10 Best Low-Sodium Dog Food In 2020 (Heart-Friendly)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Heart health is something many of us focus on when it comes to our diet and lifestyle, but did you know it’s an important part of your dog’s health too? If you’re keen to keep your pup’s heart strong and their blood pressure regulated, feeding them the best low-sodium dog food can help immensely.

Salt is an essential part of a dog’s diet, but the amount of sodium in kibble is not often reflected on dog food labels. How do we know how much sodium our pups are getting?

Sodium levels can be hard to find, so we’ve done the research for you and made sure the salt levels in these foods are within AAFCO standards.

All you need to do is read through this guide to the best low-sodium dog foods, and choose one for your pet.

Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Barley, 30-Pound Bag
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Chicken Dog Food 10 lb - Revel
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 88 / 100
Our Rating 87 / 100
Pro 1
All-natural and wholesome
Superfoods such as blueberries and spinach
No hidden sodium ingredients
Pro 2
Low sodium content
Good protein and fat levels
Contain DHA and EPA
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Barley, 30-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
All-natural and wholesome
Pro 2
Low sodium content
Best For Puppies
Rank
Ranked #2
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 88 / 100
Pro 1
Superfoods such as blueberries and spinach
Pro 2
Good protein and fat levels
Best For Seniors
Rank
Ranked #3
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The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Chicken Dog Food 10 lb - Revel
Rating
Our Rating 87 / 100
Pro 1
No hidden sodium ingredients
Pro 2
Contain DHA and EPA
Sources researched
12
Sources researched
Customer reviews
17,650
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
12
Hours spent testing
Products tested
12
Products tested

Best Low-Sodium Dog Foods

1. Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Best With Grains: Contains healthy, gluten-free grains

Overall Grade90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Sodium Content94%
No hidden salt90%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • All-natural and wholesome
  • Low sodium content
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Added vitamins and minerals

CONS

  • A little high calorie (might not be suitable for less active dogs)

We recommend Wellness Pet Food as the best low-sodium dog food without grains.

It contains healthy, whole-food ingredients and features lamb and lamb meal as the first two on the list. Vegetables include carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes, and fruits present are blueberries, apples, and tomatoes. Oatmeal, ground barley, and rice contribute to the carb content, being gluten-free, easy to digest grains.

Your pup will be getting quality proteins and carbs in this meal. It would be a great low sodium dog food for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages, although it may be better suited to those who are still relatively active due to a slightly elevated calorie count.

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Sodium Content 

This particular flavor by Wellness Complete contains 60mg sodium per 100 calories, which is a great low sodium count. There are no sneaky salty ingredients in it, so you can rest assured this dog food will benefit your pup and keep their salt level at a manageable level.

It’s perfect for dogs who need a diet that’s moderately low in sodium, as it’s a great maintenance level to keep a good sodium and water balance in the body. Keep in mind that other flavors may differ slightly, but the whole Wellness Complete range are decent low sodium dog foods.

Additional Benefits 

Pets who have been prescribed a low sodium diet usually have health conditions that have led to them needing a specific diet in the first place. While some foods are formulated specifically for dogs with particular conditions, this one is more general.

It still ticks all the boxes, though, and has great Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids for keeping skin and coat healthy, glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints strong and stable, vitamin A and E, and taurine. All of these go a long way towards keeping pups with health conditions as healthy as possible.

2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

Best For Puppies: Will nourish and strengthen your puppy

Overall Grade88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Sodium Content90%
No hidden salt88%
Calorie Count88%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Great quality, natural ingredients
  • Superfoods such as blueberries and spinach
  • Good protein and fat levels
  • Slightly more moisture content than others

CONS

  • A little pricey
  • Has salt on the ingredient list

If your vet has recommended a low sodium dog food for your puppy, this food would be a great choice.

It contains all that a growing, sodium-sensitive puppy needs to be as healthy as possible. 60mg of sodium per 100 calories is a great level to get your puppy started on a sodium-regulated diet, and the ingredient list of this low sodium dog food is packed full of wholesome stuff that will nourish and strengthen your puppy.

Regardless of whether your vet has recommended switching to one of the best low-sodium dog foods for your pup, it’s definitely something that you should pay attention to from when your puppy is little.

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Puppies’ Nutritional Requirements 

The best low-sodium dog food for puppies is not necessarily the same as the best for adults. Puppies generally need a good bit of protein, higher than average fat levels, some puppy-specific nutrients, and can deal with a slightly higher calorie count due to their bounciness.

