We as humans, love to get some salt on most of our foods for flavoring and we usually think that since dogs have a very similar biology to us, they should eat what we eat. Although this might be true for some ingredients, the question of whether salt is healthy for your pup is a big one. Even though a certain amount of salt can be healthy for your pup that is not always the case and that is the reason for some dogs with certain conditions, low sodium dog food might be the best option.
If you’re looking for a dog food that is low in sodium, you’ll find just what you’re looking for in this list. Below the list, we also prepared a buyer’s guide to provide you with enough knowledge about the low sodium diet and make a better choice according to your pup’s needs. First, let’s see our list.
5 Best Low Sodium Dog Food
1. Taste of The Wild Grain-Free Roasted Duck Dog Food
Taste of the Wild is a dog food brand that makes a lot of excellent dog foods with high-quality products, and this is one of their formulas that contain low sodium.
The reason this formula is low in sodium is that it has the duck as the first listed ingredient. Duck will provide the necessary protein need of your dog and has a lower sodium content than meats like beef. The other protein sources come from chicken and duck meal. Chicken and duck meals are mostly organ meats, and they are very beneficial for your pup, and they are excellent sources of iron and choline, which is an essential nutrient for the brain and liver.
This is also a no grain product, and it does not contain corn, wheat, or any other grains. So, this low sodium dog food is amongst the best choices for pups that have allergies for grains. Also, compared to the most of the other dog foods, this dog food contains significantly fewer amounts of ingredients, and that is another reason it might be the right choice for dogs that tend to have allergic reactions to certain kinds of ingredients.
Instead of grains, this product is filled with healthy vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, tomatoes, peas, blueberries, and raspberries. However, we should mention that it also contains potato protein, which is considered as a low-quality protein source even though it is not a harmful ingredient.
The sodium content in this dog food is 84 mg/100 kcal, and we could say that overall, it is one of the best options if you’re looking for a dog food that can start your pooch to a low sodium diet.
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2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Dog Food
Even though all of the products of Blue Buffalo do not have the same quality and we don’t always get them in our selections, we believe this dog food is a perfect one.
This is a high protein dog food with chicken as the first ingredient. It will provide all the energy your pup needs, and high protein content makes it an excellent choice if you have a very active dog. Protein is also beneficial for recovering from injuries and getting through any kinds of sicknesses.
We should also mention that chicken has lower sodium levels than other protein sources, so if you’re looking for a dog food that is very nutritious for your dog, has high protein and low sodium content, this is an excellent choice for you.
This is also a grain-free dog food, and if your pooch has any kinds of allergies to gluten, this dog food is an excellent option for you because it gets all the carbs from other sources. Peas, tapioca, sweet potatoes, and carrots are among the vegetables that provide the sources of healthy carbs in this dog food.
However, we should mention that this dog food also contains pea protein as a filler. It is a by-product of a pea, and it is used as a glue to hold the kibble together, and although it is not necessarily harmful to your pup, it is usually considered as a low-quality ingredient.
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3. Wellness Core Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Turkey & Chicken
Wellness Core Grain-Free dog food is among our selections because it is overall a delicious dog food that will provide all the necessary nutritious needs that your pup has. It also has a very low sodium level, and that makes this dog food one of the best options in our selections.
It has turkey as the first listed ingredient, and it is a little surprising because turkey meat is not among the meats that have low sodium levels. However, the manufacturer managed to keep the sodium levels in this dog food very low while including high turkey meat in the recipe.
We already mentioned that this dog food is grain-free, and it gets all the carbs from sources such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and spinach. Spinach and broccoli are especially essential for your dog’s needs because they are both excellent sources of fiber and broccoli also have a very high level of Vitamin C content.
We should mention that this product also contains taurine and it is one of the best supplements that your dog can get it and often called as ‘wonder molecule’. Taurine is a certain type of amino acid, and it is very crucial to the functioning of your dog’s heart.
This product has significantly lower sodium levels of 62 mg/100 kcal.
