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The 6 Best Low-Sodium Dog Foods

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Dog Food By Ben Team 18 min read August 31, 2021 67 Comments

best low sodium dog food

Like so many other components of a dog’s diet, sodium is essential for life, yet toxic in excessive quantities. But fortunately, sodium is generally not a mineral most dog owners need to worry about.

Domestic dogs typically ingest more than enough sodium to meet their biological needs, and they have several physiological mechanisms for excreting excessive amounts of sodium (such as increased urination and water consumption), should they consume too much.

However, in some cases, dogs will need a specific low sodium diet.

Warning: There is a lot of misleading information on the web regarding the sodium content of various dog foods, but we have confirmed the sodium content of all the foods listed below with the manufacturers. However, we have NOT yet confirmed the sodium content of the treats discussed below. Always remember to double-check the nutritional information on the product packaging and consult with your vet if you’re unclear about anything.

Best Low Sodium Dog Food: Quick Picks

  • Earthborn Weight Control [Best Low Sodium Recipe]! 50mg/100kcal This grain-free, low-fat, low-carlorie, chicken-based food is fortified with glucosamine and boasts an impressive low-sodium count.
  • Earthborn Adult Vantage [Best Moderate Sodium Recipe]! 60mg/100kcal This gluten-free, low calorie and low-sodium formula features chicken and whitefish meal as the first ingredients, along with hearty oatmeal and barley grains.
  • Wellness Complete Lamb & Barley  [Best Lamb-Based Option]. 63mg/100kcalWith lamb and lamb meal as first ingredient (along with hearty grains like oatmeal and barley), this quality recipe doesn’t skimp on protein while still boasting moderate sodium levels. It also is wheat, corn, and soy-free.
  • Wellness Complete Toy Breed Chicken, Brown Rice, & Peas  [Best For Toy Breeds]. 57mg/100k cal This small-breed kibble features chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the first ingredients, along with healthy brown rice with low to moderate sodium levels.
  • Wellness Simple Turkey & Potato (Canned)  [Lowest Sodium Wet Food]. 56/100kcalThis limited-ingredient and gluten-free wet food features high-quality turkey as the first ingredient and is blended with easily digestible carbohydrates with no additives added.

Best Low Sodium Dog Treats: Quick Picks

Continue reading for more in-depth reviews

Health Problems that Require Low-Sodium Foods

High salt intake can cause many people to develop high blood pressure, but this rarely appears to happen to dogs. In fact, a 2008 study, published in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, found that dogs adapt well to a wide range of sodium levels. The author of the study states that:

“There is no strong evidence that increased dietary sodium increases the risk of hypertension in dogs and cats, and the current recommendation for hypertensive animals is to avoid high dietary salt intake without making a specific effort to restrict it.”

As you can see, you probably don’t need to worry about your pup developing high blood pressure unless you supplement his diet regularly with Doritos and pickled eggs. But high blood pressure isn’t even the reason most dogs end up needing a low-sodium diet.

Most dogs that require a low-sodium diet suffer from congestive heart failure (some liver or kidney issues can also lead your veterinarian to recommend restricting his salt intake). Congestive heart failure causes fluid to build up in the body, and salt exacerbates this phenomenon.

By reducing the level of sodium in your dog’s food, you can help your dog shed some of this excess fluid in his urine. This will help take some strain off of his internal organs, and generally bolster his health.

Recommended Sodium Levels for Canines

Various dog foods have wildly different sodium levels. Unfortunately, it is actually somewhat difficult to find the sodium levels of many dog foods, as manufacturers aren’t required to print such information on the labels. In fact, the AAFCO doesn’t even establish a maximum acceptable level for sodium content – it only establishes a minimally acceptable value.

However, with sufficient homework, you can usually find the sodium content of commercial foods. This can allow you to select a food that fits within the range prescribed by your vet.

Generally speaking, most veterinarians use the following categories when discussing low-sodium diets (it usually easier to use the amount of sodium provided for each 100k calories as your unit of measure when comparing foods):

  • Dogs with no sodium restrictions require food with at least 0.5% sodium content (>100mg sodium/100kCal)
  • Dogs who require mild sodium restriction should be offered foods with between 0.35% and 0.5% sodium content (80 to 100mg/100kCal)
  • Dogs who require moderate sodium restriction should only receive foods with between 0.1% and 0.35% sodium content (50 to 80mg/100kCal)
  • Dogs who require severe sodium restriction should be offered food with less than 0.1% sodium content (<50mg/100kCal)

While the AAFCO doesn’t address the maximum amount of sodium dogs can ingest safely, the National Research Council of the National Academies does.

According to their guidelines, a 33-pound dog who burns about 1,000 Calories per day should not consume more than 2,000 milligrams per day. They do not explicitly state how to extrapolate this figure, as calorie consumption and body weight do not necessarily have a linear relationship.

