Can I Give My Dog Salt?

Can I Give My Dog Salt?Excessive canine consumption of salt can cause complications including serious dehydration. That’s just one reason why snacks, such as chips or pretzels, aren’t appropriate for dogs.

Sodium is necessary but Fido’s food will fulfill this requirement. If your dog ate some salty junk food it’s no reason to panic. Just ensure there’s plenty of fresh water available to maintain hydration.

Dogs are not immune to many of the same food cravings humans experience. But salivating over sodium is a bad habit. Don’t enable it because, over time, too much salt will lead to health problems.

Can I Give My Dog Some Salt? Answer: Not Recommended

Of course, it isn’t dangerous but limiting sodium consumption is recommended.

Everything in moderation is a good policy. Giving your dog a couple of salted peanuts won’t make any difference one way or the other. They may just get thirsty afterwards. But allowing a dog to stick their face in a bag of chips, or eat mouthfuls of pretzels, is just irresponsible pet parenting.

Having fresh water at the ready is so important to head off the possibility of doggie dehydration.

Some Salt is Surely Sensible

Dogs do need sodium in their systems to help with growth, but it’s such a small amount and it’s usually included in store-bought dog food. The Association of American Feed Control recommends that at least 0.3% of sodium should be included in dry dog food.

Some dog foods offer much more than 0.3 percent. This is no reason for concern unless your dog has been specifically put on a low sodium diet by the vet. Proper sodium levels keep your dog healthy but some additional intake won’t do any serious damage. Moderation and mindfulness is the key.

Sodium’s a Slippery Slope

If your dog is suffering with kidney, liver, or heart problems the vet may put them on a low-sodium diet. By reducing the sodium, you’ll lower the dog’s blood pressure. This diet may mean that you will need to cook your dog’s food or the vet may have a suggested dog food formula for you which is low in sodium. During this time do not let your dog get into the salty snacks!

Usually a dog will need to eat a lot of salty snacks to get sodium iron poisoning. Symptoms of this include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and in some cases seizures. Watch for thirst and excessive drinking. Prevention is the best way for your dog because such a situation is entirely avoidable.

Salt Water & Sea Water

Dogs seem to liven up at the beach. Running around and excessive exercise in the heat naturally causes thirst. If you don’t have fresh clean water available your dog may turn to the sea water to quench their thirst. That’s really bad! This has got to be the worst way to consume salt for anyone, including dogs.

Dogs that drink too much sea water get what’s known as beach diarrhea. This is a result of the ocean water salt in their systems. For this reason, always take fresh clean water with you when you bring your dog to the shore.

Every fifteen minutes or so, take your dog to a shaded area and give them some fresh water. This way you’ll eliminate their temptation to drink the sea water as well as enable a cooling off period before they excitedly run off again. Treats that contain rock or sea salt are better than the processed kind.

Conclusion on Salt

Giving a pet dog too much salt will eventually catch up to them in the form of poor health. As with anything, including sodium, moderation makes sense. Understand that regular dog food contains all of Fido’s salt requirements. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by keeping salty snacks out of your dog’s reach. It’s important to provide a supply of fresh water whenever your best buddy eats foods high in sodium.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter March, 2016

Can I put a little salt on regular wet dog food?


Susan December, 2015

How does salt affect dogs? My husband puts a lot of salt on everything he eats and then gives leftovers to our dogs. Does salt affect dogs the same way it does humans?


Peggy October, 2015

Can I give my dog meat that has been salted or if I cook him meat should I not salt the meat?


Mary April, 2015

Is the salt in chicken nuggets for kids okay to sprinkle on my dog’s regular kibble as an incentive to eat?


Cheetah April, 2015

I feed my 7 pound dog Intestinal Diet and canned chicken. The chicken has 140mgs (6%) salt. My friend tells me that is too much. How much salt is okay for a 7 pound 12 year old dog?


