Being an integral part of any diet, salt is made readily available for any consumer all across the globe.
They are widely known for adding flavor and taste to bland food and meals. But what does this condiment consist of that we should be on the look out for? Does it have the same effect on dogs as it has on humans?
Being a common ingredient in many foods, salt is more often than not perceived as an ingredient that only brings unhealthy elements to our body. The said negative perceptions often lead us to reduce salt intakes in our diet.
Let’s first figure out what it does to our body.
Salty foods tend to have sodium content, which is one of the minerals that we need in our body. However, excessive sodium intake can lead to certain complications. Here are some of the pros and cons:
* Salt aids digestion
* Controls blood sugar/blood pressure
* Attends to the functioning of the nervous system
* Improves sleep quality
* Promotes electrolyte balance
* Can trigger kidney problems
* Hypertension and heart problems
* Irritability & fatigue
Now I can almost hear you thinking. A little bit of salt never hurt anyone, right?
This may be the case for humans. But for our four-legged friends, increased levels of sodium in table salt, rock salt, and even merely salty snacks can in fact be harmful, and to some cases, lethal.
But what levels of salt are safe for our pooches?
Let’s take a closer look.
Plainly put, sodium in dogs aren’t really that big of a deal. What’s really considered a threat is the excessive and unnecessary increased sodium levels found on alternatives to dog food that we consider as “treats” for our pet.
When unsure as to what exact salt levels is allowed for your pooch, you can always consult a licensed veterinarian just to be sure, especially when clinical signs surface. A few studies say that a pup cannot survive more than 1.5 grams per pound of body weight, as this is highly considered to be a lethal amount. Of course, while very dog is different, this shouldn’t be an indication to try this on your pooch and push the limits, just to verify if the said studies are true.
It’s also not a good idea to share salty treats like chips or pretzels to your dog. Aside from potential risk of too much water consumption, it could eventually lead to sodium ion poisoning.
The Common Dog Food and Its Sodium Levels
When choosing a food for your dog, it’s crucial to take a look at the label and monitor its sodium content, so as to lessen the risk of feeding your dog the wrong sorts of minerals accidentally. This spares your pooch from having episodes of experiencing pain or discomfort.
The Good News
Despite all the previously mentioned details, salt content does have in face a few health benefits to man’s best friend. Pooches need salt for their cells to function, and it helps them maintain their cellular functions like fluid balance (kind of like for humans).
If you’re familiar with sodium chloride, it also helps dogs out in producing the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, which also aids their digestion.
What To Avoid
Being a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep a consistent look out for everything your dog sees, sniffs, and eats. For starters, you can always keep the following treats out of reach from your pet:
* Processed meat (ham, bacon, burgers, sausages)
* Savoury biscuits
In doing so, you have a sense of assurance that your dog is taking in no excessive amounts of salt.
While nothing really beats the scrumptious taste of foods rich in salt, there shouldn’t be any reason why you would consider it a staple part of your food for dogs.
If you notice your pooch looking for treats, there are some chewable toys and treats that are made readily available on nearby pet stores in your area. Also, a small piece of unprocessed beef can work, too. But do take note of proper portions! It helps to be sure that you only give it to them in moderation.
For Cases of Salt Poisoning
Luckily for dog owners, salt poisoning has signs and symptoms that can alert you beforehand if your dog is in dire need of medical attention.
If your dog has excessive thirst, or has suddenly become stiff, or if they seem overly tired, then it’s very likely that what you feared has happened.
For mild cases, if left untreated, always consider the following symptoms:
* Excessive urination
* Tremors and seizures
You will need to be aware of how much salt was digested by your dog. It also is highly recommended to know your dog’s size and weight, as well as their usual diet. If the salt poisoning is somewhat severe, then it’s best to take your dog to an emergency veterinary hospital, for proper medication and continuous monitoring.
The treatment can take up to three days to bring those sodium levels back to normal.
Salt does still play a vital role in a dog’s overall health and well-being. But to be safe, it helps to remember some of the already mentioned tips above:
* When buying commercial dog food and treats, always check the lable and be mindful of sodium content
* Avoid giving processed food to your pet
* Look out for low-sodium diet alternatives
All food changes should be introduces to your dog gradually, and immediately cutting out sodium on their diet isn’t going to do both of you any favors.
Whatever food deemd “safe” for dogs must still be thoroughly checked and inspected, and always attend to your dog’s special dietary and nutritional needs.
At the end of the day, your dog will have its decent serving of salt. Just be sure they’re not intaking too much, and you and your pooch should be alright!