One of the most common sources of sodium is salt. Just like human beings, dogs also need sodium as an essential part of their diet. They need the nutrient to meet certain biological needs. Conversely, it is a big challenge when dogs with certain conditions consume too much salt. Some of them have kidney, heart, and liver conditions.
So, the essence of reducing the level of sodium they consume is to improve their health. Moving on, next time you hear someone asking if salt is bad for their dog, you should let them know how important it is to give them foods that contain low quantity of it. Make no mistake, the excess of sodium is not good in the diets of your dogs.
Today, more and more dog owners worry about the amount of sodium they need to add in their dog’s diets just so they don’t add it in excess. The good thing about this is that your dog has a mechanism through which it gets rid of excess sodium. These methods are urination and water consumption. However, if their body systems are not effective enough to automatically control the amount of salt consumed, it means that they have to live with the negative effects of excess sodium.
But then, there are certain diets that come with low sodium. In other words, they contain a moderate quantity of the nutritional requirements. By giving them the low-sodium chows, you are leaving nothing to chance. This is the most appropriate way to keep them healthy. So, in this guide, we will show you the right ones for your pup. Keep in mind, however, that this piece offers you all that you need to give your best to your pup as we carried out extensive research into the subject. Rest assured that you won’t have to read any other guides out there as this is everything you need. Now, let’s get started!
How Did We Pick the Best Low Sodium Dog Food?
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Why It is Better?
- Why You Need Low Sodium Food for Your Dog
- How to Pick Right Low Sodium Dog Food
- Top 5 Best Low Sodium Dog Food
- 1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
- 2. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food
- 3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dry Dog Food
- 4. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain Dog Food
- 5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal
- Recommended Sodium Levels for Dogs
- Dog Health Problems that Need a Low Sodium Food
- Foods to Avoid When on a Low Sodium Diet
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You Need Low Sodium Food for Your Dog
Your dog needs low sodium chow for a number of reasons. In this segment, we will look at them one after another.
Reduces hydration: Hydration is the process of making something (a dog in this context) take in more water. Well, relevant studies have shown that low-sodium diets can help with hydration. It is noteworthy that salty foods absorb large quantity of liquids in the digestive tract. When this happens, the outcome is intense thirst.
When your dog is thirsty, it is natural that he begins to consume more water. Well, this will, in turn, lead to high blood pressure or kidney issues. In other words, subjecting your dog to a low-sodium diet will reduce the chances of dehydration.
Improves vision: Another benefit that your dog gets when he consumes a low-sodium diet is that its vision is improved. When he has high blood pressure on the eye vessels, it can lead to impaired vision or vision loss. However, the consumption of low-sodium diets can significantly enhance your dog’s vision.
Improves the memory: Just like human beings, dogs think, too. One of the factors that engenders good memories is effective flow of blood to the brain. If your dog has high blood pressure, the health of its brain will be negatively affected. In that case, the brain will be adversely affected as well. A low-sodium diet helps to contain hypertension, ensuring that the health of your dog’s brain remains top notch.
Facilitates coat: Your dog needs to properly balance his internal and external temperatures. This thermoregulation is known as homeostasis. Well, dogs can achieve that if they have well-nourished fur. Aside from temperatures, the fur plays a pivotal role in protection from cuts, scratches, and bruises.
Note that fur and hair are used interchangeably when describing a dog’s coat. With that being said, omega-6 acid, which is commonly found in a low-sodium dog diet, ensures that your dog’s coat is well-nourished.
Strengthens the bones: Low-sodium diets always contain a significant fraction of protein and calcium. With those essential elements, your dog will be sure to have strong bones. Without strong bones, your puppy couldn’t do anything for you. Typically, dogs love to jump and run around the home. All of these activities wouldn’t be possible if he doesn’t have strong bones.
How to Pick Right Low Sodium Dog Food
Before you select the right low-sodium diet for your dog, there are certain factors you need to pay attention to. It is critical that you use the yardstick for decision making because sticking closely to them will enable you make the right choice.
