Salmon & Mercury Poisoning in Dogs

February 4, 2022
Diana Bocco
Reviewed By: 
Dr. Farshad Goodarzi - Animal Nutritionist
5 minute read
Dog looking in fish bowl for mercury poisoning

We recently got asked this question. So we decided to clear the air...

TL;DR: The Mercury exposure from Salmon in most dog food is safe for daily consumption. The methylmercury amount in most dog foods containing fish is not significant enough to cause mercury poisoning or other complications.

"I heard that you shouldn't feed your dog Salmon more than once or twice a week."

"Feeding Salmon too often causes mercury poisoning."  

"I'm worried about my dog getting mercury poisoning!"

These are common questions that people have been asking, and we thought it's best to clear the air. It is reasonable to be concerned about mercury poisoning when feeding your dog Salmon, especially since it is a common human diet topic. The short answer is: Salmon used in most properly balanced dog food will not cause mercury poisoning for your dog.

What is mercury poisoning?

Mercury poisoning refers to toxicity caused by the consumption of mercury. The most common way of mercury exposure is from fish containing Methylmercury. Exposure to excess mercury is a health hazard to dogs and humans. It can cause a broad range of issues such as respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, kidney injury, impacted fetal development, and neurologic problems.

Mercury poisoning in Dogs

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, conducted a study to evaluate total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in commercially available salmon-containing and nonsalmon-containing canine diets and estimate the risk of chronic exposure in dogs fed these diets long term. The study was conducted on 24 diets. 12 diets contained some form of Salmon, and 12 did not have any form of Salmon. The results show that mercury was only detected in 3 of the 24 diets, 2 of which were from the non-salmon diets. The third diet with mercury was the only one containing Methylmercury.

"Total mercury and methylmercury were uncommonly identified in the commercially available canine diets sampled in this study and were found in concentrations unlikely to pose risk to healthy adult dogs"

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning

Although mercury poisoning is rare, as demonstrated above, it's best to know the most common symptoms of it. Mercury poisoning can still occur in dogs if they consume something with high amounts of mercury in it, such as Tuna. According to AKC here are some common symptoms:

  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Blindness
  • Kidney damage (inability to urinate, abdominal swelling)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of feeling in paws
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting blood
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
cola's kitchen fresh dog food in a bowl between dog paws

How Can Feeding Fresh Dog Food Help

Now that we've cleared the air let's talk about the importance of eating a fresh diet in this context. One of the many benefits of fresh dog food is the significantly increased level of transparency. You can physically see most, if not all, of the ingredients that your dog will be eating, which is a BIG DEAL! This level of transparency does not exist in dry dog food. Kibbles are often made with low-quality ingredients, so much so that they have to be processed at high heat to kill bacteria and make it safe. To learn more about problems with kibbles, read our article on why you should not feed your dog kibbles.

With Cola's Kitchen's individually balanced fresh dog food, you will always know exactly what you are feeding your dog. We individually balance each recipe to meet the exact needs of your dog based on their profile. So you can always feel comfortable that they are eating a truly complete and balanced diet.

Cola's Kitchen's food is formulated under strict guidelines to meet or exceed the highest industry standards. While there is no risk for your dog eating our Salmon recipe daily, we highly suggest that they have variety in their diet and not eat the same recipe every day. We have 3 ingredient sets to choose from, and we always recommend for your dog to take all three if they don't have any restrictions.  

about cola's precision diet

Cola's Kitchen precision diet is the first truly tailored diet for a unique approach to nutrition. Our diets are individually formulated and balanced to address the most precise nutritional requirements of your pup.

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