Pet parents are always looking for new and exciting ingredients to add their dogs' everyday menu items. Adding high-quality fish meal to your dog's food is one way to offer extra protein and nutrition to his regular food. Plus, your pup will probably also enjoy the extra fishy flavor.
Fish meal contains highly digestible protein, and many individual amino acids including lysine, tryptophan, methionine and cysteine. It also contains the minerals calcium and phosphorus, and several B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and B12. Fish meal also has the omega-3 components DHA and EPA, and linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid.
Usually sold in dehydrated form, fish meal is not as perishable as fresh fish. This allows easier storage and longer shelf life.
Finding the Best Fish Meal
Fish meal has a range of applications, including use in dog food. Some dog food brands include fish meal in their ingredient list to increase nutritional content. When choosing fish meal for your dog's food, select one with natural preservatives and antioxidants. These compounds are necessary to preserve the fish meal, but some antioxidants and preservatives are laden with chemicals.
Some fish meal products are used as fertilizer, so make sure to choose a high-quality edible version.
Adding Fish Meal to Your Dog's Food
If you're just looking to add fish meal to your dog's existing food, a good first step is to offer a bit to your dog first, without anything else added to it. This will let you get a sense of whether your dog even likes the stuff. If he likes it by itself, then add a small amount to his food, and monitor him over the next day or two to make sure it agrees with him.
You can just sprinkle a bit of the fish meal on top of your pal's food, using the label for serving size instructions. Or you can make a gravy by combining fish meal and water. Because fish meal is not a fresh food and does use preservatives, it's best to use it as an accent to your dog's menu. In small doses, it can kick up the nutrient content and flavor of your dog's regular food.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.