It is always difficult to take your pet to the vet and come away knowing something has gone wrong with their health. This is especially challenging when you come to realize the problems might have been caused by their diet. You may already know the dangers of too much sodium in your own diet, but did you know it can also be harmful to your pet? If your dog has cardiac problems then sodium chloride can be dangerous. This is why a change in diet can help take care of your dog’s health and even prevent certain conditions that otherwise might be expensive to treat. What do you need to change in your dog food to help your dog live a happier and healthier life? Well, likely what you will need is the best low sodium dog food.
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Benefits of Sodium in your Dog’s Diet
Usually sodium is a good thing for your dog, and not something you want to completely remove from their balanced nutrition. It helps maintain a fluid balance, keeping cells from dehydration or swelling.
Usually the sodium content in most commercial dog foods is somewhere between 0.35% and 0.5%, nothing a healthy dog won’t be able to handle. In healthy dogs even higher sodium content will not show any significant abnormalities, other than drinking more and excreting more urine. However, this may not be true for your dog.
Dog Food Ingredients Rich in Sodium: meat, poultry, eggs and fish.
Why your Dog Might Need Low Sodium Dog Food
The most common reason for your dog to be put on a low sodium diet is because of kidney or cardiac problems like congestive heart failure. This is when the heart causes your dog’s body to retain sodium that your pet does not require. In return, there is an excess buildup of fluid in your dog’s body. Particularly this will occur in the lungs and surrounding areas. The insufficient heart function only increases, as does sodium, and fluid.
Over time your dog’s heart will enlarge and be unable to pump blood through your dog’s body. Breeds commonly predisposed to heart problems include basset hounds, beagles, bloodhounds, spaniels, Chihuahuas, collies, golden retrievers, Saint Bernards, weimaraners, etc. Other problems your dog might suffer from include heart murmurs, enlarged heart, and valve changes. Any one of these heart conditions might mean you should start looking for a low sodium dog food.
Finding a Low Sodium Dog Food
When you find out your dog has health issues and needs less salt in their diet, then you will want to be a little more scrupulous. Not all pet foods at the grocery store will suit your dog’s needs. Fortunately several brands of dog food are aware of this need, and have prepared low sodium dog foods to meet it. Dogs who suffer from heart conditions need a dog food with less than 100 mg of sodium per 100kCal. You will want to make sure and read the labels, just to double check the sodium content. You will also want to make sure you are not feeding your dog any table foods that have a high salt content.
Top 5 Low Sodium Dog Food
1. Orijen Adult Dry Dog Food
This protein packed dog food is formulated to best match the natural needs of your dog.
The recipe contains well balanced meats, vegetables, and fruits—even deemed fit for human consumption. It is also grain free with limited, specially selected carbohydrates. The Omega 3 fatty acids support a sleek coat and healthy skin. The botanicals were selected by veterinarians to help support the organs, cleanse the body of toxins, and maintain a healthy metabolism. It is also a low sodium dog food with a sodium content listed at 0.3%.
The top listed ingredients include boneless chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole herring, and boneless turkey. Some of the other fruits and vegetables include red lentils, green peas, green lentils, cranberries, and blueberries. Customers who purchase Orijen say it may be a bit expensive, but it does not make any compromises when it comes to the health of pets. Many say it is likely the best low sodium dog food out there and reflects the natural, ancestral diet of their pets.
2. Hill’s Science Diet Small and Toy Breed Dry Dog Food
Even small dogs need great value when it comes to nutrition. If you are looking for a low sodium dog food for your little pet, then this will provide the exact formula you are looking for.
It has tailored nutrition that is well balanced and easy for your small or toy dog to digest. The high quality protein is made from natural chicken ingredients and no by-products. It is also enriched with vitamins to enhance immunity and fatty acids to improve your pet’s skin and coat. This formula of Hill’s Science Diet also provides the right amount of calcium to help support your dog’s bones.
Lastly, this dog food contains a sodium level of 76 mg/100kCal or 0.30%. Top listed ingredients include chicken meal, whole grain wheat, brewers rice, whole grain sorghum, soybean meal, and cracked pearl barley. Customers who use Science Diet say their pet does well on the food. They have lots of energy, maintain a proper weight, and look great. A lot of customers say they will continue to use this food for their small dogs, especially those prone to heart disease.
3. The Honest Kitchen Verve Dog Food
One of the best low sodium dog foods you might not have considered for your pet is Verve dehydrated dog food.
