Whether you are feeding raw or cooked fish to your pet, you may want to think twice about feeding them the skin and organs.

“Both the skin and fat of fish collect toxins that accumulate in the waters of rivers, streams and oceans. […] For that reason, eating the skin of the fish is not considered healthy.” – Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

You know, if this were 50 years ago I wouldn’t even consider writing a blog to my fellow pet owners about fish skin and the dangers that loom deep inside that skin. (Another really good reason is because there would be no Internet) But, it’s 2015 and time to wake up if we still think rivers, lakes, streams and oceans are clean!

“Over 74 BILLION pounds of toxic cancer-causing chemicals are dumped into the environment EACH DAY in the USA alone.” – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

So as you can see, environmental toxicity is a huge issue!

Many of these chemicals have made their way into the air, the soil and the water, and the worst part is, many of these chemicals are cancer causing. According to experts, these chemical toxins are now accumulating inside today’s fish.

“A recent study reported that PCB levels in farmed salmon, especially those in Europe, were about seven times higher than in wild salmon. PCBs are potential human carcinogens, known to promote cancer in animals.” – University of Michigan Health System


“when pets were tested in 2008, dogs and cats tested positive for 48 out of 70 industrial chemicals.”

Not only can this problem be found in the waters, but it has also made its way into the mainstream market and on pet retail shelves. How? Because fish skins can even be purchased as dehydrated treats! One of the hottest trending pet treats today is in fact the “not-so” healthy, dehydrated fish skin. Touted for providing your pet with health skin and a shiny coat, you may want to research further and look into the following:

“… it has been reported that a trout swimming in your typical contaminated stream containing PCB’s (a very common contaminant) will concentrate in their tissues 10,000 times the amount that is in the water.” – Dr. Richard Pitcairn

In case you missed that: the skin of the fish can build up to 10,000 TIMES WHAT IS IN THE WATER!

In fact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning people to remove and discard the skin, fat and internal organs of fish before cooking, to help reduce the toxins that may be ingested. (Fish and Shellfish Advisories and Safe Eating Guidelines) Remember when you buy fish at the market, it normally comes scaled and gutted for a reason.

Heck, this problem also seeps into fish oils and fish-based pet foods, as some manufacturers use the fish skin in their recipes.

According to the Environmental Working Group, “when pets were tested in 2008, dogs and cats tested positive for 48 out of 70 industrial chemicals.”

So the next time you want feed your pets fish, please make sure you source a good, clean, quality of fish and follow the EPA guidelines when it comes to cleaning the fish to reduce the toxicity load.

“It takes six years to rid the body of PCBs and one year for mercury,” -Charles Santerre, specializing in chemical contaminants in food.

Moral of the story is: with the amount of toxins that are being dumped daily into our environment, which are finding their way into our systems (pet and human) we need to reduce these toxic chemical exposures as much as we can! The soaring cancer rates that are 1 in 2 dogs and 1 in 3 cats rely on our ignorance.

– Rodney Habib