This food has 29% protein, 18% fat, good calcium and phosphorus numbers for strong bones, and a nice dash of DHA, which contributes towards brain and eye development in puppies.

This low sodium dog food also has 450 calories per cup, which your playful pup should burn off nicely. Remember to make sure your pooch always has fresh water available, which will also help regulate their sodium levels. 

Contains Healthy, Digestible Grains 

Puppies tummies are usually a little more hardy than adults, so they should have no problem chowing down the oatmeal and ground barley in this low sodium dog food. It’s also a good idea to start your pup off with healthy grains from an early age, especially if you may be less keen on the idea of grain-free dog food.

While it’s still a good idea to steer clear of corn, wheat, and soy, low sodium dog foods containing gluten-free options like oatmeal, rice, barley, millet, and sorghum are A-okay for digestion.

3. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

Best For Seniors: Soft for seniors to eat

Overall Grade87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Sodium Content90%
No hidden salt90%
Calorie Count80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good sodium content
  • No hidden sodium ingredients
  • Adds moisture to your pup’s diet
  • Contain DHA and EPA

CONS

  • Slightly high calorie count (not the most suitable for less active seniors, unless in moderation)
  • A little pricey

The Honest Kitchen recipes are unique in the dog food world, as they are not your traditional kibble. Their products are dehydrated, which gives them a bit of a boost in terms of being healthy as they need no preservatives.

This food is fairly limited ingredient, and although it contains grains, they’re the good kind. The low sodium levels are great and there’s nothing added to it that would up the salt levels. It’s soft and easy on your pet’s stomach and would be great for seniors who are still pretty active but have dental trouble and struggle with regular kibble.

Just because your dog is older, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be eating well. Choosing the best low-sodium dog food can help increase the quality of their older years, and Honest Kitchen is a great choice for those who struggle with hard food.

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Seniors’ Dietary Requirements 

As pups get older, they can’t always eat the same things they used to. This could be due to them developing a sensitive stomach that they didn’t have as a youngster, or in some cases, dental problems could mean that they struggle to chew crunchy food.

Honest Kitchen low-sodium dog food bypasses both those problems, and also contains DHA and EPA, which are Omega fatty acids that help keep your senior’s brain active and their skin and coat healthy as they age. It’s a little high calorie, so it would be best if your senior pooch is still a little active, to prevent packing on the pounds. 

Benefits of Dehydrated Food 

Dehydrated dog food has some unique benefits that others don’t. Using dried ingredients means that there is no need for added preservatives, either artificial or natural.

It also means that the prepared product has a lot more moisture in it than any kibble, which is fantastic for seniors who might drink less as they get older. Getting enough water is also essential for pets who have problems with high sodium levels, so this is a big plus for this low sodium dog food.

4. Wellness Simple Canned Limited Ingredient

Best Low-Sodium Wet Dog Food: Good moisture content

Overall Grade87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Sodium Content90%
No hidden salt90%
Calorie Count80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • High-quality, all-natural ingredients
  • Single source protein (turkey)
  • Good sodium level
  • Good moisture content

CONS

  • Contains carrageenan
  • Slightly high calorie

A canned dog food can be a great addition to the dry dog food in your dog’s diet. If your pet is getting old and needs something to help him crunch dry food easier, a fussy eater, or simply needs more calories between meals, choosing a healthy, low sodium wet food is essential.

For dogs with health issues or on a low sodium diet, it’s even more important, as salt is often added for flavor in canned dog food. This amount of sodium in this kibble is just 59mg per 100 calories, making it a great low-sodium dog food option.

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Carrageenan in Canned Food 

Carrageenan is used as a thickener in many canned dog food, and some dogs may have trouble digesting it. In fact, many higher quality wet foods are opting to avoid it and go for more easily digestible thickening agents.

However, if your pup is only going to be eating canned dog food here and there, and they’re generally pretty healthy and have a tough tummy, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

Chelated Minerals 

The presence of chelated minerals is usually seen as a good thing in a dog food.

These are minerals that have been bonded to an amino acid in a process called chelation, which usually happens in your pet’s digestive process. Including these in a dog food makes the digestion process easier, as some of the hard work has already been done.

As long as the kibble topper is a low sodium dog food, your pup should be fine to have it added to their diet if they have a strong stomach.

5. Hill’s Ideal Balance Soft-Baked Naturals

Best Low Sodium Treat: For a snack in between meals

Overall Grade87%
Ingredient Quality85%
Sodium Content90%
No hidden salt90%
Calorie Count90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Low sodium dog food
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Come in a few flavors

CONS

  • “Soft-baked” can be deceiving, as these treats are quite hard

Every dog needs treats, whether for training purposes, as a snack in between meals, or simply an “I love you” from their human.

