Why Most 'Human Foods' Are Bad For Dogs

Why Most 'Human Foods' Are Bad For Dogs

January 24, 2017


Sodium is an important mineral in the daily diet, and for your dog, that is no different. Getting a balanced amount of sodium in your pet's diet allows them to maintain fluid equilibrium within their cells as well as the functioning of their muscle and nerve cells. Sounds great right? However, as we all know, too much of a good thing can be detrimental, so how much sodium should your dog actually intake to stay healthy and happy?

 Recommended Sodium Intake

Where humans are recommended by the Food and Drug Administration to consume anywhere from 1,500mg - 2,300mg of sodium each day, the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources states dogs weighing 33lbs are recommended to intake no more than a mere 200mg. If you are unsure about your dog's sodium intake, consult your veterinarian about adjusting the amount based on your dog's size and health conditions.

What are my Pet's Sodium Sources?

Sodium, also known in many foods as "table salt", is found in wet or dry commercial dog food as well as varying meats, treats, and any extra food that you may feed your dog. Here are some common foods fed to dogs in addition to their daily diet. Notice the high amount of sodium in each serving.
  • Chicken Broth, 478mg | 1 tsp
  • American Cheese, 220mg | 1 slice
  • Bacon, 137mg | 1 cooked slice
  • Deli Meat, 550mg | 1 oz
  • Canned Tuna, 550mg | 5 oz can
  • Raw Egg, 70mg | 1 egg
  • Natural Peanut Butter, 80mg | 2 Tbsp
  • Raw Chicken Breast, 104mg | 4oz
  • Organic, Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 70mg | 1 cup

Not every single brand of each food listed above has the same sodium levels; however, these were very common amounts listed in the products. It's always beneficial to check each label for sodium percentage as well as read the product ingredients to see if "salt" is listed as one of the first five ingredients. If so, you should reconsider feeding it to your pet, or moderate their consumption of the food.

Too Much

Like humans, if dogs consume excess sodium, there can be consequences. Too much salt can lead to severe dehydration in dogs due to its absorptive properties. A sign of this could be if your dog is drinking water at a higher rate than normal as well as urinating more frequently. Just as humans are at risk for high blood pressure and obesity with higher sodium intake, dogs are also at risk for developing these diseases. One other risk for dogs is sodium ion poisoning which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. If your dog is at risk for any of these diseases, contact your local veterinarian.

Too Little

As stated earlier, sodium in moderation is not bad for your dog; in fact it is necessary in body maintenance and equilibrium in the cells. If dogs receive too little sodium, they can also become dehydrated, and their organs can stop functioning properly. According to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, if a dog is sodium deficient, they can start to experience increased heart rate, hemoglobin concentration, dry and tacky mucous membranes, and restlessness.

Just Right

With all of this being said, it's good to be aware of the sodium levels in your dog's food to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet! Remember to check labels, avoid giving your pet "human" food (especially ones that are particularly salty), and if you home-make food for your pet, try not to add extra salt!

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