Can Dogs Eat Salmon Skin? Let’s Find Out!

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Your dog pays attention to you and watches everything you do. It trusts your judgment and wants to eat whatever you are having. Thanks to this habit, many dog owners are concerned about the effects of regular human food like salmon skin on their canine friends.

You can feed your dog well-cooked salmon, which includes the skin. However, you must feed your dog salmon skin in small quantities because of its high-fat content. Also, do not feed your dog salmon skin cooked with toxic ingredients like garlic, onions, or seasonings.

Salmon skin can be a tasty and healthy treat for your dog. Read on to find out how salmon skin is beneficial to dogs and the conditions in which you should feed it to them.

Benefits of Salmon Skin to Dogs

Salmon is the main ingredient in many commercial dog foods available today, and the skin contains the same healthy ingredients that salmon contains.

Several studies show that salmon can increase plasma and red blood cells, which are greatly beneficial to dogs of all ages. It is also responsible for improving the cardiovascular, renal, immune, and neurologic systems of dogs due to elevated blood levels.

Below, let’s review some of the healthy nutrients that dogs can benefit from eating salmon:

  • It contains omega-three fatty acids, a great source of calories essential for brain development and vision in puppies.
  • Omega 3 fatty acid is vital for treating inflammation of the skin, joints, and the central nervous system. It improves cognitive abilities in older dogs and treats canine arthritis and chronic kidney diseases.
  • It works to strengthen the immune system and heart, and can also be used to treat inflammation of joints in dogs.
  • Salmon skin protects against cancer and heart issues.
  • It is beneficial to dogs’ skin and luster, making them supple while adding shine to your dog’s coat.
  • Salmon skin contains properties that help with allergies and itching.
  • Amino acids are beneficial for transporting nutrients all over the body, producing hormones, and maintaining hair, nails, and skin.

How To Feed Your Dog Salmon Skin

Ill-prepared salmon skin fed to dogs can lead to a series of problems for your dog. Raw salmon contains bacteria and parasites such as the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite that is poisonous to dogs, potentially leading to death. Therefore, you must cook salmon skin properly to kill all the harmful bacteria and parasites before feeding it to your dog.

It is also possible for the salmon you use to have been exposed to toxins from the ocean, which become absorbed into the skin and potentially become harmful when ingested by dogs.

Here is how you can prepare salmon for your dog:

  • Use young salmon because they haven’t been exposed to toxic materials in the ocean for long periods. You can also buy salmon from regions with less water pollution and reduced toxins in the water.
  • Always use fresh salmon that does not contain any bones. Make sure that you check all bones, including the small ones, to ensure that they have been removed because this could become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach and intestines.
  • Frozen salmon reduces the risk of parasite infection.
  • Steam, bake, poach, roast, or grill the salmon without adding any seasonings like salt, oil, onions, or pepper because this is dangerous and harmful to your dog.
  • You can also add a little salmon oil to your dog’s food for added taste.
  • If you do not have the time to process it adequately, you can give canned salmon to your dogs. Just be sure you check the sodium content and avoid canned salmon soaked with oil or brine.

Procedures for baking salmon skin with an oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190.56°C).
  2. De-skin the salmon fillet with a knife and rinse with cool water and allow to dry.
  3. Sprinkle some dog-friendly seasoning such as cinnamon.
  4. Line the oven with parchment paper and place salmon skin on it in one even layer.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until crispy.
  6. Allow the crisped salmon to cool down before serving your dog.

Watch Out For Salmon Poisoning

Salmon is beneficial and nutritious to dogs. However, feeding your dog raw salmon would lead to salmon poisoning disease, which has fatal consequences if left untreated. Dogs are susceptible to salmon poisoning, and if left untreated, it could lead to their death.

Studies suggest that over 90% of dog poisoning cases lead to death.

How Will You Know if Your Dog Has Salmon Poisoning?

It can be quite tricky knowing when your dog has salmon poisoning.

Most dog owners will not know until it begins to cause fatal effects. However, the key to rescuing your dog is knowing early and taking practical actions before it becomes late. Salmon poisoning disease usually begins in the small intestines, causing hemorrhaging before it gradually infects your dog’s entire system.

