Fish skin is a deliciously crispy natural treat that your dog will go wild for.
Our dogs adore them. Here is Norris eagerly waiting for his fish skin stick. You can see the anticipation in his eyes…
But what are fish skin chews actually? And are they right for your dog?
By the time you have finished reading this review, you’ll have the answers to these questions and more!
Oh, and we have even done a doggy taste-test, to find the best and tastiest fish skin chews for your dog – why settle for less?
Best fish skin chews
Let’s take a closer look at the top fish skin chews that delighted our team of doggy testers.
|Crude Protein (Min.)||80%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||4%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||1%|
|Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min).||1%|
Small: Approx. 6 inches
Long: Approx. 12 inches
Small: 24 calories per chew
Large: 40 calories per chew
Our number one pick is Beams Fish Skin Chews. Made by The Honest Kitchen, these crunchy fish skins were our dog’s favorite, as shown in our blind taste test…
We laid a variety of different fish skin chews out on the ground and let our doggy testers decide which one they wanted. After plenty of sniffing, Beams fish skin was the number one pick by 5/10 testers.
From pack to pack, Beams fish skin chews were the most consistent in quality. Curiously, we found that some dogs who refused other brands would happily eat Beams.
Another observation was that beams fish skin chews dropped fewer scales than other chews. They were the least messy fish skin we reviewed! Be mindful, they are still crumbly, so outside feeding is still advised.
I also loved that Beams Ocean Chews lasted longer than any other fish skin chew we reviewed. The dried, compressed skin resulted in a longer lasting chew.
I have just one small complaint…
The packets are sold by weight. This means that the amount of fish skin chews in each pack can vary. However, this is common among most fish skin brands. We found each bag of Beams Ocean Chews contained between 15 and 22 chews. YMMV.
Beams Fish Chews are also available in cod skin, which is slightly thinner and crispier than the wolffish skins.
If you are trying fish skin chews for the first time, Beams Ocean Chews should be your starting point. Highly recommended.
|Crude Protein (Min.)||70%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||1%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||1%|
Approx. 9 inches
Approx. 38 calories per chew
On a tight budget? Savory Prime Cod Skin Strips represent incredible value for the money. Per pound, you won’t find cheaper fish skin on the market.
Icelandic Cod skin has been rolled into a crunchy fish-skin tube. I found the tube-design to make these cod skin treat messier when eaten than other fish skin sticks we reviewed.
Despite being a cheaper chew, we were impressed with the overall quality. When asked to blindly pick which fish skin chew they thought was the cheapest, our reviewers failed to choose this brand – affordable doesn’t have to mean low-quality!
How did Savory Prime get the cost of their fish skins down? Well, while these cod skins are sourced from Iceland, they have been made in China – a step that helps save on manufacturing costs.
Now, this may very well be a deal-breaker for you…
If you are looking for discount fish skin chews sourced and made in the United States, then check out our next recommendation.
|Crude Protein (Min.)||82%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||2%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||0%|
Approx. 12 inches
Approx. 36 calories per chew
Is your dog addicted to fish skin? This bulk pack contains between 70 – 90 delicious cod skins – that’s a fish skin every day for close to three months!
Buying in bulk drops the price under 70 cents per fish skin. That’s a bargain that’s almost too good to pass up.
These cod skins have been hand-rolled. The result is crispy twists of fish skin that your dog will go crazy for.
What we love most is that these are one of the few all-American fish skins on the market. The cod is sourced from Alaska, and the skin is dehydrated in Boston – That’s as American as it gets.
If you wanted to sample these fish skin chews before committing to a bulk pack, PolkaDog also offers their cod skin chews in smaller quantities. However, they don’t represent the same value as their bulk pack.
If you want the best value for your money, and won’t settle for less than USA sourced and made fish skins, the Polkadog cod skins are as good as it gets!
Note: Polkadog also makes haddock skin dog treats. These have been made in America but are sourced from Nova Scotia (Canada).
|Crude Protein (Min.)||75%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||3.7%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||0.5%|
Icelandic Cod Skin
Approx. 12 inches
Approx. 6 calories per treat
Up until now, our recommendations have all been long strips of dehydrated fish skin. But what if your pup prefers small bite-sized treats?
Plato Pet Treats has the answer for you. Their Hundurs Crunch Jerky Minis make the perfect bite-sized fish skin snacks.
Ignore the name, it’s definitely not jerky. These treats are made from crispy cod skin that has been compressed into bite-sized cubes. They are the perfect sized treat for a smaller dog, such as a Chihuahua or Shih Tzu.
A dog trainer we spoke to said that she uses these cubes of fish skin as high-value training treats. She recalls using them one time when she was training a stubborn Siberian Husky who wouldn’t respond to other treats.
If you are looking for a small fish skin snack, then Hundurs Crunch Jerky Minis are worth checking out.
