For centuries, sushi has been an icon for Japanese cuisine. This traditional food now becomes a delicacy shared by different cultures, including the American kitchen.
Rolled in a wrapper to achieve an intact and perfect look, sushi is a hand-crafted dish. It takes time and patience to make sushi: it cannot be made easily at home.
The ingredients used on this food include rice vinegar and sugar for the sauce; nori (seaweed), sesame oil, ginger, wasabi powder as spices; soy sauce with other condiments such as egg, carrots, and cucumbers.
In essence, humans can enjoy the greatness of sushi. But, can this food be relatively fed to your dogs?
To answer our question, we prepared this article for you. First, we will check the composition of sushi, its family food, the benefits and hazards that your dog may encounter.
Plus, we gathered the best and safe practices for you to follow in preparing sushi for feeding!
What is Sushi?
Sushi is a famous Japanese dish that consists of cooked vinegared rice along with other ingredients.
It can be served by itself or with toppings and fillings such as raw fish, vegetables, and eggs.
Sushi is commonly divided into two types: maki (roll) and nigiri (finger-shape).
Maki is the most popular type of sushi. Rolling sushi ingredients make it in a sheet of dried seaweed.
Maki can be wrapped with other types of food such as egg omelet, cucumber, tuna flakes, or avocado.
On the other hand, Nigiri Sushi is composed mainly of fish laid over the hands of vinegared rice.
The fish is commonly laid over the rice, but it can also come with a slice of fish on top. Hanaya Yohei first invented nigiri sushi in the Edo era during the early 19th century as fast food sold at stalls or stands.
It became popular because, unlike maki, there’s no need to cut nigiri, so customers don’t have to wait for their orders.
Food family of sushi
Sushi belongs to the food family of Japanese cuisine. It is commonly referred to as one of the healthiest foods in Japan, which can also be prepared in home kitchens.
Some famous Japanese dishes are Sushi, Tempura, Tonkatsu (breaded deep-fried pork cutlets), Ramen (noodle soup dish), and Miso soup.
Japanese cuisine is known as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. It promotes a longer and healthier life due to its ingredients and cooking methods: low glycemic index (GI) food, low carbohydrate food, and high nutrient-dense food.
These factors contribute to the overall benefits of eating Japanese dishes such as sushi.
Nevertheless, sushi is suitable for human consumption. But can this food be given to dogs?
Can dogs eat sushi?
Yes, dogs can eat sushi, and in fact, it is said to be one of the healthiest foods for dogs.
Many Japanese dishes can also be eaten by pets, such as yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), gyoza (Japanese dumplings), or even sushi, just like what we eat.
However, it should not be given frequently because some sushi ingredients, such as raw fish, seafood, and eggs, contain bacteria harmful to pets.
Sushi contains raw fish, which dogs are not supposed to eat because of its high mercury content.
Mercury is a type of metal that can cause poisoning or toxic effects if dogs ingest it. Since sushi belongs to the seafood family, you should also be careful in giving your dog other types of sushi, such as eel and sea urchin.
Raw fish used in sushi also contains parasites that can cause disease if consumed by dogs. Raw eggs are another ingredient of sushi that should not be given to pets because they may contain salmonella bacteria, which causes food poisoning and other gastrointestinal problems for your dog.
So, to serve a memorable sushi feeding to your dogs, we prepared the best ways on how to prepare this food:
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Sushi
Bake sushi with vegetables
Sushi is not just for Japanese people but also dogs. You can prepare sushi that your dog will love by baking it with vegetables or meat toppings.
Dogs may already know what sushi tastes like because of the numerous times you’ve given them uncooked nori (seaweed) used in maki rolls to eat as treats.
Boil sushi with meat and vegetables
Boil the rice in chicken or beef broth, then add toppings such as carrots, peas, tofu, or eggs to make your dog’s favorite healthy meal.
You can also try making homemade omelets for their main topping instead of boiled egg which is very common in Japan.
Give them sushi.
You can also try giving your dogs uncooked nori (seaweed) wrapped with rice and meat or vegetables.
It is a healthy treat that contains high levels of calcium, iron, fiber, and protein – all essential nutrients for a dog’s daily diet.
You may even give them an egg omelet roll.
Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Sushi
Sushi is not only a delectable Japanese food your dogs can enjoy eating too. But also, this food comes with health benefits:
It has low carbohydrates.
Since sushi does not contain starchy ingredients such as potato or bread crumbs, it makes the perfect diet for diabetic dogs.
In addition, rice is a low glycemic food that can help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Sushi contains high-quality protein.
The fish used for sushi, such as salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-three fatty acids that promote the good heart health of dogs.
It has been recommended to have dogs who have undergone surgery to have a high protein diet.
Sushi is rich in minerals.
Carrots, seaweed, and fish used for sushi contain many essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B-complex, and C to prevent diseases such as anemia or skin problems.
In addition to this, the iodine content of sea vegetables like kelp provides good health benefits to dogs.
Possible Concerns When Eating Sushi
Earlier, we discussed the health benefits of sustaining your dog’s health when eating sushi. Now, it’s time to face the reality of possible concerns and consequences that your dog may suffer after eating sushi:
It contains a high mercury level.
Mercury is a heavy metal that can affect the central nervous system and digestive tract of dogs. This may cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death.
Sushi made from shark meat that contains higher mercury levels than other fish should be avoided in feeding your pet.
