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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Sushi? Vet-Verified Safety & FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Sushi? Vet-Verified Safety & FAQ

Close-Up Shot of a Salmon Sushi

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Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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Sushi can be made with many ingredients; fish sushi is the most common, but vegetables, chicken, and other meats or proteins are also used. With this in mind, you might wonder whether sushi would be a tasty and healthy treat for your dog! Because most traditional sushi is made with raw fish, the answer to whether or not your dog can eat it is no; raw fish can be dangerous and is an unnecessary risk for your dog to take.


Is Sushi Safe for Dogs?

Sushi could theoretically be safe for dogs, but it depends on the ingredients. The base ingredients for most types of sushi are raw fish, rice, vegetables, and a seaweed sheet for wrapping. If you offered your dog homemade sushi containing dog-friendly vegetables (like cucumber) or well-cooked meat, they would likely be able to sample it.

Sushi rice is traditionally made with seasonings and vinegar, but plain white rice can be used in its place. Seaweed (commonly Nori) is also safe for dogs to eat in small amounts, as long as it’s plain and without seasonings. Try to avoid seasonings as they can cause an upset stomach.

Sushi from a sushi restaurant is usually traditionally prepared and seasoned, which would make it unsafe for dogs to eat regardless of the veggies or proteins. Seasonings include wasabi, pickled ginger, soy sauce, and salt. Pickled ginger and soy sauce contain large amounts of sugar and salt, which aren’t good for your dog. Wasabi isn’t outright toxic for your dog, but the spiciness of the paste can cause intense distress and gastrointestinal discomfort for them!


Which Types of Fish in Sushi Can My Dog Eat?

The only types of fish in sushi that are safe for dogs to eat are cooked fish! Dogs shouldn’t consume any raw fish, including those used for sushi. Raw fish is dangerous for dogs to eat due to potential pathogens, some of which could make your dog (and even you) very sick. Both salmonella and listeria are at risk of being passed to your dog from raw fish and can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, fever, and dehydration. Bacteria can sometimes cause few effects in dogs but still be easily passed on to us. Families with young children or immunocompromised people should be particularly careful, as the risk of serious illness is much greater.


Another unpleasant reality of eating raw fish is that it can spread worms. Worms, flukes, and other parasites can be found in different kinds of fish commonly used for sushi, so much so that “salmon poisoning” is the common term given to an illness in dogs caused by eating raw salmon or trout.

These fish swim upstream and contract a parasitic worm (Nanophyetus salmincola), which spreads the bacteria Neorickettsia helminthoeca and makes dogs very sick.

The common signs of salmon poisoning to look out for include the following:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in poop
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Eye and nose discharge
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Any flukes in raw fish are swallowed by the dog and stick to the walls of the intestine, where the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause infection. If not treated within 2 weeks, salmon poisoning is usually fatal. However, treatment can be effective and combines antibiotics and symptomatic treatment of the bacteria’s effects on the body.

vet holding a papillon dog in his arms
Image Credit: Di Studio, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Sushi Have Any Benefits for Dogs?

Unfortunately, sushi is one of those foods that holds more risk than benefit for dogs. While cooked fish benefits dogs in moderate amounts, raw fish is not recommended. The individual components of sushi are moderately beneficial, such as the fiber in white rice and vitamins in seaweed. However, even vegetable sushi often contains ingredients unsuitable for your dog to eat, such as pickled ginger and vinegar.

Are Any Raw Foods Safe for Dogs

Although you may have noticed several raw dog food companies have become popular recently, it’s safer for your dog to stick to standard wet food and kibble. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and most veterinarians do not recommend feeding raw meat or fish to dogs. Like raw fish, raw beef and poultry contain pathogens that can potentially make you and your dog sick.

Different kinds of raw protein
Image Credit: nehophoto, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Sushi is a delicious delicacy for people, but our pups should stay clear and not be given any to eat. While certain types of vegetable or cooked fish sushi would be safer for dogs to eat, traditional raw fish sushi is potentially harmful and should never be offered to your dog. Raw fish can pose a risk to your pup due to possible pathogens like bacteria or worms, some of which can even be a risk to you! For these reasons, it’s best to avoid letting your dog sample sushi; stick to cooked fish and vegetables on the side if you want to treat them on sushi night!

Featured Image Credit: Ivan Samkov, Pexels

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