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4. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food
This is a dog food made by Purina, and it is specially designed for weight management. We should mention that dog foods made for weight management are amongst the best choices for a low sodium diet, and this dog food is not an exception.
It has chicken as the first source of protein. Other than the chicken, chicken by-products are the second source of protein, and since it contains meat organs, they are full of vitamins and glucosamine. If you have a dog that has sore joints, the Glucosamine content in this dog food will be especially very beneficial, and it will also help the creakiness by repairing the tissues.
Since this dog food is specially made for weight management, it contains significantly less fat, and if you have a pooch that has a couple of extra pounds, you might consider this option.
It has brewers rice as the primary source of carbohydrates and unfortunately does not get any significant amount of carbs from vegetables. We should mention that this dog food is not grain-free and contains gluten, so if you have a pup that has allergies, this low sodium dog food might not be the best option.
It contains 84 mg/100 kcal of sodium, and it is one of the dog foods that include the lowest amount of sodium in our selections.
Admittedly, Purina is not among the best dog food brands, but very low sodium content makes this dog food and a good option if you’re on a tight budget.
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5. Fromm Dog Food Pork & Peas:
Even though it might not be the most popular one among our selections, Fromm makes delicious dog foods with no artificial ingredients, and it really should be considered among the best manufacturers in the dog food market. This dog food has one of the best formulas they have, and it has very low sodium levels.
Pork is listed as the first ingredient in this dog food, and it is very nutritious for your pup because of all the mineral content ranging from phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Potassium is especially essential and should be included in every dog’s diet because it is very good for boosting a dog’s metabolism, and it also promotes bone health.
This is also a grain-free product that takes all the carbs from vegetables and fruits and can be the right choice for your dog if it is sensitive to any grains. Instead of grains, it contains healthy carbs such as carrots, apples, peas, pineapples to fuel your dog’s system in a way that grains would never be able to do.
We should mention that for a dog food of this quality the protein levels could be higher and if you’re trying to get your dog on a high protein diet when also changing its diet to low sodium, this dog food might not be the best option.
It contains 90 mg/100 kcal of sodium in its recipe.
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Is Sodium Good or Bad for Your Pup?
Before getting to the question, we should first clarify what sodium is. Sodium is one of the two minerals that compose salt and table salt, and it contains about 60% sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral for life, and it has certain kinds of benefits such as regulating blood pressure and balancing the fluids in the body.
Just like humans, dogs need sodium to be able to sustain their lives. However, it is not easy to say that sodium is healthy and necessary for dogs without caveats.
First, even though dogs need sodium in their dog food, the necessary amount should never be exceeded, and the best thing owners can do is being mindful of the amount of sodium in their pup’s diet and keep it low to be able to avoid potential issues.
That’s especially true for old pooches with certain diseases because senior dogs may have a hard time to tolerate the amount of sodium in their dog food. So, the best thing to do in that sense would always be cautious and keep their sodium intake at low levels because high salt intake can worsen the symptoms of some diseases, especially in senior dogs.
We should say that there is no definite answer to that question; however, The Association of American Feed Control Officials (“AAFCO”) suggests that the minimum amount of sodium that should be in dog foods is 0.3%.
We should mention that this is only the minimum recommended amount, and AAFCO doesn’t provide an upper limit to the amount of sodium that should be included in dog foods. Also, unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to include the amount of sodium that is in their products.
Even though the manufacturers are not required to provide the content of sodium their foods, we could say that most regular commercial foods contain at least 0.5% of sodium and this amount is too high if you’re trying to get your pup on a low sodium diet.
The best way to get your tail-wagger on a low sodium diet is to get a dog a dog food that contains less than 0.4%.
Health Problems That Require a Low Sodium Diet
If you have a senior pup that is suffering from kidney disease, getting a dog food that is low in sodium can be a smart decision. Because dogs that have kidney diseases usually have high blood pressure or hypertension and dog foods that are high in sodium can raise the blood pressure, and thus they might worsen the symptoms.