The symptoms of salmon poisoning begin to show after six days and would usually include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Discharge from eyes and nose

If you notice any of the above symptoms, call your vet immediately to get advice about what to do next.

What Should You Do When Your Dog Eats Raw Salmon?

Salmon poisoning occurs when your dog eats raw salmon containing a fluke – Nanophyetus salmincola, which is then infected with a rickettsial organism – Neorickettsia helminthoeca.

On its own, the fluke is not harmful, but it becomes poisonous when it meets the rickettsial organism.

You’ll want to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately after he eats raw salmon, and be sure to notify them that your dog ate raw salmon to help in the diagnosis.

Treatment of salmon poisoning is done in two parts:

  • Treatment of the Neorickettsia helminthoeca organism responsible for the poisoning can be done by administering antibiotics such as doxycycline. The antibiotic can be administered orally, or in cases where there is vomiting, the veterinarian will give the antibiotic through intravenous fluid therapy.
  • The remaining fluke in your dog’s stomach could lead to re-infection. To avoid this re-infection, it is treated with a dewormer just like an infection is treated, which reduces diarrhea.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for at-home care, and be sure to call your vet if any of the symptoms reappear.

Can Your Dog Recover From Salmon Poisoning?

With appropriate treatment, 85 to 90% of dogs will recover from salmon poisoning. Early detection and prompt treatment are essential, so we recommend reporting to your veterinarian when you notice any unusual symptoms or suspect salmon poisoning.

After proper antibiotic care, your dog will show significant improvements within two days, and most dogs will recover completely after a few days. Except for advanced cases, treatment is usually very effective within just two days.

However, if symptoms persist, talk to your veterinarian about it.

Aftercare Management of Dogs With Salmon Poisoning Disease

Treating salmon poisoning in dogs does not just stop after initial treatments. It’s also important to keep them active and follow their usual lifestyle. Most experts recommend supportive therapy to help such dogs recover completely.

After treatment at the veterinarian, you can also follow the following procedures at home:

  • Your dog should be kept in a clean and comfortable cage.
  • Although salmon poisoning disease is not highly contagious, other dogs in the house can be infected. Therefore, proper hygiene is essential at home and when you’re out on walks or on a fishing trip.

How Can You Prevent Salmon Poisoning?

Maybe you love to fish, and of course, your dog follows you on fishing trips, so you’ll want to take precautions during fishing trips to stop your dog from eating any raw fish.

How about a fun day at the beach? Dog owners in areas along the pacific coast such as northern California, Oregon, Washington should pay attention and take precautions against salmon poisoning.

  • The most effective method of preventing your dog from salmon poisoning is to avoid feeding it raw fish.
  • Pay attention to your dog when you are close to water bodies.
  • Do not leave any salmon leftovers lying around carelessly at home.
  • Keep your dog away from trash cans or water bodies where fish can be found, and keep them out of your neighbor’s trash, as you never know what they throw out.

Can Dogs Be Reinfected With Salmon Poisoning Disease?

After seeing the dangers posed by salmon poisoning, it is only natural to wonder if your dog can get reinfected with salmon poisoning after an initial battle with it. Can they be reinfected, or are they immune?

Dogs that have recovered from salmon poisoning have long-lasting immunity from Neorickettsia helminthoeca- the organism responsible for salmon poisoning. However, your dog can be reinfected with a different strain of N. helminthoeca or another bacterium called SF agent recently found in salmon.

Furthermore, there is no immunity for the fluke- Nanophyetus salmincola, and the eggs continue to pass in the feces of dogs recovered from salmon poisoning for some period. As a result, there is a risk of environmental contamination, so be sure to properly dispose of your dog’s feces, especially after they recover from food poisoning.

However, the fluke can be flushed out of your dog’s system using a dewormer as a treatment.


Salmon skin is packed with nutrients and health benefits for your dog. However, just like everything, you should give your dog salmon skin in moderation, or else it can lead to health challenges such as obesity and pancreatitis.

Never feed your dog raw or undercooked salmon because this can lead to salmon poisoning, which poses a severe health challenge to the dog and can potentially lead to death.

When your dog eats raw salmon, report to your veterinarian immediately for treatment. If this happens without your knowledge, visit your veterinarian and talk to them about your suspicions for immediate treatments.