Dogs on a low sodium diet don’t have to miss out! These soft-baked biscuits are the perfect low sodium, low-calorie snack, coming in at 12 calories per biscuit, with the amount of sodium sitting at 35mg per 100 calories.

Of course, they are best used in conjunction with a healthy low sodium dog food.

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Soft-Baked Doesn’t Mean Soft Treats 

If your dog needs soft treats, these may not be for you. “Soft-baked” refers to the method of manufacturing, and not necessarily to the texture or consistency of the treats.

They could be a little crunchy or chewy, so it may be wise to give them a good feel before you buy. They’re also naturally preserved, giving them an extra thumbs up. 

Healthier Treats 

Often, treats are where pet owners go wrong when trying to keep their pooch on a healthy diet. These soft-baked treats, however, are a great, healthy option for your dog.

They’re made with real, whole-food ingredients, and soft-baked to preserve nutrients during the process. They contain no artificial anything, which is great. You can be happy feeding these to your pup as a healthy, yummy snack.

6. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food

Premium Option: Contains probiotics formulated for dogs

Overall Grade86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Sodium Content85%
No hidden salt85%
Calorie Count90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Good protein and fat counts
  • Contains probiotics specially formulated for dogs
  • Grain-free
  • Vegetables and fruits provide antioxidants

CONS

  • Slightly pricey
  • Contains salt on the ingredient list

The nutritional qualities of this dog food are great for dogs of all shapes, sizes, weights, and breeds. If you have a pup who needs a low sodium dog food, this would be a super option regardless of whether they’re a puppy, an adult, active, or slightly less so.

360 calories a cup is a good number for moderately active dogs, and a sodium level of 70mg per 100 calories is on the lower side. Although it contains salt on the ingredient list, the numbers are still more than suitable for a dog on a low-sodium diet.

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Single Source Protein 

The protein count is at 25%, which is a great number for dogs who are moderately or highly active. While there’s nothing wrong with low sodium dog food that contains more than one protein source (eg. chicken and beef), foods such as this one with a single source tend to be seen as better quality due to having fewer ingredients that could interact badly with something else.

In this case, salmon, salmon meal, smoked salmon, and ocean fish meal are the proteins, and they’re great quality, adding some great Omega fatty acids too. 

K9 Probiotics 

Taste of the Wild has its own specially-formulated probiotic strain, designed to strengthen and support the immune system and digestive system. They’re added to the food after cooking, so they retain all their value. The great ingredients in this food also add vitamins, probiotics, minerals, and antioxidants.

Probiotics play a role in digestion and absorption, and having a good splash of these in a low sodium dog food is helpful. This dog food would be great for any dog on a low sodium diet.

7. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Dry Dog Food

Best Value For Money: Very affordable

Overall Grade85%
Ingredient Quality80%
Sodium Content85%
No hidden salt85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Contains healthy grains
  • Has great sources of Omegas
  • Contains glucosamine

CONS

  • “Animal fat” is very vague
  • “Fish meal” is also not specific enough
  • Salt is on the ingredient list
  • Slightly high in calories

Purina Pro Plan low sodium dog food is one of the most affordable out there. It does contain grains (the good ones, though), and has great protein in the form of salmon and salmon meal. It’s relatively limited in terms of ingredients, which is not a bad thing at all. The amount of sodium comes in at 50mg per 100 calories, which is great, even though it has salt on the ingredient list.

Despite having some questionable ingredients, the protein sources are good, it contains nothing artificial, and it comes at a great price. If you’re looking for an affordable low sodium dog food, you’ll get pretty good value for what you pay for this one.

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Decent Nutrition at a Decent Price 

With 26% protein, 16% fat, and 429 calories per cup, this food has fairly decent numbers. If you have a pup who is relatively healthy aside from needing to regulate his sodium levels, this would make a good meal for him. The Omega-3 and -6’s nourish skin and fur, antioxidants promote a healthy immune system, and glucosamine is a nice little addition to keep joints supple and strong.

This particular low-sodium dog food recipe is formulated for pups with sensitive skin and stomachs, so there are plenty of benefits that come with making this your pet’s daily meal. 

Unidentifiable Ingredients 

Some of the ingredients on the list are questionable because of the lack of specificity. “Animal fat” can be a red flag, as the type of animal is not specified, meaning it could be anything (and that thing may not be healthy). “Fish meal” is similar, in that we have no idea what kind of fish was used.

