If you like seafood or Japanese cuisine, then you’ve probably tried and enjoyed sushi.
Sushi is considered both healthy and a decadent treat and you may be wondering if it’s okay to share a few bites with your dog or even treat him to a roll or two of his very own.
So can dogs eat sushi?
The answer is a little complicated, as sushi is a somewhat broad term and can refer to a range of dishes. But in some cases, yes, dogs can eat sushi in moderation, depending on the ingredients.
This article will explore commonly used sushi ingredients, which ones are safe or toxic for dogs, and how much sushi is too much for your pup.
Sushi Bars for Dogs
This is evidence enough that sushi is, in fact, safe for dogs: there are now sushi bars being built specifically for dogs. Yes, you read that correctly. No, not sushi bars where humans can go enjoy sushi rolls and their dogs can come too, although plenty of those exist as well.
These sushi bars, often combined with other pet services such as pet spa and supply shopping, give your dog the opportunity to enjoy this delicious and nutritious treat.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Sushi
One of the greatest benefits of feeding your dog sushi comes from the ingredient salmon which is found in many sushi rolls. Salmon contains omega 3’s, which have a number of health benefits for both humans and dogs. These essential fatty acids are wonderful for your dog’s heart, skin, eyes, immune system, and more.
Also, nori and seaweed, in general, are full of vitamins and minerals that your dog needs for optimal health.
Risks of Feeding Your Dog Sushi
Because there are so many types of sushi rolls with so many varying ingredients, it’s important that you know exactly what’s in it before feeding any to your dog.
The biggest risk of feeding your dog sushi is the raw fish, which may contain parasites and bacteria. The best way to avoid this is to only feed your dog sushi with cooked protein, imitation crab meat, or vegetarian sushi (but make sure he still gets protein in his diet as it’s highly important for dogs).
Dogs also shouldn’t have too much rice and feeding them too much sushi or too frequently can upset their belly and lead to malnourishment. Avocado isn’t great for dogs either, so feeding your dog a California roll might make him sick.
Additionally, there are often spices in sushi that can hurt your dog’s stomach. And don’t forget the toppings and dips, like soy sauce, wasabi, and spicy mayo — those are probably not going to go over too well in your dog’s tummy too.
How Much Sushi Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is key when it comes to feeding your dog sushi. Give him just a few pieces of a roll as a treat or give him rolls with safe ingredients for dinner every once in a while (once per week, maximum).
But make sure the amount you’re feeding him is proportionate to his size. For example, a small dog under 10 pounds may only need a few slices of sushi for a whole meal while a larger dog of 70 pounds may need several full rolls.
How to Feed Your Dog Sushi Safely?
If you’re purchasing sushi from a store or restaurant, especially one that isn’t designed for dogs, make sure you read the label or menu and ask about the ingredients.
Check that there are no tricky ingredients or spices that your dog is better off without. Your best options are very plain rolls with just meat and perhaps simple vegetables like carrots and cucumbers.
The safest method of all is to prepare sushi for your dog at home. That way you know exactly what’s going into each and every bite and can add ingredients that balance the nutrition of the meal.
Plus, you can make a delicious and tasty dinner for yourself and your dog at the same time!
Check out this recipe for safe and healthy sushi for dogs. You can experiment with different proteins and vegetables, but make sure to check whatever substitutions you make aren’t toxic for pets.
Pet-Friendly Sushi Recipe: A Tasty Treat for Dogs & Humans
What you’ll need:
- bamboo sushi mat (optional, but very helpful)
- small bowl of water
- sharp knife
- clean kitchen cloth
- cutting board
- cooked rice
- carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- cooked salmon fillets
- seaweed/nori paper
- Spread out your bamboo sushi mat and lay one strip of nori with the shiny side down facing the mat.
- Spread a spoonful or two of cooked rice in a thin, even layer across the nori, leaving about half an inch of one long side uncovered to seal the roll later.
- Line up a few matchsticks of cucumber and carrot in a thin, even line along the center of the nori. Line small pieces of the cooked salmon next to or on top of the vegetables. Make sure there are no gaps between any ingredients.
- Use the mat to roll the seaweed together around the rice and all the ingredients into a roll. Use a bit of water from the bowl on your fingers to press the seaweed into the rice and seal in place.
- Transfer the roll to a cutting board. Dampen a very sharp knife with a slightly damp, clean kitchen cloth. Slice the sushi roll into even circles, dampening the knife between cuts to keep it sharp.
- Serve up the pieces to yourself and your dog.
Tip: You can garnish with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger for yourself, but leave these ingredients off for your dog.
Sushi can make a yummy, healthy snack or meal for dogs as long as you’re careful about the ingredients.
Making sushi for your dog at home or taking him to a special sushi bar designed for dogs to eat is the best way to ensure that the meal will be safe for your pup.
If you have any questions about whether or not an ingredient is safe, check first with your vet or pet nutritionist.
Now go have some sushi with your good boy!