Gene March, 2015

We have a 3 year old German Shepherd. She eats sometimes but some days she doesn’t. She has been underweight since the age of 18 months. We’ve finally got her to an optimal weight. But we are having to add things to her food to get her to eat it. We’ve changed brands, added canned food, etc. All the things we are supposed to try, we’ve tried. Now we are adding sodium-free beef bouillon. She gets about 1/2 cup total per day. We are concerned about the sodium as obviously it isn’t really sodium free. I’d love to know how much is too much or what a seventy pound dog can deal with. Any answers?


Sydney March, 2015

Your beloved pet can eat way more than most people believe. My American Eskimo had a heart condition so she couldn’t eat store bought dog food. It’s loaded with sodium. Try finding a bag or can of dog food where sodium is not in it! I had to home cook her food, vet recommended. She got rare ground beef, turkey and even pork with Mrs. Dash as seasoning. I steamed veggies and rice and she finally started eating again. I also found out that she loved medium rare fillets.

As long as I cooked her food with no salt or any type of sodium, she was back to her normal self. Salt, in the food and treats we always give our pets, shortens their lives. Had I caught it in time, I just might have gotten another year with her. All in all, just keep an eye on the sodium in your animal’s food. If you don’t believe me, just ask your vet next visit. They can also eat more veggies and fruits than you would think. I have a list of meat, veggies, fruits, nuts and even fungi that dogs can eat.


Lance July, 2015

Two of the most poisonous foods you can feed a dog are onions and garlic. Mrs. Dash contains both.


DorrieL December, 2015

Garlic is controversial. It is in some dog treats and is used in small doses as a flea preventative. Onion is supposed to be bad for dogs and cause hemolytic anemia, bursting blood vessels. I cook for my dogs and occasionally there is a course with some cooked green onion.

What is poison is commercial dog food. I add a little salt, less than my taste, to about one meal per day for them. I wish I had a plan for sodium levels that was more scientific. How do wolves get sufficient sodium?


Kareef March, 2016

Dorrie is right, garlic is relatively safe. The same compound found in onions is also in garlic but in much smaller amounts. There are no health benefits for dogs pertaining to onions to warrant the risk. There are, however, a lot of benefits to garlic which makes it worth giving in small amounts. It would take a lot to actually do harm, even with onions.


Jane January, 2015

I have an older dog, a 9 year old Boxer, that has digestive problems. I have had her on a cottage cheese and white rice diet for several months and she seems to love it and looks good from it. I am concerned about the amount of sodium. I give her half a large carton every night and it contains about 1,000mg. Is this too much? She seems well. I was just concerned. Thanks!


DorrieL December, 2015

The dog needs cooked vegetables too! Fruit as well, if she will take it. Otherwise your baby is missing essential nutrients. They sell digestive enzymes for dogs such as Dr. Goodpet on Amazon. That contains probiotics but I also give them a good human-grade probiotic a few times per week and yogurt. Eggs are good too, boiled, scrambled, spinach and cheese omelette. I am here for the answer to the same sodium question you are.


Karen January, 2014

If I am making my own dog food from fresh ground meat, how much salt should I add to a pound of meat to equal .3%?


Terence March, 2014

Salt should not be added to a dog’s diet. It’s normally added to dry dog food for the additional sodium to meet the minimum amount required for all life stages, which is 0.3%. If a food is labeled for maintenance only, the sodium requirement is much lower, around 0.05%, so salt may not need to be added. All meats have salt or naturally occurring sodium though at a very low level.


Kareef March, 2016

You don’t need to add any really. It’s just for taste, if they are used to salt in dry food already. I try to think in terms of what they would normally eat in the wild. Dogs would eat an entire animal, including the organs and the stomach. This is where they would normally get their nutrients from.

They also eat some of the bones for calcium. So I make their food about 80% protein with ground up leafy and root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, normal potatoes). I also try for enzymes similar to what would be in a stomach of a prey animal. Then I add bone meal powder for calcium.


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