Can Puppies Eat Tuna Fish?

by Betty Lewis
    Limit your pup's tuna treats to very small amounts once in a while.

    Limit your pup's tuna treats to very small amounts once in a while.

    Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Anyone with cats is used to their sudden presence every time a can opener comes out. If your pup also comes trotting when you started putting together your tuna fish sandwich, you may be tempted to share your lunch with him. A little bit of tuna goes a long way for puppies.

    Puppy Nutritional Needs

    If you're trying to figure out what to feed your pup, keep in mind he has particular nutritional needs. Puppies grow rapidly, developing their muscles, bones, immune system and organs in their first year. A balanced diet is crucial during this time, as it lays the foundation for your pup's good health as he grows. A good quality commercial puppy food will meet those needs and should compose most of Hunter's diet. However, an occasional treat, such as tuna, is fine for him.

    Tuna as a Treat

    If you want to give Hunter a bit of tuna or tuna juice, it should be fine if you do so occasionally and in small quantities. According to the ASPCA, a high-quality, complete dog food should account for 90 to 95 percent of a dog's daily caloric intake. If Hunter's daily intake is about 400 calories, he shouldn't have more than 40 calories come from anything but his puppy food. Tuna packed in water is about 33 calories per ounce, so your pooch may enjoy a spoonful of tuna once in a while. The amount you give Hunter will depend on how big he is.

    Keep It Special

    Though you can give Hunter tuna as part of a treat, it's best to keep it as a special treat, serving it just once in a while. Tuna contains high levels of mercury, and canned tuna can have more sodium than Hunter needs. Some dogs suffer from gastrointestinal upset when they eat things that aren't part of their normal routine. If you notice vomiting or diarrhea after he eats tuna or drinks the juice, take tuna off the list of special treats.

    Tuna as Part of a Treat

    Tuna doesn't have to be the whole treat for Hunter; he may enjoy tuna as part of a treat. If you don't mind cooking for him, use tuna or tuna water as an ingredient in dog treats. Dog Treat Kitchen provides a recipe for Four Herb Tuna Tots, including oats, cornmeal, wheat flour and tuna among the ingredients. These tasty little morsels will last in the freezer for several months and will make a nice little reward while you're training Hunter.

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    About the Author

    Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.

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