Can Dogs Eat Sushi? 

By Britt Kascjak

While dogs can eat sushi, it’s not entirely safe and shouldn’t be a regular addition to your dog’s diet. Only feed sushi rolls made with pet-safe ingredients and avoid large amounts of raw fish. If you notice any signs of illness, stop feeding your dog and contact your veterinarian.

Is It Safe for Your Dog to Eat Sushi?

Do you like Japanese cuisine and want to share some sushi with your dog? Has your dog recently eaten some sushi and you’re wondering if it’s safe or not?

If your dog is begging for a taste of your favourite sushi roll, you may be wondering if your dog can eat sushi too. The answer isn’t black and white.

With the wide variety of sushi options available, you will need to take a close look at the ingredients. Some ingredients have great health benefits. But, other ingredients can make your dog very sick.

Is Sushi Bad for Dogs?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. There are safe sushi options for your dog, but not all sushi is good.

Before feeding your dog raw fish, consider the risks and benefits.

Pay careful attention to the ingredients included, as they have a big impact on how safe your sushi may be. If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution.

Health Risks of Eating Sushi for Dogs

Anytime that you offer a new food to your dog, it should be under supervision. It doesn’t matter if it’s raw or cooked fish. Consult your veterinarian before introducing the food to discuss potential risks.

If you notice any signs of illness, stop feeding sushi immediately.

Some of these health risks can pose serious or life-threatening complications. Contact your vet if you notice any signs of trouble. It’s better to avoid feeding something that you don’t know is safe.

Toxic Ingredients: Some ingredients that are often found in sushi that can make your dog sick. These range from foods that will upset your dog’s stomach to life-threatening toxins.

Avoid feeding your dog sushi with the following ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Tempura
  • soy sauce
  • Spicy mayonnaise dip or any type of spicy mayo
  • Eel sauce
  • Sauces or Spices

There are also some types of raw seafood that carry a higher risk for your dog’s health. This includes:

  • raw Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Eel
  • Octopus
  • Crab
  • Yellowtail
  • Shrimp

This isn’t to say that these fish should all be avoided completely. Salmon offers many benefits for your dog. But, you should only feed your dog completely cooked fish.

Salmonella and Listeria: These harmful bacteria are often associated with raw foods. Unfortunately, raw fish is no exception.

Listeria and Salmonella are often carried by pets with little or no sign of infection. But, in some cases, it can lead to life-threatening complications.

Listeria rarely causes disease in dogs, but the same can’t be said for salmonella.

Dogs that do show signs of a salmonella infection will start to see symptoms within 72 hours. Common symptoms of salmonella poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Skin irritation
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Shock
  • Miscarriage (in pregnant dogs)

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. In more serious cases, your dog may need hospitilization.

Fish Bones: If the fish in your sushi still contains any bones, they could pose a serious risk for your dog. These small, brittle bones are easy to overlook.

When eaten, fish bones can become lodged in your dog’s throat, mouth, stomach, or intestines. Not only is this painful, but if they puncture the walls of the digestive tract, it can lead to a serious infection.

Intestinal Parasites: Fish can carry dangerous parasites that can make your dog feel ill. They may also prevent your dog from absorbing nutrients from their food. If left untreated, they may cause life-threatening problems.

Parasites don’t only put your dog at risk, they can be passed to people and cause problems for the whole family.

Salmon Poisoning: One parasitic infection that your dog may experience is salmon poisoning. This is a rare infection, but is fatal in approximately 90% of untreated cases.

Signs of salmon poisoning will show within six days of eating an infected fish. They include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weakness

Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. Most dogs show significant improvement within 2 days of starting treatment.

Heavy Metal Poisoning: Some fish contains high levels of heavy metals. The biggest offenders are lead and mercury.

While a small amount of these metals may not cause problems right away, they can build up over time. A buildup of metals can cause toxicity and serious health risks.

Health Benefits of Eating Sushi for Dogs

The list of health risks is long, but there are also some health benefits to consider.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: One of the biggest benefits that your dog can enjoy from sushi is the omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, many veterinarians will recommend omega-3 supplements to improve your  dog’s health.

Fish is the best source of these beneficial nutrients.

Omega-3 fatty acids support brain develoment, reduce inflammation and support good heart health. They also boost the immune system. The best-known benefit is their ability to improve skin and coat health.

Does your dog struggle with depression, anxiety, or hyperactivity? Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have a calming effect. They are a natural option that works like anti-anxiety medications.

Vitamins and Minerals: There are many vitamins and minerals present in sushi ingredients.

The protein choice can offer benefits. Cooked shrimp contains high levels of vitamins B3 and B12 as well as phosphorus.

Fruits and vegetables like cucumbers and mango are also very healthy for your dog. They are delicious and packed with vitamins and minerals.

What Happens if My Dog Ate Sushi?

If your dog got ahold of your sushi, the first thing  you should do is take notice of what type of sushi it is. Some ingredients are harmful, while others are safe.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has consumed any toxic ingredients.

Even if your dog’s sushi snack was made from dog-safe ingredients, you should keep an eye on your dog. This is especially important if this is your dog’s first time eating sushi.

It’s also possible that your dog has a food allergy that you weren’t aware of.

Watch for signs that your dog isn’t feeling well, like vomiting or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian if anything appears to be bothing them.

Can Dogs Eat Sushi Seaweed?

Not only is seaweed safe for dogs, it’s a nutritious addition to your dog’s diet. It’s full of healthy nutrients and easy to digest.

Seaweed is a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive systems. It helps to strengthen your dog’s immune system and improve their coat and skin health. It can also help balance your dog’s energy levels.

Most dogs won’t eat seaweed on it’s own. But, when used in something delicious like sushi, they are happy to dig in.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Tuna Sushi?

Tuna is well-known for containing high levels of mercury. It is for this reason that tuna isn’t recommended in large amounts, raw or cooked. But, the mercury levels are even higher in fresh tuna.

Consuming too much mercury can cause mercury poisoning. This is a serious health condition that can be fatal in some cases.

While small amounts of tuna may be safe on occasion, it’s best to avoid the fish completely. Stick with other, safer, fish varieties instead.

Can Dogs Eat Sushi Rice?

Both brown and white rice can be beneficial for your dog. They are often fed to dogs that are feeling ill to settle their stomachs. It contains high levels of fiber which supports a healthy digestive system.

Unfortunately, the rice in sushi is often cooked with high salt levels, making it unsafe for your dog to eat (this includes white and brown rice).

If you are making your own sushi, you can control the amount of salt used. The rice itself is a safe snack for your dog to enjoy in moderation.

Can I Give My Dog a Sushi Roll?

Whether your dog can eat a sushi roll will depend on the ingredients. Some varieties are safer than others.

To avoid the risks listed above, make your sushi with cooked protein or imitation crab meat. You can also feed your dog vegetarian sushi.

To make your sushi safe for your dog, skip any spices or sauces.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Safely eat sushi?

Going back to the original question, ‘Can dogs eat sushi”? This depends on the ingredients.

Some types of sushi are dangerous, while others carry great benefits for your dog. Make sure you know what’s included and how it was prepared. Then you will now how much sushi you can give your pup.

If you want to share a sushi roll with your dog, the best option is to make your snack at home.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.