Salt Toxicity Is Serious Problem For Dogs

For the most part, a dog food’s sodium content is only a long-term concern of those dogs with certain medical conditions.

But sodium can be immediately dangerous – a condition called salt toxicity — to any dog who consumes a significant quantity in a short period of time, such as if Fido gets into the spice cabinet or pantry and goes to town on a shaker.

low sodium dog food reviews

Salt toxicity isn’t just a problem for dogs, as numerous other species are susceptible (pigs only tolerate a small amount of salt in a short amount of time, while sheep can tolerate quite a bit).

The lethal dose for dogs is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 grams per kilogram of body weight. As a point of reference, a teaspoon of salt weighs about 5 grams and a kilogram is equal to about 2.2 pounds.

Dogs who consume significant amounts of salt may vomit, or suffer from muscle tremors or seizures. But this kind of toxicity is somewhat rare in dogs, and tends to occur via accidental ingestion of very salty food.

Contact your vet immediately if your dog exhibits signs of salt toxicity – this isn’t a long-term problem to be solved with low-sodium food, it requires prompt medical care. About 50% of all salt toxicity cases prove fatal, even with prompt treatment.

What to Look for in a Low-Sodium Food

Low-sodium foods should be nutritionally similar to other foods, aside from the reduced amount of sodium contained therein. They should also exhibit the same characteristics that other high-quality foods do, such as:

  • They should feature a whole protein source as the first listed ingredient. Dogs are omnivores, who require a variety of different foods to stay healthy, but the bulk of their calories should come from meat. Look for items like deboned chicken, deboned turkeylamb, beef, pork, trout or salmon, rather than meat-meals or byproducts made from these animals.
  • They should be made in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, or Western Europe. These countries have very strict safety and food-quality regulations in place, which help to reduce the chances that you’ll purchase a food tainted with harmful substances.
  • They should be made without unnecessary dyes, colors, flavors or additives. Your dog probably doesn’t notice his food’s color very much, so colors and dyes are best avoided, as they can trigger food allergies. And foods that require artificial flavors should probably just concentrate on improving their ingredients and recipes, not adding things to cover an unpalatable product.
  • They should only contain properly labeled meat meals and meat byproducts. Despite the fact that they often contain items humans would never eat, meat-meals and byproducts can be nutritious and valuable sources of supplemental protein. However, they must be made from identified sources. For example, “chicken meal” is acceptable, but “poultry meal” is not.
  • They should emphasize whole-grains and other carbohydrates with a high nutritional value. Carbohydrates are an important component of your dog’s diet, but not all carbohydrates are created equally. For example, enriched wheat provides a very high number calories, while providing very little fiber. Whole wheats, on the other hand, provide a much better fiber-to-calorie ratio.
  • They should address any other health needs your pooch has. For example, if your dog suffers from a food allergy to chicken or beef, you need a low-sodium food that doesn’t contain these ingredients. Alternatively, if your dog suffers from arthritis, you probably want a low-sodium food that contains glucosamine or chondroitin.

How to Identify Low Sodium Dog Foods

While we’ve done our best to highlight a few great low sodium diet choices here, it’s worth remembering that formulas can change, so understanding how to do the math yourself is always best.

Generally, when looking for a low-sodium dog food, your best bet will be to look for weight management formulas. These almost always have lower sodium levels than standard dog food.

5 Best Low-Sodium Dog Foods

The following five foods are among the best foods available, that have a relatively low sodium content. While these may not be sufficient for dogs requiring severe sodium restriction, they should work for those with mild sodium restrictions.

Please remember to always consult your vet before embarking on any kind of new diet with your dog – especially when you are trying to meet certain requirements like a low sodium diet.

These formulas have been reported to offer lower sodium amounts than most, but we always recommend getting in touch with the brand’s customer service to verify that the formula has not changed and that the food does indeed meet your and your dog’s sodium restriction requirements. Do not make dog diet selection choices based solely on this article!

Note: Because ultra-low-sodium diets are quite rare, we’ve highlighted the recipes with the lowest sodium content in orange.

1. Earthborn Kibble Adult Vantage

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Earthborn Kibble Adult Vantage

Earthborn Kibble Adult Vantage

High-quality animal meats with low sodium levels

This kibble features chicken meal and whitefish meal as its first ingredients and a sodium content of only 60mg/100kl.

About: Earthborn Kibble Adult Vantage is a high-quality dog food for canines who need moderate sodium restriction with 60mg/100kl. Many owners sing the praises of Earthborn, testifying to their quality.

This food uses quality animal proteins, with chicken meal and whitefish meal as the first two ingredients. Other ingredients include oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and rye.

While some owners prefer grain-free diets (see below for sodium restricted grain-free kibbles from Earthborn), there shouldn’t be a problem feeding most dogs a dry food that includes some grains, so long as the grains don’t make up most of the kibble composition.

