Can Koi Fish Eat Dog Food? Why This Is A Bad Idea

Can Koi Fish Eat Dog Food?Koi fish can make a great addition to your home pond. They are known for their fiercely loyal personalities, and also have the ability to recognize their owners. This might sound similar to our canine friends.

If you’re lucky enough to have both dogs and koi, you know that you’ll have loyal pals with you all the time.

Since we know that koi fish are pretty versatile in what they can eat, some dog and koi owners wonder if it is possible to feed their koi dog food.

Dog food can indeed be used as a treat for koi fish and it won’t cause the fish any harm. Some people give their koi fish dog treats once in a while. But this is not something that should become a staple of their diet, and it especially should not be the only thing you feed your koi.

Luckily, you’re not going to be very limited if you choose to get koi fish when it comes to what they can and can’t eat. In this article, we’ll delve into the question of koi eating dog food a little deeper, as well as give you some pointers about tasty snacks that your koi are sure to love.

Feeding Koi Dog Food

Dog food might not be the first snack you think of when it comes to what to feed your fish. However, it’s well known that koi are considered the dogs of the sea- meaning, they’ll eat just about anything you can give to them.

And if you have dogs, you might wonder about the added convenience of feeding your koi dog food.

Dog food is certainly not dangerous for koi and it won’t cause them any harm. However, since the food will not provide any nutritional value to your fish, you should avoid making this the sole or major component of their diet.

It might be a given that you should mainly be feeding your koi their specialized fish food, but a dog treat here and there every once in a while will not be a problem.

The thing is that dog food does not provide koi fish with any nutritional value.

So, it’s highly possible that, with feeding koi dog food on a regular basis or making it a staple part of their diet, your fish will not grow to their maximum potential and will lack many of the basic nutrients necessary for survival.

So, whether or not you choose to feed your koi dog food ever is up to you, but if you decide to do so, it should be done on a very occasional basis.

The main reason for this is because dog food is generally high in protein. Dogs need to have a lot of protein in their diet in order to stay healthy.

However, koi fish have some difficulty digesting protein. They also need protein in their diet, but the protein that koi fish need can be found in their fish food. Because of the potential for digestive issues to arise, you should avoid feeding them other sources of protein.

What If You Still Want To Try Feeding Dog Food?

Since dog food is not dangerous for koi fish, we totally understand if you still want to try feeding dog food. However, if you do so, we recommend going with natural high-quality dog food.

Pay attention to the ingredients and make sure that there are no fillers added to the food. So it might be a good idea to stay away from dog food with grains in it.

Remember, the more natural you feed, the fewer problems you will experience with your pond and with your fish. Natural means, most of it should be meat/ veggies.

So if you really want to try it, we recommend getting this dog food for your koi fish! It fits the recommendation and it seems that people already had success with it (which means no bad water and no sick fish) as you can see in the video below.

Can Koi Eat Other Animal Food?

If you have animals other than dogs, you might be wondering, then, if you can feed your koi the food eaten by those animals as well. Let’s take a look at some of the different foods you might be wondering about.

Cat food

Just like dog food, cat food will not be dangerous for your koi to eat. However, once again, it will not provide your fish with any nutritional value, so this is something that should be fed to them rarely, if ever.

Live food

If you have a pet that eats live food, such as small insects, worms, shrimp, or more, you definitely can also give some of these foods to your koi.

Koi are omnivorous, which means that they have the capability of eating just about anything. Shrimp, particularly, are a favorite among koi, but any other live snacks will also do.

Other fish food

If you have other fish, you may be able to feed their flakes to koi as well. For example, koi can indeed eat goldfish food. But some other pond fish foods might contain ingredients that could make it difficult for your koi to digest easily.

In the meantime, we’ll now list some of the snacks that you can feed your koi in replacement of dog food that will make for excellent and nutritional treats.

Fun Treats to Feed Koi – Feed this instead of dog food

If you want to feed your koi something interesting and unique every once in a while, dog food might not be the best answer because you still want to be providing them with something nutritional. Here are some snacks that you can feed your koi instead of dog food.


Koi love fruit! Some of the best fruits to give them include watermelon, oranges, and grapes. You won’t necessarily have to cut them into small pieces because koi have large, powerful mouths with teeth in the back of their throats.

Fruits are known for their immense nutritional value and are even said to help improve the immune systems of your fish.


Meat might not be the first thing that you feed your koi, but it does certainly make them happy to see. Shrimp, in particular, is known for being a nutritional treat for koi.

You may also choose to treat them with foods such as crayfish and worms. Since koi are omnivores, you will be able to feed them meat on occasion without any issues.what dog food can I feed my koi fish?


Vegetables are also known for providing koi with important nutritional value. Greens particularly are among the best foods to feed them. Some favorites will include lettuce and broccoli. You won’t need to cut these up, either, because koi work together to rip the pieces apart.

Garlic is another favorite among koi. They love to gobble this treat up and they especially enjoy the scent of it!

Keep in mind that these are just suggestions for treats that you can feed your koi fish on an occasional basis.

While they do provide important nutritional value and are known to improve your fish’s health, that doesn’t mean these foods should replace any of the essential foods that need to be a part of a koi’s diet.

However, just like humans, fish might get tired of eating the same foods every day and will want a change every so often.

Further, we highly recommend feeding koi fish spinach! We explain the benefits of feeding koi fish spinach here!

Additional Facts About Koi Behavior

Koi will not eat your other fish.

Koi are known for being docile and calm fish, so they are not going to go out of their way to attack or eat the other fish in the tank or pond. However, it is important to note that koi may mistake a fish that is smaller than an inch in size for food, so you may want to keep the tiny fish away.

Here are a couple of articles you should read if you keep koi fish with other fish:

Koi eating habits:

It is generally recommended that you feed your koi between one and four times every day and limit the food to something that they can easily consume in 5 minutes. Check to see if there is any food remaining after this time to get a good idea of how much to feed them.

We highly recommend reading our Ultimate Koi Fish Feeding Guide here!


In all, dog food is not something that you should be looking to feed your koi on a regular basis. While it won’t cause them any harm, dog food does not contain the important nutritional value that is key in making sure your koi stay strong and healthy.

So, if you are looking to add something new to your koi’s diet every so often, there are plenty of healthier and more nutritional options that you can look into.

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