However, unless you are training, you’ll want something a little more substantial for larger dogs…
|Crude Protein (Min.)||82%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||4%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||0%|
Icelandic Golden Redfish Skins
Approx. 12 inches
Approx. 36 calories per chew
If you are looking for a more substantial, circular fish skin snack, then the Icelandic+ Fish skin rolls are what you want.
Made from nothing else but the skin of Golden Redfish, these skin rolls are essentially a healthier, tastier version of a dog biscuit.
Our dog’s agreed. We gave our dogs the choice of either a milkbone biscuit or these fish skin rolls. 10/10 dogs chose the fish skin roll over the milkbone.
Each disc is about 1.5 inches in diameter. Each pack contained about 13-14 fish skin rolls. However, the packages are sold on weight, so YMMV.
Does your dog prefer cod? You’ll be pleased to know that Icelandic+ also has a cod version of their much loved fish skin rolls – grab them here.
|Crude Protein (Min.)||46%|
|Crude Fat (Min.)||29%|
|Crude Fiber (Max.)||3%|
Approx. 152 calories per oz
Ordinarily, fish skin is dehydrated until it hardens into a delicious, crunchy snack. But dehydrating has a downside…
Some of the nutrients can be lost in the drying process.
Freeze-dried fish skin is a little different. These salmon skins are processed at freezing temperatures, then all the water is removed.
The result is a fish skin chew that contains the same nutrients as raw skin.
In fact, if you were to take these salmon skin and soak them in water overnight, they will turn back into raw fish skin.
When it came to freeze-dried fish skin, Vital Essentials’ salmon skin is too good to pass up.
Made in the USA and sourced from Alaskan Salmon, it’s a home-grown treat that our dogs went wild for.
What are fish skin chews?
Fish skin chews are a single ingredient dog treat that is made from the outer layer of ocean fish. The fish skin is dehydrated until it dries and hardens into a delicious chew that dog’s go wild for.
As far as dog treats are concerned, fish skin is good for your dog…
Fish skin is entirely digestible, low in fat, and high in protein. It also contains Omega 3, which promotes shiny coats and skin health among other benefits.
I would describe the texture of fish skin as crunchy, like a pretzel stick. Compared to harder chews, like bully sticks, antlers or rawhide, fish skin easily breaks apart between your dog’s teeth – even our older dogs had no issues chewing through them.
It is also worth mentioning that fish skin chews have a strong fishy aroma. You’ll need to scrub your hands after touching them. Otherwise, you’ll smell fish on your hands all day. They are made from real fish – what do you expect?
Because fish skin is all-natural, you should expect variation in the size and shape of the chews. In rare instances, we noticed cartilage or bone still be attached to the fish skin – these should be removed before feeding.
Here in America, fish skin dog treats are typically made from four different types of fish…
This is the most common fish skin treat in the USA. Cod skins are thin and crispy. Unless the packaging says otherwise, you can generally assume fish skin treats are made of cod skin.
Wolffish has thicker skin and is slightly more meaty than cod. This makes it a crunchier option.
Salmon skin are a harder chew and are often twisted into bone shapes. While they are still a comparatively low-fat chew, Salmon skin chews contain a higher fat content than other types of fish skin.
Also known as ‘ocean perch,’ red fish skin is typically compressed into discs or chips.
Whichever fish is used, the end result isn’t too different – a crunchy fish skin treat.
If your dog loves other fish-flavored treats, then fish skin treats are worth checking out!
How long do fish skin chews last?
How long does a single fish skin chew last? Well, it depends on your dog…
I gave 14 different dogs a fish skin chew and timed how long it took each of them to finish.
Here are the results:
- Pekingese – 25 minutes
- Yorkshire Terrier – 19 minutes
- Maltese Terrier – 18 minutes
- French Bulldog – 7 minutes
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – 5 minutes
- Corgi – 3 minutes
- Poodle – 2 minutes
- Dalmatian – 1 minutes
- Boxer – 40 seconds
- Basset Hound – 37 seconds
- Bull Terrier – 35 seconds
- Labrador – 28 seconds
- German Shepherd – 25 seconds
- English Mastiff – 5 seconds
For this test, we used Polkadog Dog Skins – YMMV according to breed of dog and type of fish skin treat.
As you can see, the larger dogs were able to finish off their fish skin chews in no time at all. The English Mastiff basically inhaled his fish skin treat.
For all but the smallest of dogs, fish skin is not a long-lasting chew. They are more of a quick, crunchy snack – like pigs ears, duck feet or beef lung.
If you are looking for a longer-lasting chew, bully sticks, Himalayan cheese or porkhide may be more suitable.
Pros and cons of fish skinchews
Are you considering using fish skin as your go-to dog treat?
I can’t say I blame you, they have a lot of good things going for them.