- Quality protein: Just like the products we reviewed in this guide, low-sodium diets always contain a significant quantity of protein. The reason is that the nutrient plays an important role in the development of your dog’s bones. Other benefits your dog derives from having protein in his meal includes strain reduction and protection from deterioration. It is okay to have such meals as like whole meats, meat meals, and other byproducts. Keep in mind that the protein consumption among puppies with kidney issues should be lower than the usual as because making him consume more than the normal amount will further stress his organs and worsen the situation.
- Carbohydrates: You probably know the importance of having some carbs in your dog’s diet, don’t you? Yes, you guessed right, it gives energy for daily activities. So, just before you place an order for that product, ensure that it has some carbs. Go through the ingredients to be sure that it contains carbs and whole grains. Whole grains should include oatmeal, brown rice, and flaxseed. These examples are much better than wheat and corn. More importantly, you should note that whole grains are key sources of fiber. However, the carbs from these grains are absorbed at a much lower rate. The implication is that it helps to improve the rise of blood sugar levels. Make no mistake, this has some adverse effects in the long run.
- Vitamins and mineral supplements: Another factor that you must take into consideration is the vitamin and mineral contents. The sources of these nutrients must be natural, such as fruits and veggies. The reason is simply that dogs often find those sources much easier to digest. On top of that, other nutrients that you should pay attention to include supplements like omega fatty acids and chondroitin. The function of omega fatty acid is to ensure that your dog’s coat keeps shining and that his brain (and other parts of the body like the eyes) are getting the desired attention for optimal performance. On the other hand, chondroitin ensures that the joints remain intact and strong.
- Origin of ingredients: It is crucial to know the part of the world that the ingredients came from because some parts of the world have safer ingredients than others. For example, if your ingredients come from the USA, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. However, if it doesn’t come from any of the aforementioned locations, you are potentially putting your puppy at risk.
- Meat meals and byproducts: When it comes to the formulas your pet consumes, the producer must be transparent about its ingredients. This mainly goes to makers that mention that the food contains “meat meals” or “meat products” without giving further details of the content. By and large, you should always go for products whose manufacturers are confident enough to name its meat meal or product sources. That way, you will be certain that you are not going to feed your dog with allergies or food sensitivities.
- Brands: Over the years, there are some brands that have distinguished themselves in the industry by churning out high-quality products that meet regulatory standards. These brands have become household names because dog trainers trust them enough to buy their product any time, and any day. Because they have a reputation to protect, they would never compromise on quality. The good thing is that all the products that made our list fell into that category – that’s why they made our list anyways. These reliable brands are Nestle Purina PetCare Company, Blue Buffalo, Rachael Ray Nutrish, The Honest Kitchen, and Hill’s Science Diet.
- Free from artificial ingredients: Finally, you must make sure that the low-sodium dog diet you wish to feed your dog doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. If your choice of dog diet contains any of these artificial ingredients, they can worsen the health problems of a dog that has an underlying ailment. This is simply because they contain harsh chemicals that can trigger such reactions.
Top 5 Best Low Sodium Dog Food
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food Review
We Don’t Like
Here comes one low sodium food for dogs you can give your pup so as to nourish him with a moderate amount of sodium. Aside from getting the right quantity of nutrients, there are other perks he is bound to enjoy. Take, for instance, the fact that it contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential substances that prevent heart diseases, cancer, and other related ailments. You probably didn’t know that your dog could develop cancer, did you? According to Veterinary Cancer Society, 50% of dogs over ten years of age are likely to develop this ailment.
But with the right proportion of sodium in this meal, it means that your dog will definitely have a strong immune system. You cannot understate the importance of immune system in preventing such ailments from attacking your dog. In turn, you wouldn’t have to spend much money on drugs or making an appointment with veterinary doctors. On top of that, having blueberries, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cranberries in one chow means having everything you need in one meal.
2. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food Review
We Don’t Like
This is one of the chows you should give your dog to ensure that he eats the right amount of sodium. Interestingly enough, it contains other key ingredients that he needs to stay healthy. What role does your dog play in your life? Perhaps he is your security, company, or just anything else. The fact of that matter is that you can only make the most of what your dog does for you if he is healthy. One of the ways you can keep him healthy is by giving him the right quantity of this formula as instructed by the manufacturer or vet.
As you already know, there are many perks that you derive from giving this formula to him. For instance, you have a dog that wouldn’t have to struggle with weak joints in an effort to keep your home safe thanks to its omega-6 fatty acids. Noteworthy is the fact that the supplement contains high levels of protein. Put simply, it is a nutrient that plays a pivotal part in replenishing the bones, cartilage, and skin of your dog.
3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Dry Dog Food Review
We Don’t Like
This well-formulated meal made our best budget low sodium dog food because it gives you real value for your money. Plus, we consider it the best low sodium dog food because it has a lot of ingredients that your dog needs to stay healthy. For example, it is low in grain and has some omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Just like the product that came before it, it contains antioxidants in the right proportions. Do you know what omega 3 and 6 do for your puppy?
They help your dog to develop healthy skin as well as support coat health. In fact, those are the key components of this formula. We must not fail to mention that it has some delicious meat texture and hickory smoke flavor. You can serve your dog this meal every day just to ensure that it meets all key nutritional requirements for healthy growth. It is crucial that you feed three meals every day when your puppy turns six months of age and then continue to feed him up until 6-8 weeks of age.
4. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain Dog Food Review
We Don’t Like
Chances are that your dog has one allergy or another. As a result, he may not be able to eat some of the foods we reviewed on this list. The good news is that this formula is good for dogs with allergies and those without them, earning it the title of best low sodium dog food. Also, you can serve it to all dogs regardless of their ages. This is the perfect diet for pregnant dogs and picky ones. More importantly, it is a human-grade diet that meets FDA safety standards.
Being a human-grade chow means that it is prepared to become the best quality of dog chow on the market. In addition to that, it is made with no byproducts, GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients, or preservatives. It is also made with free range chicken and dehydrated for optimal satisfaction and nutrition of dogs of all age brackets. Apart from containing low sodium and essential nutrients, this diet is easily digestible, hearty, and delicious. This is a must-buy for your puppy.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal Review
We Don’t Like
How do you know that your dog likes certain meals? Here’s how: he never gets enough of the meal. Indeed, this is one of those diets that your dog will always enjoy. The reason is that it is tasty, making it worthy of being among the best low sodium dog food on the market. But there is more. You see, it is rich in nutrients. For instance, it contains a high quantity of antioxidants. If you wish to see your dog grow a shiny coat, you should try it. It’s perfect for that thanks to its quantity of omega 6 content. You can also trust it to give your dog healthy skin.
It is very affordable, and if you have any aging dogs, this is the perfect meal for it. It comes with easily digestible ingredients that support the energy levels of mature dogs. To cap it all off, it is also one of cats’ favorite meals, meaning that you will save more money when you have different pets such as dog and cats.
Recommended Sodium Levels for Dogs
One of the tough questions that you have to find your answer to is “What is the recommended sodium level for your dog?” Regardless of how important the question is, there is no recommended sodium level for dogs. From our findings, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has not been able to establish a maximum acceptable level for a dog’s sodium content. However, the body has set the minimally acceptable value. That said, there is a rule of thumb used to determine how to use the substance.
No sodium restriction: If you have dogs that are not currently undergoing conditions that will require them to slow down on sodium consumption, then they fall into this category. Formulas that have no salt restrictions are likely to contain 0.4% or about 100 mg per 100 calories. This should be your plan unless your veterinary doctor says otherwise.
