Can Dogs Eat Salt?

We add salt to so many of our meals because it helps to bring out the flavor of the food, but we are often told to be careful of our salt consumption as it can lead to problems with our health. 

If you like to feed your dog titbits or leftovers from the dinner table, you may be concerned about how much salt your dog is consuming. 

You may even wonder – can dogs eat salt at all, or is it doing them harm? 

In this article, we will look at how salt affects our pet dogs so that you can make better choices when it comes to your dog’s diet.

  • Is salt safe for dogs to eat?
  • What are the benefits of salt in dog food?
  • How much salt should a dog have in their diet?
  • Can a dog eat too much salt?
  • What are the symptoms of salt poisoning?
  • How is salt poisoning in dogs treated?
not safe for dogs to eat

No, your dog shouldn't eat salt. 

Salt is essential for most animals. Dogs should eat salt in moderation similar to humans. Most foods contain some amount of sodium. Excessive salt is toxic to dogs. If you want to give your dog some human food, be sure to give it to them before adding any salt or spices.

Is Salt Safe For Dogs To Eat?

While salt is not a toxic food for dogs and usually won’t do them any immediate harm in the short-term, the long-term and short-term overconsumption of salt may be detrimental to your dog’s health. 

Saying that salt is an essential part of your dog’s diet, as it is in a human diet, and it should not, therefore, be omitted entirely. Too much salt can do your dog harm, but too little salt can also be harmful.

The amount of salt your dog can tolerate will also depend on their overall health and the presence of any severe health conditions. 

In these cases, low-sodium dog food is recommended, and salty human food snacks should be avoided entirely.

can dogs eat salt

What Are The Benefits Of Salt In Dog Food?

Salt is, in fact, a core ingredient in your dog’s diet, which is needed for balanced nutrition. Salt or sodium chloride helps to keep your dog’s cells in good working order.

When healthy salt levels are maintained in your dog’s body, fluid balance, acid-base balance, and nerve signal transmission, which are all cell functions, can also be supported. 

The chloride in sodium chloride is essential as it helps with your dog’s digestion by producing the hydrochloric acid in the stomach that breaks down food.

Salt is often used in food, and dog food, to act as a preservative. The preservative qualities of salt have been used for many thousands of years. 

The salt in your dog’s diet helps to dry it out, which is good because moisture leads to spoilage.

How Much Salt Should A Dog Have In Their Diet?

Providing your dog with the correct amount of salt in their diet is vital to keep the right balance so that your dog can enjoy the benefits and not the risks of salt to their health.

Your dog food should already contain the correct amount of salt that your dog needs to stay healthy, which is why it is so important to choose a high-quality dog food from a reputable brand. 

It is also an excellent reason to avoid feeding salty human food snacks to your dog in between meals, as this can quickly boost your dog’s salt intake.

Dog food usually contains a healthy amount of sodium, which is between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. 

salt

Can A Dog Eat Too Much Salt?

While your dog needs to have a certain amount of salt included in their diet, good things should always be given in moderation, and the same is true for salt.

If your dog has too much salt, it can lead to a variety of problems in their health. For example, overconsumption of salt can commonly lead to dehydration in dogs. 

This is why after eating something salty, like canned sardines or salty chips, your dog will often soon be in search of the water bowl and lap up the water as he has just discovered an oasis in a desert. 

The salt content in dry dog food can also have this effect, which is why it is so vital that you ensure your dog has constant access to water, especially at mealtimes.

Salty foods are desirable to dogs because salt is so tasty. This is why they love to beg for human foods that so often contain large amounts of salt.

Here are some common high-salt human foods that you are likely to feed to your dog but should try to avoid:

If you overfeed salty foods like these to your dog, it could have severe consequences for your dog’s health and even their life. 

The overconsumption of salt in dogs can lead to salt poisoning. Keep reading to find out more about this condition and what to do if your dog experiences the symptoms.

is salt safe for dogs?

What Are The Symptoms Of Salt Poisoning?

Symptoms of salt poisoning:

  • Vomiting & Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy/lack of interest in usual activities
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Swelling or the accumulation of fluid
  • Tremors and seizures

If you notice that your dog seems more lazy than usual or they have a swollen stomach, you should pay attention. 

With the overconsumption of salt, you may also notice that your dog becomes stiff. This is due to the loss of moisture in the muscles. 

These subtle signs may be overlooked, but they can be a clear indication that something is wrong with your dog. 

If you ignore the signs of salt poisoning, it can lead to death, so please take subtle signs, along with the more apparent signs listed above seriously.

The best thing you can do if you notice that something is wrong with your dog is to take them to the vet as soon as possible. 

You may first want to call the Pet Poison Helpline or your local clinic for advice, but they will most probably instruct you to bring your dog in immediately so that they can examine, diagnose and treat your dog as soon as possible. 

Don’t forget that the sooner you get your dog in the hands of a professional, the more chance they will have of being treated successfully.

salt can be toxic to dogs

How Is Salt Poisoning In Dogs Treated?

When you take your dog to be checked by a veterinarian, it can be useful for your vet if you can tell them how much salt your dog has ingested. 

Related Topic: Can dogs eat bacon?

Information about what type of food they have eaten and the quantities can be a useful indicator to your vet to let them know if your dog has consumed too much salt. 

This will help your vet to come to a quick diagnosis and get the treatment underway.

When calling a helpline, you may be asked what your dog has eaten and how much is consumed. They may want to know how long ago your dog ate it, and what your dog’s healthy diet is like. 

They will also ask questions about the size and weight of your dog, requiring information regarding your pet’s overall health and the presence of any underlying health conditions that you already know about. 

You should be ready to repeat all of this information to your vet when you take your dog to see them.

In the more severe cases of salt poisoning, your dog will have to be taken to an emergency veterinary hospital for IV fluid treatment, electrolyte monitoring, and other checks, including dehydration and even brain swelling tests. 

Your dog may have to stay in the hospital for a few days, as it can take up to three days for sodium levels to return to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Dogs Eat Salt?

Salt is essential for most animals. Dogs should eat salt in moderation similar to humans. Most foods contain some amount of sodium. Excessive salt is toxic to dogs. If you want to give your dog some human food, be sure to give it to them before adding any salt or spices.

How much salt is safe for dogs?

As a general rule, you should aim for a healthy level of salt in your dog's food – the magic numbers are between 0.25g/100g and 1.5g/100g. That is, of course, unless your dog has a specific health condition that requires a low salt diet

What should I do if my dog eats salt?

If you notice your dog drinking ocean water, restrict his access, provide him with fresh water and shade, and keep an eye on him for signs of toxicity. Take a break away from the water every 15 minutes to help avoid salt poisoning as well.A

Summary

We do need to be vigilant when it comes to offering our beloved pet dog snacks. 

A few pretzels here and there, leftover chips, and other salty snacks can very quickly lead to high levels of sodium in your dog’s system, and if you miss those crucial salt poisoning signs, your dog’s life could end up in danger. 

Conscientious dog owners will keep a close eye on what their dogs are consuming outside of their regular meal, ensuring that they are only given healthy dog-friendly treats and snacks that are nutritious rather than detrimental to your dog’s health. 

Salt is essential, but it can also be a killer, so be careful.

can dogs eat salt?
(Last Updated On: June 12, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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