Pop Quiz: “Is salt bad for dogs?”
If you are a dog owner who would like to know the answer to this question, you have definitely come to the right place.
Here are some extremely important facts that all dog owners should know.
Is Salt Bad For Dogs?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Let’s explain.
While salt doesn’t make the list of foods dogs can’t eat, you do have to be aware of the details here. Dogs need a small amount of salt, or sodium chloride, in their everyday diet, excessive salt is not recommended for pups.
When your dog consumes salt in small amounts, it can promote optimal cell functioning including electrolyte balance, nerve cell communication, and fluid balance. It is still an important part of dog nutrition.
Salt is definitely going to be extremely dangerous for dogs if they consume sodium in excess, though.
How Much Salt Can Dogs Eat?
When determining how much salt is okay for your dog, it’s always best to consult with a vet. A vet can provide daily sodium intake suggestions based on your pup’s health, weight, and size.
Just so you know, the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources has stated that pups who weigh 33 pounds probably won’t survive if they ingest over 100 mg of salt in less than 24 hours.
Keep in mind that if your dog consumes too much salt, it could result in salt poisoning.
What Is Salt Poisoning?
Let’s face it: Consuming almost any food in excess is really bad for humans and dogs.
Also known as salt toxicity, salt poisoning occurs when your dog consumes too much salt, causing a lot of sodium in your pup’s blood. The medical term for an excess of salt in your dog’s blood is hypernatremia.
Salt toxicity is likely to occur if a dog doesn’t quickly drink water after ingesting too much salt at one time.
Salt poisoning is a serious condition, especially if your dog isn’t treated in a timely manner.
What Causes Salt Toxicity In Dogs?
If your dog eats a French fry or licks a little salt off the floor, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
Here’s the deal, though: There are several things that may cause salt poisoning in pups when consumed in large amounts. Some of these things include:
- Homemade salt dough or playdough
- Rock salt
- Table salt
- Enemas with sodium phosphate
- Salty table scraps such as burgers, hot dogs, and pork or any sausage kind
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Suffering From Salt Poisoning?
Every dog owner should know the signs of salt poisoning. Here are the most common signs of salt poisoning in dogs:
- Overly tired
- Poor appetite
- Swelling body
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Vomiting diarrhea
While some dogs experience these symptoms almost immediately after salt poisoning, other dogs won’t experience salt poisoning symptoms until a few days after the fact. Regardless of when the salt poisoning symptoms appear, they can cause your dog much discomfort and distress.
If your dog is experiencing any of the following salt poisoning symptoms, you should definitely contact a vet or pet poison helpline as soon as possible . When salt poisoning isn’t treated promptly, your dog could potentially die.
How Will A Vet Diagnose Salt Poisoning In Dogs?
As soon as you and your pup arrive at the veterinarian clinic, the vet will physically examine your pup. A vet will also check your pup’s vital signs to determine whether it’s in a life-threatening condition.
In order to check the sodium levels in your pup’s blood, a vet will perform blood work and urinalysis. Depending on the sodium levels, a vet may also perform a CT scan, MRI, or EKG to make sure the brain and organs weren’t damaged from the sodium.
Pro Tip: During the physical examination, make sure to tell the vet exactly how your pup consumed too much salt. A vet will also need to know what symptoms your pup was experiencing.
What Are The Best Life-Saving Treatments For Salt Poisoning In Pups?
As soon as you suspect that your pup is suffering from salt poisoning, you should give your dog water. Just make sure that your pup doesn’t drink too much water in an extremely short amount of time.
When you take your pup to the veterinarian clinic, a vet will usually recommend IV fluid therapy to gradually lower the sodium levels. A vet may also need to treat your pup’s liver and brain if these organs were damaged from salt poisoning.
There’s a good chance that your pup will be hospitalized for a few days.
What To Expect During Recovery?
More than likely, your pup will recover well after receiving prompt treatment for salt poisoning.
Most vets will suggest a low sodium diet for your pup to maintain normal sodium levels.
During the recovery, you’ll want to monitor your pup for any strange symptoms.
After about four weeks, you may need to take your pup back to the veterinarian clinic so that a vet can check its sodium levels again.
How Can You Prevent Salt Poisoning In Dogs?
