Like all creatures including us humans, dogs need a balanced diet to keep healthy and live a long happy life. Sodium or salt intake does not seem to create high blood pressure in dogs but it does have severe health impacts in dogs with some heart conditions.
All dog need a good quality protein, crude fats and fibre and essential vitamins and minerals.In order for a dog food to be marketed as complete and balanced, it must meet the nutritional standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). A claim of quality dog food must be validated in laboratory analysis plus actual feeding trials.
Guaranteed Analysis Of Dog Food
A Guaranteed Analysis for dog food will provide information about what is actually in your dog food. Once you understand how to read it, you will better understand how to compare different varieties of dog food. By AAFCO regulations, the guaranteed analysis is only required to list four nutrients: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber and moisture.
- Crude protein of about 15 - 30%
- Crude fat of about 10 - 20%
- Crude fiber of about 2 - 4%
- Moisture at 8 - 12%
This is typically normal, however, we all know that not all dogs are the same. Some dogs have allergies, some are overweight, some have kidney disease and many other health concerns that may require a specialised diet.
Why Does A Dog Require A Low Sodium Diet
Dogs can usually manage their salt or sodium levels quite well. They can increase their intake of water and flush out any excessive minerals including sodium or salt in their system.
In some dogs, excessive salt can cause heart disease, specifically congestive heart failure and even some kidney and liver conditions. Congestive heart failure will cause fluid to build up in your dog's body and around your dogs heart. Salt causes fluid retention and can make this condition worse so by reducing their salt intake, the excessive fluid can hopefully be expelled.
You generally won't know this unless you have concerns about your dogs health and your vet has diagnosed an issue. Your vet will undertake some tests and recommends a specific low sodium diet for your dog.
How Much Salt Is Too Much
If your veterinarian diagnoses a problem with your dog's sodium levels or recommends a diet low in sodium due to a particular health concern, you will need to know what to look for when buying dog food.
As the AAFCO does not regulate sodium levels in dog food, it can be difficult to know what is high or low but here is a guide to help you from our friends at the Vermont Vet Cardiology Clinic:
No Sodium Restriction
Mild Sodium Restriction
0.35 - 0.5%
80 - 100 mg
Moderate Sodium Restriction
0.1 - 0.35%
50 - 80 mg
** Note that Salt can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities over a short period of time. If you suspect this, then get to the vet for treatment ASAP.
Why Have A Grain Free Diet For Dogs
There is lots of discussion on grain-free diets these days. While many say that grains is an unnatural food for dogs and should not be a part of your dogs diet, others simply have concerns on the impact that grains may be having on their dogs health.
Yes, some dogs can eat anything and still seem to thrive but others are more sensitive and can not tolerate some foods. Grains are a food that can upset some dogs stomachs or even cause severe allergic reactions.
A friend battled a skin conditions on her dog for years and was prescribed drugs, creams, shampoos and specialist dog food to try to fix the conditions. Besides costing a fortune, they didn't actually work. On a recommendation from a friend, she tried a grain free diet and incredibly her dog is now free from itchy, painful and irritated skin. Her dog is so much happier due to this simple and inexpensive change to her dogs diet.
Low Sodium Grain-Free Diet For Dogs
Getting both low sodium and grain free in one dog food may be quite difficult. You will need to do your homework and search around for a low sodium, grain-free food that suits your dog.
We will however, give you a little helping hand. Here are a few of the best low sodium grain free dog food brands that we have found:
1. Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Orijen Original Dog Food is a high quality Grain-free dog food. The sodium content is 0.3% which fits into the moderate sodium restriction level and is a good option for a low sodium diet.
2. Wellness Complete Health Dog Food - Fish
Wellness Complete Health Dog Food is 100% grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your dog. It is rich in premium fish proteins combined with real vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals. Contains only premium, all natural, grain-free ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives and is made in the USA.
The Sodium content is 0.3% which fits into the moderate sodium restriction level and is a good option for a low sodium diet.
3. Wellness Complete Health Dog Food - Chicken
This alternate Wellness Complete Health Dog Food Chicken Variety is 100% grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your dog. It is rich in premium proteins combined with real vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals. Contains only premium, all natural, grain-free ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives and is made in the USA.
The Sodium content of the chicken dog food is a low 0.16% which fits into the lower end of the moderate sodium restriction level and is a very good option for a low sodium diet.
3. Hill's Prescription Diet h/d Cardiac Health
This is not grain free however, Hills Heart Care h/d has very low sodium content so i have added it if you do not mind feeding your dog grains. This one has been specifically formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog's heart health.
The Sodium content of the Hills Heart Care dog food is a low 0.08% which fits into the severe sodium restriction level and is a great option for a low sodium diet. **Not grain-free.
Best Low Sodium Grain Free Dog Food To Choose
It really hard to know what the best low sodium grain free dog food for your dog is without trying a few out. Firstly, speak to your vet on what your dog's sodium restrictions level is. Try a few brands and find which one your dog like best. Always monitor your dogs health and seek veterinary advice when needed.