Low Sodium Dog Food

Low Sodium Dog Food
February 6, 2019

There are multiple reasons why you want to consider a low sodium diet for your dog. If you’ve been hearing all about the low sodium diet and wondered what it was all about, we’ve done our best to run you through the benefits of the diet and which dogs will benefit from the diet. 

Minerals and salts are a vital part in the growth and development of a dog – so they are especially vital when dogs are still growing, as well as for adult dogs to remain fit and healthy. Minerals and salts help with the development of major organs in the body and enhance metabolic balance.  Although they are essential, these salts and minerals need to be ingested in the right amounts, too much sodium can be as harmful as injecting too much sodium! 

So, the key is to find the perfect balance of all the minerals and nutrient a dog needs. 

When taken in the right amounts, sodium helps maintain the optimal balance of fluids in cells and helps them in functioning smoothly. It also plays a significant role in conducting nerve impulses and muscular contractions.

In this article, we are going to take an insightful look at the reasons why a dog needs low sodium food. We will also find out what brands currently offer the best recipe for dogs which require the best low sodium dog food.

But before we go any further, it must be noted that before you make any plans to put your dog on a low sodium diet that you must first consult with your vet. If you have any question about this article, feel free to get in touch with us via social media!

When is a Low Sodium Diet Beneficial to a Dog?
 It may be time to introduce a low sodium diet if your dog is suffering or prone to suffering from cardiac problems. The most common cardiac problems dogs suffer from are enlargement of the heart, heart murmurs, and other anomalies such as weak heart valves. 

Dogs with kidney damage or disease may also benefit from a low sodium diet. 

Other reasons for considering a low sodium diet for your dog are obesity and old age. For some dogs, this may be a life-long dietary change, for others, they may resume to their normal diet once they are fit and healthy. 

But generally, as dogs get older, they have a harder time processing the sodium which is in a normal diet. The build-up of sodium then leads to water retention, which can then lead further problems down the line.
 If your dog has been taking certain medication such as steroids, this is also another reason why they may benefit from a low sodium diet. 

What is a Low Sodium Diet? 

Sodium is most commonly found in salt – some people believe that sodium itself is salt. But there are hundreds of different ingredients which contain sodium. 

There are now many options for pet owners looking for a low sodium diet from different pet food brands, but you can also make and prepare your dog’s low sodium diet at home. Along with feeding them their own meals, it is vital that you do not give a dog which is suffering from heart and kidney problems human food under any circumstances. You may feel like you are giving them a treat, when in actual fact what you’re doing is exacerbating their condition. They may thank you for giving them a tasty treat, but their hearts and kidneys won't.

A low sodium diet is a diet which has a sodium concentration of less than 0.35%. For dogs who require it, it is better if you aim for the recommended amount of 0.25%
 As earlier stated, these low sodium dog foods, are supposed to be fed to dogs suffering from any cardiac problems. Healthy dogs with no history of such abnormalities can ingest a relatively higher amount of the same Sodium and excrete it without any complication.

Finding the Balance

Too much sodium causes an increase in thirst and swelling throughout the body of the animal. So, if your dog is heading to the water bowl more often, or appears bloated and sluggish, you will need to consult with your vet to get to the root of the cause. 

If your dog is taking in less sodium than it requires, the natural result is dehydration. It’s a fine balance to keep. So, it is always recommended that you consult with your vet on the best diet for your dog. 

For a healthy dog without any cardiac complication, the recommended allowance of sodium for a dog weighing 30 pounds eating 1,000 calories per day is 100mg-120mg.

Healthy dogs can comfortably process and excrete foods with a sodium content of 0.3% to 0.6%.

Dogs with vascular problems on the other hand with the same weight and an almost similar calorific intake should take doses of 35-70mg of sodium a day.

Dogs in the early stages of heart failure should be eating foods with a sodium content of less than 0.3% while those with chronic and advanced heart problems should be restricted to sodium content of less than 0.2%.

Which Foods Contain Sodium Other than Salt?

So, now we know that adding salt to your dog's meals is definitely a bad idea if they require a low sodium diet. However, that is just one ingredient that you will need to look out for. 

Sodium can be found naturally in any dog’s diet which includes red meats, poultry products, and fish.

However, it isn’t quite as easy as just ruling out all fish, as all of the sodium levels in the meat and fish will have different levels of sodium. For example, this will depend on which type of fish it is, and the conditions which the fish lived in. Dogs that need low sodium intake should not be fed these foods directly without the exact sodium content being ascertained prior to loading up their bowl. 

To avoid taking risks of feeding a cardiac patient dog with excess sodium content, it is always advisable to feed them with commercial pet foods which have the Mineral Salts content labelled instead of trying to figure out the best diet at home. 

The first step, however, is to consult a vet who will conduct a medical examination on the dog and give you an overview of the health status of the dog and recommend the right low sodium dog food for your dog.

Here are four common brands low sodium dog foods;

1.Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet specially formulated for dogs who require a low sodium diet, is available online and in store, you won’t need a prescription for the food, however, it is highly recommended and used by vets who are wanting to limit the damage caused to a dog’s heart and liver. While the sodium levels are low, so are the nutritional values, so, you may need to give your dog more to make sure they have all the nutrients they need.

They have an abundance of filler but on the good side, they are all natural. However, it is important to note that your dog must require a low sodium diet before you feed them with Hill’s Science diet. The formula provides an excellent diet for dogs that are in later stages of their cardiac problems and require very low sodium contents; typically below 0.2%.

2.Royal Canin Early Cardiac

Royal Canin Early Cardiac

This is one brand of dog food that is manufactured with heart problems in mind as you can clearly see from the label so there is absolutely no confusion.  The concentrates of each nutrient are specially mixed to meet the low sodium demands of dogs ailing from cardiac problems.

Even better is the addition of the Omega-3s which helps reduce inflammation and water retention. It has an overall better nutritional value than Hill’s Science Diet dog food.

3.Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula

ProPlan Select sensitive skin and stomach formula

If a dog suffers from any cardiac condition and needs soft food, then this is an ideal food brand. With a sodium content of 44mg/100kCal, it is perfect for elderly dogs and young puppies with cardiac conditions.

The primary ingredients in this formula are rice and salmon. Unlike the other two earlier mentioned formulas that use gluten-rich foods like beef and chicken, this recipe uses the ingredients that have had the least number of allergies.

Very many dogs develop sensitivities to high gluten foods, and although they may have significantly low sodium content, they may cause other problems with the digestion of food.

4.Wellness Dog Food

Wellness Dog Food

The other brand that manufactures low sodium content dog food is Wellness. Their low sodium content foods are best suited for animals with cardiac diseases but have cases of food sensitivity. The foods are ideal for middle age dogs and aging dogs whose cardiac conditions are deteriorating.

Final Notes

Before settling in on a brand, it is important to consult with a vet who will give directions on the best formula to use depending on the current state of your dog. Remember as the dog ages, the level of sodium intake should reduce as well. This is why it is vital that you consult with a vet regularly to ensure that your dog remains happy and healthy as they age. 

Remember there is no particular breed of dog that is prone to cardiac disease and any dog is susceptible. The key is always to get your dog examined by a professional for you to know whether it needs to be placed on a low sodium diet.

Feeding your dog with the appropriate low sodium food content will significantly improve the quality of life it leads and potentially saves his/her life.