Sodium is something that we often consider in our own food. We can look at labels and see the salt content to better regulate the amount that we ingest. We know that this is better for us, although we will give in to salty snacks now and then.
However, we don’t always give the same consideration to sodium levels in our dog’s food. The best low sodium dog food can help keep your dogs healthier. So, what are the best low salt dog food products, what should you look for, and why are sodium levels so important?
Hungry Bark Dog Food
It can be hard to find a truly low-sodium kibble, since the reason most pet parents usually seek out this particular diet is a result of other health concerns like heart disease or kidney failure. It’s always recommended to first check with your vet before choosing a kibble to address your dog’s sodium needs, since they can change often depending on how much water they drinks and how active they are. Finding a nutritionally complete kibble can be a good place to start when evaluating your dog’s overall health needs. Hungry Bark offers whole protein as the first ingredient and a variety of vegetables & complex carbohydrates in each recipe that can help get your dog on track to total wellness.
This option is our current top pick and you can learn more about it below. We have also included product reviews for other top dog food with low salt to help you compare your options. The table below gives you a brief overview of their benefits.
Before we look at these low salt dog food products more closely, let’s consider the reasons for switching to a low sodium diet for dogs. Then, we can look at some of the important considerations for choosing the right brand, such as the difference between wet and dry low salt dog food.
Top 7 Low Sodium Dog Food In 2020 Compared
|The Honest Kitchen Human Grade|
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food|
|Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin|
|Taste of the Wild Dry|
|Natural Balance L.I.D Dry Food|
|Natural Balance L.I.D Wet Dog Food|
|Purina Beyond Grain-Free|
When should you consider switching to a low sodium dog food?
Sodium isn’t necessarily a bad thing for your dog. Just as with humans, the right amount in a diet can provide some health benefits. Just enough can help to regulate blood pressure and help your pet’s central nervous system. The problem is that many cheaper dog foods will increase sodium and salt levels to increase the lifespan of the food or improve the taste. Therefore, your pet may end up consuming more than they should.
For many healthy dogs, a little extra sodium here and there isn’t going to be that much of a problem. They are able to adapt to variations in levels like we are and will compensate without any ill-effect. Problems can occur, however, when dogs have pre-existing conditions or if they continue to consume far too much. Dogs that exhibit signs of the health issues below should perhaps move onto a low sodium dog diet.
What are some of the health problems that require low-sodium foods?
There are two serious conditions that dogs can develop that will require a change to a low sodium dog diet plan. The first of these is Hypernatremia. This is where our pets can lose a lot of fluid within the gastrointestinal tract, leading to issues with hydration, high blood pressure, and heart disease. High levels of sodium in their diet are often to blame. So, a low salt dog diet could help.
Another issue is congestive heart failure. Again, high levels of sodium can have a negative impact on heart function and blood pressure. This can be mild, with issues in one valve or life-threatening. A change in diet could help you deal with the problem early on.
What are the recommended sodium levels for dogs?
If your dog is healthy and can have a normal/average diet, you can give them food that rates between 0.33% – 0.5%, which is 100 milligrams per 100 calories. If you want to lower sodium levels without being restrictive then aim for 0.1% – 0.35% or 80 milligrams per 100 calories. Food with less than 0.1% or 50 milligrams per 100 calories is low-sodium for those that need strong restrictions in their diets.
Considerations when choosing the best low sodium dog food for your pet?
Watch out for any form of nitrates in your new low sodium diet. Nitrates are a common preservative that you will see in a range of foods. Cured meats are a common example that your dog might like as a treat. You might also find that there are some in dog foods as a preservative and a way of enhancing the flavour. The problem here is that you also run the risk of excess sodium levels.
Also, it is important to remember that your pet’s snacking habits could also have a detrimental effect on their sodium levels. It is no good encouraging your dog onto the best diet plan with a low sodium dog food brand when you offer scraps of human food. There could be a lot of sodium in just a small portion of any processed food or snack that they get hold off. Also, they will gobble those treat up if you aren’t looking. Eventually, they could replace the amount removed in their new diet, leaving you no further forward.
Should you go for dry or wet dog food without salt?
Many dog owners and veterinarians will suggest a wet dog food for dogs that have a problem with their sodium levels. This is because a wet mix has added moisture and this can aid with hydration. Therefore, those that suffer from the hydration issues above could be more likely to see improvements. There are some great wet low sodium canned dog food products out there. However, just be aware that you might need bigger portions to get the best nutritional value.
The alternative is a dry kibble for low sodium diets. This is good for younger dogs that don’t have any problem chewing and that aren’t showing the same issues with hydration and illness. Kibble can be advantageous because of its nutritional content, portion control, and its impact on oral health.
Ultimately, it is your choice which type is best for you and you will understand the needs and capabilities of your pet. Just remember that your vet can always give you helpful advice on dietary needs and how to make feeding times more effective.
Choosing The Best Low Sodium Dog Food
This is why it is so important to look for a specialized low sodium dog food for your canine companion. These specialist formulas are the best option when looking for a solution to a low sodium dog diet.
It is the best way of ensuring that they get the right ingredients and there are no hidden salts and nitrates in the food. It is also easier to determine portions and diet management with this strict approach to their food. The following products are some of the best low sodium dog food options available right now.
1. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Organic Whole Grain
As the name suggests, this product sets the bar pretty high when it comes to providing the best possible ingredients for your pet. Human-grade food means that you can be sure of ingredients that are protein-rich and nutritious. You are also less likely to get any nasty fillers that might contain preservatives and other forms of sodium.
