Are Sardines Good for Dogs? How to Feed Them to Your Dog

Sardines are tiny little fishies, but they punch above their weight when it comes to nutrition. They’re packed full of Omega 3s and protein, but can you feed them to your four-legged fur-friend? Read on to find out whether dogs can eat sardines, and everything else you may want to know about sardines and dogs.
Stephanie Laming - Licensed Insurance Representative of 11 years & Dog Mum to 5 year old Tina
October 6, 2022
min read

Are Sardines Good For Dogs? 

You can feed dogs sardines, and they’re good for them. Not only do they pack a lot of protein and Omega-3s, but they contain the coenzyme CoQ-10, also known as ubiquinol, which is good for your dog’s heart and brain. They also have a lower mercury count than many other fishes. Read on to find out exactly what benefits eating sardines can have for your hound.

Benefits of Sardines For Dogs

So we now know that sardines are packed with nutrients like protein, Omega 3s and CoQ-10, or ubiquinol. It also includes vitamins B12 and D, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. But what benefits do all these nutrients have for your canine companion? Let’s have a look…

Skin and Coat Health

Like many types of fish, sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have a host of benefits for your furry best friend, one of which is that it helps keep your main mutt’s skin and coat healthy.  

Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping keep your dog’s skin from becoming sore or swelling, and reducing itchiness and allergies. 


Joint Health

A common problem for dogs, joint inflammation can limit your canine’s movement and cause them pain. Luckily, the anti-inflammatory properties of the Omega-3s in sardines can help alleviate or prevent joint pain for your paw-pal. 

Sardines also contain calcium and phosphorus, both of which are great for your dog’s bones (the ones in their body, not the ones you give them as a treat). 

Cognitive Function

As we’ve mentioned, ubiquinol is great for your dog’s brain. Like Omega-3s, it is an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals in your best beast’s body and helping to reduce the effects of aging, keeping your dog sharp for longer and helping reduce the risk of neurological diseases. 

One of the Omega-3s you’ll find in sardines is DHA, which dogs need for their brains and eyes to work properly. It’s another nutrient that helps slow your doggo’s aging process. All in all, sardines are an excellent brain food, for human beings and dogs alike. 

Heart Health

Not only is ubiquinol great for your canine’s cognitive abilities, it’s also amazing for your hound’s heart too. This enzyme is present in your dog’s cells already, but supplementing your doggy’s diet with more can help their heart function optimally, and help ward away heart diseases.

Overall Health 

Sardines include all the essential amino acids your canine companion’s body needs. This means that they are a complete protein, with benefits for your dog’s overall health. Sardines can aid your dog’s digestion and help their organs function. 

The Vitamin B12 in sardines is great for your dog’s blood and nerves, the calcium and phosphorus, as we’ve mentioned, are great for your canine bestie’s bones, and the Omega-3s and ubiquinol will help your pup’s skin, heart, and brain.   

On the other hand, sardines are high in fat, so it may be best not to serve them to overweight dogs.

Also, if you’re wondering if dogs can eat canned sardines, the answer is yes, but you have to choose a brand without salt or other additives, and which are packed in freshwater. 

And if you’re wondering if dogs can eat sardines in olive oil, it’s best not to, because they already have a high fat content and the olive oil will only add to the fattiness of the fish.  

How many sardines can I give my dog? 

Not sure on how many sardines you can feed Fido? Here are some guidelines: If your dog weighs 30 pounds or less, feed them half a sardine twice or three times a week instead of a meal. If your dog weighs between 30 and 60 pounds, feed them a whole sardine twice or three times a week instead of a meal. And if your dog weighs 60 to 100 pounds, give them two sardines twice or three times a week instead of a meal. 

The Concerns Over Mercury

Mercury poison is a concern when feeding Fido fish, and some pet parents may worry that sardines could have high mercury levels. 

Fortunately, the risk of getting mercury poisoning from sardines is much lower than with many other fish. In fact, they pack the most Omega 3s and the least mercury of any fish. 

Sardines are very small, which makes them less likely to absorb a lot of mercury compared with bigger fishes like tuna. Also, sardines only eat plankton, which are tiny organisms found in water. They eat both the animal version of plankton (called zooplankton) and the plant version (called phytoplankton). Studies have shown that fish who feed on plankton have lower mercury levels. 

Sardines are also considered a bottom-feeding fish, which have lower mercury levels in general because they feed on plankton which haven’t absorbed as much mercury as the plankton nearer to the Ocean’s surface. 

If you’re worried about your dog’s health as a result of eating fish with high mercury content, it may be best to alleviate your concerns by visiting a trusted vet. 

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to finding the right fish to feed Fido, you can’t do much better than sardines. 

As we’ve learned, they are high in protein, Omega 3s and other beneficial nutrients, and contain far less mercury than many other forms of fish. 

While raw, fresh sardines are best, as there is no cooking or other process which can diminish the fish’s nutrients. Canned sardines are fine too, provided they’re packed in nothing but freshwater. 

If you’re in any doubt over your dog’s diet, read more of the posts on this blog, or contact your trusted veterinarian.

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GoodPaw Pet Services Inc., GoodPaw, offers free advice, product information and other editorial resources that are intended for informative purposes only, and should not be used in place of proper veterinary care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet is experiencing any health concerns, contact a licensed veterinarian. GoodPaw assumes no responsibility for action taken based on information given from

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