Can Dogs Eat Rockfish? Canine Food Friend or Foe


Rockfish makes a quite nice meal for people every now and then, especially since this fish species is rich in a wide range of nutrients from vitamin A to magnesium and vitamin B12. But can dogs eat rockfish? 

We are answering this question and many more in today’s article, so keep on reading!

Is Rockfish Good for Dogs?

In theory, yes. However, in case you didn’t know, there are more than 130 species of rockfish documented to date, and the taxonomy might include others if they are discovered in the future. 

The trick is that some of these are actually poisonous, and not just to dogs but also to people. Nevertheless, if you get your rockfish from a store, it’s probably not risky for dogs at all.

Here are some other reasons to include rockfish as a treat in your pet’s diet. 

fresh rockfish


Believe it or not, Pacific Rockfish are among the fish types that are particularly rich in such nutrients. One portion of 100 grams has as many as 179 calories and contains 4% in vitamin A, 4% riboflavin, 17% in vitamin B12, and a whopping 11% in vitamin B6. Top that with a 16% content in niacin, and you’ve got yourself a winning meal for your dog. 


Fish is usually great to give to dogs, especially if you have removed all the scales and the bones, and it’s completely safe to eat and the reason we’re saying this is because of its mineral content. 

Rockfish contains healthy amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, as well as copper. As you can imagine, all of these are important for your pet’s health. 


While fish can’t keep your dog full for a long time since it’s so light, rockfish will at least supply your pup with a healthy quantity of protein. One serving of Pacific Rockfish in the form of 100 grams will provide your dog with 18.8 grams of protein

And as you can imagine, dogs need this nutrient to thrive. Sure, rockfish also contains some amount of other ingredients, such as cholesterol, which might not be as good, but the protein definitely makes things better on the whole. 

Good for digestion 

The biggest reason to give fish to your dog once a week or once every two weeks is the fact that it is highly digestible. It does not cause bloating or other health complications, especially if it is cooked properly. 

Its nutrients get absorbed into your pet’s system fast and effectively, so that’s one less thing to worry about. 

Is Rockfish Bad for Dogs?

Choking hazards

Like any other fish, rockfish come with their own fair share of bones. Thankfully, they are fewer compared to what you’d find in other species, but even so, you have to make sure that you clean the flesh off the bones very carefully. 

Dogs can choke on tiny bones just as much as humans can, so the last thing you might want would be for you to end up with your pup at the animal hospital with a bone lodged in their throat

Bacterial contamination

Fresh fish can carry bacteria on the surface of their body or when they are cut. If they are not disemboweled properly and by someone who knows how to do their job, the flesh might also come in contact with the intestinal contents

Making sure that you cook the fish flesh properly before serving it to your dog will prevent them from experiencing a case of food poisoning. 

Traces of mercury and other heavy metals

All of the fish that comes from the sea or the ocean have a chance of being contaminated with heavy metals. Unfortunately, this is a risk regardless of whether you cook it for yourself or your pet. 

Subsequently, we recommend feeding oceanic fish to your dog only once a month, just to be on the safe side of things. 

How Much Rockfish Can My Dog Eat?

A serving recommendation for dogs when it comes to giving them rockfish doesn’t exist. However, it all depends on your dog’s health, age, and breed. If your dog is a teacup breed, try to keep the amount to a minimum

The same goes for puppies and seniors, as they always do better with a safer diet, albeit a commercial one. Their immune system might not do a good job of handling the abuse of pathogens coming from bacterial contamination or the heavy metals in the fish flesh. 

In general, one to two tablespoons of thoroughly cooked rockfish per week shouldn’t do your dog any harm. 

dog eating from his food bowl

How to Prepare and Serve Rockfish to Your Dog

For safety purposes, we recommend either boiling or baking the rockfish – just to make sure that you’ve killed any bacteria it might have been contaminated with. 

The spines on the back of the fish contain venom, so if you are the person cleaning it, make sure you handle it properly and avoid contact between the spines and the flesh. 

Do not season the fish if you intend on feeding it to your dog. Pets are not supposed to have salt, pepper, or any other spices, not to mention that some seasonings can be downright deadly for them, such as onion or garlic powder. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat raw rockfish?

No. Raw rockfish always poses a health threat to dogs. Unless it is cooked properly, you can assume that it is contaminated with some sort of germ.

Can dogs eat panko-crusted rockfish filets?

It depends on how they have been cooked. If they were pan-fried, the answer to the question is no. Those baked in the oven are better by comparison but still not ideal.

Can dogs eat lemon rockfish?

No. Lemons, along with the rest of the fruits in the citrus family, contain some chemical compounds that can make your dog sick.


So, can dogs have rockfish? Sure. One serving twice a month should cause no problem whatsoever, but it needs to be cooked properly.


  1. Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and Toxigenic Escherichia coli in Various Pet Foods, Sarah M. Nemser et al, 2014 
  2. Bioactive Components in Fish Venoms, Rebekah Ziegman & Paul Alewood, 2015

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Cristina Vulpe

Cristina Vulpe

As a veterinarian and a cat guardian, Cristina Vulpe holds a Ph.D. in veterinary oncology. She loves writing about feline pathology, parasitology, and infectious diseases, but she also cares deeply about animal nutrition and welfare. When she isn't writing, you can always find her in the company of her cat and a good book.
Iasi, Romania