What All Dog Owners Should Know About Low Sodium Dog Food

A low sodium diet is absolutely necessary for dogs suffering from these heart diseases: Congestive heart failure, heart murmurs, enlarged heart or Acute kidney failure
Some dog breeds are known to benefit from a low sodium diet from puppy to senior. Check out if your dog is among them!
Main ingredients of this type of food are vegetables, fruits, and meat (chicken)

Dogs have one of the strongest and the most resistant digestive systems in the animal kingdom. They literally can eat almost anything and their stomach will be able to process it. In some cases, even toxins can be processed or removed from the body, without causing any of the harmful effects.

On the other hand, even the digestive tract of a dog isn’t perfect. One of the issues that have been in incline over the years is related to sodium. So, what is sodium, where you find it, and is it safe or not?

The answer to the aforementioned questions is far more complicated than you may believe. The term sodium chloride is more common nowadays, but in fact, it is exactly the same as table salt. Sodium is needed for your dog, but only in specific amounts. Too much or too little can cause side effects.

Another part of the story is that dogs with certain diseases must avoid all food that is rich on sodium. All of these will be explained in depth below, so be sure to read on.

Benefits Sodium has on Dog’s Health

In general, for most of the dogs, sodium is needed. It improves the fluid regulation in the body and it prevents cells from the swelling or even dehydration. Most dog food should contain between 0.35% and 0.5% of the sodium.

Healthy dogs will be able to process even higher amounts of sodium in their food, without a single health issue. However, this isn’t the case with dog breeds that are known to suffer from certain diseases. This is a separate point and it will be explained below.

If your healthy dog has a sodium intake that is above average and above the daily recommended doses, you will notice that he needs more water. The next symptom is excreting a higher amount of urine. There is no need to be concerned, but you should start considering adjusting his diet. If you are really worried, taking your pet to a veterinarian may be the safest alternative.

Dogs that suffer from sodium deficiency, a condition where the sodium levels in their body are below the limit, will display symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. If these symptoms last more than 48 hours, taking your dog to a veterinarian is highly recommended.

  • A low sodium diet is absolutely necessary for dogs suffering from these heart diseases
  • Congestive heart failure, heart murmurs, enlarged heart or Acute kidney failure
  • Some dog breeds are known to benefit from a low sodium diet from puppy to senior.
  • Main ingredients of this type of food are vegetables, fruits, and meat (chicken)

Low sodium dog food and the benefits it offers

Monosodium_glutamate_crystals table sodium


Besides the conventional – we can even say standard – dog foods, we also have low sodium food. This type of food is increasing in popularity among severe dog owners and it has become one of the best alternatives for dog owners looking for the most healthy alternative for their best friends. This type of dog food still contains sodium in recommended amounts, but in lower amounts than ordinary food. This means that it is also suitable for most dogs and it also offers more benefits than conventional food. As such, all dog owners should at least consider using it.

One of the main benefits of this type of food is related to the blood pressure. It helps dogs to maintain healthy blood pressure, despite their ages or condition. The situation for your dog here is actually comparable to humans.

People with higher blood pressure and heart diseases must avoid salt. If people are preferring low-salt food to protect their health, it must most definitely be considered for your pet as well.

Dogs that drink less water than usual, due to some condition or specific situation, should eat low sodium food as well. The explanation for this recommendation is actually simple. If your dog maintains high levels of sodium in the blood, but the amount of water he drinks is lower than usual, he will develop sodium toxicity.

This is a severe condition that can even cause blindness and seizures. Dog food containing less salt simply eliminates the risk of this issue. Try to remember that using this type of food is safe for all dogs, no matter whether they are perfectly healthy or suffer from a disease/condition. All of this means that the food we discuss here is a safe alternative for dogs.

Dogs with health conditions that MUST eat low sodium food

Dogs with the health conditions mentioned below must most definitely be put on a low sodium diet. Their bodies don’t work as they should and the chemical processes are imbalanced. In general, each of the following conditions requires this type of diet, and every veterinarian will confirm that.

