Can Dogs Live with Fish?

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Introduction

Dogs are known for being friendly, social creatures, but can they live and interact with fragile creatures like fish? While fish are normally kept away from dogs and cats, should you let your dog near your fish tank?

Dogs really aren’t going to be too interested in fish after the first few days of them being around because fish don’t make noise or play with dogs. However, will your dog catch sight of the fish and want to get in the tank or pull the fish out? In this article, we will talk about how you can safely let your dog and fish live in the same home.

Signs Dogs Can Live With FIsh

Dogs have co-existed with other species for a long time. Since their domestication, dogs have been asked to tend to livestock and live in harmony with a wide variety of other animals, fish included. Many homeowners have both a fish tank and a dog, and there are very few problems.

While it is uncommon for dogs to try to harm fish, you will want to monitor your dog when first getting a fish tank. If you notice that your dog is extremely alert and always staring at the fish tank, you will want to make sure that they can’t get up on the tank or knock it over.

If your dog ever tries to get on top of the fish tank, you need to do something about this. Training may be required to teach your dog not to bother the tank. If all else fails, you may need to restrict the access your dog has to the fish tank. Even heavy fish tanks can be knocked over or broken by a dog, even if they didn’t mean any harm.

Body Language

Dogs will show body language signs that they are interested in the fish. Watch for these signs that your dog is interested in your new pets:
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Wag tail
  • Ears up
  • Whale eye

Other Signs

Other signs that your dog is a bit too interested in your fish tank are:
  • Stalking
  • Crouching
  • Acting Excited

History of Dogs Living With Fish

Historically, fish weren’t nearly as popular a pet as dogs were. While some people probably had both as pets, it is a much more recent problem that we face. Fortunately, dogs and fish don’t really interact with each other much. Since fish are sectioned away in a tank or bowl, they are relatively safe around dogs.

Your biggest concern with having a dog around fish is your dog knocking the fish tank over. You will want to make sure that your fish tank is on a stable surface out of reach of your dog. If possible, put the tank far enough away from furniture that your dog could crawl on to get to the fish tank. If your dog knocks over the fish tank, your fish are likely to die. Dogs also shouldn’t eat raw fish, which is a possibility if your dog has access to the fish.

You should also worry about your dog getting on top of the fish tank and falling in - hurting themselves and your fish. If your dog falls into the tank, they will also get water everywhere, the same as if they knocked it over. That would lead to a huge mess in your home!

Fortunately, most dogs will never mess with the fish tank. They may, however, watch the fish as they swim in the tank.

Science Behind Dogs Living With Fish

Dogs are social creatures, which means that they tend to do fairly well with other animals - especially when compared to their feline counterparts. However, since fish live in tanks, it doesn’t normally ever become a problem to have both dogs and fish in your home. If your dog takes an unhealthy interest in the fish tank, you may consider moving it to an area out of view from your dog.

Cats are much more intrigued by fish, so if you have a cat and bring fish into your home, be cautious. Cats have been known to fall into tanks, knock them over, or snatch fish out of the water.

Training Dogs to Live With Fish

When it comes to training your dog to live with fish, it should be fairly easy since fish are typically kept contained in bowls or tanks. Unlike other small animals, fish aren’t going to scurry by or make noises that will intrigue your dog to check them out further than pressing their nose against the glass of the tank or bowl. It isn’t likely that your dog will care much about the fish at all, but if you notice that your dog takes an unhealthy interest in the fish, you should work with them to ensure that your fish are safe in your home.

Keep your dog on a leash and show them the fish tank. Let them get fairly close so they can check out the new sights and smells. Try not to let your dog get too excited. If you are worried about your dog’s energy level, make sure that you take them on a walk or to the dog park before showing them the fish tank.

Unlike other pet introductions, your dog won’t be able to touch the fish, which makes the whole process easier. If you can’t be in the same room as the fish tank, make sure that your dog isn’t allowed in that room. While it isn’t likely that your dog will mess with the tank, you should be safe. Even if no fish are harmed, you probably don’t want your dog to get into the fish tank or knock it over and spill water on your floor.

Over time, your dog probably won’t even notice that the fish tank is there. Some dogs do, however, like to watch the fish tank like they would look out the window and watch people pass. If your dog continuously tries to get into the tank, put the tank in an area that the dog doesn’t have access to.

Safety Tips for Dogs Living With Fish:

  • Don't leave your dog alone and unattended with the fish.
  • Keep the tank up and away from the dog.
  • Show your dog the tank to prevent curiosity.