Earthborn also has several other kibbles that are suitable for moderate sodium restrictions:

PROS

Earthborn is a well-liked dog food brand, with grain and grain-free kibbles that meet the requirements for moderate sodium restriction.

CONS

Earthborn is fairly reasonably priced, but not the cheapest option out there. One owner found that one of her bags was only 3/4 full when received, but this seems to be a one-off manufacturing issue. Overall though, there isn’t much bad to say about this brand.

Ingredients List

Chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice...,

Rye Flour, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Apples, Blueberries, Carrots, Peas, Spinach, Garlic, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Beta-Carotene, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, L-Carnitine, Vitamin B12 Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.

2. Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Barley

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Wellness Complete Health Adult Lamb & Barley Kibble

Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Barley

USA-made quality kibble with moderate sodium

This USA-made lamb-based recipe offers great sodium restriction with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives added.

About: Wellness Complete Health Adult Lamb & Barley is a USA-made, high-quality lamb-based dog food that also offers great sodium restriction. At sodium levels of 63mg/100k calories, it’s one of the lower sodium options on the market.

This formula is also wheat, corn, and soy free. It also contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

PROS

Veterinarians have written in noting that they not only heartily recommend Wellness Complete, but that they give it to their own dogs as well! Some owners have even said that they’ve been able to take their dog off certain medications after feeding their dogs Wellness Complete for a few months.

CONS

As with many of these dog food brands, Wellness Complete isn’t the cheapest option on the market.

Ingredients List

Lamb, Menhaden Fish Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice...,

Rye Flour, Tomato Pomace, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Rice Bran, Tomatoes, Ground Millet, Natural Lamb Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins [Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement], Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Chicory Root Extract, Garlic Powder, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Green Tea Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation products, Rosemary Extract. This is a naturally preserved product.

Other Good Wellness Options:

3. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Recipe

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Hill

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed

Low-sodium large-breed recipe

Specially formulated for unique needs of large breeds, this recipe is made without artificial flavors and preservatives and contains only a modest amount of sodium.

AboutHill’s Large Breed is a scientifically formulated dog food, designed for the unique needs of large breeds. This large-breed food has a sodium content of 71mg per 100k calories.

Science Diet is made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and it contains only a modest amount of sodium. Most dogs love the taste and digest it well.

Features:

  • Includes natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to provide your dog with complete nutrition
  • Made in the USA
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

PROS

In addition to being a low-sodium, yet delicious, food, many dog owners reported improved bowel movements after switching to Science Diet.

CONS

This Science Diet food does not include a whole protein source (the primary protein is lamb meal), but because there are relatively few low-sodium diets available commercially, we included it on the list. Unfortunately, this Science Diet recipe is not suitable for small breeds.

Ingredients List

Corn Gluten Meal, Brown Rice, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene

Other Hill’s Science Diet Options:

4. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream

Best Fish-Based Reco[e

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Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Adult

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream

Fish-based, grain-free kibble

This grain-free diet offers tasty protein sources like salmon and ocean fish meal with a mild sodium reduction.

About: Taste of the Wild’s Pacific Stream Adult Food is a dog food designed for adult dogs, with a sodium content of 70mg per 100k calories. This grain-free diet boosts impressive protein sources like salmon, as well as added vitamins and fruits and veggies for a truly tasty diet.

All of Taste of the Wild’s formulas are grain-free, providing complex carbs via sweet potatoes and legumes, which are more digestible and fiber-packed than standard grain carbs. Food also contains both dog-friendly probiotics and prebiotics which aid in canine digestion.

The omega-3 fatty acids from salmon oil and fish meal, (and coupled with omega-6 provided by other ingredients) allow for a balanced fatty acid profile that promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat for your pooch.

Features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas.
  • No grain, wheat, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fatty acids to provide your dog with complete nutrition as well as promote skin and coat health.
  • Made in the USA

PROS

Owners note that dogs with digestion issues in the past seem to thrive on this dog food, and love the taste too!

CONS

Some owners have reported getting a bad bag of Taste of the Wild via Amazon, as some counterfeit bags seems to be floating around. For this reason, we recommend purchasing this food via Chewy or another online retailer.

Want More Info? Check out our full in-depth Taste of the Wild dog food review!

Ingredients List

Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas...,

canola oil, lentils, salmon meal, smoked salmon, potato fiber, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Other Low-Sodium Taste of the Wild Options:

  • Wetlands: 70mg
  • High Praire Adult: 80mg

Low Sodium Dog Treats

Reminder: We have not yet been able to verify the sodium content of the treats listed below. Be sure to check the packaging carefully and consult with your vet if you have any questions.

Need treats for training your pup, or simply want some tasty bonus snacks to give him? These low-sodium dog treats are safe to feed Fido.

