Can Dogs Eat Goldfish? Why You Should Avoid That

Is it safe for dogs to snack on goldfish? Find out in our comprehensive article on the subject.
Can Dogs Eat goldfish?

Can dogs eat goldfish? The short answer is no, dogs should not eat goldfish snacks. While the ingredients in goldfish snacks are not toxic to dogs, they are not nutritionally beneficial, and there is a potential for allergic reactions and choking hazards. It's essential to understand dog nutrition and safe snacking options to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

The Ingredients in Goldfish Snacks

Goldfish snacks are made from a combination of wheat flour, cheese, vegetable oils, salt, and other additives. Let's have a closer look at these ingredients:

Wheat flour

Although not harmful, wheat flour is a common allergen for dogs and does not provide significant nutritional value.


Cheese can be safe for dogs in small amounts, but it is high in fat and can lead to weight gain if given too often.

Vegetable oils

These oils are used primarily for taste and texture, and while they are not toxic, they offer minimal health benefits for dogs.


Excessive salt intake can lead to health issues like increased thirst and sodium ion poisoning in dogs.

Other additives

Other additives, such as artificial colors or flavors, provide no nutritional value and could potentially cause sensitivities or allergic reactions in some dogs.

Given these ingredients, goldfish snacks do not align well with a dog's natural diet, which primarily consists of proteins and healthy fats.

Health Risks Associated with Goldfish Snacks for Dogs

Allergic reactions

Some dogs may be allergic to certain ingredients in goldfish snacks, such as wheat or dairy products. Symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation.

Identifying food allergies in dogs

If your dog displays these symptoms, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian to identify the cause and manage your dog's dietary needs.

Managing food allergies

If your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy, avoid giving them snacks containing the allergenic ingredient.

Choking hazards

Goldfish snacks are small, which can pose a choking hazard for dogs. Even if a dog can swallow a goldfish snack without choking, it could still become lodged in their throat or digestive system, leading to potential health complications.

Signs of choking in dogs

If your dog has difficulty breathing, coughs forcefully, or paws at its mouth, it may be choking.

Preventative measures and what to do in case of choking

Always supervise your dog when giving them treats and avoid giving them small, hard foods that can cause choking. If your dog is choking, seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Obesity and unhealthy weight gain

Frequent consumption of snacks like goldfish can lead to unhealthy weight gain and obesity in dogs.

The role of treats in a dog's diet

Treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog's daily caloric intake.

The importance of portion control

Monitor your dog's treat intake to ensure they are not consuming excessive calories, contributing to weight gain.

Safe and Nutritious Dog Treat Alternatives

Instead of goldfish snacks, consider providing your dog with healthier treat options:

Fruits and vegetables

  • Apples (without seeds)
  • Carrots
  • Green beans

Lean proteins

  • Cooked chicken (without bones)
  • Turkey

Commercial dog treats

Choose treats specifically formulated for dogs, looking for natural ingredients and minimal additives.

Reading and understanding dog treat labels

Ensure you read the labels on commercial dog treats to provide your dog with the most nutritious options.

Tips for Introducing New Treats to Your Dog's Diet

Before introducing new treats to your dog's diet, consult with your veterinarian. Start by gradually introducing the new treat and monitoring your dog's reaction to ensure no adverse effects.


In summary, feeding goldfish snacks to dogs is not recommended due to the lack of nutritional benefits, potential allergic reactions, and choking hazards. By choosing safe and nutritious treat alternatives and consulting with your veterinarian, you can make informed decisions about your dog's diet and encourage responsible pet ownership.

Medically Reviewed by Saba Afzal, DVM, RVMP

Saba is a clinical veterinarian dedicated to delivering accurate and updated knowledge to pet owners. Her expertise is in Microbiology, Biotechnology, Pets Animal Management and handling, and training.

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