Can Dogs Eat Fish Bones?

The love languages of our dogs can vary from the mood and message they want to convey.

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While cats purr to express their desirable confinement, dogs love to bite with things that jiggle them.

For instance, your dogs play with your new slipper, your fluffy pillow, or your clothes. That’s why to satiate your dog’s unexplainable pleasure, we offer foods allowing them to chew, such as marshmallows, cheese balls, and meat.

But can fish bones be part of the list? Can dogs eat fish bones?

If your list of foods you feed your dog is still lacking, you might consider this article. So, we prepared a guide for you on the nature of fish bones, their suitability, and how to safely feed fish bones to your dogs.

What are Fish Bones?

Fishbones are the small, hard bones found in the flesh of fish. They are composed primarily of calcium carbonate and serve as a support structure for the fins and scales they do not protrude.

Fishes have skeletons, but these are made of cartilage.

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Fishbones are not the same as fish scales or fins. Fishes have two types of scales: cycloid and ctenoid.

A cycloid is found on most bony fish, while the Ctenoid scale has a comb-like appearance that can be found on sharks and other cartilaginous fish.

Interestingly, research suggests that fishes vary the number of bones in their head. And unlike human bones, fish bones are made of a type of protein called collagen.

Food family of Fish Bones

Fishbones are the family food of seafood — a group of edible aquatic animals that provide humans with healthy, protein-rich food.

Fish are separated into three groups or “families:” flatfish have both eyes on the same side of their body; round fish have eyes on each side of their head.

These families are classified according to how the members swim: horizontally, vertically, and obliquely.

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Fishbones are best compared to other types of seafood, such as octopus and squid. Fish meat contains about 20 grams of protein per 100-gram serving size, while seafood has around 25 grams in the same amount.

Cooked clams have 18 grams, while cooked shrimps and squid both have 22 grams of protein.

While fish bones are a cat’s apple of the eye, can this food also be a dog’s favorite bone?

Can dogs eat Fish Bones?

Yes! Not only can cats enjoy it, but also dogs can eat fish bones.

While dogs have been proven to be different from cats regarding their dieting preference, they still share some commonalities in what foods are good for them and not.

In one study, it has been found that raw fish is a favorite food for dogs as they have a strong preference for the smell of this type of meat compared with other meats such as beef and lamb.

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But in another research, it was discovered that there is a high chance of having mercury poisoning if you feed your dog with this type of food.

Due to fish bones’ sharp, pointed structure, it may puncture your dog’s digestive system and could pose death.

Hence, as dogs lovers, our task is to bring you the best ways to feed your dogs with fish bones:

Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Fish Bones

Break fish bones into smaller pieces

Before feeding your dogs with fish bones, it’s best to break them into smaller parts for convenience in eating.

This way decreases the chance of your dog running into digestive problems. It also helps you monitor your dog’s diet as small bones may enter the airway and cause choking.

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In this case, use a muzzle or avoid feeding them with fish bones until they are old enough to have their permanent teeth come out.

Check the type of fish. 

Don’t forget to take a close look at what types of fish you are giving as food for your dogs. Raw mackerel, salmon, and sardines may be all-time favorites for dogs, but they also contain higher chances of contamination with mercury.

Moreover, it is best to avoid giving them fish high in oil content as this can cause stomach problems and obesity.

Offer small portions only.

Dogs don’t need as many servings as humans; they can eat a few pieces first and wait a while before having more.

This way, you can monitor your dog’s diet and provide them with more food when they are hungry enough for another serving instead of giving too much at once.

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Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Fish Bones

Even though apart from its meat, fish bones also have benefits that may improve your dog’s health through the following:

Improves your dog’s dental health

While you can’t expect your dog to brush its teeth as often as humans do, giving fish bones is a good alternative for cleaning their pearly whites.

This way removes all the plaque and tartar build-up in their mouth while also preventing gum disease from forming.

A cleaner set of teeth means fresher breath too, so there’s no need to worry about stinky breath anymore.

Prevents Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Arthritis

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Compared with other meats that provide a higher cholesterol level in their essence, fish has lower levels than prevent your dog from having high blood pressure and heart diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.

In addition to this benefit, it is also a great source of omega fatty acids that regulate your dog’s metabolism and keeps its skin healthy.

Saves you money from buying treats 

With a few pieces of fish bones, you can save yourself from spending more on giving them snacks, as this is an alternative way to provide them with something sweet without risking overfeeding your dogs.

Additionally, it is also an excellent way to give them calcium as well.

Possible Concerns When Eating Fish Bones

Possible health concerns soon arise when your dog’s body reacts both internally or externally. Hence, it’s your task to remember and be aware of some illnesses your dog may experience:

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Digestive Problems

Some dogs love to eat fish bones, but this habit may also cause them discomfort in their stomach.

You can avoid digestive issues by giving your dog smaller fish pieces, preferably into small portions where you give them just a bone or two at once.

If they are already grown enough to have permanent teeth, it is best to have strong enamel that can help them crunch the bones without too much problem.

