Dog eating food from bowl

Dog eating food from bowl

If your dog has been diagnosed with Hypernatremia then it means your dog has too much sodium in his system. While sodium is important to help regulate blood pressure, nerve impulse transmission, blood volume, and the balance of acid/base in the body, too much can cause symptoms and issues such as unusual thirst, disorientation, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, coma, and seizures.

Treating high sodium will require regular lab testing because there could be an underlying cause such as a heart disease. Thus, before you try any low sodium diet, it is important to understand the exact diagnosis of your dog because if it is caused by a heart disease, you will have further customize the diet to avoid causing more problems like kidney failure or fluid in the lungs.

According to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, a 33 pound healthy dog must take no more than 100 mg of sodium daily. A dog with heart disease should take much lower amounts because sodium causes water retention which will make it difficult for the body to process the salt causing major organs to strain. Once your dog starts vomiting, it could be a sign of sodium ion poisoning and should be brought immediately to the vet.

The main ingredients to focus on for a low sodium diet would a delicate balance of vitamins, protein, calories, and other nutrients. Sodium can still be a part of the diet but must be precisely and carefully measured using milligrams as unit of measurement.

If you have no choice but to buy commercial pet food, you should lean towards the high quality manufacturers known to use nutritional research, experts in nutrition and pet care like Wellness Complete, Iams/Eukanaba, Nutro, Hill’s, Purina, Innova (Iams), or Royal Canin.

Smiling woman cooking meat with rice in the kitchen

Smiling woman cooking meat with rice in the kitchen

You can make your own low sodium dog food. Here are a couple of quick recipes:

Beef and Potatoes/Rice or Chicken and Potatoes/Rice

Combine cooked lean ground beef (boiled to remove fat) with skin-on potatoes, cut up and boiled. Add bonemeal tablets or powder using a ratio of 1.25 teaspoon powder to 8 ounces of meat and 3 cups potatoes. Finish off with 1 mineral tablet.

This meal only is low sodium and will be good one-meal serving for a medium-sized dog.

If you want to change up a bit, replace the beef with skinless chicken breast and the potatoes for rice.

Diet for Dogs with Severe Heart Disease

For dogs suffering from severe heart disease, it’s best to eliminate as much salt as possible but if your dog refuses to eat something that has no taste, then mix it up with various vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, apples, bananas (in moderation), or cucumbers. You should only add a tiny pinch of salt as a very last resort. Just a teeny tiny pinch salt will actually force your dog’s body to adjust and learn to conserve sodium. It is important though to note that when you give your dog holistic remedies, vitamins, medicine, or treats – there is usually a bit of sodium so you must check the labels carefully and avoid the high sodium treats and drugs.

Quick Tips

  • Dry food is not necessarily low sodium so check food labels carefully.
  • Table scraps are usually too salty so steer clear of them unless you make them specifically for your dog. For instanc, no sodium lean ground turkey meatballs are great for changing up your dog’s diet and giving out as treats.
  • Low sodium foods include rice, oatmeal, barley, wheat, squash, white potatoes, egg yolk, beef chuck
  • High sodium foods are ham, bacon, cottage cheese, cheese, and canned beef
  • Avoid restricting protein unless directed by the vet because it can cause your dog to lose muscle mass

Finally, the low sodium diet used by the dog of a friend may probably not be a good fit for your dog.  There is no one “best “ low sodium diet; the best would be a customized diet made by your dog’s vet specifically and only for your dog.