The Effect of Salt on a Dog's Health

by Naomi Millburn
    Never leave these things accessible to your pets.

    Never leave these things accessible to your pets.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    Your pooch might show an active interest in enthusiastically munching on every food that gets into his line of vision, but that in no way means that he should actually be eating all of those things. Salt, for instance, is a common component in many human foods -- and at the same time should be carefully monitored around canines.

    Many people think of salt and automatically think of sodium, although the two are not exactly one and the same. Sodium is just one part of salt, as it also includes chloride. The bulk of commercial canine foods available on the market contain some salt. Talk to your veterinarian to get suggestions on dog foods that have appropriate levels of sodium. At suitable levels, sodium actually is helpful in dogs' physiology, assisting in equilibrium of fluids.

    Too much salty food and dogs are not a good combination, however. If your dog enviously stares at you as you eat a salty French fry, don't give in to the urge to feed him a bunch of them -- or even one of them. If your dog takes in a lot of salt, it could trigger numerous not-so-pleasant health consequences, including immoderate urination, seizures, heightened thirst, uncontrollable quivering, depression, throwing up, runny stools and raised body temperature. Sodium ion toxicity in dogs can sometimes even be life-threatening, so take the possibility extremely seriously. Urgent veterinary assistance is crucial in these situations.

    The effects of salt might be even more harmful to specific types of dogs. If your pet has any medical ailments that involve the kidneys or the heart, then a veterinarian might recommend for him a diet that is limited in salt content. This also applies to canines with hypertension. Be extremely cautious about leaving salty food out around your dog, whether he has these health issues or not.

    Just as too much sodium can be detrimental to a dog's health, so can too little of it. If your pooch isn't getting adequate amounts of sodium in his canine food, you might notice key symptoms such as lethargy, overly dry skin, growth problems, balance issues, fur loss, reduced H20 consumption and low energy. If you spot any of those clues in your doggie, talk to your veterinarian about planning for a nutritious diet that offers the amounts of sodium that his body needs for optimal health.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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