When the dogs rushed ahead of us to the river, we were greeted with an unfamiliar sight. There were dozens and dozens of dead fish all along the shore and in the water. Apparently, there was a good run of smelt and they had died after spawning.
I’m always wary of dead things that the dogs find because they might try to roll on it or worse, eat it. Mr. N has found dead rats, a raccoon, birds, fish and an animal of unknown origin (it was so horribly bloated in the water, we couldn’t tell what it was).
I’m especially wary of fish because we have salmon poisoning disease here (it is most prevalent from Northern California to the Puget Sound). Salmon, trout and other fish can be infected with Neorickettsia helmonthoeca. If dogs eat the raw fish, it is usually fatal within two weeks unless they are treated.
I haven’t heard anything about smelt being infected or dangerous to dogs but why take the risk (edit: apparently smelt can be infected with the parasite). Mr. N gave a cursory sniff then ignored the fish. He’s picky about seafood and a bit of a gourmand.
Sage, on the other hand, really wanted those fish. She waded out into the water and was trying to put them in her mouth so Ann went and got her and put her on a leash. She still tried to get the smelt after that.
So we turned away from the river and continued our walk elsewhere. No more walks by the river for us until the smelt are gone.