1. Congestive heart failure

This is one of the most common health issues in dogs that requires a complete change in the diet. It occurs when one or both sides of a dog’s heart are damaged due to numerous factors. Some symptoms include fatigue, coughing and breathing difficulties. The disease is diagnosed according to blood and urine tests, but an X-ray of the chest may be needed.

If your dog suffers from congestive heart failure, you should seriously consider low sodium food. The condition is also known for maintaining the sodium in the cells, without the actual need for it. This causes sodium buildup, for which this type of food is a mandatory part of the treatment.

Please, make sure to read on after watching the video. We will discuss certain breeds that benefit most from low sodium in their meals.

2. Heart murmurs

The condition here is also known for causing severe heart issues. There are 4 different stages, each one worse than the previous one. The main symptom one should look out for is the sound that comes from the abdominal Veterinarians claim that there are several reasons why heart murmurs occur.

They can be caused by heart damage; issues with the structure of the heart: psychological or pathologic. Low sodium food is once again mandatory for dogs with this condition. It can prolong their life and ease the symptoms. Due to this fact, it is also known for lowering the blood pressure, all dogs suffering from heart murmurs, should eat it.

3. Enlarged heart

Just like humans, dogs can develop an enlarged heart. It is one of the most common conditions nowadays. There are numerous reasons for that and all of them can be considered severe. Keep in mind that the dog’s heart won’t be enlarged completely. Only two sides of it will get bigger dimensions, which has a negative effect on blood pumping.

Eventually, blood from the heart to the lungs will be reduced, meaning that fluids will start accumulating in the lungs. This condition is also known for causing high levels of sodium trapped in the organism, therefore low sodium food is recommended.

4. Acute kidney failure

Dogs suffering from this condition are severely affected by the higher sodium levels. Their kidneys are unable to process and purify the blood, which means that the sodium levels are going to be higher than usual, which isn’t recommended. Acute kidney failure is also known for advancing, making the kidneys less and less functional.

As such, low sodium food should be used as soon as you notice some of the symptoms that include (but are not limited to) weight loss, vomiting, blood in urine and lower water consumption.

Dog breeds predisposed with heart issues

Some dog breeds are known for having higher risks and predispositions for heart issues. As such, all of these breeds should be carefully monitored and the proper diet should be used.

By using low sodium dog food as the main part of the diet, you will simply reduce the risk of developing some heart issues such as an enlarged heart or any of other cardiovascular issues. If you have one of the following dog breeds, changing its diet right now is a perfect choice.

1. Basset Hounds

These dogs are one of the most favorite dog breeds on the planet. Their large ears are simply fantastic. However, they are not immune to heart diseases, mainly the enlarged heart. It is highly advised to start with a proper diet as soon as possible, in order to eliminate the risk of developing this issue.

2. Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are the 3rd most common dog breed in the United States. Generally, they are immune to diseases of the heart, but they are commonly affected by digestive system complications that may have a huge effect on the health. First of all, these issues may cause toxic buildup in the body, including sodium.

High sodium levels are bad for the heart and cardiovascular system in general. All of this means a low sodium diet is needed. In addition, most veterinarians recommend using health diet only.

3. Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas are adorable small dogs, well-known for having tons of energy everyday. But in case your dog is experiencing lack of energy, testing him for heart conditions may be the right thing to do.

By doing so you will eliminate the risk of severe complications. As soon as you notice the first symptoms, usually something like blood in urine, shortness of breath and etc., you should take him to the veterinarian.

4. Boxers

Interesting dogs with an interesting name, no doubts. Well, these dogs also suffer from heart issues. They are more than just prone to these health complications and they are more than just sensitive. They also have predispositions for developing other health issues that may include thyroid problems, hip-related issues and etc.

5. Golden retrievers

Known as some of the best and the most adorable dog breeds on the planet, golden retrievers are a common choice. Sadly, they are hugely affected by heart issues. If you have one of these dogs, make sure you provide plenty of physical activity, proper diet, and regular veterinarian controls.

6. Weimaraners

These lovely dogs are no exception. They are known for suffering from an enlarged heart and several other heart conditions that include: Atrial Septal Defect, Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Patent DuctusArteriosis.

