[Co-written with Oreo’s Mama]



Hunks of deliciousness. (Picture from

Please read on.

It is natural to make the error of assuming that if a food is safe for you, it’s also safe for your pets.


Here are some foods that are good for you but not for your pets:

  1. Grapes
  2. Chocolate (dark chocolate!)
  3. Coffee
  4. Wine (moderate, thanks, please)

But did you know you should not be feeding salmon to dogs? Many people like sashimi, and generally Japanese food is regarded as healthy.  We often see/hear of well-intentioned people feeding salmon sashimi to their pets because:

1. Salmon is good. Raw is good. Raw salmon is good, right?

2. It’s HUMAN GRADE salmon. If I give anything HUMAN GRADE, my dog should be safe, yes?




Back away from this? Noooooo! (Picture from 

Personally, Oreo’s Mama and I love sashimi (ITACHO PLEASE!), but we would never, ever feed raw salmon, or any salmonid fish, such as trout, to our dogs.


Here’s why:

In those lovely pink/orange (by the way that isn’t even the natural colour of farmed salmon, which is what you will mostly get these days) slices, you may find a certain insidious little parasite known as nanophyetus salmincola (NS).

Haha. Nano for tiny and salm for salmon. Cola for… okay never mind.

Anyway, this parasite NS can be infected with an organism known as neorickettsia helminthoeca. Big mouthful, yes? To make things easier for you,  it shall now be shortened to NEORICKETT.

Fish –> NS –> Neorickett –> Salmon poisoning for Fido. Simple?

Neorickett causes a condition known as ‘salmon poisoning’, and listen up:


So cats can eat raw salmon–though I personally would not feed it to my cats–bears can eat raw salmon, racoons and humans can eat raw salmon…


2013-11-22 21.00.18

Hershey can have freeze-dried mussels, but he cannot have Mommy’s  sashimi! 

That salmon sashimi that you put on your plate can be perfectly human grade. However, in case the restaurant/ restaurant source slip up, your salmon could also carry Neorickett, which does not affect you…at least, not very seriously. You may not even experience a stomachache.

You could go to a restaurant, order a huge portion of sashimi because you were hungry and you have leftovers (admit it…it happens :P) . Then you decide to bring the sashimi home because Fido is hungry, and Fido no want kibble.

The next thing you know, Fido is extremely sick and so is your wallet and emotional health.

According to Studies on salmon poisoning disease of canines: I. The rickettsial relationships and pathogenicity of Neorickettsia helmintheca, the mortality rate of dogs with salmon poisoning is high. 😦

The only thing that kills Neorickett is cooking and an industrial freezer, which unfortunately you probably don’t own. Smoking doesn’t really kill the organism. Once ingested, it could take a couple of weeks before your dog shows any signs of sickness from an infected salmon slice. Death often occurs 10-14 days after symptoms show up, if left untreated.

The problem is, since it takes a couple of weeks for your dogs to show symptoms of poisoning, you and your vet may not even suspect that the cause is salmon poisoning! This makes treatment (which is itself simple) difficult and may delay diagnosis, all of which does not bode well for your dog.

Also, dogs that are infected with salmon poisoning–and you won’t know!– can pass the infection to another dog via poop (there’s another reason to avoid dog runs…) !

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of symptoms:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Rapid weight loss
  3. Lethargy
  4. Vomiting
  5. Enlarged nymph nodes
  6. Anorexia
  7. Dehydration

Here’s the thing. Singapore (Not sure for our international readers, sorry!) is an advanced country, and AVA has stringent checks for organisms such as NS, and ensures sourcing from safe areas that are free of snail infestations…. BUT do not forget that there could be slip-ups.

Plus, if these slip-ups are unreported because people do not get sick en masse from the parasite, authorities will likely not look into the problem. Sadly, at the same time, dogs could be falling ill from restaurant ‘human grade’ sashimi.

If you have fed salmon sashimi to your dog by the time you read this, do monitor, and if your dog starts to exhibit symptoms, please bring him to your vet and do mention that he has recently eaten raw fish. That would really help! 🙂

To sum up: 

Salmon sashimi is just not dog-safe.

Don’t take the risk. Stick to freeze-dried or cooked salmon.

Eat the sashimi on your own. Bon Appetit! Hee.


Neorickettsia helminthoeca and salmon poisoning disease: A review by Headley, S.A.a , Scorpio, D.G.b, Vidotto, O.c, Stephen Dumler, J. Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Matthew’s University, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Non-endoparasite transmission of salmon poisoning disease of dogs by  Bosman, D. D.; Farrell, R. K.; Gorham, J. R. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 

Salmon Poisoning. By B.T Simms, C.R Donham, J.N Shaw.  The American Journal of Hygiene 

Salmon poisoning disease. College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University

Salmon Poisoning Disease in Dogs on Southern Vancouver Island by A.J Booth, L. Stogdale and J .A Grigor

Studies on salmon poisoning disease of canines : I. The rickettsial relationships and pathogenicity of Neorickettsia helmintheca. By Cornelius B. Philip, W.J. Hadlow, Lyndahl E. Hughes of National Microbiological Institute, Montana, USA

Categories: The Raw Explorer

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