Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Herring

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herringToday we move to the letter “h” in our ingredient A to Z series and are featuring herring as our ingredient of the day.


What is herring?

According to Wikipedia, herring are a forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae. They often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the coast.  Herring are small fish; Baltic herring range from 5.5- 7.5 inches long and the larger Atlantic herring  can get as large as 18 inches long and about 1.5 lbs.


Common names for herring

The most common name variations of herring are Atlantic herring, Pacific herring, Baltic herring, Sea herring, and sardine (which is part of the herring family).


Why is herring included in dog food?

Herring is added to dog food for two key reasons: 1) it is a quality source of protein and fat, 2) it provides Omega-3 fatty acids.

Is herring a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

We found herring (or some derivation like herring meal) in 5.86% of the foods in our dog food ingredient database.


Common benefits or risks of herring

Herring are very high in the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They are also a good source of vitamin D.  Like other fish, herring can help with a dog’s skin and coat, decrease inflammation, and aid the immune system.

Herring is a low calorie source of both protein and fat: 3.5 ounces of herring have about 158 kcals, 18 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat.

As with some other ocean fish, water pollution has increased the levels of PCB and dioxin in Baltic herring.


Miscellaneous facts about herring

  • Herring have a single dorsal fin with no spine.
  • Herring are characterized by a protruding lower jaw, that looks like the jaw of a bull dog.
  • Herring have been a human food since 3000 BC.  Dogs love them too!


Sources and further reading
We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

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  1. Herring sounds like a great addition to a dog’s diet 🙂 I’ll have to look into adding some into Nailah’s kibble/fresh food mix. Thanks for all the info!
    Nailah Bone recently posted…Decorated Pumpkin Pupcakes for Halloween!My Profile

    • Your welcome. Adding fish – herring or sardines are easy choices- can really round out the meal and ensure adequate Omega’s for a healthy skin/coat, and keep internal inflammation at bay.
      steve recently posted…Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: HerringMy Profile

  2. Interesting! No spine. Never thought a spineless fish would be so tasty.
    Ruckus the Eskie recently posted…GIVEAWAY ALERT: BarkBox GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Mom’s dad likes sardine but we don’t. I get most of my omega 3 from salmon oil. Golden Thanks for sharing this interesting information. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…Halloween Tasty Treat Blueberry Frosty SkullsMy Profile

  4. Adding sardines or some type of fish to the dogs’ diets has been something I am always thinking about. I’m pretty sure they would like it….they go more nuts when I open a can of tuna than the cats do!
    Jan K recently posted…Book Review: Chaser, Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words #Chaser1000My Profile

  5. Knew they used fish for the omega properties but didn’t know it was herring.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Hoorah for Veterinary TechniciansMy Profile

  6. Herring is a great food. My dad who is 84 and still very active (still working full time and exercises and golfs) loves those things. I think they definitively offer health benefits. I wish more dog foods included them.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–Autumn WalkMy Profile

  7. Mom says her dad loved to eat herring. My mom has fish phobia and no fish of any sort is around our house. She won’t even buy us treats with fish in them. We know fish is healthy, but no chance in our home.
    emma recently posted…Outdoor Indoor Fun | GBGV | Fitdog FridayMy Profile

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