The Truth About Salt (Sodium) When It Comes To Your Dog!

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Straightaway you should know that excessive canine consumption of salt can cause dehydration and a bunch of other problems.

That’s why chips or pretzels are all wrong for your dog.

Can I Give My Dog Salt?Some sodium is necessary, but your pet’s regular food will fulfill this requirement.

Thankfully there is no reason to panic if your dog has eaten a salty snack. Just provide lots of fresh water.

Dogs Should Have Their Salt Intake Strictly Limited

Introducing extra sodium is a bad idea.

Make no mistake:

Frequently provide your dog with overly salty foods and it will ultimately lead to poor health.

Be sure to restrict your buddy’s sodium intake. Seriously!

That means no sharing of salty snacks (at least on a regular basis).

Giving your dog a couple of salted peanuts isn’t so terrible. They may just get thirsty afterwards.

On the other hand…

Don’t let them stick their face in a bag of chips, or eat mouthfuls of junk food!

Accidents do happen so have fresh water at the ready to head off dehydration.

A Little Bit is Good


Some salt makes sense and is actually healthy. Dogs do need sodium.

But it cannot be stressed enough: This need easily gets met by feeding regular dog food.

Exactly How Much Salt?

So what’s considered enough?

A small amount!

The Association of American Feed Control advocates the following:

At least 0.3% of sodium should be included in your dog’s dry food.

A slightly higher salt percentage is okay, but don’t go much above half a percent (0.5%).

FYI: Sometimes a reduced sodium diet is necessary for medical reasons.

Customize a Canine Diet

A low-sodium diet can be essential for dogs with kidney, liver or heart disease.

For example:

You can lower elevated blood pressure by reducing salt (obviously applies to dogs as well).

If possible, consider cooking Fido’s food at home.

Otherwise, a quality limited-ingredient low-sodium dog food formula will suffice.

Get your vet’s opinion. They deal with preventative health situations all the time as well as serious conditions (like congestive heart failure).

Sensitivity And Symptoms

The good news is dogs do not usually experience sodium iron poisoning. They typically need to eat a lot of salty snacks for that to occur.

But, if such poisoning does occur, the tell-tale symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures (less common)

When there’s extreme thirst you will witness aggressive drinking which is normal for a pet pooch.

Ocean Water Warning

Do you live near the beach?

If so, you’ve likely noticed that excited dogs (those doing exercise and especially in the summer heat) get quite thirsty.

Without fresh water, your dog may turn to the coastline to top up. It’s a terrible way to consume salt!

Dogs that drink sea water can easily get what’s known as beach diarrhea.

Take fresh water with you when your furry friend joins you at the shore.

The Bottom Line

Do not give your dog a bunch of salt. It’ll eventually catch up with them.

Quality canine chow provides sufficient sodium.

Keep salty snacks out of reach.

If your dog has consumed a salty food you should make sure they have plenty of fresh drinking water!

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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20 thoughts on “The Truth About Salt (Sodium) When It Comes To Your Dog!”

  1. I feed my dog sauerkraut daily because I’ve heard that pickled food is good for the immune system and prevents cancer. Unlike sauerkraut for us, I make with 1% NaCl (not natural salt) without spices. Since my dog doesn’t eat kraut chunks, I put the contents into a blender and add equal amounts of brine (feeding one teaspoonful twice a day).

  2. Very little salt is needed, even if you do cook for your dog instead of the organ meat and other ingredients in kibble. Dogs have a way of getting into enough treats that have salt.

  3. My boyfriend thinks it is okay to give our dogs salted snacks because, as he says, “they love it”!. Of course they do, but they don’t know it can hurt them in the long run. I Googled ‘dogs and salt’ and got a lot of good info to show him when he gets home from work.

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

    1. No, you should put some banana on her food.

  5. 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?

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

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

  8. 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?

  9. 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?

    1. The guideline is 0.3% minimum of sodium in food, and max of 25 grams per day, which is not easily computed. You have to start with quantity of food, calories and then determine percentage of sodium (converted to grams).

      I have a skinny, 2 and 1/2 year, 7 pounder who loves beef bouillon. His regular food is rated 0.5%. When doing a calculation, it puts him over the 25% max. Have you gleaned any more info, since posting this?

  10. 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.

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

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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%?

    1. 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.

    2. 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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