My Dog Ate Fish Food: Should I Be Worried?

If you have a dog, you know that it is not unusual for them to eat everything and anything under the sun; this is especially true with puppies. Dogs explore their world via their noses, mouths, and taste buds, so it is no surprise that they will try and eat things that you and I would never think about eating. This exploration often leads us to worry about their health after they sample something new. And if you have fish, you may one day wind up thinking, “My dog ate fish food. Should I be worried?”

DON’T PANIC. READ ON TO FIND OUT MORE!

Generally, you don’t have anything to worry about if your dog eats common fish food. Most commercially available fish foods do not contain anything our dogs would find toxic. However, that doesn’t mean you should keep a watchful eye on them, just as you should anytime your dog eats something that it shouldn’t.

What happens if a dog eats fish food?

Unless your dog is allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the fish food, your dog will probably be fine. If your dog eats a lot of fish food, it may have some digestive upset in the form of vomiting or diarrhea, usually occurring within a few to twenty-four hours after eating the food. If your dog seems to be having a pronounced reaction to the fish food, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.

Can fish food kill a dog?

As I said above, fish food is most probably not going to harm your dog. At the most, it may give fido an upset tummy, but nothing more. Just be sure to monitor your dog closely for a day or so anytime they eat something they shouldn’t. Consult with a veterinarian if your dog is reacting negatively to eating the food. The most dangerous part of the fish food is likely the package it came in. Internal blockage from ingesting packaging is a definite cause for emergency veterinarian trips.

If your dog is an expert counter surfer, you may want to move the fish food to a location that the dog cannot reach. Just as we baby-proof our houses to protect our children, our dogs often need the same kind of preventative actions taken so they don’t get into things that can harm them.

How can I keep my dog from eating the fish’s food?

As we stated before, some dogs will eat almost anything within their reach. The best option is to keep anything they’re liable to eat out of their reach. But this can be an impractical solution at times. We are human, and sometimes we just put things down and forget about them. So how do we make our dogs less curious? The answer is training, physical and mental exercise, and recognizing that all dogs need to chew, and it’s up to us to give them something appropriate to chew on.

Training

While it’s beyond the scope of this article to give training advice, the general idea is to train your dog that there are good things to chew on, like chew toys and large raw bones like beef bones. Commands like “leave it” and “go to your mat” are going to be your best friends, especially with young puppies. If you don’t know how to train these behaviors, you should contact a qualified trainer the uses positive reinforcement to help you and your dog get along.

Physical and Mental Exercise

Almost all dogs need around an hour of some type of exercise every day. Walking is good for dogs mentally and physically, especially if you allow dogs to smell things without interruption. Play fetch, go for walks, teach them to play hide and seek. The thing you want to avoid with dogs is boredom. A bored dog will find its own means of entertainment, and ninety-nine times out of one hundred, we’re not going to like it.

Chewing

Dogs need to chew for healthy teeth and gums. They also chew to relieve anxiety, boredom, and frustration. Think of a dog chewing as a teen with ADD with a fidget spinner. Supply them with plenty of good things to chew on, and when they are chewing on something they shouldn’t, trade it for one of their “approved chew items.”

FAQs

What is fish food made of?

For the most part, fish food contains, well, fish. Most of the flake foods, which is the most common type of fish food sold, include fish meal, shrimp meal, worms, squid meal, etc. Fish food does contain a lot of protein, just not the type we want to feed to our dogs.

How long after eating something will a dog get sick?

This is a question that has no definitive answer. Depending on what it eats, dogs can become sick immediately, or it can take several days for a toxin or foreign object to make its way through your dog’s system and cause symptoms. If your dog eats something it shouldn’t, pay special attention to your dog for a few days. If you suspect what it ate was toxic, call your veterinarian or poison control center with the list of ingredients from the product. If your dog ate something like a toy or bone, contact your veterinarian to determine what symptoms to watch for. You will most likely be checking their poo for signs that the object has safely passed through your dog’s system.

Are there poison control hotlines for pets?

As far as I know, the same poison control line you would call for humans does not handle calls for pets. However, there are a few poison control lines for pets, and the ASPCA even has an app that you can learn more about here. The number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is (888)426-4435. Be aware that you may be charged a consultation fee for their services. Additionally, the Pet Poison Helpline has been around a long time and comes highly recommended. They do charge a per-incident fee of $65, which includes follow-up consultations for an individual incident.

Conclusion

If your dog eats fish food, don’t panic. Take the food and the container away from the dog and keep an eye on them for about twenty-four hours. If they develop any symptoms beyond mild vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control center.

Place things your dog shouldn’t have out of its reach. Give your dog plenty of mental and physical exercise. Give your dog things they can chew on and teach them behaviors like “leave it” and “to your place,” and you won’t have to worry about your dog eating fish food.

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