Health benefits of feeding sardines

Why I Love Sardines! And Why You Should Too!

Well, let me rephrase to make it a more accurate statement: Why I Love to Feed Sardines to my Dogs!  And Why You Should Too!

I think most everyone is aware that a healthy diet includes Omega 3 fats. This is true for dogs as well as for humans. Traditionally we have supplemented with fish oil in our dogs’ diets (as well as our own) to meet the omega 3 requirement. In the not so recent past I have read enough articles and studies to make me rethink supplementing with industrialized fish oils.

Why I Don’t Feed Fish Oil Supplement

Fish oil exposed to oxygen, which can happen during processing as well as storage of the supplements, will oxidize. Oxidation is dangerous because it causes free radicals within the body, leading to chronic inflammation and potentially cancer.

Larger fish such as salmon, pollock, and mackerel – all high in omega 3 and commonly used to make fish oil supplements – are exposed to mercury, radiation, and other contaminants which accumulate throughout their longer life spans. Sardines, herring, and anchovies, also commonly used in the supplement industry and exposed to these contaminants, have a shorter life cycle, often half that of the larger fish, and therefore are far less contaminated.

Nutritional Benefits of Sardines

According to, sardines contain:
Vitamins B2, B12 and D
Omega 3 fats

So Easy and Delicious!

I feed sardines in the form of whole raw, canned, or dehydrated (I rehydrate before feeding) 2-3 times per week either as part of a separate small meal or as a topping on a larger meal. My dogs love them!  Your dog might look at you cross eyed when you serve them raw  (as one of mine does), but that same dog will go crazy over canned or rehydrated sardines . Go ahead and experiment with the different options available!

rehydrated sardines

I buy canned sardines in water, with or without salt.  If you are worried about salt, you can drain and rinse them prior to feeding.  Some salt in the diet, especially sea salt, is beneficial, but if you are feeding kibble, additional salt may be a concern.  Canned in olive oil is fine too.  Medium and large dogs can have 3-4 oz two to three times per week.  Smaller dogs about half that amount.

If you are currently using fish oil supplements, try feeding (and eating!) sardines instead.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more omega 3 into my own diet in the form of sardines.  I made this dish for my own dinner…canned sardines in tomato sauce over black bean pasta!  Quite tasty and super easy too!

Sardines are readily available, tasty, and inexpensive, making adding omega 3 fats in the form of real food vs supplement to your dog’s diet super easy!  If you are like me, and like to feed variety, try some of my favorite products also high in omega 3 fatty acids:

The products listed above are all responsibly sourced real foods.