Not only for its food, but also for its treats, you should choose the ingredients that are low in sodium and avoid high sodium treats like bread, cheese, and deli meat. The general rule of thumb would be not giving your pup foods that have higher than 1 mg Sodium per Calorie (kcal).
We should also mention that dog foods that have high Omega-3 fatty acids content is a perfect choice because there is some evidence that they have benefits for dogs that have kidney diseases.
As mentioned before, even though sodium has benefits, and it is necessary for your pooch’s system, too much of it can create issues, and in some cases, it can even be toxic.
Hypernatremia is a disease that occurs when there is higher than average sodium concentrations in blood. Substantial water loss through a gastrointestinal tract together with sodium or low water intake are usually the reasons for these elevations.
If your dog overeats salt, it will generally drink water to try and fight the effects, and it won’t cause any damage. However, in some cases, it can be a severe issue, and it can even be toxic.
So, what that means is that a diet that has too much sodium content and dehydration can cause this issue. In that case, changing your pup’s diet to a dog food that has low sodium content is probably the best decision you will make.
We already mentioned that sodium is an essential mineral for your dog’s system to be able to function correctly, and if the sodium levels in your pooch blood are not adequate, this also can create problems.
It can be caused by water retention or solute loss, and it usually happens when your dog’s kidney has a problem with releasing the water.
Heart disease is a common one among dogs, and a high sodium diet can increase the severity of the disease and the risk of heart failure. Because what sodium does is to help the body retain water, and it can increase the fluid accumulation that usually occurs in heart diseases.
So, if you have a senior pup that is suffering from heart disease, the best way to help your pup cope with that is getting a dog food that is low in sodium.
Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet
We mentioned that for dogs that have certain diseases, low sodium could be very beneficial. However, even for healthy dogs, there are benefits of a low sodium diet.
Low sodium dog food can help regulate the blood pressure, and it is one of the best precautions you can take to prevent your dog from getting heart and liver diseases. Also, it can boost your pup’s immune system and promote better skin.
What Should Be in a Low Sodium Dog Food?
High Quality Protein
This is true for not only low sodium dog foods but every dog food. Your pup’s kibble should contain high-quality protein because it is what their ancestors (wild wolves) used to eat in nature, and it is necessary for dogs to sustain their daily functions.
Once the protein is consumed from your pup, it is broken down into amino acids in your dog’s digestive system. Just like humans, that process makes it able for your dog’s body to have numerous functions such as building new muscles, producing energy, and repairing damaged tissues. It is also beneficial at promoting healthy skin and coat.
The best way to get protein has not changed that much for dogs in the last years. It is true that vegetables and fruits have some benefits and some of them can be good sources of protein too. However, there is no doubt that animal meats such as beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and turkey are the best ways that your pup can get it protein from.
Also, meat organs such as kidney, heart, liver are very nutritious, and they have all kinds of vitamins and minerals. Because of the benefits mentioned, when getting a low sodium dog food for your pup, the best thing to do would be going for the foods that have high-quality protein content.
Many pet owners do not know that their pets are also suitable for diets with moderate or high fat. Because fats are essential for numerous things that happen in your pup’s body. First, they are significant for brain health and crucial vitamins like A, D, E, and K are not soluble in water and need to convey fat in the body. These vitamins are essential for the health of your pup’s brain.
Also, fats are excellent sources of energy for your dog and very important for your pup to have enough energy throughout the days. Fats are also good at boosting the immune system and preventing your tail-wagger’s heart from getting heart diseases.
However, we should mention that if you’re implementing a low sodium diet for your dog because of its health problems such as being overweight, going for a dog food that is high in fat might not be the best choice.
The question of whether dogs need carbs in their diet makes up for a great debate. First, dogs do not need any carbohydrates in their dog food to sustain their lives. However, that’s not to say that some carbs don’t have any benefits.
First, we should clarify that there are a lot of different carbohydrate sources that are used in dog foods. Some of them can be very beneficial for your pup, and some of them should be avoided. Vegetables have many benefits, especially the ones that are rich in fiber such as carrots, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and pumpkin.