Hills Ideal Balance Soft-Baked Naturals

  • with Duck & Pumpkin: 37
  • with Chicken & Carrots: 35

Hills Ideal Balance Oven-Baked Naturals

  • with Lamb and Apricots- 40mg/100kcal
  • with Chicken and Apples- 52mg/100kcal
  • with Turkey and Cranberries- 33mg/100 kcal

Hills Ideal Balance Breakfast Medleys

  • with Grilled Trout and Spinach: 66mg/100 kcal
  • with Country Chicken and Egg: 41mg/100 kcal

Hills Ideal Balance Crafted

  • with Pacific Style Salmon and Sweet Potato: 53 mg/100 kcal
  • with Heartland Rabbit and Potatoes: 39mg/100kcal

Hills Natural Balance Regional Delights

  • with Heartland Rabbits and Potatoes- 39mg/100 kcal
  • with Pacific Style Salmon and Sweet Potatoes- 53 mg/100 kcal
  • with Southern Catfish and Peas- 50mg/100kcal

Hills Science Diet Soft Savories

  • with Chicken and Yogurt- 36 mg/100kcal
  • with Peanut Butter and Banana- 36mg/100 kcal
  • with Beef-N-Cheddar- 37mg/100 kcal

Hills Science Grain Free Treats

  • with Turkey and Cranberries- 33mg/100 kcal
  • with Chicken and Apples- 52mg/100kcal

Hills Science Dental Chews with Real Vegetables

  • Small Dog- 42mg/100 kcal
  • Medium Dog- 42mg/100 kcal

Hills Science Baked Light Biscuits with Real Chicken

  • Small-34 mg/100kcal

Other Low Sodium Dog Treats:

  • lams Adult Original Formula Small Biscuits (green box)
  • Purina Alpo Variety Snaps Treats
  • Purina Veterinary Diets Lite Snackers

Added Foods to Make Your Dog’s Dinner Taste Better

If you’re having a tough time getting your dog to eat, try adding one of these low-sodium-compliant foods, as recommended by the Medvet Cardiology Department of Cincinnati.

  • Pasta (no sauces or flavorings)
  • Rice (plain white or brown rice, not flavored rice)
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Low-sodium cheese
  • Lean, cooked meats (chicken, turkey, beef, or fish) – not deli meats/cold cuts
  • Cooked eggs
  • Homemade soup or broth without salt – not canned soups!
  • Low-salt breakfast cereal – look for labels that says “this is a low-sodium food” (eg, Frosted Mini Wheats)
  • Fresh vegetables/fruit (such as carrots, green beans, apple, orange, banana  – avoid grapes)
  • Gerber brand baby food – only use formulas Chicken, Chicken & Gravy, Beef, or Beef & Gravy

If you’re having a hard time getting your pup to eat his meds, make sure to check out our guide on how to get your dog to take his medicine!

Foods to Avoid For Dogs On Low-Sodium Diets:

  • Fatty foods (meat fat, cream, etc)
  • Pickled Foods
  • Bread
  • Pizza
  • Condiments (Soy sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce)
  • Deli meats (this includes ham, salami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, etc)
  • Cheese (unless marked as low-sodium)
  • Processed foods
  • Canned vegetables (unless marked as no salt added)
  • Snack foods (potato chips, crackers, packaged popcorn)
  • Commercial soups and broths
  • Most dog biscuits and treats

***

We’d love to hear about your experiences with low-sodium dog foods. Have you found one that works well? Have you tried any of the foods detailed above? Let us know in the comments section!

Also, thanks to Vikki Adair who put a lot of this information together through diligent research, contacting manufacturers, and was willing to share her findings!

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Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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67 Comments

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Jennifer Johnson

Also if you did your research you would have discovered that Earthborn Holistic is also tops on the 2021 FDA recall list as of March 2021. Look it up….

Reply
Ben Team

Hey there, Jennifer.
I’m just going to address your concerns separately for clarity.

1) That recall was literally one month ago. I’m pretty sure we originally published this article around three years ago. We try to update articles periodically, but that’s not always possible.
2) When you say “tops the list,” that just means the recall was recent.
3) We don’t necessarily note every recall for every food we discuss — there are better places (such as the FDA’s website) to monitor recalls.

But more importantly, I think it’s important to look at recalls differently.

Recalls happen. Full stop. They’re obviously not awesome, but they’re rarely cause for panic.

And just because a company has issued a recall does not mean they should be written off forever. This was a voluntary recall issued over possible salmonella contamination. Salmonella bacteria are ubiquitous, and they contaminate food products from time to time. The very fact that the manufacturer’s own sampling program caught the potential problem and then issued a voluntary recall demonstrates that the system works!

