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You may already know the dangers of sodium for your own health, but how does it affect your dog? And how much sodium does your dog actually need?
Sodium is an essential nutrient and part of a complete and balanced diet for dogs. Unfortunately, some dog foods contain more than the recommended amount of sodium, and if you’re feeding your dog high-sodium treats on top of it, you could be making matters worse.
Read on to learn more about the dangers of excess sodium in your dog’s diet and to see our top picks for the best low-sodium dog food.
How Much Sodium Does Your Dog Need?
Sodium is an essential mineral and, according to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), adult dogs require a minimum of 0.3% or about 100mg per 100kcal. This essential mineral plays a role in electrolyte balance as well as nerve and muscle cell function.
Some dog food manufacturers use too much sodium in their products, but healthy dogs are able to excrete the excess in their urine. In fact, a 2008 study shows that dogs are able to adapt fairly well to a wide range of sodium levels. The study goes on to stay that, unlike humans, dogs are relatively unlikely to develop hypertension (high blood pressure) from excess sodium intake.
Natural sources of sodium include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, but sodium may also be added to commercial dog food in the form of table salt. For most dogs, this isn’t a problem, but high sodium levels can be problematic for dogs with certain health issues.
When is Low-Sodium Dog Food Recommended?
You may be surprised to learn that hypertension is not the reason most dogs end up needing to go on a low-sodium diet. Most dogs who require a low-sodium diet have trouble with fluid buildup in the body.
Congestive heart failure, as well as certain liver and kidney issues, can cause fluid accumulation in the body. Because salt makes the body retain water, it can exacerbate this issue. Reducing the sodium content of a dog’s diet not only keeps this problem from getting worse, but it also helps your dog shed some of that excess sodium in his urine as well.
When shopping for low-sodium dog food, weight management formulas are likely to be your best bet. Most of these recipes have lower sodium content than standard kibble.
You also need to keep your dog’s basic nutritional needs in mind. This means looking for a source of whole animal protein as the main ingredient. Your dog’s diet should be rich in protein with moderate fat for energy and digestible carbohydrates for fiber as well as essential nutrients. Avoid by-products, fillers, and artificial additives of any kind.
10 Best Low-Sodium Dog Foods
Dog food manufacturers are required to show the crude percentages of certain nutrients on product packaging, but sodium is not one of them. In fact, it can be fairly difficult to find the sodium content of pet foods without scouring the brand’s website or emailing them directly.
Fortunately, we’ve done the work for you! Here are our top 10 picks for the best low-sodium dog food:
Made with 100% human-grade ingredients, you can count on the quality of this brand. Plus, the food is dehydrated rather than cooked to preserve the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients.Buy Now on Chewy
Made with Pacific-caught whitefish as a premium source of protein that is naturally low in sodium, this canned dog food formula is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and essential nutrients.Buy Now on Chewy
Made only with premium natural ingredients, this nutrient-rich recipe is loaded with high-quality proteins and digestible whole grains but limited in sodium.Buy Now on Chewy
This holistic recipe features premium grass-fed lamb and healthy whole grains to ensure complete and balanced nutrition with minimal sodium content.Buy Now on Chewy
Made with a limited number of ingredients to reduce the risk for food allergies, this low-sodium formula is packed with protein and supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion.Buy Now on Chewy
Known for producing biologically appropriate diets made with fresh, regional ingredients, Orijen is a top-rated brand and an excellent option in low-sodium dog food.Buy Now on Chewy
Not only is this formula made with a special blend of lean proteins for weight management, but it’s low in both fat and sodium to keep your dog fit and healthy.Buy Now on Amazon
This grain-free recipe features novel proteins like smoked salmon and ocean fish to deliver highly-digestible nutrition and plenty of natural flavor without the excess sodium.Buy Now on Chewy
Packed with premium protein and 100% grain-free, this canned dog food recipe is an excellent source of quality nutrition but is still low in sodium.Buy Now on Chewy
This brand produces holistic dog food recipes designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of specific breeds but this all-breed recipe is nutritionally balanced for all breeds and low in sodium as well.Buy Now on Amazon
Keep in mind that dog food formulas are always subject to change. If your dog requires a severely sodium-restricted diet, you should verify the sodium content with the manufacturer or consider switching to a low-sodium prescription diet just to be safe.