These are paired with good proteins and grains, though, which helps. How dogs’ bodies respond to ingredients like these is a very individual thing, so if your dog is generally pretty healthy, it’s worth giving it a try.

8. Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Best Without Real Meat:  For dogs with digestive issues

Overall Grade84%
Ingredient Quality80%
Sodium Content85%
No hidden salt85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Dehydrated ingredients for extra freshness
  • Contains great vitamins and supplements
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Grain-free

CONS

  • Does not contain real meat (chicken meal & whitefish meal)

For dogs with digestive issues or more sensitive stomachs, eating a dog food that’s made with meat meal instead of real meat could help the digestion process. If your pup needs a low sodium food but has a slightly sensitive tummy, this would be the best low sodium dog kibble for them.

The calorie count is good for most dogs, from mildly to highly active, and the ingredients are easily digestible. Each cup also contains a good dose of healthy vitamins, minerals, and supplements not often seen in dog food, so you can be sure your pup will be getting a great, healthy meal.

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Meat Meal As Protein 

Although real meat is always a winner, it happens that some dogs don’t tolerate it well. This can be for many reasons, but meat meals are a great alternative. They are generally almost 4 times higher in protein than real meat, and easy to break down and absorb in the body. As long as the meat is identified (in this case, it’s chicken meal and whitefish meal) then there’s nothing wrong with choosing a food that contains meat meal. The protein content is still pretty great, at 26%

Vitamins & Minerals 

There are plenty of useful added things in this dog food. First on the guaranteed analysis list is DHA, which is great for both puppies and seniors (helping puppies to grow and develop healthily, and keeping seniors’ brains sharp). Ascorbic acid acts as a natural preservative and is far healthier than any artificial alternative.

The calcium and phosphorus ratio is pretty good, the Omega fatty acid levels are great, a dash of glucosamine and chondroitin can only benefit your pup, and the addition of L-carnitine, beta-carotene, and taurine support the immune system in every stage of life.

9. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient: Avoids possible food allergies

Overall Grade84%
Ingredient Quality85%
Sodium Content85%
No hidden salt80%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient to avoid possible food allergies
  • Natural ingredients
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Available in various flavors

CONS

  • May be too low in protein for some

Limited ingredient diets are fantastic for pets who have health concerns, especially if those concerns have to do with metabolism or digestion.

This food is a great limited ingredient option, and in addition to being a low sodium dog food, contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and Omega fatty acids. For pets with sensitive stomachs and sensitive skin, this would be a great low sodium choice.

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Low Protein 

The main protein source is venison, which is the second ingredient on the list (after sweet potatoes, which are a great carb course). The other proteins included are pea protein and potato protein, which are plant-based sources. This accounts for why the protein count is a little lower than others, at 20%.

This isn’t necessarily a problem though, especially if your pet has kidney or liver problems. In that case, a low-protein, low sodium dog food is a really smart option. 

Various Flavours 

It’s worth remembering that foods reviewed here are flavor-specific Natural Balance has a good few flavors available, and selecting a different flavor to what we’ve reviewed will most likely mean that the specific info (calorie count, protein sources, sodium levels, etc) will change.

While there shouldn’t be drastic differences, it can be easy to be caught out.

10. Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care Dry Dog Food

Best For Dogs With Heart Problems: Formulated for heart health

Overall Grade82%
Ingredient Quality70%
Sodium Content90%
No hidden salt85%
Calorie Count80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Low sodium
  • Formulated for heart health
  • Suitable for all breeds and sizes

CONS

  • No real meat
  • Contains grains with gluten
  • Contains chicken by-product meal

Although the Hill’s Science Diet foods are aimed at bettering health conditions, there is some question about the Hill’s Science Diet quality.

The sodium content in this food is great, at 0.12% maximum, but the ingredient quality is questionable, especially next to the high-quality, whole food options on the market today. There is no real meat, and the protein content is made up of soy protein isolate and chicken by-product meal.

While these are fairly easy to digest, they are lower quality ingredients that shouldn’t be found in the best low-sodium dog food. The carbs include whole-grain corn, which is a grain that contains gluten and can cause digestive upset.

The protein content is low, at 14,5%, which would suit dogs on a low protein diet. This food has a great low sodium content, but, despite it being aimed towards reducing high blood pressure and the chances of heart failure, it’s recommended to only use it at your vet’s suggestion and if your pup can tolerate the corn.

