The Dangers of Added Salt in Dog Food - And How to Avoid Them
Many commercial dog foods contain added salt for the same reason it is added to human food, it is a flavour enhancer. But do dogs need this flavour enhancer? Are there any hidden dangers?
What does salt do?
Salt (sodium chloride) is an essential macronutrient needed by dogs. It maintains the correct water balance and is also important in maintaining proper nerve and cell function.
But should it be an added food ingredient?
Absolutely not. Salt is found naturally in good quality ingredients like meat, fish and eggs. There is no need to add salt as a food ingredient. A high-quality dog food full of meat will mean your dog will get enough salt naturally.
Why do some manufacturers bother to add salt?
It makes the food tastier. Some dogs do like the taste and will eat more of a food if the flavour has been enhanced by salt (just like junk food). Like humans, once the taste of salt is expected, food without salt can appear boring.
What are the dangers if your dog eats too much salt?
The following can result if your dog eats too much salt:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased water intake
- Haemoglobin concentration
- Dry tacky mucous membrane
In more severe cases too much sodium can also cause swelling throughout your dog's body. This puts a strain on the circulatory system and kidneys as the body tries to get rid of this excess salt. You need to take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect this or see any of the following symptoms:
How can I check a dog food I was worried about?
Simple. Turn your bag over and if salt appears as a food ingredient consider a different choice.
It will look like this:
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Soybean Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine
Here salt has been added as a food ingredient in a commercially available brand.
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