Can Dogs Eat Anchovies?
Whether you eat them yourself or simply pass them in the grocery store, you’ve probably looked at the tiny fish at least once and wondered: Can dogs have anchovies? Are anchovies good for dogs?
The short answer is that yes, anchovies are good for dogs. However, the longer answer is more complicated because certain types of anchovies (like anchovies in olive oil or salted anchovies) are bad for dogs.
Let’s take a closer look at anchovies for dogs so you learn which ones you can and can’t feed your pup, how many anchovies dogs can eat, the benefits of anchovies for dogs, and more.
What Are Anchovies?
Anchovies are small, silvery, schooling saltwater fish related to herring. There are more than 100 species of anchovies, most of which live in the brackish water around river mouths in shallow warm or tropical waters. Distinguished by their large mouth, anchovies grow to an adult size of about 4-10 inches long.
Chock-full of umami flavor and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, anchovies have long been a staple for humans around the world. Now, dog owners are discovering the benefits of anchovies for their pups.
Since anchovies eat plankton, have short lives, and are low on the food chain, they are less likely to be tainted by heavy metals, toxins, or pollutants than carnivorous fish, making them one of the best fish options for pups and humans alike.
Can Dogs Eat Anchovies?
Yes, dogs can eat anchovies that are raw, fresh, dried, or packed in water. However, dogs should not eat anchovies that have been canned in olive oil, salted, or marinaded, since those additional ingredients can be harmful to pups.
Can Puppies Eat Anchovies?
Since puppies have more sensitive digestive systems than adult dogs, you should be cautious about giving them to your puppy. Even if you have a large puppy, you should just give them one anchovy and wait a couple of days to see how it impacts their digestive system before making anchovies a regular part of their diet.
Benefits of Anchovies for Dogs
Some of the many benefits of anchovies for dogs include:
•Skin and coat health: Since anchovies are full of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, they can help hydrate your pup’s skin and improve the thickness and shininess of their fur.
•Reduced inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help manage or prevent autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, support your dog’s immune system, and prevent or lessen joint pain.
•Provide nutrients: In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, anchovies are an excellent source of many other essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K.
•Support metabolism and digestion: Anchovies are a good source of selenium, which is an essential mineral for digestion and regulating your dog’s metabolism.
•Help with memory and brain development: Two of the most important essential fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are abundant in anchovies. DHA and EPA are critical for memory, cognitive function, and the healthy growth of a puppy’s brain.
Why Are Anchovies Better for Dogs Than Other Fish?
While fish in general are an excellent protein source for dogs and humans alike, the sad truth is that much of the marine ecosystem is impacted by pollutants and industrial toxins. The higher up the food chain a fish is (like mackerel, salmon, tuna, and other large carnivorous species), the more likely it is to accumulate toxins over its lifetime.
Since plankton-eating mackerel are low on the food chain, they tend to be far less tainted by environmental pollutants than other fish. Here are a few other reasons anchovies are the best fish for dogs:
•Dogs love the flavor
•The small size is perfect for feeding whole without worrying about the bones
•They’re one of the densest sources of DHA and EPA, essential omega-3 fatty acids
Are Anchovies Good for Dogs? These Are!
If you choose to feed your dog anchovies, stick with these types:
•Canned anchovies packed in water without salt or spices
•Dried, dehydrated, or freeze-dried anchovies (as long as they aren’t salted or spiced)
•Fresh, raw anchovies directly from a fish market or the fish department of a supermarket
•Frozen (or thawed) anchovies
•Boiled or cooked anchovies without spices
These Anchovies Are Bad for Dogs
Don’t give your dog these types of anchovies:
•Marinated, pickled or spiced anchovies may contain too much salt or other ingredients that can cause stomach upset, or may even be toxic for dogs.
•Anchovies packed in oil not only add unnecessary calories to your dog’s diet, but most plant oils contain a lot of omega-6, which is already too high in most dogs’ diets and would offset the benefits of the omega-3 in the fish.
•Anchovies packed in salt are toxic for dogs due to their high sodium content.
•Fried anchovies have too much fat and are unhealthy for dogs.
•Anchovy paste contains sugar, spices, vinegar, and other ingredients that can be harmful for dogs.
How to Feed Anchovies to Your Dog
If you buy large anchovies and have a small dog, you can cut the fish up, but generally, it’s safe to give your dog a whole anchovy at once. Like any new food, you should introduce anchovies to your dog’s diet slowly.
How Many Anchovies Can You Give a Dog?
Unless you buy abnormally large anchovies, it’s typically safe for small dogs to have 1-3 anchovies per day, while large dogs can eat as many as 5 anchovies per day.
Can Dogs Eat Anchovies in Olive Oil?
Olive oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which most dogs already get plenty of in their regular diet, so you should avoid giving them to dogs because the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids would be negated by the additional omega-6 fatty acids. Olive oil also adds unnecessary calories.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Anchovies?
Yes, dried and dehydrated anchovies are great for dogs, as long as they aren’t salted or spiced.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Anchovies?
Yes, raw anchovies are safe and healthy for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Pickled Anchovies?
No, dogs should not eat pickled anchovies because they contain too much salt.
Can Dogs Eat Anchovy Paste?
No, dogs should not eat anchovy paste because it contains vinegar, sugar, and spices, which are bad for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Anchovies?
Yes, dogs can eat anchovies canned in water. However, dogs should not eat anchovies canned in any type of oil, because it isn’t good for them.
Can Dogs Eat Salted Anchovies?
No, dogs should not eat salted anchovies because dogs are prone to sodium poisoning.
Ready to Add Raw Dog Food to Your Pup’s Diet? Try We Feed Raw
Anchovies are an excellent way to start introducing your dog to raw food. Want to take it a step further? We Feed Raw ships nutritionally complete and balanced raw food directly to your door. Find out how much it would cost to get started by taking our quiz now.