Feeding Fish Is A Fishy Business!
Our pack of four enjoy occasional meal toppers to boost their meals from time to time.
Sadie’s favourite addition is fresh fish. She is visibly excited when she sees salmon or sardine swimming around in her bowl.
So why feed fish?
Fishes are loaded with Omega-3 Fatty Acids such as DHA and EPA. As mentioned in our previous blog post “You Are What You Eat.” Feeding meals enriched with EPA and DHA have a host of health benefits for both dogs and cats of all ages. The benefits are both cognitive and physical, i.e. better information retention and learning ability; reduced inflammation and better mobility function.
Perhaps the most desirable of them all would be the improvement of their skin and coat condition.
Unfortunately, Omega 3 fats aren't common in commercial pet foods as they often come from expensive sources such as seafood. In contrast, Omega-6 which are plant sourced, like flaxseed, are more often found.
As such, commercial food options often have Omega-6:3 imbalances. These fatty acid imbalances often manifest itself in the form of inflammation, dry and itchy skin and/or poor coat quality.
Add some fish at meal times for a much needed boost of Omega-3 fatty acids and restore balance in your companion!
What about store bought fish-based diet?
A thing to note is that the delicate fats in fish are extremely susceptible to spoilage and often require an anti-oxidant or preservative. In pet food, fish are preserved using a chemical called ethoxyquin.
Ethoxyquin was developed by the rubber industry to prevent rubber from cracking and was later used as a pesticide to control pears and apples from browning. It has been banned in Australia and Europe on any foods meant for human consumption. It is only permitted in minimal amounts as a colour preservative for spices such as chili powder, paprika, and ground chili.
The harmful effects of ethoxyquin were first reported by dog owners, breeders and vets back in 1988. It was believed to be responsible for a host of health issues such as organ and reproductive dysfunction, birth abnormalities, autoimmune disorders and cancers in both cats and dogs.
Despite it’s controversy, ethoxyquin is preferred by pet food manufactures over natural preservatives as it offers a longer period of protection against oxidation.
How can I avoid Ethoxyquin tainted food?
Most (if not all) fish or fish meal used in pet foods are preserved with ethoxyquin. To complicate things further, pet food labels are not required to list ethoxyquin if the ingredients bought for manufacturing contained ethoxyquin to begin with.
You can minimize the risk by opting for human grade pet foods. But unless a manufacturer confirms that they have NOT added ethoxyquin during the manufacturing process not bought raw materials that contain ethoxyquin, it can be assumed that the product contains ethoxyquin.
So how can my companion safely enjoy the benefits of fish?
Feed it FRESH! You can add a lovely slice of salmon on top of your companions’ meal or perhaps use tiny sprats for a fun training session.
Your furry companion can enjoy fish raw or fresh!
For sashimi style feeding, we recommend freezing it at below -20c for a minimum of 7 days to minimize the risks of parasites. These are the guidelines provided by the Federal Drug Administration of USA.
For gently cooked fish, avoid seasoning with salt or excessive use of oils and butter.
Either way you serve it, I’m sure your companion will savour every bite.
Can I feed all fish?
We recommend choosing small fishes that are low on the marine food chain. Fishes higher up the food chain consume other fishes and accumulate toxins over their lifetime. This often leads to a higher mercury content which should be avoided.
Refer to the chart below to understand which seafoods have higher or lower mercury content.
Some fish that we enjoy feeding are sardines, sprats, anchovies and salmon.
Where can I get my hands on some lovely fishies?
Singapore’s wet markets and grocery stores have seasonal fish and you can on occasion find sardines and other Omega rich fish.
One of our personal favourites are canned sardines packed in fresh spring water, no salt added! Don’t forget to keep the sardines refrigerated once opened and consume within 2 days to prevent the fragile fats from going rancid.
Salmon can be found at great prices from grocers such as Fassler!
I’m sure there are other amazing options out there to catch the best deals so feel free to share in the comments below.
We hope you found this article informative and we can’t wait to see more fishes swimming it’s way to your bowl.
Until next time, keep your tails wagging.