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No Real Meat 

The first sign of a great quality food is always real meat as the first ingredient (or at least in the first five ingredients). The absence of real meat is a concern and would account for the low protein in this food.

Low protein is not necessarily a bad thing, but the quality of the protein sources is questionable. The lack of fruits and vegetables as carbs also means that this food may be missing some essential nutrients that others would contain. 

There’s nothing wrong with chicken meal, but this food contains chicken by-product meal, which is an entirely different ingredient.

By-product Ingredients 

When you see the word “by-product” appear on a dog food label, that refers to the parts of the animal that are usually considered to be waste. This includes things like hooves, feet, beaks, bones, blood, and organs.

While raw diets advocate the consumption of organ meat and bones, the other waste products are not nutritionally valuable for your pet. By-products are considered a low-quality filler, and can also cause or contribute to food allergies. 

Seeing these ingredients on a Hill’s Science Diet food is disappointing. Despite the low sodium content, we would recommend this food only if a veterinarian has prescribed it after examining your pet. 


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Ingredient Quality

No matter what health concerns your pet may have (even if they have none), the first way of combating them is to ensure you are feeding your dog a diet that consists of great quality ingredients to promote balanced nutrition.

There is no substitute for whole, natural ingredients, and they’re essential in the best low-sodium dog food. They provide nutrients that artificial stuff simply can’t, and you want to get the most bang for your buck when buying dog food. This extends to vitamins and minerals as well as preservatives – some great natural preservatives include tocopherols, citric acid, and ascorbic acid. 

A great mix of meat (or meat meal), vegetables, fruit, and vitamins and minerals are the best basis for healthy, immune-boosting, wellness-promoting, low-sodium dog foods. If you spot an ingredient you aren’t sure about on the list on your pup’s food, Google it!

It’s also important not to be fooled by packaging. “Prescription diet”, “science diet”, or “heart health” on a packet don’t necessarily mean the food is of good quality. Check the ingredients first!

Criteria 2 – Sodium Content

Of course, next to quality ingredients, the next most important thing in low-sodium dog foods is the actual sodium content. While the optimal level will vary by individual, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed in order to classify a food as being low sodium. 

The food needs to fall within the required sodium levels, and the average is 0.3% (around 100mg per 100 calories). The low sodium kibble we’ve reviewed ideally have between 50 and 80mg per 100 calories. Some may have slightly more, some may have slightly less, but nothing over 100mg per 100 calories should be fed to a pup needing a low sodium diet. Anything higher could result in heart problems and high blood pressure.

Criteria 3 – No Hidden Salt

Sodium is often added to give the dog food a better taste. Manufacturers are sneaky and hide it in there in many different forms, and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s there. 

While you may occasionally see “salt” on a dog food label, other times it hides in plain sight in the form of MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates (these are artificial preservatives). The foods we review will get the nod if they use natural preservatives and avoid any hidden salty surprises.

We’ve made sure these are actually low-sodium dog foods and aren’t sneaking ingredients in and claiming to be low in salt.

Criteria 4 – Calorie Count

We often obsess over our own caloric intake, especially when it comes to trying to lose weight. But it’s just as important to take note of how many calories your pup is getting daily. 

If your pooch has health concerns that require him or her to be chowing down low-sodium dog food, it’s important to ensure that they maintain a healthy weight and a balanced nutrition. Carrying too much weight puts an extra strain on the body, and can worsen existing medical conditions. We’ve had a look at the calorie counts of these foods too, to make sure they are within a decent range for both active and less active pups.

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Having a healthy pup can be hard on the pocket sometimes, but it can become quite stressful when your dog’s health deteriorates and you suddenly need to shell out for checkups, blood tests, medication, and change their food on top of that. 

Low-sodium dog foods may be a little more specialized, but there are plenty of options out there that won’t cost a fortune. There will always be those that are more expensive (usually with good reason, though, as they are very high quality), but we’ve reviewed foods that are of great quality and won’t put you out of pocket too much. The less stress both pup and owner have, the happier both will be!


Questions & Answers

When does a dog need a low sodium diet?

A vet may suggest low-sodium dog foods for pets who are suffering from high blood pressure or health issues that affect their kidneys, liver, heart, or gastrointestinal tract. Many of these conditions are worsened by excessive sodium levels. If a vet finds that your dog has abnormally high levels of sodium in their body, they may recommend a low sodium diet in order to bring the levels down to normal. 