Keep in mind that the first symptoms may be difficult to detect, due to the different behavior of these dogs. It is highly advised that a proper diet should be introduced early in their life. Don’t be afraid, they are still wonderful dogs and proper lifestyle can make sure they never develop any of the diseases we have mentioned. Just be sure to start the recommended diet early enough.

7. Saint Bernard

Dogs of this breed are also known as gentle giants. They are large dogs native to the Swiss Alps, but they are very good and loyal friends. Sadly, they are also known for increased risk of heart diseases. One of the most common health complications is Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

The bottom line is that these dogs are very sensitive to heart complications and most of them may develop some issue during their lifespan. It is mandatory for them to have plenty of physical activity and a healthy diet.

Giant breeds are generally more sensitive to complications of the heart. The situation is the same in humans as well. We all know that taller people have a higher risk of developing a heart disease. No matter what breed your dog is, if he is a member of a giant dog breed, regular controls with your veterinarian are recommended. We will also advise you to use a proper diet that consists of less sodium.

It can reduce the risk from most of these complications and it will prolong the lifespan. It has to be mentioned that giant dog breeds are more sensitive to stress, which has a huge effect on their heart, so try to eliminate it entirely from their life.

Main ingredients of dog food containing lower amounts of sodium

You might think that, because this type of food contains low levels of sodium, it doesn’t include all the ingredients your dog will need. You might also believe that it isn’t healthy food, nor that it should be used. All of these are common mistakes, made by dog owners who weren’t informed correctly.

First and foremost, low sodium dog food is rich in all the ingredients your dog needs. Just to confirm the fact, take a look at the ingredients: in this food, you will be able to find vegetables, fruits, and meat. The combination of all these makes a perfect diet, no matter what breed your dog is, nor how old he is.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also known present in dog food that goes easy on sodium. These acids are the main and the best ingredient for getting a perfect coat. A dog will look younger, healthier and he will have a stronger, more resistant fur. This also makes cleaning less time-consuming.

We mentioned that meat is present in this type of dog food. However, we should add to that fact that here only chicken or turkey meat is included. As you may know, chicken meat is the best choice for us, humans, so it has the same benefits on dogs. It is low in fat and it is right in proteins.

Low sodium dog food can also be divided according to the age of your dog. We have food for puppies and smaller breeds in general. It is loaded with protein which is important for proper development and for lots of energy. Dogs eating this food will grow faster and stronger. It also eliminates the risk of deformities.

Food for adult dogs has fewer calories, but most of the other ingredients are present. It is still perfectly safe and it is a great choice for your dog spends a lot of time in your home.

Senior dogs require a bit different food. They require vitamins, minerals, and more fluid. They also appreciate softer food. In general, this type of food will make senior dogs happier and more satisfied.

Low sodium food: Basic guidelines

If you are thinking of moving to this type of food, you should know that there exist products with several levels of salt. For example, a high sodium diet contains over 0.5% of sodium in the diet. It may be suitable for healthy dogs, but for those we mentioned here it should be avoided.

Mild restrictions will change the diet and allow for your dog to get between 0.35 and 0.5% of sodium in the food. It is perfect as the introductory food.

Moderate restrictions are more demanding. Dogs will have to eat food with between 0.1 and 0.35% of sodium. This kind of food is recommended for dogs that are prone to the heart or other conditions. It is also a useful addition to conventional diet.

The high sodium restriction diet is designed for dogs who must avoid sodium at all cost. Only intake below 0.1% is acceptable here. A good thing is the fact there is food of this kind that is still delicious and most dogs won’t even notice the lack of sodium. It is simply mandatory for dogs with health issues.


So, is this low sodium food a good choice? The answer is simple. It is highly recommended by a large number of veterinarians and dog experts, due to a positive effect on the general health. On the other side, we have dogs that due to health conditions must eat this type of food only. We also saw which ingredients can be found inside this type of food.

There are no other words than simply saying that low sodium food is a great alternative that must be taken into consideration by just about every dog owner. It is a safe, beneficial and healthy alternative that will prolong the lifespan of your dog and protect him from severe health issues. So, just ask yourself, why didn’t I buy this type of food for my best friend earlier?

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