A lot of customers ask us: are dried sardines safe to eat? Is it true that fish contains levels of heavy metals? There are a few things to consider when talking about the safety of seafood, like human-grade standards and the pollution levels of our oceans. But, as it turns out, dried sardines are in fact the safest fish to eat. Woof!
Sardines are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, feeding solely on plankton. As a result, they don't carry the same levels of heavy metals like mercury and other contaminants found in most fish. Why not? Put simply, they don’t live long enough to accumulate too much mercury. Some sardines have been found to live as long as 14 years, but almost 90 percent of wild sardine population is under 6 years old.
One thing most often associated with fish, especially larger fish like tuna, is the heavy metal, mercury. You should be concerned about mercury levels in fish. Most medium to large sized fish and shellfish, even wild-caught, contain high levels of mercury and should be eaten in moderation (even by human standards). Seafood, especially shellfish, can get contaminated with heavy metals like mercury, lead, other toxic metals and industrial wastes like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides. These toxins become concentrated in older fish, large predatory fish, and in fatty species of fish.
The small size and shorter life span of the sardine means that it has less time to accumulate mercury. We’ve had our dried sardines tested by Maxxam Analytics to determine exactly what nutritional and chemical contents make up the food our favourite treats.
This excerpt from our lab analysis shows that our dried sardines contain only 14% of the maximum suggested amount by both Canadian and American health regulatory authorities. While unfortunately there is no legal standard in North America on the contents of pet food, we hold ourselves to a human grade standard on the safety of our treats.
Sounds good, but why eat dried sardines?
Sardines pack a nutritional punch. A typical serving of dried sardines is high in protein, has a healthy dose of calories and nutritional fats. Here are a few more reasons for your furry friend to munch on dried sardines:
Many pet diets (and humans) are deficient in omega-3, an essential fatty acid we must consume in the diet. Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
The bones in sardines are rich in calcium, and help enrich your pup’s bones, too!
The silvery skin of sardines is rich in selenium. Most people are deficient in this vital mineral needed to make thyroid hormones.
Sardines have one of the highest concentrations of B12 of any food!
To sum it up, sardines are clean, lean, nutrition machines. Every time your pup (or kitty!) snacks down on one of these, you can be sure that we’ve gone the extra mile to bring them the safest food that our oceans have to offer.