Each option – Turkey, Chicken or Beef – gives a good indication of precisely what goes into each box. All you need to do is add water and let your dog enjoy the benefits.
This isn’t the most cost-effective dog food but it could be worth it if you want to be completely sure about the ingredients in your dog’s food.
- Human-grade ingredients.
- Low in sodium.
- Easy to mix.
- The consistency and smell isn’t for everyone.
2. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
This is a great choice for dogs that need something a little more gentle as they deal with digestive issues. Therefore, it could prove to be a big help to any dog that has experienced knock-on health problems because of the excessive sodium in their diets.
The formula is rich in nutrients and essential oil, with plenty of vitamins and healthy proteins too. The sodium level here is just 0.31% which makes it lower than average without being too restrictive. There is also a high level of omega 3 at 0.52%.
- A nice balance of ingredient to help unhealthy dogs recover.
- A good source of protein.
- High in omega 3
- Not as low in sodium as some dogs will require.
3. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult
This next option is another great choice for dogs that need a balanced diet with a reduction in sodium intake. This brand doesn’t use any artificial ingredients or preservatives, so you can be sure that you will get a lower salt count. On top of this, there is a high level of moisture in this wet food that is enhanced by the use of salmon as the key ingredient.
There is also a high protein level of 26%. When you add in the other vitamins, minerals and essential oils you get another low sodium dog food that can help pooches with stomach and skin issues.
- The moisture levels should help with hydration and digestion.
- There is a high protein content.
- Good for dogs with sensitivity issues.
- This is not a grain-free formula.
4. Taste of the Wild Dry Pet Food
Taste of the Wild is one of those brands that will always show up in lists like this because of its ingredients. There is always great attention to detail in their products to provide the best possible formula. There is great care to remove grains, eggs and other products that can cause sensitivities.
At the same time, there are no preservatives so this will lower the sodium levels to help dogs dealing with high levels in their diet. Finally, there is the high protein count from the real ingredient, the extra antioxidants and the probiotics.
- This formula is great for those that want a nutrient-rich alternative for better health.
- This version is grain-free.
- There are lots of options with different flavors from real meats.
- The fish flavors can be costly and smelly.
5. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
This is another product that does a lot to help dogs improve their health during times of illness. The limited ingredient formula means that you can be more sure of what your dog is eating. In this case, it is a good source of protein – at 21% – and some rice. They also make sure to offer moisture at 10% to help dogs that may be dealing with hydration issues.
The product is also high in vitamins, minerals and omegas. The lack of fillers and preservatives means that this ranks as a more moderate source of sodium to help reduce salt levels in your pet’s diet.
- High in protein for a healthier approach.
- Low in fillers and preservatives.
- Limited ingredients mean it is easier to track nutrition.
- Not specifically a low-sodium dog food.
6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Dog Food
Moving on to the low sodium canned dog food, we return to Natural Balance. Because this is another limited ingredient formula, you can be sure of a nutrient-rich approach without any of the fillers and preservatives that might make your dog ill. The sodium count is lower than average and there is also plenty of fiber to improve digestion further.
This option could be better for older dogs in need of a low salt dog diet because of the moisture content. This is very wet and easy to eat. There is also a good range of flavors in the range, including some with wild meats like venison and buffalo. Just be aware that some have a lot of sweet potatoes.
- A low sodium dog food thanks to the lack of preservatives.
- Minimal ingredients but high in fiber.
- More moisture for older dogs.
- Those with sweet potato as the main ingredient aren’t as beneficial.
7. Purina Beyond Grain-Free, Natural, Adult Wet Dog Food
The final choice here in the best low sodium dog food is this canned option with another simple, natural ingredient list. The focus here is the real beef – instead of any low-grade option or processed meat with sodium-rich preservatives. There are also what the brand calls “accents” of potatoes and green beans.
This is also a grain-free formula to enhance the safety of the product. There is a lot of moisture here fr easy digestion at 78%. This means that this should be another product that is great for dogs that struggle with dry food. It gets some pretty good reviews from dogs too that love the taste.
- Real beef with no preservatives.
- A high moisture level to aid with feeding.
- Free from grains and other fillers.
- Not as high a protein count as some other options.
Sodium free dog food can be highly beneficial for your pet. All of these top low sodium dog food products have great potential for improving the health and well-being of your pet. When you switch to your choice out of these products, you may well end up seeing some impressive changes in your pet. These benefits include.
- Improved heart health. When you lower sodium levels long term, you can see a reduction in problems with blood pressure and the chance to limit those risks of congestive heart failure.
- Improved hydration. Dogs that don’t take in too much salt each day can see improvements in their hydration, their ability to pass water and their drinking habits. This will lead to better health more generally.
- Improved health for seniors. The problems mentioned above can be highly problematic for dogs of a certain age. They may have renal and heart problems where high sodium levels only make matters worse. Low sodium products with good nutrients could improve their lifespan.
What have we learned about creating the best low sodium diet for dogs?
Reducing your dog’s sodium levels with a low salt dog diet isn’t that hard with the right product. You can find great low sodium dog food products that minimize levels by offering natural ingredients with no preservatives or fillers.
The best low salt dog foods also have minimal ingredients of high quality. From there you can consider the best choice between wet and dry food and work on reducing salt intakes in other ways. With your vet’s help, you should be able to improve your pet’s health and low their risk of sodium-related health issues.
Dawn Bradley is a content writer, blogger and animal lover. She is also a pet parent. She has written many reviews and guides aimed at helping our four-legged friends and, in turn, their two legged owners. She also runs a nature blog about her home town of Plymouth, UK.