The good news is that salt poisoning in dogs can be entirely prevented. Check out these great ways to prevent salt poisoning in dogs.
- Avoid giving your pup salt to induce vomiting
- Buy dog food and treats with a really low sodium content
- Encourage your pup to drink water throughout the day
- Place homemade play dough and salt dough in a hard-to-reach area
- Make sure that your dog isn’t drinking a ton of saltwater at the beach
- Say “no” when your pup picks up items that are soaked in saltwater
- When at the beach, keep your pup entertained so that it isn’t going in the ocean as much
- Stop giving your dog salty human food such as pizza, cheese, canned veggies, and hotdogs
- Keep your pup away from paintballs, salt lamps, and salt containers
Although salt poisoning in pups is definitely preventable, accidents can still occur. Always contact a vet if you suspect that your pup is suffering from salt poisoning.
What About The Salt In Pup Food And Treats?
According to much research, most prepackaged dog food is formulated with a healthy amount of sodium. As a precaution, you can always ask a vet to double-check the sodium level in a particular pup food before serving it to your pup.
Here’s something important to remember: For most healthy dogs, there is almost no risk of feeding them any of the pup food that can be found in the pet or grocery store.
If you are making homemade pup food, you’ll want to consult with a vet to determine how much sodium your dog actually needs. Since most ingredients already contain salt, you probably don’t need to add any salt to the homemade dog food.
As far as dog treats are concerned, you should definitely purchase ones that don’t contain high amounts of sodium. By doing so, you will avoid giving your pup too much sodium accidentally.
Pro Tip: When deciding which dog food and treats to buy, ensure that sodium isn’t listed in the first few ingredients.
What Happens When Dogs Are Salt Deficient?
Did you know that too little sodium in your pup’s diet is just as bad? The reality is that sodium is a key mineral in your pup’s regular diet.
When your pup doesn’t consume enough sodium, the organs and systems could shut down. Since bad things can also happen when dogs aren’t ingesting enough sodium, it’s extremely important that you avoid removing salt from your pup’s diet completely.
The best thing that you can do is monitor the amount of sodium your pup ingests on a daily basis.
Do you want to learn more about why too much sodium can be really bad for your dog?
Contact a vet today to get all of your questions answered.
Most vets will tell dog owners that their dogs should have just the right amount of sodium in their diet.
1. How much salt is safe for dogs?
Generally speaking, pups are not able to consume as much sodium as humans.
For average-sized dogs weighing around 33 pounds, consuming less than 100 mg of salt a day is generally considered safe.
Of course, you should always talk with a vet to determine safe sodium amounts for your dog. If your pup suffers from medical conditions like heart, liver, or kidney disease, a vet may recommend lower amounts of sodium.
Always remember that salt poisoning could occur if your dog consumes too much salt.
2. Do dogs need salt in their food?
As part of a healthy diet, most dogs need a little sodium in their food.
After all, salt plays a major role in promoting optimal fluid balance, organ functioning, cell support, and transmission of nerve impulses.
Many of the packaged dog food that’s available in pet stores already contain the right amount of salt. There are a couple of benefits of including sodium in dog food. Salt provides pups with a key mineral, and it also keeps dog food fresh for a long time.
3. What foods are toxic to dogs?
There are several toxic foods that are really bad for dogs.
Here are the foods that can cause salt poisoning in dogs: Pup food with high sodium content, processed meats, popcorn, cheese, pretzels, and potato chips.
Some additional food that can negatively impact your dog’s overall health and wellbeing are chocolate, avocados, mushrooms, grapes, raisins, garlic, xylitol, and onions.
Dogs should also avoid beverages such as coffee, alcohol, tea, and milk.
If your pup accidentally consumes one of these toxic foods, visit a vet sooner rather than later.
4. What should I do if my dog eats too much salt?
If your dog consumes too much salt, it’s extremely important to seek veterinary care immediately. Why? Salt poisoning in dogs can cause dehydration, neurological problems, and even death if it’s not treated promptly.
Before heading to the vet, make sure to remove the salt from your pup’s reach and give it some water as soon as possible.
When it comes to salt poisoning treatment, your vet will probably recommend IV fluids. The treatment may take a few days to lower the sodium levels.