Your doctor has probably already advised you to monitor the level of salt in your diet, given the harmful effects of excess salt on our health. What about salt in dog food? Is it dangerous to give them some? It is well known that salty food is appreciated by dogs because it is appetizing. However, beware of excess salt in your four-legged animal’s meals.
In this article, we are going to review the benefits of salt in our canine friends’ diet and the potential dangers, as salt poisoning can occur.
Salt: essential in a dog’s diet
Salt or sodium chloride is an essential nutrient for a dog’s body. Indeed, it has several properties and benefits:
- Regulation of water content in the body;
- Normal functioning of the nervous system and vital organs;
- Improves digestion.
On the other hand, salt in dog food improves the taste of food and stimulates the appetite and sensation of thirst.
In short, in reasonable quantities, salt is essential for the body and must be present in your pet’s food. However, a diet rich in salt can cause intoxication.
Salt poisoning in dogs
Although it can occur at any time of the year, salt poisoning in dogs is much more common during holiday periods when salty foods are most accessible. In addition, snow removal salt is also easily accessible for dogs.
The toxic dose of sodium chloride in dogs is 18 grams per kilogram of body weight. In case of salt poisoning, the dog becomes dehydrated, especially if he has no access to water. Symptoms of salt poisoning in dogs can appear after a few minutes or even hours and are mainly:
- Digestive: vomiting, abundant diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, nausea and intense thirst.
- Nervous: overexcited, convulsions followed by coma and death.
Salty foods to avoid
To maintain a certain balance in your dog’s diet, certain foods with high salt content should be avoided. Here are a few examples of salty foods to avoid giving your dog:
- Processed meats;
- Aperitif biscuits:
- French fries.
However, there is no need to worry. If the dog has been secretly eating these foods in small amounts, hydration with water may be sufficient, but be sure to monitor your dog’s symptoms and behaviour.
My dog has ingested salt: what can I do?
If your dog’s salt poisoning is mild or if you notice the symptoms listed above, it is recommended that you give him plenty to drink to keep him hydrated. If the poisoning is severe, the dog may refuse to drink and it is essential to take him to the vet immediately.
The doctor will establish a treatment in the form of infusion and diuretics to help remove the salt from your dog’s body.
In addition, it is important to adopt a strict, low-salt diet. In fact, it is advisable to adapt the diet according to your dog’s size, breed and state of health. For dogs with heart and kidney disease, a very low-salt diet is required.
Ask your veterinarian for advice on the suitable salt diet.
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