It is a natural, human grade dog food that is great for adult and senior dogs of all breeds and sizes. It is especially good for dogs that have allergies or sensitivities to poultry. This low gluten formula is finely diced, making it perfect for digestion. It is low fat and low calorie. It is also a low sodium dog food. The label lists the sodium content of this dog food at 0.17%, one of the lowest percentages on the market. Top listed ingredients include beef, organic oats, organic rye, organic flaxseed, potatoes, carrots, and eggs. The food also contains apples, parsley, cranberries, and spinach.
Customers say they found this food after researching many brands to find the best dog food for their pets. Dogs on this diet improved in health, energy, and look. Pet owners could better take care of their pet’s health with this low sodium, high quality dog food.
4. Royal Canin Boxer Dry Dog Food
Sometimes certain breeds are more susceptible to disease than others. This is the case with boxers and heart disease, and as well as several other large breeds. This is why the Royal Canin provides a low sodium dog food designed for certain breeds.
This specific formula has nutrients help maintain ideal muscle mass, precise protein levels, and healthy hearts. It also helps burn fat and stimulate natural production of antibodies in boxers. This dog food contains a sodium level of 50 mg/100kCal. Top listed ingredients include brown rice, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, and oat groats. Customers who purchased this dog food for their boxers say that they are relieved to know their dogs are getting proper nutrition that will help prevent disease. It is a great product, even for finicky eaters.
They say, if you have a boxer, or any other breed with low sodium needs, then Royal Canin is an option to consider.
5. Hills Science Diet Adult Light Dry Dog Food
Sometimes, when you are looking for a low sodium dog food you also want low calorie. Unfortunately, not all light dog foods are low sodium. You have to be cautious when it comes to your pet’s health and be sure to check the label or call the manufacturer.
This formula is 19% lower in calories than their Adult Advanced Fitness formula. Despite being light, this dog food satisfies hunger, converts fat into energy, and promotes the maintenance of lean muscle in your dog. Fortunately, this light dry dog food is also low sodium. The label lists the sodium content at 0.35%. Top listed ingredients include chicken meal, pea bran meal, whole grain sorghum, whole grain wheat, and corn gluten meal.
Customers who purchased this dog food say it is a quality food with a taste their pets enjoy. It is often recommended by veterinarians and is a great low calorie, low sodium option for those dogs who need it.
Guidelines for Low Sodium Dog Foods
High sodium diet: anything above 0.5%
No risk or mild sodium restrictions include 0.35% to 0.5% or about 100mg/100kCal
Moderate sodium restriction include 0.1% to 0.35% or about 80mg/100kCal
Severe sodium restriction anything less than 0.1% or about 50mg/100kCal
If your dog has any form of heart disease then you will want to choose their food wisely. For these problems you may be encouraged by a vet to look for a low sodium dog food. Truth is, there are many high quality commercial dog foods out there that can provide the protein your dog needs without the salt. Unfortunately, the information is not readily available on most dog food labels. So, finding the best low sodium dog food for your pet might take a quick call to the company. Once you make sure the food’s sodium levels are within the proper range for your pet you can improve the longevity and quality of life for your dog.
What is the sodium content in Orijen adult? It would be really helpful if companies would start listing this stuff! Also, what is the sodium content in origin senior?
Hey Shay! I appreciate the information you have gathered! How did you get this information? Our dog has recently been diagnosed with advanced valvular disease and enlarged heart. The vet recommended a low sodium diet. However, in my research so far, ALL of the dog foods that contain lower sodium contain gluten. Although our dog is no allergic to gluten, 2 of our family have celiac disease (my son’s is severe as we were both diagnosed when he was 13 and had not grown for 3 years). Because of the celiac disease, we do not have gluten in our kitchen. The only “lower” sodium commercial food I have found so far is a Purina One puppy food, listed on a list created by Tufts. I have contacted many companies about the sodium content of their foods but most have not responded. If you run across a lower sodium dog food that is also free of gluten containing ingredients (preferably 80mg per 100kcal) please post a reply.
Thank you for a great online reference, Shay. My little Jojo is newly diagnosed with heart disease, and your information is most appreciated.
thank you for sharing usefull knowledge
No sodium canned food for a 13 year old Lab with kidney disease, and getting over pancreatitis? He wants to eat. We’ve tried chicken breasts, eggs, gourmet hamburger, white rice, brown rice. Etc. He hates Royal Canine Renal Care. Help. Any suggestions? Thank you. Laura