It is imperative not to self-diagnose your pup or choose to put them on a low sodium diet for no reason. Salt is an important nutrient that performs various functions in the body and is necessary for the optimal functioning of the immune system. As there is no way for you to know how much is too much for your pup (and exactly how much they’re getting in), it’s best not to mess with your pup’s sodium levels unless it is recommended by a vet.

If you’re worried that your dog may suffer from high-sodium related problems or if he shows signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure, a trip to the vet for a test is a good idea before deciding to put them onto specific low-sodium dog foods.

According to AAFCO, the minimum accepted level of sodium in a dog food is 0.3% of the dry matter weight. They have not specified a maximum number, but it’s often suggested by veterinarians that dogs with a high tolerance and no sodium problems can use a food that contains up to 0.5% sodium, while dogs who are restricted or recommended to avoid sodium should stick to low-sodium dog foods between 0.1 and 0.35%. 

This can be hard to figure out unless you’re a mathematics whiz, so it’s generally accepted that less than 100mg per 100 calories is acceptable for a low-sodium food. Anything higher puts your dog at risk for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

As this info isn’t readily available on most dog food, whether they’re low-sodium or not, it’s best to ask your vet about numbers.

Why is too much sodium dangerous for dogs?

A high sodium diet can lead to a variety of health issues. One of the more serious conditions that can be a result of excessive sodium intake is called hypernatremia. This is basically an imbalance of water and sodium in the body, which can be life-threatening. If your pup is eating too much salt, it can be almost impossible for them to drink enough water to keep that balanced. 

Congestive heart failure can also be brought on by too much salt in the diet, as it can cause a build-up of fluid which puts pressure on the heart, and increase the chances of high blood pressure.

If your pup has a diet that is decent in sodium, but gets hold of something extremely salty, they can suffer from acute salt poisoning, which has similar symptoms to hypernatremia – unusual thirst and water intake, lethargy and confusion, vomiting or diarrhea, and in the later stages, seizures and congestive heart failure.

If your dog is predisposed to any of these conditions or shows signs and symptoms of having too much salt in their body, it’s worth checking with your vet if they might benefit from a low-sodium dog food to help them keep their balanced nutrition.

What characteristics should I look for in the best low-sodium dog food?

A good low-sodium dog food is one that comprises of all-natural ingredients with no artificial flavors or other additives. MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrates, and salt should be avoided, so if you see any of these on the ingredient list, steer clear. These are more often found in dog treats but can sneak into dog food as well. 

Other than that, make sure it contains quality protein sources (identified meat or meat meal), complex carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), and vitamins and minerals. Of course, the food you choose should cater for your pup in whatever other ways he or she needs. For example, if your pooch is sensitive to grains, you should make sure the low-sodium dog food you choose doesn’t contain them.

How can I identify low-sodium kibble?

A few foods may specify on their packaging that they are low in sodium, but it can be hard to find specific info on dog food labels. This can be super frustrating for pet owners trying to find a low-sodium dog food. 

If a Google search doesn’t help, ask your dog’s vet for some information. If that proves fruitless too, then you generally identify the best low sodium dog kibble by the quality of their ingredients. Limited ingredient foods often have a lower salt content, as well as foods that tend to stick to just one protein source.

The absence of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives makes a big difference too, so you can safely assume that a dog food without these is a much more low-sodium dog food than one that contains these ingredients.

How would you recommend I start my dog on a low-sodium dog food diet?

Generally, a low sodium diet shouldn’t be all that much different from what your pup is eating already. It may taste a little more bland, but as long as there are great ingredients in it (especially fruits and veg), those should add to the flavor. 

If our pup already has a favorite flavor, for example, chicken or fish, choose a low sodium food the same flavor to make the change less drastic. It may be a good idea to go half-half with the regular food and the low sodium dog kibble, and gradually increase the low-sodium kibble until that’s all your pup is eating.

Can I make low-sodium dog food at home?

You can! The best low sodium dog foods don’t have to be kibble. Feeding pets fresh or raw food has become more popular of late, and many dog owners are choosing to prepare their pets’ food at home instead of feeding them regular kibble. This allows you quite a bit of control over what goes into your pup’s food, so you can make sure that there are no hidden ingredients that are bad for your dog. 

As long as you choose a quality meat source, add some vegetables, and cook it without adding any salt to it, you should be able to create a variety of low-sodium recipes for your pup. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Feeding your pup a low-sodium dog food isn’t a big deal and is a lot easier than one may think. Choose one of the low-sodium dog food options on this list, or make your own. Either way, your pup’s heart will thank you for it!