Let’s look at it another way: What do Sabra, Kroger, Publix, Duncan Hines, Dole, Kellogg’s, and Cap’n Crunch (among many, many, many others — these were just some I grabbed at a glance) have in common?
They all issued recalls for potential salmonella contamination since January 2020.

If we’re going to stop buying from every manufacturer or retailer who institutes a recall, we’ll probably have to start growing and processing our own food.

Reply
Jessica

I appreciate all the info and your reply to this rude comment. Like you have already said many times and shouldn’t have to on each post- these are suggestions of what works best for most dogs. If people want to be rude for a free advice site- you shouldn’t be here. Your obviously so smart Jennifer Johnson you can look up all this info yourself. Rude people are ugly.

Reply
Ben Team

Glad you found the info helpful, Jessica!

Reply
Jennifer Johnson

Also not wise to give your dogs turkey either. Unless it is made and processed a certain way…adding just cooked turkey is misleading and is not always good for your dog. I gave my dog turkey, just white meat without any skin, bones, or any seasoning added to it and she got pancreatitis. So be careful what you recommend and how you word things.

Reply
Ben Team

Hi, Jennifer.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog cooked, unseasoned turkey unless your vet instructs you differently or your dog has specific health issues. Scads of well-regarded dog foods use turkey as a primary protein.
We’re sorry your dog suffered from pancreatitis, but (given that turkey is incredibly lean), it’s unlikely that turkey was the cause.

Reply
Jennifer E Johnson

Any quality vet would know that Hills Science diet is garbage and is not good for dogs. They are constantly on recall lists and have been also in the past. They put chinese based ingriedients in their foods, byproducts and other chemicals that are not good for dogs including glueten. which if you look is one of the first ingriedients listed. Eukanuba, IAMS and the rest of these known garbage brands on the market today are also recommended by vets. So how much do vets truly know and can show that they truly care about your dogs health and diet if they can recommend brands that are constantly on recalls??? I recommend you do better research next time before you write an article.

Reply
Ben Team

Hi again, Jennifer (next time, just list all of your concerns in a single comment if you would, please).
See my earlier comments about recalls. And in this case, you’re conflating manufacturing processes with nutritional quality.

I don’t know what to tell you if you think your “research” has led you to different conclusions than veterinarians.
But that’s a shocking level of hubris.

Individual veterinarians obviously differ, but as a whole, veterinary science is solid. We whole-heartedly encourage our readers to work closely with their vets when selecting a food.

Reply
Jared

Hey question so before you did have the Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach salmon & rice on the list, now it’s off. I just wanted to check the reasoning why it’s removed. I started feeding my dog this since he needs to have low sodium diet due to having heart disease and he actually likes it so I’d rather not switch it on him. Thank you

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Jared.

Unfortunately, we’ve found that some of the sodium content figures published on the web are incorrect. So, we began reaching out to manufacturers directly to ensure we were providing the correct information for our readers. Once Purina responded, we found that the sodium content in their FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach recipe was too high for us to consider it a “low sodium” food. Accordingly, we removed it from the article.

We’re still waiting to hear back from Hill’s to verify the sodium content of their foods and treats, but we have verified or corrected the sodium content of all of the other foods (Earthborn, Taste of the Wild, and Wellness) listed.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes.
Thanks for reading, and we wish you the best of luck with your pooch.

Reply
Deb

I would like the list of low sodium dog food. Thank you

Reply
Hope

I love your article by the way! I switched my Boston Terrier with a heart murmur to Earthborn Holistic because of what you have provided. He has been doing fine on it health wise but he is starting to grow tied of it and won’t eat it much – so he is losing too much weight. I decided to switch it to Purina Pro Plan because of your article but after I did a little more research I noticed your numbers are off on the milligrams. The sodium content is actually 131mg/100kcal, which is very high. You might want to change your article. I found this information on their product guide. It says their percentage of sodium is .49%. Maybe that is where you got confused. I almost fed this to my dog and it could have harmed him so I just wanted to let you know. Thanks.

Reply
Dee

My 6 year old Doby Pippa Jane has a leaking issue from her hysterectomy when she was spayed. We have her on Propalin for that, but lately she’s been leaking every night, and she goes out frequently. Also she runs the chance of crystals and stones, so low sodium is important, but the Hills isn’t helping the leaking issue.
We’ve supplemented with corn silk but that’s not really helping. I’m thinking of switching her to Taste of the Wild. When she was on Performatrin she rarely leaked, but our new vet says it’s too high in sodium. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Reply
Vikki Adair

If you look at the list above, One of the flavors of Taste of the Wild is 70mg/100kcal.
How much restriction in sodium does your vet want you to give your furrbaby?
Dogs who require moderate sodium restriction should only receive foods with between 0.1% and 0.35% sodium content (50 to 80mg/100kCal)

Reply
Linda K

For dogs who have to take Vetmedin a/k/a Pimobendan it is very expensive. I found that if you go to a compounding pharmacy (ask your vet for name of one), you can purchase a month’s supply for $40. Yes!!!! And it comes in 4 flavors. However, it is liquid. If you are willing to pay $45 you can get in capsule form. After about a week, my dog knows when it’s time for her med and she willingly takes liquid with no problem. If your dog has to also take Viagra, I found that if I get a coupon from Goodrx, Costco is the cheapest at around $18.

