12.14 The Fur Mom | Salmon Poisoning and Dogs, A Warning for Dog Owners

Sydney Rolling in the Grass

This time of year I always smell the lovely scent of a rotting fish.  There’s a dead salmon in the streams surrounding our property.  Our dogs have three reactions to a rotting fish.

When Our Dogs Find a Dead Salmon

Sydney gets super excited and tries to find the perfect angle that will allow the most amount of rotting fish smell to cover her neck and ribs.  If there’s room, and she can make it work, she’ll roll on it, feet in the air, trying to cover as much of her body as possible.  Then she runs to me in glee so I can get a whiff of the lovely smell that she’s found.

Rodrigo will examine the fish, while considering a roll of his own.  Then he looks to see if I can see him.  If I’m too far away or not within his eye line, he’ll have a roll; a big, long roll.

Blue is excited about the smell, will check out the fish, and then he’ll rub against Sydney and Rodrigo to get some transfer, but he won’t actually roll on the fish directly.

Fortunately, none of the dogs have taken a bite out of the dead salmon, but that doesn’t leave me in the clear.  I’d rather deal with the smell (it’s horrendous) as I march them into the shower, than a sick dog.

Howarth Park-5

Dogs Are the Only Species Susceptible to Salmon Poisoning

Other animals (we see raccoons and bears do it all the time on TV) can eat raw fish, but dogs cannot.  In fact, I’ve read that dogs are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning, which occurs when a dog eats raw salmon that is infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca (wow, I have no idea how to pronounce this) parasite.  Trout and other fish that is infected is cause for alarm as well.

Learn more: A Favorite Northwest Seafood Could be Deadly to Your Dog

Learn more: Salmon Poisoning is a Threat to Northwest Dogs

The salmon poisoning is typically linked to a visit to a beach or river where a dog has an opportunity to dine on an infected fish, but raw fish from the grocery story or something caught locally can also be infected, so dog owners need to beware.

Common Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Dehydration

Salmon Poisoning Can Be Deadly

If salmon poisoning is left untreated, a dog can die within 14 days of eating the infected fish.  Sorry to be a bummer, but I read that 90% of dogs die if their illness is left untreated.  If you know your dog has consumed raw fish, call your veterinarian a-SAP.  Salmon poisoning is treatable if caught early.  If you have a dog that tends to wander, needs to taste things he finds, or raids the trash – you could be at risk.

We know that we are, because our property is surrounded by creeks and we have the blue and white signs that let us know that salmon travel through our creeks.  The Pacific Northwest is known for the salmon (among other wonderful things – yayyy, it’s raining again), so hopefully this article will help keep your dog safe.

If you want to feed your dog salmon, cook it thoroughly first.  And FYI, smoking the fish won’t necessarily kill the bacteria that leads to salmon poisoning.

I’m stunned by this.  I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest all my life.  We’ve had dogs for 2-1/2 years and I’m just learning about salmon poisoning.


Kimberly Gauthier

With Mommy Bloggers being all the rage, Kimberly Gauthier writes about dogs and being a Fur Mom. She don't have kids, so she's been on the receiving end of the "it'll happen" statements and looks of pity when people realize that she's made it to the big FOUR OH without conceiving. Fur Mommy Bloggers have a voice too and Gauthier intends to profile her journey with "The Fur Mom" feature on the Girl Power Hour blog. She says, we spoil our kids, we worry about nutrition and we schedule play dates...just as fur mom's do. And let's face it, puppy classes are a lot less spendy than private school. Follow Kimberly on Twitter at @TheFurMom

* This post is from a Girl Power Hour featured blogger. It is not written, edited or endorsed by Girl Power Hour. The authors are solely responsible for content.

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  1. Deena O'Daniel

    Thanks for a very informative article. I only buy wild Alaska salmon, but I will be sure that Dakota the Corgi only gets the tidbits off my plate when I’m finished eating. She’ll never taste raw salmon. No sushi for this girl!

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