Mild sodium restriction: If you have a middle-aged dog or older ones, they typically require low-sodium diets to keep their blood pressure down. As we mentioned earlier, high blood pressure causes problems in their kidneys, eyes, and hearts. Therefore, you have to keep close tabs on your dog when he gets to this age. For mild restriction diets, they usually contain about 0.3-0.4% or 80-100 mg of sodium per 100 calories. By and large, the decision to choose this level of sodium depends on the advice of your vet.
Moderate sodium restriction: There are some dogs with milder cardiac conditions. This is a condition that usually occurs when a dog has an enlarged heart or some of those in the early stages of kidney failure. So, if your dog has this condition, you have to classify it under moderate salt restriction. These foods typically contain 0.2-0.3% of sodium or about 50-80 mg per 100 calories. In addition to the amount of sodium that goes with this classification, it is administered with medication. Just like the rest of the levels that came before it, you will have to consult a vet to be sure that your dog falls into this category.
Severe sodium restriction: If your dog is struggling with congestive heart failure or in an advanced stages of kidney failure, you should know that it falls into this level. It contains 0.2% of sodium or 50 mg per 100 calories of the nutrient. This formula is typically prescribed if the condition gets worse and comes with medication as well.
Dog Health Problems that Need a Low Sodium Food
Earlier, we mentioned some health conditions that require low-sodium diets. Now, we will discuss them in detail in this segment.
Cognitive heart failure: Here comes one of the ailments that would require you to get your dog low-sodium formula. You see, when it comes to cognitive heart failure, there are many factors that can lead to it. They include age, injury, infection, or congenital defects. There are other cases where parasites like heartworms can lead to it.
Surveys show that there are cases where bad diet or lack of exercise caused the condition. Its common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, coughing, and decreased energy levels. While it is believed that a low-sodium diet is capable of containing the condition, we strongly advise that you speak with your vet first.
High blood pressure: While sodium chloride (salt) is very important to your dog, having excess of it can have dire consequences. For example, it leads to high blood pressure in dogs. One of the symptoms of hypertension in dogs is that their systolic blood pressures exceed 150 mmHg.
Notice that your dog normally has hypertension when they are suffering from a kidney disease which makes it impossible to adjust to a normal blood pressure. Yes, a diseased kidney doesn’t function properly. But with this low sodium food for dogs, you don’t have to worry about hypertension.
Liver issues: This ailment typically occurs as a result of many different factors. These include poisoning with antifreeze, alcohol, and other substances. On the other hand, there are cases where infectious diseases like hepatitis and endocrine conditions may lead to it as well.
The good thing is that low-sodium diets are capable of expediting recovery liver failure in dogs. However, this is done when the actual treatment has taken place. Treatments depend on the actual cause of the ailment. Most times, diuretics and enemas are used to get rid of those harmful substances that have intoxicated the system. In more severe cases, surgeries are recommended.
Kidney failure: When a dog has a kidney failure, it could be acute and chronic. While the cause of the chronic condition could be the result of old age or poor diet, another cause of acute condition can be food poisoning. The symptoms of these conditions include change in water consumption level, urination, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you notice any of these in your dog, the best bet is to contact your veterinary doctor at once. If your pet has a kidney problem, excessive intake of sodium will lead to more water retention. That will, in turn, ramp up the blood pressure and strain the kidney further. That’s why it is critical to use a low-sodium diet whenever such a condition manifests.
Hypernatremia: This is yet another sodium-related condition that is common among dogs that consume plenty of salt. The implication is that your dog loses a significant volume of water in his digestive tract. When this happens, the resultant effects are high blood pressure and heart problems.
The symptoms of this disorder include increased urination, confusion, seizures, diarrhea, and vomiting. When these symptoms occur in your dog, there are two methods you can use to treat it: fluid therapy and the application of a low-sodium diet. When you apply low-sodium food in the right proportion for a while, the proper balance will be restored.
