Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish

Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish?     by David Girard     |Published 07-14-2021

A major part of caring for any animal is understanding its diet. So, you know that eating fish is good for you, being low in fat, high in protein, and packed with minerals and vitamins. Fish is also rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that are excellent for brain and heart health.

But is fish good for your pets, too? And can Shih Tzu eat fish?

Keep reading to find out!

A white Shih Tzu and fish surrounded by speech bubbles.Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish?

Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish?

Generally, Shih Tzu can eat fish.

However, there are some types of fish that you should never feed your pet. Also, eating too much fish or consuming raw fish can make your dog sick.

So, before feeding your Shih Tzu fish, you need to know how much to feed and what fish species to avoid.

Fish You Shouldn’t Feed Your Shih Tzu

There are a few kinds of fish that are highly toxic to dogs and can cause serious illness if eaten. In some extreme cases, your dog could even die.

If you keep tropical pet fish and invertebrates, eating one shouldn’t cause a problem for your pet. Just be sure to keep your aquarium lid securely in place and shut your dog out of the room when you’re carrying out routine tank maintenance tasks!


Although you can safely eat canned and fresh tuna, some of the larger species, such as yellowfin and bluefin, can contain very high levels of mercury.

Now, while mercury might not be a problem for you, it can be extremely toxic to dogs.

Smoked And Raw Salmon

Uncooked salmon sometimes contains a parasite that can be fatal to your dog if ingested.

Pufferfish Or Blowfish

If you walk your dog on the beach, he may eat scraps of fish that he finds. That’s gross, but it can also be deadly if your pet gets hold of a Blowfish, also known as a Pufferfish.

The poison contained by Blowfish continues to be highly toxic, even after the fish is dead. The effects of the poison are severe, causing vomiting, muscle weakness, and breathing difficulties, eventually leading to the death of the dog unless immediate treatment is available.

The Good And Bad Of Feeding Shih Tzu Fish

So, provided that you avoid feeding your Shih Tzu any of the fish mentioned above, it is possible to safely incorporate fish into your dog’s diet.

Always feed your dog cooked fish, never raw, and check the fish carefully to ensure it doesn’t contain bones before feeding it to your Shih Tzu.


Fish are an excellent source of protein, which is especially important for growing puppies. Fish is low in fat, which is great for breeds that are prone to weight gain and obesity.

Also, some dogs are allergic to beef and chicken, and fish can make a great substitute for that. In fact, some dog foods that are formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs are fish-based. Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that promote a healthy coat and skin.


Despite all its benefits, feeding fish to your dog does have some downsides.

To ensure that your Shih Tzu doesn’t get sick from eating fish, I recommend that you introduce a small amount of fish to the diet to start with. You can gradually increase the fish content once you know that your dog can tolerate it.

As mentioned above, some ocean fish can contain high levels of mercury and are, therefore, best avoided. It’s best to avoid pre-prepared fish that might be infused with different seasonings, which could upset your dog’s stomach.

The tiny bones that some fish contain can become lodged in your dog’s throat or intestinal tract, causing nasty health problems and landing you with a big vet’s bill.

Finally, raw fish can harbor bacteria and parasites such as E. coli or salmonella that could make your dog really sick.

What Happens If A Shih Tzu Eats Too Much Fish?

Most times, if your dog eats too much fish, he will just get an upset stomach. However, there are situations where eating too much fish can cause serious health problems.

Salmon Poisoning

If you go fishing or you live in a region where your dog can get hold of raw salmon, your pet might suffer from salmon poisoning.

Farm-raised salmon are usually fed medication to kill parasites, so the fish is safe to eat. However, wild salmon can be infected with certain parasites that will poison your dog if too many are ingested.

If the condition is caught quickly, it is treatable. If left untreated, the dog can die within a couple of weeks.

The symptoms of salmon poisoning include:





     Swollen lymph nodes

The parasites contained in raw salmon are immune to the effects of the antiparasitic drugs your dog has to treat common dog worms. So, if you think your pet has gorged himself on raw salmon, consult your vet right away to be on the safe side.

Thiamine Deficiency

Thiamine is a B vitamin that dogs need for good health. Thiamine deficiency causes loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems, and weight loss.

Raw fish contains an enzyme that destroys thiamine. So, if your dog eats large quantities of raw fish, thiamine deficiency can result.

Mercury Poisoning

As mentioned above, certain species of large ocean fish can contain a lot of mercury in their systems. If a dog eats too much of this kind of fish, mercury can accumulate in the dog’s system. Mercury poisoning causes problems with the kidneys, heart, nerves, and digestion.

However, problems generally arise from eating raw fish. For that reason, you must only feed cooked fish to your dog.

Final Thoughts

Cooked fish can be very beneficial for dogs when fed in small quantities. However, feeding raw fish to your Shih Tzu could make him sick. Certain types of ocean fish can contain high volumes of mercury, and fish such as wild salmon are often loaded with parasites that will make your pet seriously sick if eaten in large quantities.

Always introduce fish to your pet’s diet in small amounts to make sure that the dog’s digestive system will tolerate it. If you’re in any doubt as to whether you should feed fish to your Shih Tzu, ask your vet for advice and guidance.

Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish?

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A Shih Tzu puppy is sniffing a fish. (Pin Image)Can Shih Tzu Eat Fish?

About The Author

David Girard is the Managing Editor at

David is a lifelong fishkeeping enthusiast and is an expert in keeping and breeding betta fish.

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About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.