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Julie B

Linda… our cardiologist in Boulder, CO recommended Wedgewood Pharmacy for our compounded meds. My dog was having HUGE problems transitioning to the Lasix and Pimobendan so they recommended a compound. I thought it would be more expensive, but yes, it’s much less. Your dog must be small because our 60 pound dog’s Rx is more expensive than that. Our vet said he likes Wedgewood because that’s all they do: compounds. They have liquids, flavor tabs, capsules and TINY PILLS! If having to shove a pill down a throat, it’s much nicer to have one that’s half the size of a Tic Tac vs. 1-1/2 of the normal Vetmedin chewables. Each tablet was well over an inch and he wouldn’t eat them. Wedgewood also offers 30 flavor options for their items. Unfortunately our TINY pills are still sealed because he hasn’t been put back on the Pimobendan yet. Now if I could find a consistent vehicle for giving his meds!! This is a dog that literally would eat ANY food for 10 years. Now he refuses everything: canned foods of all kinds, chicken and rice, his favorite kibble, almost every dog food we’ve tried, bone broths for dogs, pill pockets, cheese, etc. etc. Currently our only winners are AWFUL for his health. We’re able to give his Rimadyl and Lasix in chunks of a fully cooked brat and the ONLY food he will eat is Beneful. Seriously. We’ve never bought food like that ever, but when you’re watching your dog slowly starve, you will try anything. So haters, say what you must, but we just want to get him healthy enough so we can get started on the Pimobendan and see if we can prolong his life in a good way. He’s already about 15 and a Pitbull-type dog, so that’s old for that size of dog. We’d love to get another 6+ months with him but ONLY if his quality of life improves. We’re overjoyed that he’s just eating. Wish us luck. 🙂

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Ben Team

We wish you luck, Julie!
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Cynthia Heinze

I have a 9-10 year old (rescued so age is approximate) Chihuahua with CHF because of a leaky heart valve. He is a very fussy eater who prefers carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli instead of meat. I have looked at all of the recommendations for low sodium food, but they all seem to be dry. I can get Herbie to eat canned food. Do you know of any low sodium canned dog food? Any information would be appreciated.

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Meg Marrs

Wellness has some decent canned options – you’ll find them under the Wellness Complete review.

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Angela

Hill’s H/D is a canned food. It’s for dogs with heart disease. It’s sodium is .1 something. I can’t recall, but it is low. They also have kibble.

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Cherry

Hi, my dog has heart disease and they just found a bladder stone last week so after doing an ultrasound and X-ray and lab tests, the doctor recommended she starts eating Royal Canin Urinary SO to see if the stone will break down. I’m looking at the ingredients and pork by-products is second, chicken is the third ingredient, wheat flour is after that but it’s not whole wheat flour as you suggested in this article. There is corn starch, salt and fish oil with other vitamins as well. Then I looked to see where the can came from and it’s saying Royal Canin Puerto Rico. Should I trust that this is a good option for my dog? Or should I talk to the vet? She’s saying we will try this special diet for three weeks then if it doesn’t work we will have to do surgery but it’s risky because my dog has heart disease and a bladder stone and she’s nine years old but fortunately she’s not in pain. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thank you!

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Ben Team

Hey, Cherry. So sorry about the problems with your pup. I can feel the concern for your canine coming through your words.

That doesn’t look like a super-awesome ingredient list, but I wouldn’t worry about it using it over the short term (note: I’m going by your description; I haven’t looked it up). Additionally, dietary solutions are probably always preferable to surgery (when possible).

Sure, whole wheat flour is better than enriched flour, but that’s more of a long-term concern you want to think about when picking a food you’ll be giving your dog for years. Similarly, corn starch isn’t great, but it’s not dangerous or anything.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with properly labelled by-products, so I wouldn’t worry about “pork by-products,” if that’s how they’re listed on the label. Fish oils are fine, and some are downright beneficial.

“Puerto Rico” caught my attention — I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Was it actually manufactured there? To the best of my knowledge, it should still be made with a similar dedication to quality and safety that foods made in the U.S. are. Nevertheless, this has sparked my curiosity, and I’ll be looking into the issue.

Ultimately, I think you should continue to work with your vet to get your pooch the best possible outcome. Hopefully, this food helps eliminate your dog’s stones, and this will all be in the rear-view mirror a few months from now.

