Understanding Sodium Intake for Dogs
Most owners of pets can probably agree that dogs are fairly predictable when it comes to food, at least in terms of what they like and dislike. However, you may find yourself wondering if your pup is getting enough sodium through their diet, or even more importantly, if they are getting too much. This guide will help you understand how to properly assess the sodium intake of your dog, so that you don’t need to worry about over- or under-feeding them.
The Risks of Too Much Sodium for Dogs
Working with vets and researchers, we’ve done the work for you to understand the needs of pets when it comes to sodium. While there are general guidelines for pets, sodium intake for dogs has been researched to be less of a concern for dogs compared to humans. That being said, just as humans need to monitor their intake of certain minerals when they have certain health conditions, and dogs with kidney, liver and heart disease need to be aware of sodium levels and be monitoring their intake.
The risk of excessive sodium intake in dogs mainly comes from salty snacks and human food. Common sources of sodium are table scraps, pizza crusts, french fries, chips, and pretzels. Too much salt can lead to excessive thirst and urination, increased blood pressure and even kidney failure. The best way to avoid these risks is by measuring the amount of human food that you give your dog as well as making sure they have a healthy diet with plenty of fresh water available at all times.
The Vet-Recommended Amount of Sodium for Dogs
Small Animal Clinical Nutrition (SACN) published guidelines suggest about 0.2-0.4% sodium in a young adult dog’s daily diet. They define this as a "risk factor management" range. Using the high end of the range, that would work out to approximately 500-1000 mg of sodium (based on approximately 250 grams or about 2 cups of kibble per day) for a typical medium sized dog. For older dogs, the guidance is lowered to 0.15-0.4% in their daily diet.
With that said, these are guidelines and there is no maximum amount of sodium that has been established for healthy dogs in any stage of life and these values are not necessarily based on data that show there is a beneficial limit.
SACN does stress that with certain diseases that may have a hypertensive component such as obesity, renal disease and some endocrinopathies (Anderson and Fisher, 1968; Cowgill and Kallet, 1986; Rocchini et al, 1987; Littman, 1990; Ross, 1992). Uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to kidney, brain, eye, heart and cardiovascular damage (Cowgill and Kallet, 1986; Littman, 1990). Dietary sodium chloride restriction is the first step in, and an important part of, antihypertensive therapy (Cowgill and Kallet, 1986; Littman, 1990; Ross, 1992).
Furvor’s approach to Sodium
We spent 15 months developing our bone broth toppers and worked very closely with veterinarian nutritionists to produce a product that was both (1) low sodium and (2) more than 10x more nutritionally dense (proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) than typical boxed bone broth currently on the market. Our salt levels are well within daily recommend salt intake levels for healthy dogs of all ages per the Small Animal Clinical Nutrition guidelines outlined above.
Sodium is approximately 2.0% of our formula for our bone broth toppers (i.e., 2 grams per 100 grams). If you decided to mix 1 tablespoon of Furvor bone broth topper into your dog’s kibble with the recommended 1/2 cup of water for medium sized dogs, sodium would represent about 0.25% of the serving.
If dogs consume salt, they drink more water, just like people do, which eliminates the extra sodium that they do not need. When it comes to Furvor, for pet parents may have salt concerns, diluting the broth with water will provide more water intake, mitigating the salt content in the concentrate and still provide all the other nutritional benefits of the broth.
Understanding Pet Food Labeling
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which governs labeling for pet products, does not require sodium to be disclosed as part of the Guaranteed Analysis on pet food products. We have chosen to provide supplemental disclosure in our supporting product material anyway, and information about sodium content can be found there.
While sodium is the second ingredient on our B list it is at a very low level. So why does it appear second on the list? Because virtually all of our bone broth is exactly that - concentrated natural bone broth.