My Dog Ate Fish Food: What Should I Do Now?

Most dogs are true con artists when it comes to food and no edible item in their range is safe.

Unfortunately, this leads them to eat a lot of things they aren’t supposed to.

If your dog eats fish food, it should be fine unless an allergic reaction to fish kicks in, which is rare.

However, as fish food is not meant for dogs, there might be instances that require medical attention.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Fish Food?

If you’re one of those reefers who keep all their fish food beside their tank, be warned that your dog is only one paw away from eating all of it.

And the chances are that he might do it sooner than you think.

Fish food

It’s not clear what it is that pushes dogs to be attracted to a lot of edible or even non-edible things that are absolutely not meant to appease their hunger, but if you’re a dog parent you know that it still happens more often than not.

Luckily, most fish food is made from proteins and fibers, so if you’re wondering what could happen if your dog ate fish food, the answer is, probably nothing.

Fish food, especially in small quantities, is completely harmless to dogs. With exceptions, of course, but it usually doesn’t require an emergency visit to your veterinary.

Even then, you should nonetheless be on guard for the rest of the day to see if your dog does anything out of the ordinary.

Symptoms Related to Swallowing Fish Food

Though most fish food is fine, it might still cause minor discomfort for your pet: the most common consequences of dogs eating fish food are usually vomiting and diarrhea, which happens shortly after the ingestion and shouldn’t last more than a few hours.

That’s not to say vomiting and diarrhea are to be underestimated.

In puppies and small dogs especially, vomiting can quickly cause dehydration, so make sure to provide your dog with lots of water if that’s the case.

Although these symptoms are to be expected after a fish food binge, on average your dog should not have any major reaction to fish food.

So if you see vomit or loose stools, give a call to your veterinary just in case.

Is Fish Food Bad for Dogs?

Usually not. Dog food and fish food are actually quite similar in components, except that fish food is quite richer in proteins and fats than dog food.

Fish foods, especially cheap ones, are also extremely low in carbohydrates, mainly wheat, rice, and maize meal.

Despite not being toxic, any food that is rich in fats and low in carbohydrates can be harmful to your dog if ingested in large quantities.

The main problems associated with a diet of that kind include obesity, kidney failure, and, pancreatitis.

However, to ingest such an amount of fish food would imply having fish food as part of your dog’s daily diet, which is unlikely to happen involuntarily.

Risks related to eating fish food in dogs

Fish food is only really dangerous if your dog has a history of fish allergies, although a very rare case.

Dogs are in fact more subjected to allergies related to chicken and beef than they are to fish allergies.

Another risk related to fish food is how sometimes this kind of food is enhanced with additives or fish drugs, as food is usually the only way to give fish medication.

It’s always safer to check the ingredients chart on the package very carefully and if there’s anything that could be harmful to your dog, you should keep your fish food stored away from their reach.

Most Common Types of Fish Food your Dog might Eat

You also need to take into consideration the different types of fish food, as not every fish can be fed the same way.

Some fish require special food whose components might differ from the ones we usually find in the most common types of fish food.

Goldfish food 

The food you give to a goldfish won’t be the same as the one you give to a tropical fish and so it won’t either have the same components.

Goldfish food usually comes in pellets that are meant to be sprinkled over the surface of your aquarium and will remain floating above the water where your fish will go grab a bite.

Goldfish are mostly herbivores and as such their food won’t be harmful to your dog.

However, if your dog ate goldfish food, you better check the ingredients chart and see if there’s anything that might cause them discomfort.

Risks of goldfish food

Some types of goldfish food include brewers’ yeast. Even though yeast is not toxic for your dog, yeast dough is a different matter.

If you ever made bread or any bakery product at home, you’ll know that dough needs to rest in a warm place in order to rise, that’s why it’s often left in a bowl with a cloth on top.

The same thing happens when dogs eat the dough.

The warmth inside their stomach will cause it to rise and as a result, their belly will start to swell, causing pain and discomfort, and probably a lot of gas.

Therefore, if your goldfish food includes brewers yeast, keep an eye out for your dog for the following hours, but don’t worry: stomach bloating is not a big issue, and if your dog ate just a small amount of goldfish food he should be fine.

Betta food

Betta food is very rich both in proteins and in fats, both of which are not good for dogs if ingested in large quantities as they will cause internal inflammation.

If your dog ate betta fish food and looks more tired than usual, has loose stools or vomiting and he’s just overall not behaving like he always does, a preventive call to your vet is always a good idea.

In most cases, it will be just a tummy ache which is easily treated with a no-fats diet and lots of water to prevent dehydration.

Adding one or two tablespoons of plain yogurt a day might also help in keeping good bacteria in their intestines.

Risks of Betta food

The biggest risk related to betta food comes from the diet this fish needs to follow. In fact, this fish feeds mostly on insects and as such, their food is specifically made full of larvae.

Having larvae in your dog’s intestines can seriously compromise their natural bacteria and cause some serious health complications in the long run.

Even though Betta food is not strictly toxic to your dog, you might want to avoid leaving the box around when your dog is nearby.

Food packaging

If your dog eats fish food it’s usually because he knocked off the whole package while you weren’t looking and this means there’s a risk he ate part of the package or even the whole of it in the frenzy of the moment.

Eating non-edible objects is always dangerous to dogs. Even though their stomachs have stronger gastric acids than humans’, foreign items can cause suffocation, blockages, or even internal bleeding, among other things.

Risks of fish food packaging

Fish food packages are often made of plastic, which is especially dangerous because it can’t be digested in any way and will most likely pass as it is, with the risk of causing wounds or obstructions.

The situation can escalate pretty quickly and have unforeseen consequences, so it’s important not to waste any time.

If you think your dog has eaten any package along with the food, get in contact with your veterinarian to see what needs to be done.

In some cases, you’ll need to bring your pet in for an examination and if the object can’t be expelled in any other way, surgery may be required.

On top of the expensive economic cost, surgery will also be costly to your dog in terms of health, so it’s fundamental that you keep your pets safe from anything that could harm them.

Can Dogs Eat Fish Food?

With their strong stomachs, dogs can eat a lot of things that aren’t necessarily good for them.

Dog licking his face

After all, stray dogs rummage through garbage cans, and dogs in the wild have survived centuries eating whatever they could get their paws on.

Fish food is not toxic to dogs and it’s not even the worst thing they could eat out of their diet, as it doesn’t present an immediate threat to their health.

Still, dogs shouldn’t eat fish food, simply because it is not meant for them. The components of fish and dog food may be similar but are studied to answer different nutritional needs.

Furthermore, not all fish are the same, therefore not all fish food is the same and this can translate into a bigger risk for your pet.

The occasional fish food theft won’t cause much damage and is to be expected if there are no precautions taken to prevent it, but please make sure it’s a one-time thing and keep it away from your pet.

So in conclusion, is fish food toxic to dogs? No, but be careful.

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