Can Dogs Eat Smelt?

Dogs are known to devour fish if provided but does that mean can dogs eat smelt? The thing with smelts is they are little fish mostly jam-packed with essential fatty acids along with other essential vitamins and minerals.

With that said, smelt tends to be a beneficial addition to your dog’s diet However, the downside to them is since these fish are packed using different chemicals to prolong their shelf-life, dog owners should be cautious of the preservatives and additives that might pose a risk to their dog.

Therefore, to better understand whether or not you should be offering smelt to your dog, you need to be aware of the ups and downs of feeding smelt. Let’s discuss.

What is the nutritional value of smelts?

Smelts are known to be beneficial for both humans and dogs as they contain several essential vitamins and minerals. To begin with, smelts are packed with Vitamin B12, B6, Riboflavin, Thiamin, etc. These vitamins are essential for the production of red blood cells, amino acid utilization, and growth and development. In addition to that, smelts also contain calcium, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids as well. These nutrients help generate enzymes in the body and improve the functioning of the nerves and muscles.

The consumption of smelts promotes the healthy development of the brain in puppies and reduces the probability of inflammation around the arthritic joints. At the same time, they also help boost the immune system as well as the stamina of the dog.

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What are the downsides of eating smelts?

While there is no doubt that smelts are packed with powerful ingredients, there are some downsides as well. For example, smelts contain thiaminase. It is basically an enzyme that splits vitamin B1 and Thiamin and makes the vitamin inactive. Vitamin B1 is important for the dog’s body as it helps convert glucose into energy, which is essential for the functioning of both the muscles and nerves.

As a result, when the enzymes destroy the vitamin, the body suffers from a glitch. This is why, feeding raw fish to dogs is not recommended as it contains thiamin, which can lead to thiamin deficiency. In addition to that, catfish and herring also contain thiaminase which could easily cause thiamine deficiency in your dog.

However, if you cook the fish, you do not have to worry about the enzyme as it is destroyed during the process. Feeding one or two smelts once or twice a week won’t raise any health concerns. But if provided in bulk, can trigger several health concerns.

What are the other types of seafood I can feed my dog?

In addition to smelts, there are several other types of seafood you can offer your dog such as shrimps, squid oil, salmon, etc. Shrimps are known to be a rich source of proteins with low calories. Instead of offering raw shrimp, you should cook it. However, the only downside to shrimps is they are pre-packed and most grocery shops do not mention the source. This is slightly risky as most farmers use pesticides, antibiotics, and disinfectants to protect the shrimps from diseases.

Meanwhile, squid oil contains a high level of EPA which is important for the skin and coat. Plus, it also helps with cognitive function and the nervous system. Squids are beneficial to your dog’s health as they do not contain bones that might carry radioactive minerals like strontium, which could be very harmful to your dog.

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Furthermore, salmon provides your dog with vitamin D and omega-3s combined. Additionally, it is also rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, and proteins. Most dogs enjoy eating salmon raw as it benefits the skin, coat, and immune system.

On the other hand, you should avoid offering genetically modified salmon to your dog and make sure they are not carrying toxic chemicals. The chemicals sprayed by farmers are absorbed by the fish and are impossible to remove. When ingested, these chemicals can upset the digestive system and even lead to poisoning.

FAQs related to dogs and smelt!

How many smelts can a dog eat?

Dogs should only be offered one or two meals of raw smelt each week. As a result, your dog will be able to reap the benefits and avoid Thiamin deficiency at the same time.

Can dogs eat smelt eggs?

Dogs can be offered smelt eggs only in fully cooked form. However, they should not be made a part of the regular diet as it could lead to nutritional deficiencies.

What fish can dogs not eat?

Dogs should not eat smoked salmon, shellfish, breaded or battered fish, sharks, etc. These fish tend to contain nutrients that might be harmful to your dog in the long run. But if your dog happens to ingest some while you were not attentive, you do not need to panic. Your dog is highly unlikely to suffer from serious health concerns.


To conclude, dogs can eat smelt when dried, cooked, or raw. However, when it comes to offering raw smelt, you should be a bit careful as the fish contains enzymes that affect essential vitamins. Plus, you can also offer other alternatives such as salmon and shrimps but in moderate quantities.

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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