Fiber is very beneficial for your pup’s digestive system, and they help your pup’s gut to create healthy bacteria. It will also regulate the blood sugar levels and help maintain a healthy bowel. However, we should mention that too much fiber can cause diarrhea, you should always be mindful of the amount of fiber that your pooch is consuming.
Even other vegetables that are included in dog foods and usually get a bad rep can be beneficial for your dog. For example, contrary to their bad reputation, peas are a great source of iron, zinc and also vitamin K and C. However, we should mention that we’re not talking about pea protein, which is a by-product of pea and it is considered a low-quality product.
On the other hand, there are wide ranges of low-quality carbohydrates that can be found in dog foods, and most of them provide little to no benefits. Most of them are put in dog foods as fillers because they are good replacements for some high-quality ingredients. Wheat gluten, by-products of vegetables, and corn syrup are among those ingredients.
What Should You Look Out for When Getting a Low Sodium Dog Food?
Although most of the time they are known for their carbohydrate content, grains also contain a fair amount of protein, and that is called gluten. It can cause allergic symptoms in both humans and dogs.
Most of the grains that are used in dog foods come from grains such as rye, wheat, barley, and buckwheat those are the most allergy-causing ones. Symptoms of this problem can be a skin condition, excessive itching, excessive licking, and chewing of feet and diarrhea.
If your pup has an allergy to gluten, the best choice would be to go the alternatives such as low sodium dog foods made with chickpeas, peas, potatoes, and corn when making your decision.
Whether corn should be used in dog foods is always a question of debate. However, whether corn syrup should be one of the ingredients in dog foods is not. Corn syrup is a glucose syrup which is substantially no different than your table sugar.
Even though humans are evolved to at least tolerate sugar, that is not the case for dogs. Sugar raises their blood sugar levels to unhealthy levels, and that becomes a recipe for many issues. High consumption of corn syrup can cause diabetes, weight gain, hyperactivity, and even behavior change in some dogs.
If you’re trying to get your pup on a low sodium diet and, on the other hand, if that dog food contains corn syrup, you’re limiting the benefits you’re getting from the low sodium dog food at best.
Chemicals and Preservatives
Even though the AAFCO has taken serious measures and made its inspections over the food companies a lot stricter, some companies still use chemicals and preservatives to preserve the foods, and some of them are used to kill harmful bacteria.
One of the highly dangerous ones is Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene, both respectively known as BHA and BHT.
BHA is used to preserve the products not only in the dog food industry but also, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and most dog owners know to stay away from this product. It has the potential to harm your pup’s kidney, and it is carcinogenic.
BHT is a common additive that is mostly used in low-quality dog foods, and its function is to prolong the shelf life that the fat used in some dog foods. Because it has antioxidative properties, it is good at eliminating harmful radicals when they used at low levels. However, if the necessary threshold is exceeded, they can be very damaging and even carcinogenic.
Another preservative that is used in dog foods is Ethoxyquin. It is used to preserve the energy source that is in fats. What does not sound right about this preservative is that the first use of this preservative was as a pesticide. Even though we know that reading this might be very scary, this product has been approved by the FDA when it is used in small amounts.
So, we choose to believe that the FDA is well more competent than us to decide on a preservative; however, we leave the final decision to you.
We should remind you that it’s always best to check the ingredients when getting a low sodium dog food for your pup and avoid the ingredients a-s mentioned above at all costs for your tail-wagger’s sake.
Conclusion: 5 Best Low Sodium Dog Food
As mentioned above, not only for dogs that have certain conditions but for any dog, a low sodium level diet can have benefits. They can help regulate pup’s blood pressure and generally promote better health.
Whatever the reason you decided to get your pup on a low sodium diet, it is always best to try to find the best combination of ingredients and low sodium content when getting a dog food. That is why we created this list of the best low sodium dog foods that we found and prepared a buyer’s guide to help you when making your decision.
We hope you found both the buyer’s guide and our selections very helpful!