Can Dogs Eat Anchovies?

“Can dogs eat anchovies?” Yes! And in this blog, we look into the benefits of feeding your dog anchovies, what makes them the perfect addition to your pup’s diet, and how to add these powerful fish into your pet’s life.

Oct 04, 2023·8 min read
Can Dogs Eat Anchovies?

Let’s face it, our furry best friends know how to eat! From eggshells to dropped table scraps, our pups will try to consume pretty much anything they can get their paws on – but not all of it’s good for them.

As puppy parents, we want to always make sure we’re giving dog food that will benefit them and keep them healthy – rather than an emergency trip to the vet! Well, turns out there might be a small fish that you can add to your dog’s diet, supporting their health in many ways

What Are Anchovies?

Anchovies; you’ve no doubt heard of how good these tiny fish are for us humans – especially the fish oil they produce. Well, turns out these nutrient-dense fish are great for your dog, too!

Packed with healthy fats and a plethora of vitamins and minerals, anchovies are small, silvery fish with blue and green flecks along their backs. There are over 100 species of anchovy, which can be found in shallow tropical seas – often linking to river mouths. Ranging from 5-6 inches, these tasty ‘oily’ swimmers grow quickly and live their lives in huge schools, consuming plankton, which helps them to gain their health-benefiting properties.

Just like sardines, mackerel, herring, and salmon, anchovies are classed as an ‘oily fish’, which produce a great natural source of omega 3. The omega 3 fatty acid is perfect for supporting your dog’s coat, brain, skin, joints, and overall health.

Take a look at some of the incredible health benefits anchovies can offer your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Anchovies?

The answer to the question “can dogs eat anchovies?” is a resounding “yes!” In fact, anchovies have many health benefits and serve as a great complement to your dog’s healthy diet. Here are some of the main benefits of anchovies for dogs…

a black Spaniel sits in the bow of a small green row boat on a body of water

1. Maintain A Normal Inflammatory Response

A lot of health difficulties our pups face can be linked to inflammation; joint discomfort, sensitivities, occasional itching, and gum problems to name a few. This is why anchovies are perfect for supporting your pup’s overall health.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in anchovies have properties that promote a normal inflammatory response, which can help target stressors that could lead, if neglected, to more serious complications.

2. Support Brain Development

Now, you must have heard over and over again how good omega-3 fatty acids are for us humans. Well, they can offer the same health benefits to our pups, too, including supporting the brain’s functioning and development. When your dog is young, it is extremely important to give them a healthy, well-rounded diet during the high growth periods – our pups don’t stay puppies forever, unfortunately! Anchovies are perfect for helping your dog’s ability to learn by providing vital fatty acids.

These tiny fish are packed with these essential fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The latter makes up 10-20% of the fats in your pup’s brain. DHA is very important for memory, brain development, and overall cognition. So, by adding anchovies to your pet’s diet, the DHA fatty acids could help support their brain health and functions.

 3. Rich In Nutrients

Anchovies offer a multitude of nutrients – not just omega-3! These bountiful, tiny fish contain calcium, iron, and other important minerals that can benefit your pooch. Plus, they’re also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin K, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. These vitamins can offer support to your dog’s brain, heart and their immune system.

The profile of an Australian Shepherd dog pants at sunset

4. Supports Coat & Skin Health

Another wonderful benefit provided by anchovies is their ability to support skin and coat health. The magical omega-3 comes into play again, maintaining coat conditions whilst providing moisture to dry, sensitive skin. Plus the platter of vitamins and minerals can help to keep your dog’s coat thick and shiny.

5. Can Help Memory

As mentioned above, anchovies contain high levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain functions – including memory. Particularly when it comes to juvenile dogs, their brain is continuously developing, so it is imperative to aid their growth and development in this vital stage – that’s where anchovies can come to the rescue and offer natural support.

6. Helps Regulate Metabolism & Digestion

In addition to the healthy nutrients listed above, anchovies also contain selenium, which plays a key role in metabolism and digestion. Anchovies are just one option to help with digestive support for dogs, but they’re a good one.

Can Anchovies Be Bad For Dogs?

Of course, it is also important to remember that anything you give your dog should be in moderation and some anchovies are sold in ways that can be super unhealthy for your dog.

Anchovies packed in salt, large amounts of oil, or doused in spices or sauces are definite no-nos as they can be toxic to your pup! High levels of sodium should be avoided at all costs when it comes to adding anchovies to your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Anchovies In Olive Oil?

Because anchovies are relatively high in fat (despite fats being an essential part of a healthy dog diet), consuming too many anchovies can pose a problem for dogs with sensitive tummies, a history of pancreatitis or those who are already overweight. It’s therefore advisable to avoid anchovies packed in oils like olive oil because these oils are also high in fat – this will just contribute to that fat content and thus their calorie intake. If you can only find anchovies in olive oil, make sure to drain the fish thoroughly of the oil before sharing it with your pup.

How to Feed Your Dog Anchovies

Now that you understand the many benefits of anchovies for your dog, let’s look at a few ways to feed them to your dog.

The first and simplest way to feed anchovies to your dog is to give them whole as long as they’re plain and unseasoned. Some dogs might love the taste of anchovies, while some might not be as inclined. You can try feeding them singularly as a treat or adding them to your dog’s dry food or wet food throughout the day. Smaller dogs can have 2-3 anchovies a day and larger dogs can have up to 5 anchovies a day. 

If your dog doesn’t like the taste of anchovies straight out of the can, you could try making this fun anchovy dog treat recipe! Here’s how to make them:


  • 1 can (2oz) of fresh or canned anchovies (plain and unseasoned)
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. In a blender, blend together the anchovies, water, and egg. 
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (rolled oats and flour) together in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add the anchovy mix and combine into a dough-like consistency.
  5. Place small balls of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 
  6. Let the dog treats cool completely before serving.

Final Thoughts On Dogs And Anchovies

So, can dogs eat anchovies? The simple answer is, yes! And, anchovies might just be the best fish option for your pup. A lot of fish are unfortunately tainted with pollutants and toxins – especially fish further up the food chain such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. However, anchovies are at the bottom of the food chain and live only for a short period of time, meaning they are less likely to harbor these toxic pollutants. They’re perfect for your pup to eat and only gain the awesome health benefits.


Author Paris Permenter & John Bigley. “Anchovy Dog Treat Recipe.” DogTipper, 3 July 2021,  

“Understanding How Omega-3 Dampens Inflammatory Reactions.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 23 Aug 2017,,patients%20taking%20omega%2D3%20supplements.&text=FULL%20STORY-,Omega%2D3%20fatty%20acids%2C%20which%20we%20primarily%20get%20through%20eating,be%20good%20for%20our%20health

“Can Dogs Eat Anchovies? How To Feed Anchovies To Dogs” MasterClass, May 5. 2022

Becca TriggB

Becca Trigg

An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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