What is The Best Low Sodium Dog Food?
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For the good things in life to remain that way – there needs to be a balance. When it comes to food, too much of anything – even healthy ingredients – can be harmful to our health. Sodium can be found in almost anything we eat or drink and, although sometimes we can’t taste it, should be measured in order to avoid excess sodium intake which can cause various health conditions.
For many dog owners, the concept of food-related health risks can be quite confusing. Yet, dogs can experience common sodium-related health problems just like in humans, and they can be life-threatening if not treated properly and timely.
For dogs and humans alike, sodium is linked to high blood pressure, which causes damage to internal organs and increases the risk of heart disease/failure, stroke, and kidney disease.
It is wise for all dog owners to monitor sodium intake in order to ensure a healthy and long life for your pup. Yet, some dogs do eventually get diagnosed with Hypernatremia, or excess sodium in the blood.
Symptoms and Treatment
The condition generally causes neurological symptoms that, although they can be dismissed as a minor mood swing, are easy to spot. A few noticeable symptoms include:
- Increased thirst
If you have an inkling that your dog could be experiencing symptoms due to excess sodium, don’t panic! This is quite common in dogs and it’s nothing that a visit to the vet won’t fix. Your vet will thoroughly examine your dog’s medical history and then perform a physical examination that will reveal blood count, biochemistry profile, and sodium level. If excess sodium is the case, the doctor’s first course of treatment is fluid therapy through an IV or feeding liquids to your pup.
Even if your dog doesn’t necessarily suffer from excess sodium, there are loads of benefits to reducing sodium intake for all dogs, such as:
- Less sodium will keep your dog hydrated for longer
- Less water intake in order to avoid swollen organs
- Help prevent heart conditions
- Less chance for osteoporosis
How Much Sodium Should Dogs Consume?
Healthy dogs weighing 33 pounds should consume no more than 100 mg of sodium a day, according to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, a division of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. The ideal amount depends on calories consumed and type of diet required, according to the following ratios by Vermont Veterinary Cardiology Services:
Mild Sodium Diet: 0.3-0.4% (% of dry matter), or 80-100 mg per 100 calories
Moderate Sodium Diet: 0.2%-0.3%, or 50-80 mg of sodium per 100 calories
Marked Sodium Diet: 0.15%-0.2%, or 40-50 mg of sodium per 100 calories
Extreme Sodium Diet: 0.075%-0.15%, or 20-40 mg of sodium per 100 calories
You can easily check and see which category your pup’s food fits into by checking the nutrition label and dividing the sodium percentage by the metabolizable energy (kcal/kg, as fed). Then multiply by 1,000,000. If you can’t find sodium content on the label (The Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO, does not require it), check if the recipe states that it meets nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.
Jump ahead to read about all our favorite low-sodium dog foods.
High Sodium Foods That Dogs Should Avoid
Salty foods taste great but are dangerous for pets with Hypernatremia, high blood pressure, and heart failure. If your pup is afflicted with one of these health issues and needs to be put on a low sodium diet, they should stay away from the following high sodium human foods:
– Cheese or peanut butter
– Deli or luncheon meats
– Commercially prepared or cured meats or fish (bacon, ham, sardines, for example)
– Hot dogs
– Ketchup, pickles or olives
– Broth or soups
– Crackers, chips, popcorn, pretzels
– Canned vegetables or other packaged convenience foods
– Breads made with self-rising flour or biscuit mixes
– Salted nuts
The Best Low Sodium Dog Food
Dog owners can now also easily find and purchase low-sodium dog food for their pets, whether they are health conscious or as part of the vet’s orders. Not all brands are created equal, though. Some offer prescription diets and are low in sodium but may contain low quality ingredients, which could add create other health issues. We’ve made a list below of the top high quality low-sodium dog food on the market for guaranteed health improvement and dog-approved taste!
1. Nom Nom
Nom Nom is dedicated to its motto ‘Better Food, Better Health’. While they sincerely mean this for all dogs, it is truly a game-changer for dog parents who are looking for low sodium dog food options. The additional benefits of a healthier, low-sodium diet include weight maintenance, shinier coats, and increased energy.
Nom Nom offers made-to-order, homemade meals that are custom made especially for your dog. Dog owners who want to reduce their dog’s sodium intake need only mention this in the questionnaire that is sent to every customer upon purchase and the experts at Nom Nom will do the rest. Your dog will receive the yummiest, freshest meal possible and you can be sure that sodium levels will be low.
Our favorite recipe is Chicken Chow Wow.
Chicken Chow Wow
Ollie is another great option for low-sodium dog food. Ollie customizes dog food according to all of your dog’s nutritional needs, including the intake of sodium. By customizing the sodium levels in your dog’s food, Ollie’s meals make your dog healthier with increased energy levels and provide good vitamin sources for oral health and shinier coats.
Ollie uses only human-grade ingredients you can trust and high quality meat sourced from family-run farms in the US and Australia. Their meals are filled with fruits and veggies (yes, they’re just as healthy for pets as they are for us!) which are gently cooked to preserve their nutrients. In addition, they make an effort to include superfoods such as chia seeds and omega-6 fatty acids and they avoid all fillers such as by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Our favorite Ollie recipe is Hearty Beef Eats.
Hearty Beef Eats
3. Spot & Tango
(Starts as low as $3/day. Free Shipping)
Spot & Tango is another top choice for low sodium dog food. They have a variety of meals prepared in human-grade facilities with high-quality products. The fresh ingredients that they use like carrots, spinach and peas are extremely healthy and make a big difference in the taste for dogs. Their meals contain a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, & fats. Their protein comes from high quality sources like lamb, beef, or turkey and excludes by-products, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Their Beef & Millet recipe is mouthwatering!