So you don’t experience any surprises, I have outlined the good and the bad of fish skin treats…
Fish skin chews have many benefits, including:
No single ingredient meat chew contains less fat than fish skin. Cod, wolffish and Red fish contain around 4% fat. Even salmon, which is higher in fat contains around 8% – that’s still fat than your average bully stick.
Most fish skin treats contain over 80% protein. This makes fish skin one of the highest protein snacks you could offer your pup.
Contain Omega 3
Unlike other meat chews, fish skin contains Omega 3. Omega 3 has many benefits in dogs, including boosting development, improving skin and coat health, and may even help treat kidney disease 
An alternative for allergies
Dogs with a sensitive stomach or allergies that are triggered by beef or chicken may not experience the same symptoms when switching to fish skin chews.
Fish skin chews are a natural treat that has undergone minimal processing, without any added chemicals. Compared to heavily processed chews like rawhide, fish skin are readily digestible.
Fish skin chews can be easily broken into smaller pieces. This makes fish skin suitable as a high-reward dog treat when training your dog.
Like with all dog treats, there are some drawbacks of fish skin chews that you should be mindful of…
Fish skin dog treats smell like fish. This can cause your dog to have stinky fish breath after eating. While this is to be expected, if you have a sensitive nose or weak stomach, you may prefer to feed your dog treats with a lower odor.
Fish skin are a crunchy snack that can crumble when chewed. If you don’t want fish scales on your floor, you should feed them outside.
Potential choking hazard
Like with all chews, fish skin are a choking hazard – especially if your dog likes to swallow treats whole, without chewing.
Larger dogs can crunch fish skin treats with just a few bites. Because of this, the treat doesn’t have the same opportunity to scrape plaque off the teeth that harder chews offer.
Dog may reject them
All dogs are different. Some dogs don’t enjoy the taste or smell of fish skin. While all the testers who reviewed fish skin loved them, your mileage may vary.
Are fish skin chews safe for your dog?
Thousands of dog owners feed their pups fish skin treats without any harm. However, there are some risks when it comes to feeding fish skin.
Like with most chews, fish skin can be a potential choking hazard – if your dog gulps a fish skin down without chewing it to pieces, it could become lodged in the throat!
It is for this reason that fish skin should always be given under supervision – so you can quickly react if things do go wrong.
Is this your first time feeding your dog all-fish dog treats? You should introduce fish skin to your dog’s diet slowly.
While uncommon, the natural fatty acids found in fish can upset your dog’s stomach if he is not used to it.
You know your dog best. If you have any doubts, then speak to your vet before introducing fish skin to your dog’s diet.
How do you store fish skin chews?
fish skin is a natural dog chew that is made without any preservatives. Because of this, proper storage is essential to prevent your fish skin from going rancid – You don’t want to smell off fish in your home, right?
An airtight container is the ideal storage – keep the container in a cool, dry spot in your pantry, and most fish skin chews will last at least 6 months.
If your fish skin came in a resealable packet, then it’s fine to use the pack as storage. Make sure you seal the package properly each time. Exposing the fish skin to air will cause them to spoil.
However, if you live where it’s hot and humid, you’ll want to refrigerate your fish skin instead. If you leave them out, the fish skin can “sweat” and go bad.
For long-term storage, fish skin chews should be frozen in an airtight container – frozen fish skin treats can last up to two years!
The only exception to this is freeze-dried fish feet. As long as they are stored under 75˚F in an airtight container, freeze-dried fish skin can last up to 10 years.
How many fish skin chews can your dog have each day?
While some owners give their dogs fish skin every day, others offer them as a rare treat.
How often should you give your fish skin?
For the most accurate estimate of your dogs daily calorie intake, you should speak to your vet.
Cod skin contains around 40 calories per chew while fattier fish, like salmon, contains considerably more.
There are a few factors that determine how many calories your fish skin chews contain:
- The type of fish
- The size of the treat
- The amount of flesh left on the skin
- Where the fish is sourced from
- The production process
You should refer to the packaging or ask the manufacturer for the exact amount of calories in your fish skin chews.
Like with all treats, fish skin is not essential to your dog’s diet. You should be relying on a balanced diet to provide the complete nutrition your pup needs – fish skin are a treat given in addition to your pup’s regular meals.
If you have made it this far, you should now know if fish skin chews are the ideal treat for your dog.
A recap of our recommendations:
The best fish skin for dogs that we reviewed:
- Beams Ocean Chews – Best all-round fish skin chews
- Savory Prime Cod Skin – Best value Fish Skin
- Polkadog Cod Skin – Best bulk fish skin
- Hundurs Crunch Jerky Minis – Best bite-sized fish skin
- Icelandic + Redfish Skin Rolls – Best fish skin rolls
- Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Salmon Skins – Best freeze-dried fish skin
Do you give your fish skin chews? Why/why not? Let me know in the comments below!