What type of salt is safe for dogs? Simple and Effective Tips

Salt and sodium

It’s no secret that salt is in almost everything we eat, and it’s generally understood that some sodium is vital to our dogs’ diets. However, salt and sodium technically reference different things.

Salt is sodium chloride, a crystal-like compound found in nature, whereas sodium is a dietary mineral found in salt. Salt and sodium make up two of the electrolytes our tail-waggers require in their daily diets.

When dogs ingest sodium, it turns into ions inside their bodies. Ions help regulate fluid levels, blood pressure, blood volume, as well as nerve and digestive impulse transitions.

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You’re likely aware that certain foods, like chocolate or grapes, are toxic to dogs. But can dogs eat salt? As an electrolyte, salt is an essential part of your dog’s health. It helps keep body fluids in balance and plays a role in muscle and nerve function.

But too much salt is dangerous for dogs and can lead to salt toxicosis. How do you know if your dog has had consumed excessive amounts of salt? And are there certain foods you should prevent your dog from eating? Read on to learn more about salt poisoning and how to keep your dog safe.

Salt toxicosis is also known as hypernatremia. It’s the presence of high levels of sodium (salt) in the bloodstream. The levels of sodium, an electrolyte, are renormally in balance in the body. But when the sodium amount in the blood becomes too high, it draws water out of the cells and into the bloodstream to restore the balance. That harms the cells and can affect the brain and nervous tissue.

Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club, warns that although salt toxicosis is rare, it’s dangerous and potentially deadly. However, excess sodium isn’t something that builds up over time. Rather, it happens over minutes or hours. Dr. Klein explains, “Salt toxicity typically occurs after a single significant dose of salt is ingested over a short period of time.”

How to spot signs of salt poisoning

When your sneaky snacker consumes an excessive amount of salt, the symptoms and damage can develop quickly. For this reason, you should act fast.

Signs of salt poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Swollen abdomen or fluid accumulation
  • Excessive urination
  • Tremors
  • Stiffness or incoordination – this happens when the muscles release fluids in an attempt to balance sodium levels in the blood
  • Seizures
  • Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these symptoms and suspect they’ve ingested a large amount of salt. Be prepared to give information about your dog’s weight, age, and the quantity of salt ingested.

    Flushing the excess sodium from the system is important. Be sure to offer your dog a lot of fresh drinking water to help restore fluid loss and prevent dehydration, to help minimize cell damage when salt poisoning occurs.

    You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline or Animal Poison Control and they’ll be able to help you determine next steps if you aren’t sure about the amount of salt your dog consumed. If it’s a large amount, veterinary care may be needed.

    Why Salt is Bad for Your Dog