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I've been adding sardines to our dogs' food since before we switched the dogs to raw. I purchased them at Costco – 6 cans for $10. With 4 dogs, this can be expensive.
The sardines I buy are in olive oil, which has great benefits for dogs, but I prefer to add fish oil to my dogs' meals or buy sardines in water. Worried about the salt content? Me too, so I rinse the sardines before adding them to my dogs' dishes.
I recently received an opportunity to buy fresh caught sardines (flash frozen for shipment) through our local raw food co-op and decided to go for it, because the price is right and I can't pass up “fresh.” I'm getting a 50# case for $1.65/pound ($82.50).
The Health Benefits of Sardines for Dogs
“Sardines are a great protein source that provides significant Vitamin B3, B12 and D, selenium, and healthy omega-3 Fatty acids. Sardines are also a good source of phosphorus and calcium.” ~ Dr. Cathy Alinovi, HealthyPawsibilities
- great for the skin and coat
- great for dogs with allergies (even severe allergies)
- acts as an anti-inflammatory making it beneficial for dogs with arthritis
- great for the brain – making it a perfect item for growing/developing puppies and senior dogs too
Although I've been told that our dogs can eat the bones in sardines, my worry is that one will get lodged in their throat on the way down if they don't chew it properly, so I'll be thawing out each serving of sardines and de-boning them. Yeah, J laughed at this too.
I need to add this one to the list of ridiculous things I'll do for our dogs.
Update #1 on Feeding Our Dogs Raw Sardines
Spoiler alert! The dogs weren't having it.
I ordered 50# of fresh caught, flash frozen sardines from the Oregon coast through our raw food co-op. I had to thaw them a bit and put them into freezer bags to get them in our freezer (wow, fishy!) and then I kept one bag out for the dogs to enjoy the next day.
I still wasn't comfortable with the bones. I kept thinking of when I've gotten a salmon or other fish bone caught in my throat – so not pleasant – so I invested in filet knives, watched a few YouTube videos to learn how to filet fish, and got to work. It took a while, but I beheaded, de-tailed and fileted 7-8 sardines (by the way, these were huge; 7″).
I took a few pieces for Rodrigo and Zoey to try (they were camped out in the kitchen sniffing the air). Out of our 4 dogs, Rodrigo and Zoey are the least picky, but they both refused to eat the fish. They smelled it, but then backed away. It wasn't that it had gone bad either.
I sautéed the fish in coconut oil and fed it to the dogs and it was a hit.
There was NO WAY I was going to thaw and filet 50# of sardines so I sold it all to area raw feeders. I won't mind making up a fish meal for our dogs in the future, but that's only if someone has 5# or 10# to sell. Otherwise, our dogs are going to stick with canned sardines once a week.
Update #2 on Feeding Our Dogs Raw Sardines
I'm updating this post in Fall 2017 and I want to share that my dogs have had a total turnaround and me along with them.
They love raw sardines and mackerel. I don't buy the 50-pound box of flash-frozen sardines; I still don't have the space and time for that much fish, so I buy sardines from OC Raw which are packaged 5-7 (can't quite remember) at a time. I cut the fish in half or into thirds and add them to my dogs' meals – they go CRAZY for them. CRAAAZZYYY!!!
I also feed canned sardines in water with no salt added and boiled oysters in water which offer zinc and manganese as well as Omega 3 fatty acids. I'm able to get these from WalMart.