Sushi has bacterial contamination.
Sushi is raw food. Thus bacteria in parasites and other harmful microorganisms can be easily transferred from fish to your dog when eating.
Eating sushi contaminated with listeria may cause symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to this, E. coli contamination may also affect dogs’ health which causes gastrointestinal problems that may lead to death.
Sushi can cause allergies.
Dogs may be allergic to certain foods. If your dog has eaten seafood before, then it may be a good idea for you to avoid feeding sushi to prevent health problems.
Salted fish used for sushi contains a high level of sodium which causes hypernatremia in dogs. This, in turn, causes vomiting and diarrhea, which may lead to dehydration or death in some cases.
Sushi is a high-calorie food.
Despite the health benefits of sushi, this food also contains high levels of fat that can cause obesity when they are not controlled.
In addition, rice has higher carbohydrate content that your dog may not digest, thus causing digestive problems.
Signs your dog is sick from eating sushi
When possible health concerns occur from being, signs of sickness will show first. Hence, you have to bring your dog immediately when the following symptoms persist:
When your dog vomits more than twice a day, this is one of the first signs that show illness. In addition, continuous vomiting may lead to dehydration which can be fatal for dogs.
This occurs because when they vomit, it causes a loss of water and electrolytes from their bodies.
Thus, you must make sure your pet drinks plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
When your dog has diarrhea, it is one sign that shows they are sick. Vomiting and diarrhea mixed can cause loss of electrolytes which brings down the blood pressure levels in dogs.
Thus, this may lead to shock or even death when not treated immediately with intravenous fluids.
When your dog has lost their appetite for a day or two, this is the first sign that shows illness. As discussed earlier, sushi contains high levels of fat that can affect dogs’ blood sugar levels, thus leading to diabetes mellitus in some cases.
Hence, sedentary behavior may occur due to low blood sugar levels.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating sushi?
Have you confirmed that your dog is suffering from the previously mentioned symptoms? If yes, then you have to deliver your dog to the vet and have them treated immediately.
You must provide all information about their health status, such as what food they ate, how much, and when to the vet so that proper treatment can be administered.
What’s more? If your dog is severely sick from eating sushi, then this may lead to death or permanent damage in some cases if not diagnosed on time.
So, your vet will conduct specific examinations like blood tests, physical examinations, and x-ray scans to determine the cause of sickness.
In addition to this, your pet may need intravenous fluid therapy or hospitalization for a few days, depending on their condition.
Avoid similar foods from this family.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake, which is a traditional dessert used for celebrations. It comes in different flavors, such as green tea and chocolate flavor.
However, this food may pose some health risks to your pets when consumed excessively.
As you can see, caviar contains high levels of sodium and fat that are harmful to dogs’ health. Therefore, it is essential to prevent them from eating this food source as much as possible.
To give you more information on this, caviar contains around 100 calories per ounce, four times the amount of calories in a piece of sushi.
This type of food has high enough levels of mercury to cause poisoning. In addition, dogs may be poisoned by this seafood source because they have weaker livers that cannot get rid of toxins quickly.
Thus, you have to prevent your pets from eating this food as much as possible.
How to Make Sushi Safe To Eat
Our safe habits in preparing sushi for our dog’s matter. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
And there’s so much wealth when you prioritize your dog’s health. So with that being said, we will wrap up this article by helping you out.
Below are some practical ways in making sushi safe for your dog’s consumption:
Choose the correct type of sushi.
You have to choose the right type of sushi. If it is raw salmon or tuna, then this could be a good choice.
However, avoid having brown seaweeds with your food to prevent dogs from consuming too much iodine.
Choose cooked sushi over raw ones.
If you are not sure of the type of food that your pet can eat, then choose cooked varieties. You can find this in local Asian supermarkets near you or prepare them yourself at home if they have a recipe for it.
It’s best when you mix vegetables with sushi rice to make it healthier for your dog.
Give them only a small amount of sushi at a time.
You can give your pets cooked and cooled-down pieces of sushi as their treats. However, you cannot let them eat too much or suffer from different health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
Never feed them commercial treats.
Yes, we know that these treats are yummy. But they also contain high levels of fat and sodium that can affect your pet’s health if consumed too much.
Thus, it is best to avoid purchasing these foods for their consumption, especially if you want them to live a longer life with more minor illnesses.
The delectable taste of sushi can suspend us for a moment. Its taste lets us feel a Japanese home setting — a relaxed, serene, Zen moment that balances our energy and stress.
Of course, not only can you enjoy this food, but your dogs can eat it, too!
Thankfully, dogs can eat sushi. It is suggested to be one of the healthiest foods for dogs since it contains low carbohydrates, which keeps the blood sugar levels under control, and high-quality protein promotes your dog’s, good heart.
Plus, it is rich in minerals, such as Vitamin A, B-Complex, and C, to prevent anemia and skin problems.
However, your dog has to eat this food in moderation to avoid further health problems, such as bacterial contamination, allergies, high levels of fat, and high mercury level, which can damage your dog’s health.
In case that this happens, your dog may experience lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.
For safety habits in preparing sushi for your dogs, it’s practical when you have to choose the right type of sushi first.
If you’re not sure of the type of food, it’s better to choose cooked sushi over raw ones. Never feed them with commercial treats, and lastly, it’s best to provide your dog only with a small amount of sushi at a time.