Intestinal blockage 

If you notice that your dog has difficulty pooping, it may be because there’s an intestinal obstruction forming in their body.

This condition needs immediate medical aid if not monitored carefully as this also includes vomiting and excessive abdominal pain, so bring him to the vet immediately.

Difficulty Breathing 

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As mentioned earlier, small bones may get stuck in the windpipe and cause choking, so it’s essential to watch out for this symptom if you are feeding your dogfish with smaller bones, just like sardines or mackerel.

If they already have permanent teeth, though, there will be no problem giving them larger bones.

Signs your dog is sick from eating Fish Bones

Signs of sickness have not to be overlooked. However, when left unnoticed, these following signs may trigger your dog’s health:


Fishbones may be stuck in your dog’s throat and eventually cause them to choke. If you notice that your dog’s breath started shortening and having a hard time breathing, remove the bone immediately from their mouth.

Difficulty Swallowing 

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Just like choking, your dog may also have difficulty swallowing if there’s a bone already stuck in their throat which is why you need to watch them closely.

If this happens, remain calm and ask someone for help while reassuring your dog will be fine.

Internal bleeding 

If your dog experienced choking or vomiting, there is a possibility that the bones may have already damaged their esophagus, which causes internal bleeding.

This event may irritate your dog’s stomach and cause them to vomit blood as well.

Liver Damage 

When your dog overeats fish, it may affect their liver, resulting in damage over time. If you notice that the whites of his eyes look yellowish, this is a sign that there’s an issue about their organs that needs medical attention.

What to do if your dog is sick from eating Fish Bones?

During the event that your dog’s sickness persists from eating fish bones, you have to bring your dog immediately to the vet.

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There are many symptoms that your dog may experience, making it hard for you to pinpoint, which is why they feel sick all over again.

If they have difficulty breathing, aid your dog through CPR to keep oxygen flowing inside their system until emergency assistance arrives.

If your dog is not feeling well and you cannot go to the vet right away, it’s best to give them a bowl of water or milk, as this can help flush out their system.

However, be careful with giving them too much liquid as they may throw up more fish bones from being over hydrated.

Avoid these similar foods from this family.


If consumed in large amounts, shrimp may also irritate your pet’s stomach and digestive system, causing vomiting, diarrhea, or even abdominal pain.

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This is another food that should be served in small portions.

Canned Salmon 

Salmon also contains high levels of mercury, which can cause poisoning to your dog’s liver and kidneys over time.

It is best not to give them more than once every few months.


Mackerel contains high levels of mercury as well, making it dangerous for your dog to eat. If consumed in large amounts, they may become sick and even die from this fish.

It is best not to give them more than once every few months or so.

How to Make Fish Bones Safe To Eat

We strive to apply all your learnings to applications. That’s why at this point, we list down some practical ways to prepare fish bones safe to eat for your dogs:

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Don’t offer raw, spoiled leftover fish bones.

It’s safe to say that cooked fish bones are free from bacteria and other contagious diseases.

But still, it’s best to avoid giving cooked fish to your dog cooked fish bones which are leftovers from the previous meal.

This is because these may be spoiled by time and can cause stomach upsets such as diarrhea.

Isolate fish bones away from human food 

To keep yourself safe while feeding your dogs with fish bones, it’s best to avoid crushed, and minced fish meat as these may contain high mercury concentrations.

Moreover, your pet must be fed with food given in a particular place or room away from where you eat.

At the same time, make sure that there are no human foods such as pieces of bread and other items containing wheat flour which can cause digestive problems.

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Offer fish bones in an appropriate size and quantity 

It is best to feed your dogs with fish bones by offering them a few pieces first instead of giving too much food right away.

In addition, make sure that you provide them with the same amount every day so you can monitor their diet closely.

Avoid overcooking the fish bones. 

It’s best to avoid cooking the fish bones for a long time as this can cause them to become brittle and sharp, which may cut your dog’s digestive system after ingestion.

It is recommended that you cook them on low heat or boil it to be easy to munch without worrying about sharp bones, which can cause harm.

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Key Takeaways

Dogs giggle at everything they want to bite. We may stretch our patience after they have destroyed something essential at home, but we aspire to understand and get to know their love languages through the food we offer to them.

We offer marshmallows, cheese balls and meet as we acknowledge our dogs’ resistance to chewing food. And adding to your list is fish bones!

Yes, you can feed fish bones safely to your dog. As a recap, fish bones improve your dog’s dental health, prevent heart diabetes, heart diseases, and arthritis, and save you from buying treats.

However, due to fish bones’ sharp, pointed structure, it may puncture your dog’s digestive system and could pose death.

That’s why in most cases, your dog may suffer from choking, difficulty swallowing, internal bleeding, and liver damage.

As dog owners, we have to sympathize with the food that you offer to your dog. So, you may safely feed fish bones by offering cooked fish bones, appropriating the size and quantity of fish bones, and avoid overcooking the same.

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Our care connects to our dog’s love language.

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