I may not recommend this food for long-term maintenance, but that’s not what you’re using it for anyway.

Best of luck and please let us know how things work out!

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Jan Irey

My dachshund age 11 has CHF and Grade 4 heart murmur. I had him on Science Diet for adults but someone recommended to try Canine Cavier, I see it has .30 sodium, is this something you would recommend. I did not see it on your list. Thank you so much.

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Meg Marrs

Thanks for the suggestions Jan!

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Barbara A Stroede

I have been comparing dog foods cause my dog is starting to get picky and he has congestive heart failure.
I’ve been feeding him Iams . So far I like Taste of the wild grain free dog food.

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Vikki

Send me your email and I will send you the list from Medvet. I have a ton of stuff for you to sift through.
[email protected]

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Catherine

Would you mind sending me the list as well? [email protected]

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Hope

Hi Vikki,
I have been doing a lot of research and probably need to compile my own list to keep it organized but I was wondering if you could send me your list!! I have a 12yr old Boston Terrier with a grade 3-4 murmur. He has been on Earthborn Holistic for months just because of this post and doing great but he is losing too much weight and doesn’t really like the food. Thanks so much!! Hope

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Hope

Oops, my email address is [email protected]. Thanks!

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Chelsa Baker

Can you send me a list of the low sodium can food options? Thank you.

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Vikki Adair

Chelsea Baker,
Send me your email, I’ll send you what I’ve found [email protected]

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Yvonne Lowther

I make fresh baked low sodium dog treats out of my kitchen.

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gerald torella

my zipcoad is 07424 i wood like to know where i can buy low salt can doog food for my dog

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Vikki Adair

Email me [email protected] and I will send you a list of low sodium dog foods compiled by Charity Callicoat Cardology Dept Med Vet Cincinnati. Knowing what to purchase first will help a lot. Then you can google the name and find out what pet stores carry the product and if they are close to you.

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Linda segal

Can you please send me the list of low salt foods? How many mg is low?

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Sandra Goff

I would love for you to send me a list of low salt treats for small to medium breed of dogs. Also are the sodium mgs listed on the back. Most of what I am seeing is it just says in the ingedients “salt”. My fur baby had his first cardiac event Thanksgiving day 2019. I got what the doctor feels is the best dog food. Just having trouble finding treats. What is the highest mgs of salt that should be in the treats.

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vikki adair

Sandra Goff, So sorry to hear about your furrbaby. It totally depends on what your vet recommends for salt intake. I personally give apples and bananas as treats. I did however purchase Earthborn baked chicken treats, I can send you what they sent me as to how much sodium they contain. [email protected] .

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Vikki Adair

Once you find which low sodium dog food you want to purchase, if there is not a pet store close to you, you can try Chewy.com and have it delivered.

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nanci

I have called 5 different times on Wellness Complete Health Senior Small Breed food. They keep telling me it is 37mg/100kcal which seems crazy low. They say the same about their regular size Senior and also the Complete Healthy Weight. All between 36-39mg of sodium per 100/kcal. Can somebody please verify this for me this is very important because with all the intensive research I have done this is by far the lowest sodium diet for dogs if they are correct with their numbers. Many people would buy these extremely restricted sodium diets just because of the senior or weight speciality product and not know the sodium was so low. Can this be correct? I would think this would be mentioned on the internet somewhere, but I cannot find anyone listing this food as extremely restricted sodium. My refractory chf dog is eating this and I’m scared that it really has way more than Wellness is saying it does.

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Meg Marrs

Hey Nanci – you received this information from the manufacturers directly? In that case, I doubt anyone will have any data to conflict with that, as getting info straight from the source is the best most folks can do. That’s pretty remarkable – we’ll definitely work on adding those to our list in the next update.

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Vikki Adair

My list Heart friendly low sodium dog diets compiled by the Charity Callicoat Cardology Dept Med Vet Cincinnati say otherwise. However, I do not know whent this list was made. Maybe the companies have change there product since then. If you would like the list, email me. [email protected]

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Linda Segal

I’ve been using wellness complete for years. My girl has a heart murmur. I pray it’s low salt.
Now I’m making her food. What should I do?

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vikki adair

Linda Segal, email me and I will forward you what a few of the companies sent me. I hear Honest Kitchen is good, natural, home made and low in sodium. I have what they sent me if you would like it. [email protected] I can give you the information wellness sent me as well.

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Vick Walsh

My little girl lost her teeth and can only eat soft food is there any low sodium soft food for her.

