The Best Low Sodium Dog Food: What You Should Know
Most dog owners have never considered the necessity of low sodium dog food. Low sodium dog food is most often prescribed to dogs that have some form of heart disease. If it has to come to your attention that your dog is in need of a diet with little to no salt, it is crucial that start them on this type of food immediately.
What to look for, where to find it, and why your dog needs low sodium dog food can be found in this article. Good luck on your dog’s journey to a healthy heart.
Why Is Low Sodium Dog Food Important?
When a dog is suffering from heart disease, he loses the ability to properly filter salt out of the body. When your dog’s body cannot get rid of the salt he eats, it lingers in the body causing edema (swelling), decreased kidney function or failure, and dehydration.
These negative side effects stemming from too much salt can put an unnecessary strain on your dog’s already struggling heart.
How Much Sodium Is Too Much?
If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease but they are not showing any symptoms, a mild sodium restriction diet may be all they need. This type of dog food can be found easily through many popular dog food brands and can even be bought at most stores that sell dog food.
For dogs suffering from severe heart disease or heart failure, a more strict sodium restricted diet can be detrimental. Dogs suffering from heart failure have symptoms such as coughing, breathing heavily, stomach distention (Swollen and hard belly), and edema (fluid retention swelling in various parts of the body).
Most human table foods are a huge no-no for dogs with a sodium restricted diet. Chips, bread, condiments, and many other common human snacks contain a large amount of salt which can be hazardous to your dog’s heart health.
Protein In Heart Patients
High-quality protein is generally recommended for dogs with heart disease or failure. Dog foods which provide real meat instead of meals (ground-up meat by-products) are much healthier for your dog.
Low protein diets can have a negative effect on your dog’s health. When they don’t get enough protein, dogs can lose valuable muscle mass which can decrease their survival time. Protein helps to keep their muscles and heart strong, giving them energy to combat their disease.
The only time your dog's protein should be restricted is if their heart disease is accompanied by severe kidney disease or failure. Kidneys in distress have a difficult time processing protein. When a dog with heart and kidney disease is given too much protein, their kidneys can fail, causing a slew of new problems for your dog’s health.
Sodium Restrictions Guideline
The amount of sodium your dog may be allowed to have all depends on the severity of their heart problem. There are three levels of sodium restricted diets for your heart patient. You can see these levels on the back of dog food bags.
The first two sodium restriction levels can usually be found in many commercial dog foods. Severe sodium restriction diets may have to be acquired through veterinary prescription. Many pets do not want to eat prescription pet foods because of their taste.
It is important to weigh your options between prescription and regular low sodium dog food. If your dog does not eat enough, they may become malnourished, adding to their illness.
Consistency is of key importance in a sodium restricted diet. These dogs need to have the same amount of sodium every day so that their bodies can adjust.
Making Your Own Dog Food
If your dog is not taking well to their sodium restricted diet, making your own dog food may be a great option. You just have to be sure that all the ingredients you use are low sodium and absolutely do not add any salt at all. Talking to your veterinarian about certain recipes you find may be helpful.
Here is a helpful video I enjoy when I make homemade dog food for my dog.
Low Sodium Dog Food Reviews
Here are five low sodium dog foods which have consistently been given great reviews by dog lovers.
This would be the first low sodium dog food option that I would talk to my vet about if my dog ever needs a sodium restricted diet. Whichever product you choose, it is extremely important to talk to a veterinarian before giving it to your dog.