lets discuss everything in depth.

Mercury and strontium are also present in sardines but when consumed in moderation they provide your dog with valuable nutrients.

What are the nutritional benefits of sardines for dogs?

The benefit of giving your dog sardines is that they are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids protein vitamins B12 and D calcium phosphorus and selenium which is an antioxidant.

Lets take a look at why you should feed your dog sardines.

  • The fatty acids in a dogs diet boost the immune system and prevent cancer.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation in the body which is beneficial for old dogs with arthritis. Additionally they reduce joint pain and increase mobility.
  • Dogs benefit from fatty acids for a variety of reasons including avoiding dry flaky skin and keeping their coats shiny and silky.
  • DHA contains an important fatty acid thats essential to cognitive function. As DHA protects against cognitive decline in both puppies and older pets it is especially vital for puppies whose brains are just developing.
  • In addition sardines contain the Q10 coenzyme which along with fatty acids promotes heart health and preserves circulation.
  • Lastly fatty acids can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of allergies in dogs.
  • As a result of the calcium and protein in sardines your dogs bones will be strengthened.

Can a dog choke on sardines bones?

Sardines are not a valid concern when it comes to fish bones. The bones in canned sardines are very small and soft so most dogs would not have a problem chewing them. The raw sardines may be a bit larger than the canned ones if you manage to purchase them.

If you have a small dog or one that has difficulty chewing you might want to exercise caution and remove the spine. The sardines can also be cut into smaller pieces so there is virtually no risk for a dog.

Can dogs eat sardines in olive oil? Is it better than sunflower oil?

You should feed your dog sardines that are packed in water. These are the healthiest options. Sardines however are usually packed in oil at the supermarket. Generally dogs do not have a problem with oil but you might want to avoid giving them too much fat.

Dogs should consume 10-15% fat in their diet as a general rule.

The health benefits of olive oil outweigh those of sunflower oil. The antioxidants in olive oil for example are much higher than those in vegetable oil. In addition olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which are anti-inflammatory and promote heart health. Sunflower oil is high in polyunsaturated fats which can lead to heart disease and inflammation.

You can remove the sardines from the can and put them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil if you are concerned that your dog is getting too much fat in his diet.

When you find sardines in water be sure to read the label and check the salt content. Make sure the product is free of salt flavorings and preservatives. Thats why you should not feed your dog sardines in brine they contain too much salt.

Read the label carefully on sardines in tomato sauce since some of the ingredients might not be healthy for your dog. Commercially available sauces should generally not be given to pets. Sugar salt and chemicals are usually common ingredients.

Are sardines in any way bad for your dog?

When your dog already has a lot of fat in his diet sardines can be a problem. The problem is not just about the dog gaining weight but also about potential stomach problems. Dogs who eat too much fat may get diarrhea. If your dogs stools are loose after eating sardines try cutting the fish serving in half and see if that helps.

If your pet has experienced similar problems in the past stay away from sardines in oil if they have too much fat.

What about mercury and strontium?

In recent years there has been much discussion about the dangers of mercury-tainted fish. As our oceans become more polluted this is a serious concern but sardines are among the safest fish.

The reason for this is quite simple sardines are quite low on the food chain and have a short lifespan. When caught as young small fish simply do not have time to accumulate much mercury in their bodies so they pose little risk.

There is a risk of radioactive isotopes accumulating in your dogs body in the case of strontium. Sardines caught in Japanese waters near Fukushima the site of a 2011 nuclear disaster are not at high risk but there are grave concerns.

Sardines’ bones accumulate strontium so this tasty treat may contain the dangerous isotope Sr 90.

There is very little danger but keep in mind that this nasty isotope can accumulate in your dogs bones as well. The problem is that canneries are not required to specify on the label where the fish were caught and you do not want to feed your fish radioactive elements.

Buy raw sardines from a local fishery instead of buying sardine cans that do not specify the fishs origin. Also you can purchase a bag of frozen sardines which will last you for a long time.

What is the difference between sardines and pilchards?

It is common for pet owners to be confused when it comes to sardines. Does that mean pilchards are sardines? No they are not!

Technically both terms refer to small fish within the larger herring family.  European pilchards are found in parts of the Atlantic Ocean the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Sardines are small fish of the herring family that can live in all the oceans and seas of the world.

Sardines for instance are classified as small pilchards in the UK fish industry.

Theres not much difference between the two or none that matters to your dog at all!

Is it ok to feed my dog sardines every day?

As long as you feed your dog very small amounts of sardines daily there is no reason why it should not get sardines every day. As far as Fido is concerned you can not just open a can of sardines and give it to him.It’s dinnertime!’

You need to keep in mind that one sardine contains about 25 calories and 175 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Fats are not a problem but calories can be especially if your dog tends to be overweight.

Depending on his weight your dog can consume a certain amount of sardines.

  • Small dogs weighing less than 5 lbs should not eat more than sardines per week.
  • For a dog weighing between 6 and 15 pounds four sardines are sufficient per week and for a middle-sized dog (25-50 pounds) eight sardines are sufficient.

To enhance the taste of the dogs regular food many people cut the sardine into small pieces and mix it with it. Throwing one to your pet is no problem if you’re having sardines for dinner (which you should do once in a while).

If your dog has never eaten sardines before try a small piece and see if there is a reaction. After you are sure your pet does not have a problem with them increase the amount.

The water in the can should not be thrown away. To make your dogs kibble more appealing you can pour it over it. If your pet needs to take some medicine you can crush the pills and mix them with sardine water and your pet will drink it in no time!


Because sardines are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids they are safe for dogs and provide many health benefits. Despite the fact that sardines in oil are not harmful to your dog its best to give him sardines packed in water or even raw ones.

Make sure not to overfeed your dog sardines as too much fat might cause him problems and cause him to gain weight. Sardines when served in moderation will keep your dog healthy and his coat looking great. They are also great for his brains!

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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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