Foods to Avoid When on a Low Sodium Diet
At this point, you know the foods to feed your puppy when you want it to be on low-sodium diet. While you are making a concerted effort to optimize the benefits inherent in the routine, there are certain foods that you should avoid to materialize your heart’s desire. Well, we will show you these chows shortly.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Also known as sodium glutamate, monosodium glutamate is the name used to describe salt that is mostly found in cheap meals and treats. It is one of the abundantly occurring amino acids found in fruits and veggies. It occurs in grapes, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. This compound is known to cause severe symptoms in dogs and must be avoided when your dog is on a low-sodium diet. Apart from the fruits it occurs naturally in, it occurs in heavily-processed food.
Nitrates: Although it has the regulatory go-ahead of the FDA, you must avoid sodium nitrate. The reason is that it is used for preserving meat. When this compound is consumed in small quantities, it is not harmful. However, if the quantity exceeds 8mg/kg, it has proven to cause a major dog disorder known as methemoglobin. Continuous consumption of this compound with other ingredients is likely to cause cancer in your dog as well. Besides this, it should be noted that it contains sodium.
Homemade foods: In addition to all these ingredients we have discussed so far, you should ensure that you avoid these homemade foods. In other words, they shouldn’t be added to the diet of your dog when he is on low sodium diets. These include bread or pizza, fatty foods, canned soups, cheese, salty snacks (such as potato chips, crackers, and popcorn), canned veggies, and a host of others. When you feed your dog these foods, your objective of achieving a low-sodium diet is automatically defeated.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are some key questions about low sodium dog food that people wish to know the answers to. So, we will field some of those questions.
Low-sodium diets can be dry or canned, meaning that the choice ultimately depends on two key factors – your dog’s preferences and health. However, looking at the benefits you stand to derive from the two options, canned food offers more advantage as far as a low-sodium diet is concerned. In clear terms, it is much better to ensure that your low salt dog food is hydrated all the time, especially if your dog has some ailments and needs low-sodium meals to contain them.
Well, the answer is simply YES because there are lots of them that exist as both commercial and homemade treats. But then, we strongly advise that you consult a vet to help you make a pick to give the best to your pet.
If your dog consumes too much sodium in a short period of time but does not have instant access to drinking water, it is a problem. The implication is that this can lead to the release of water from the cells, leading to serious ailments like dizziness, headache, and seizures. As you already know, this is known as hypernatremia. Over a period of time, this condition can lead to muscle dehydration. In the long run, the condition can culminate in a plethora of disorders including coma, convulsion, etc.
The answer is simply NO – you should never do that. Essentially, dogs get the right quantity of sodium they need from their regular diets without supplements. More importantly, when dog food is manufactured, they are formulated to contain the appropriate proportion of sodium. The exception that exists here is if the dog treats contain an outrageous quantity of salt. Still, you should not give your dogs the usual human chow as it is more likely to contain more salt than your dog normally needs.
The first step to take when you find out that your dog has hypernatremia is to ensure that they have access to fresh water. This makes perfect sense if your dog has spent long hours outside on a hot day. However, you should contact your vet the minute you notice that the condition has worsened. At this time, giving enough water to your pup may not be the game changer you need. Earlier, we listed the symptoms of hypernatremia, so you should always look out for those.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that you now know all the perks you stand to derive from low sodium dog food. The fact of the matter is that making that important transition may be difficult because the diets are not always as tasty as the regular meals. Things get a lot worse when your pup develops more complications as his appetite diminishes.
Here is where the all-important low-sodium foods come in as they are capable of making your dog to eat even more than you can imagine despite his health condition. In addition to improving his appetite, the diets rev up his energy levels and the required nutrients that fight diseases. This means that the best gift you can give your pup is the best low sodium dog food.
While there are lots of them out there, we have rounded up the first among equals just to help you make the most of the diets. All you need to do is pick from the list above after going through the features, product description, and everything in between. Place an order now!