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Vikki Adair

e-mail me and i will get you what the companies have sent me. don’t be afraid to contact them and ask what the sodium mg per 100/kcal is as well. [email protected]

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Dixie Erskine

Little Chihuahua has been on Hills ID for several years really helped her intestinal problems. She just was diagnosed with heart murmur and put on medicine Vetmedin, now trying to find low sodium soft food for her also treats would really appreciate any knowledge and information that would help me make a decision that’s right for her thank you

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Vikki Adair

Dixie, I have a list if you would like it that has included soft food. E-mail me and I’ll get it to you. Also, don’t be afraid to contact the companies you currently purchase from and ask them what the Sodium mg per 100/kcal is. Pill pockets, Hicory is 17.5mg and Peanut Butter is 19.39mg. [email protected]

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Linda K

For dogs who have to take Vetmedin a/k/a Pimobendan it is very expensive. I found that if you go to a compounding pharmacy (ask your vet for name of one), you can purchase a month’s supply for $40. Yes!!!! And it comes in 4 flavors. However, it is liquid. If you are willing to pay $45 you can get in capsule form. After about a week, my dog knows when it’s time for her med and she willingly takes liquid with no problem. If your dog has to also take Viagra, I found that if I get a coupon from Goodrx, Costco is the cheapest at around $18.

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Debbie

Is there any dog food that low in salt with no potatoes or carrots

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Michael Wheeler

Our 8 year old Maltese has been diagnosed with a severe case congestive heart failure. I’m having a very difficult time finding recommendations for no salt or low salt dog treats. None of the packing that I’ve seen has any info on sodium content. Can you please give me some recommendations? Thank you very much.

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Vikki Adair

Michael, Don’t be afraid to call the company you currently buy from and ask what the sodium mg per 100/kcal is. I called Pill Pocket people and was told 17.5mg for Hicory and Peanut Butter was 19.39mg. Duck was too high, over 100 and chicken was around 28.9mg or so. I have a list that has some recommnedations on what “not” to feed with high salt. You can give subsitute some people food – no salt and or processed food. If you want that list, email me and I will get it to you. [email protected]

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Vikki Adair

Ben, thank you for updating the information your sharing. I get emails all the time from people looking for a low sodium good quality dog food. My Douglas, a Choco Lab had CHF and I was giving him the Earthborn Holistics Large Breed. I will add a link to this web page so that others I talk to can continue learning more about the restrictions they might need for their furrbabies with CHF and or murmurs! Thank you!
Vikki

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Nina

Can you tell me best food to get for my pet…needs to be 15mg sodium.
Currently Hills Science Diet Prescription h/d … but way to expensive … can only find in small bags.

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Vikki Adair

Nina, that restriction is very low. I found some canned dog foods with low sodium however I don’t think I found any kibble that low. Email me and I will get you what I found. [email protected]

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Debragarlick

Looking for low soduim dog food I have dog heart murmur

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Jeannie Preston

Holistic weight control 25% protein and 0.15% sodium @ chewy.com

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Jenny

Hi! I’m looking for a soft food because cooper doesn’t have any teeth. Any recommendations? Thanks!

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Vikki Adair

I have a list “Heart Friendly Low Sodium Dog Diets” Compiled by Charity Callicoat Cardiology Department/Medvet Cincinnati The list has more variety with better quality of foods (in my opinion). It gives the mg/100kcal and in my case i need to be between 45 and 80. I am able to narrow down for my Douglas. I am still trying to find the formula to figure this out on my own. Can you help? Wellness actually gave me a complete list of the % of sodium. I had to call back to get the mg/100kcal per can and they did that for me! For anyone going through CHF with their furrbaby this is a good start!

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Pam G

My dog also CHF, am in the process of switching over to Fromm Classics Mature Formula, which I supplement with boiled chicken, peas & carrots. Would like to see your results Vikki Adair.

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Vikki Adair

Pam G if you are still interested please contact me and I will forward you the information. [email protected]

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Nikki Wiggins

Hello Vikki,

Would you happen to have a link for that list. I am trying to find a better quality food for my chihuahua with a heart murmur. He used to eat Fromm but then the vet put him on Purina Kidney and I am simply not happy with the ingredients. Plus the sodium level is not all that low. Thank you.

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Vikki Adair

Nikki Wiggins, please contact me and I will forward you the info. Sorry this has taken so long to get back to you. [email protected]

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Elizabeth Escamilla

Can I also have a list, I need it for my chihuahua. I would appreciate it.

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Linda

Me too

Ben

Hey, Stephen — thanks for bringing this to my attention. The units should have been the same across the board. As you probably know, a “calorie” is 1/1000th of a “Calorie” (or kilocalorie — 1 Cal = 1 kcal = 1000 cal) and I just goofed the way I wrote them.

I’ll fix the mistake, and I thank you for pointing it out!

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Stephen

Is it a misprint in Recommended Sodium Levels for Canines section, the first number has a unit of mg/100 Calories. All the other units are mg/100 kCal. Is that unit switch correct or should all the units be mg/100kCal?

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Meg Marrs

Thanks for pointing that out, we’ve fixed that!

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