Can a dog eat a whole fish, scales and all? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Can a dog eat a whole fish, scales and all?

We've been buying our raw meat from a new source, and we tested the pack on tilapia fish fillets. They never had raw fish before, only fish kibble (Wellness Core Ocean flavor). They loved the raw fish. The fillets were $2.79/lb, but the company offers whole tilapia that are about 3x the size for much cheaper per lb. They told me the fish were gutted and scaled, but when I brought the 40 lb box home tonight, the fish have scales, fins, eyes, bones, guts, etc. Can I thaw these and feed them whole? I'm not about to clean all of these fish, and the company is closed until next Tuesday in case I have to try to return them. What should I do?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:15 PM
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I would chop off fins if they're spiny and maybe gut them. Scales are fine.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:17 PM
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I second the cutting fins off. Otherwise go for it!

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:22 PM
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I used to buy whole trouts from costco and feed that to Zeus, he loved it.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:31 PM
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I would not feed the fins or the guts because of how sharp the fins are and the potential for parasites and who knows what's growing in their guts.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 11:48 PM
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Keeping the fish frozen for a couple of weeks will kill gut parasites. I feed small (whole) frozen smelts all the time. You can thaw the fish after a couple of weeks (may have already been frozen that long from the supplier), but my guys like it better frozen and crunchy.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2011, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to add:

The fish comes from a local bulk supplier of restuarants, and they also offer the pet products menu. The fish come frozen and I'm sure they've been frozen for a long time. I didn't want you guys to think I just bumped in to some random fisherman and bought freshly caught fish. These fish are all individually wrapped and packaged in a large box to feed to dogs whole. What confused me is the people at the front desk/cashier told me they thought the fish were scaled and gutted, and when I opened up the box, I discovered that they were wrong, and then thought that maybe I couldn't feed them to my dogs without first gutting and scaling them.

It seems like most of you agree that the scales are ok, but not the fins. I did a google search for feeding whole tilapia and some other raw feeders have fed the whole fish, head, fins, scales, guts, bones and all, and had no problems. So I'm going to touch the scales and fins, see if they're sharp, and if not, feed the entire thing. If I get pricked, I'm cutting whatever pricks me off. If it's the scales, then there's way too many of them to deal with, and I'll just take the box back next week.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2011, 06:22 AM
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good thread
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2011, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

I took out a partially thawed tilapia last night at feeding time, and they were not thawed enough, and the dorsal fin (yes, I looked up tilapia anatomy on google images and am now a fish expert!) is the one with the sharp barbs or spikey points. I'm assuming that, if I opened the fish up, the bones inside would be sharp and spikey too, but for some reason it's OK for the dog to eat the bones, right? So can the dog digest (without complication) the dorsal fins? The scales are soft, and the other fins are all soft and probably edible. The only one sharp is that top dorsal fin. I tried to break the boney spikes with my fingers and could not. Should I cut these off or will the dogs grind and chew them up just like they're going to do to the internal bones?

Here's what the box says:

Cleaned scaled IQF, IWP
Whole round IQF, IWP

Not sure what that all means, but according to the company and the box, they are cleaned and scaled. The fish are still too frozen, If they are cleaned, that means the insides have been removed, right? Well, I don't see any slit or opening where anything was tampered with. This looks like a fish caught and frozen immediately, and packaged and shipped for dog consumption.

When doing a google search for dogs eating whole fish, it seems like the majority of people (who don't impress me as knowledgeable raw feeders) all say NOT to feed whole fish, and some say not to feed fish at all.

Before I feed the fish (and harm or kill my dogs), I want confirmation on what to do from experienced raw feeders of whole fish. Can our dogs eat the small (possibly sharp) fish bones, and all of the rest of the fish too?

Thank you to everyone for your help!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2011, 06:01 PM
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Uncooked fish bones are perfectly fine. I personally would cut off any spiny fins just so I feel better about it, not necessarily because my dog wouldn't be able to handle it.

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