Humans know we need to watch salt levels in our diets, you may also be wondering if salt is bad for dogs? If not, it’s important to know how much salt a dog needs to have and how much sodium is too much. Yes, your dog definitely can eat salt and needs a certain amount for bodily functions. However, giving your dog high-sodium foods and salty treats can cause serious health problems. In moderation, salt is good for dogs, but there are a lot of factors that can affect this answer.
The truth is, your dog probably gets enough sodium from his daily diet and additional salt can start to become bad and unhealthy. In fact, if your dog suffers from extreme dehydration, high-blood pressure, tremors, and other health conditions, it is possible your pup needs a low-salt dog food.
To help you keep your pet healthy, active and fit, we’ve compiled this guide on salt for dogs. From how it affects them to how much your dog can have to avoiding salt poisoning in dogs, read on to learn everything you need to know.
Do Dogs Need Salt?
Yes, dogs do need salt. But, this doesn’t mean that you should start putting salt on their food. Dog food is made according to the health needs of dogs, and there is already an appropriate amount of salt in it. Your dogs don’t need any additional salt, and it can actually do a lot of harm if there is too much salt in their diets.
It is essential that there be salt in the human diet, and dogs need some as well, but not nearly as much as we do. Sodium is necessary for the functions of the immune system, and it helps dogs to grow strong. But, they need a very small amount of sodium.
In fact, the Association of American Feed Control states that dry dog food should contain around 0.3 percent sodium. Some dog foods do contain more, but this is a minimum recommendation, meaning that this is the least amount of sodium that should be in dog food. Still, it is a rather low amount, so you can see just how little dogs really need.
How Much Salt Do Dogs Need?
Because all dog food contains salt, there is absolutely no need to give your dogs other foods that have any salt. You don’t need to season their foods, and you shouldn’t be giving them salty treats, such as potato chips and salted popcorn.
Too much salt can even cause death! As a rule, just 1.5 grams of salt per pound of body weight can kill a dog. That is a lot of salt, but it can happen if a dog happens to rip open a bag of chips and eat them, knock over a salt shaker and eat it, etc. It is a good idea to keep salt and salty treats well out of the reach of your dogs.
Yes, we do realize that not all dogs are the same, and that some are able to eat foods that others can’t. But, when it comes to salt, it is best to avoid it altogether, just to be on the safe side.
Dogs only need a tiny amount in their diets, and they get all that they need from the dog food that they eat. Adult dogs require approximately 0.06 percent sodium in their diets. Growing puppies require more, about four times that amount.
Be Careful At The Beach
Here is something that you may not have even considered: Your dogs probably drink the water at the beach when they are playing and swimming, and if you take them to ocean beaches, they are drinking salt water! Most dogs do love to run and play in the water, and then they become thirsty and start drinking the water.
If you are walking your dogs at an ocean beach, don’t allow them to drink the water, which can cause such health problems as “beach diarrhea”, dehydration, and more. Always carry a bottle of water with you for your dogs to drink, and train them to only drink that water.
Sure, there are going to be accidents, but if you are careful, you can take your dogs to ocean beaches without having to worry about them eating too much salt.
What If My Dogs Get Into Salt or Salty Foods?
Too much salt can cause a lot of health problems in dogs, so even though they may beg for treats, don’t give them a lot of chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc. A couple of potato chips isn’t going to hurt a dog, but when they have anything with added salt, always make sure that there is plenty of water for them to drink.
The last thing you want is for your dogs to become dehydrated because it can lead to a whole host of other health problems.
If your dogs have gotten into large amounts of salt or salty foods, contact your veterinarian if you notice any negative effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or seizures. Left untreated, a dog that has ingested too much salt can experience seizures, and it can be deadly.
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Salt in Moderation
We can’t stress enough that even though dogs do need some sodium in their diets, they get all that they need from their regular dog food.
There is never any need to give them anything that contains salt, and some dogs even require low-sodium diets, particularly those with such health problems as diabetes and heart disease.
Keep your dogs healthy and happy by keeping salty treats away from them.