The Importance of Sodium in Your Dog’s Diet

Sodium is an essential mineral for life.

Found in the blood and in the fluid that surrounds cells, sodium maintains the cellular environment and prevents cells from swelling or dehydrating. Sodium is also important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle cell function.


What Are the Sources of Sodium in Dog Foods?

Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are good sources of sodium.

Sodium also might be included in commercial pet foods in the form of table salt (sometimes listed on the ingredient panel as salt). Salt is an important palatant for animals, as well as for people.


How Much Sodium Do Dogs Need?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends that dry dog foods contain at least 0.3% sodium for both maintenance and to support normal growth and development. This is the minimum recommended levels.

While high sodium intake might cause increased thirst and water consumption, the extra sodium is excreted in the urine of dogs. Healthy dogs are able to consume diets with higher sodium levels than those found in most commercial pet foods without increased blood pressure or gain in body water.


 

Therefore, the sodium level in commercial pet foods is not a cause for concern in healthy animals.


When Might Sodium Restriction Be Recommended?

A veterinarian might recommend decreasing a dog's sodium intake if the animal has some types of kidney, liver, or heart disease, in order to help decrease high blood pressure or the accumulation of excessive body fluid.

Although older dogs might be more likely to develop these diseases, healthy older dogs do not require a low- or reduced-sodium diet.


Nutritional Application

The sodium level in our dog foods is appropriate for a healthy dog. The sodium content in these foods is balanced in proper proportions with energy, other minerals, vitamins, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.