Can dogs eat Mahi- mahi?

Photo by Manoel Lemos on Flickr

Have you just had a great day out in your boat fishing?

Or perhaps it was a birthday present to spend a day sea fishing with a few friends?

And you have come back with a bumper catch- enough to feed an army for days.

Or at least way more than a small family and their dog needs.

But can your dog help by having a few portions?

Please read on to find out more…

What type of fish is Mahi mahi?

A rough translation of Mahi- mahi is the common dolphinfish, which is a bit of a strange one because these fish aren’t part of the dolphin family, don’t really look like dolphins and are tiny in comparison to them.

But then again, perhaps the name is derived from the fact that Mahis live much of their life on the surface of the water- which is something that we know that dolphins like to do!

Mahi mahi is a fish which is very popular in the US and the Caribbean. 

It is a fish that is most commonly found in the waters surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii and in the Indian Ocean. 

They typically weigh between 7 and 13 kg and are about a metre in length. 

But should your dogs eat them?

Why might dogs be fed Mahi- mahi?

Although people in the US can buy Mahi in their local grocery stores, I would think that many people who are asking about the suitability of mahi are people who go sport fishing.

After a day on a boat, they might come back with lots of Mahi and one way to not waste the catch is to feed it to your dog. 

Or you might have been given a Mahi by a fisherman friend of yours. 

Nutrition of Mahi-mahi

In this section, I’m going to compare the nutrition of Mahi- mahi with two other types of fish- salmon and tuna.

100g servingMahi mahiSalmonTuna
Fat.9 g9.2 g 4.4 g 
Cholesterol94 mg56 mg48 mg 
Sodium113 mg405 mg368 mg 
Protein24 g25 g30 g

As you can see from this chart, Mahi- mahi is much lower in calories than either salmon or tuna- just over half of what a serving of salmon has and only two thirds the calories of tuna. 

Because of this, it’s fat content is just 10% of salmon and a fifth of the fat content of tuna.

Although Mahi- mahi has the most cholesterol of any of these fish, it’s sodium content is also approximately 25% of the levels of sodium in either a piece of salmon or tuna. 

And now I want to take a sneak peak at the vitamins and minerals. 

100g servingMahi mahiSalmonTuna
Vitamin D13.3 mcg2.1 mcg
Vitamin B3 7.4 mcg9.3 mcg21.4 mcg 
Vitamin B6 .69 mcg.67 mcg1.0 mcg
Vitamin B12.46 mcg4.57 mcg2.29 mcg 

Fish is a great source of B vitamins.

And B vitamins are important for your dog because they help to convert food into energy. 

However, in all of the key “areas” mahi- mahi compared to salmon and tuna performs poorly.

I mean I need to put this in context because all of these vitamins appear in such tiny amounts anyway…

Or to phrase that more accurately, it has much lower concentrations of B vitamins in it. 

When it comes to vitamin B3, mahi- mahi has about 80% compared to salmon and only 33% compared to tuna.

With vitamin B6 it has there or thereabouts the same as salmon but only about 70% of  tuna.

And with B12, mahi has only about a fifth of tuna’s content and about 12% of whatsalmon contains.

Salmon leads the pack by a country mile when it comes to vitamin D levels whereas it seems that mahi mahi doesn’t contain any vitamin D at all. 

The bottom line is that if your vet or another professional advises you that your dog needs more B vitamins, don’t count on a portion of mahi- mahi to provide it!

Can my dog eat raw Mahi- mahi?

Raw fish might sound like a great idea as far as your dog is concerned.

After all, why shouldn’t dogs enjoy a bit of sushi?

And raw fish is so easy- there is so little preparation and clear up.

And the house won’t reek of..well fish.

It is easy to see why people are attracted by the shortcut. 

But here’s the thing.

Raw fish can be carriers of some nasty parasites and bacteria

Now this is not something specific to mahi but to fish of all species. 

And the only way to eliminate the threat is to cook a piece of fish. 

Let’s deal with the parasites first. 

There are two main parasites that Mahi mahi might carry- liver flukes and roundworms.

But if the parasites don’t get your dog, bacteria might. 

And the four bacteria to be most concerned about are: Listeria, Vibrio, Clostridium and Salmonella. 

One study in the 1990’s showed that nearly 3% of all domestically caught raw fish had salmonella. 

And if your dog contracts salmonella, it can be a very serious infection with loads of symptoms that include: vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, a racing heart.

And in pregnant dogs it can lead to spontaneous abortions. 

Video: how to fillet a Mahi- mahi

I have added this video for those of you who have got their hands on a whole Mahi- mahi and don’t know how to fillet it.

The video includes a step by step walk through to safely prepare this fish for eating. 

How to prepare Mahi- mahi for my dog?

The safest way to prepare Mahi mahi for yourself or for your dog is to fillet it and then cook it.

Filleting the fish is the best way of getting rid of those fish bones because those bones could easily choke your dog if they aren’t careful (or even if they are.) 

And even the head (or a head that is cut into large chunks) could be choking hazard because the head is full of gristle and bones.

And really big eyes come to think of it. 

Once the meat has been cut into chunks it is ready to be cooked.

How you do this is up to you (will you opt for BBQ or oven cooked) but in order to be safe, the meat must reach an internal temperature of 145 °F. 

Another test to see if the meat has been cooked is that it falls apart as you “fork” it. 

What Mahi- mahi dressings are dog friendly?

Now it could be that you are thinking of giving your dog a portion of your Mahi- mahi dressings and all.

Perhaps you are thinking of a lemon and garlic or a honey, soy and ginger dressing.

But as far as your dog is concerned the simpler the better.

Your dog doesn’t need a tongue sizzling dressing or some meat dripping in butter in order to get the benefit from eating this fish.

In fact, some of these ingredients are known to be toxic as far as dogs are concerned.

Garlic seems to be a favourite ingredient but garlic, even small amounts, can really harm dogs.

How should you store Mahi?

Mahi- mahi that has been cooked, it can be stored safely in your refrigerator for up to two days.

Or, if you don’t want to cook it straight away it can be wrapped in plastic and placed in your freezer.

Where it will stay fresh for up to two months. 

Can dogs eat Mahi- mahi?

So to quickly recap, Mahi mahi is a dog friendly fish.

It is low in calories, fat and sodium.

But it does need to be prepared properly to remove as many bones as possible and then to be cooked properly in order to kill any potentially harmful parasites and bacteria. 

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!