Can Dogs Eat Salt?
Too much salt for anybody, including dogs, is not a good idea. So whilst we need salt to keep balance in our cells, help nerves function and transmit signals correctly, it is poisonous in large amounts.
- Destruction of brain cells
- Drunken movement
- Extreme thirst and urination
- Fluid buildup
- Gastrointestinal problems
- High fever
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle spasms
- Rapid heart rate
- Respiratory distress
- Stomach pains
- Tongue swelling
So how much is too much? A deadly dose of salt is roughly 1.5g per lb of bodyweight. Whilst that sounds like a small amount, if you're feeding your dog salty foods or they eat a salt shaker, it's easy to overdose.
If your dog eats salt, they will naturally drink fresh water to cancel out the adverse side effects. However, if they haven't got access to freshwater, or your dog ate too much salt, they will be poisoned.
When there are large amounts of salt in the blood, it's called hypernatremia. Muscles will shrivel and stiffen, which causes shaking and spasms. It will also cause havoc with your dog's neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems.
When you get to the vets, they will ask you questions about symptoms, what your dog has eaten and time frames. Be prepared with answers as this will make it easier and quicker to diagnose and then treat.
- Remember, it's not just food that contains salt; products like playdough, which have a high sodium content, are a risk to your dog.
- It's always handy to take a photograph or a piece of whatever your dog ate. It gives the vet a better understanding of what's happened.
Immediate treatment is required. Salt is bad for dogs, and so you will need to take action quickly to prevent any serious health problems arising.
Call your veterinarian immediately to reduce the chance of salt poisoning in your dog.
Initially, your vet will do a physical examination, a biochemistry profile and a complete blood count. It's also common for them to run urine or blood tests to see what toxin is in your dog's body.
If your dog has got salt poisoning, it's essential to keep them hydrated. Your vet will probably give them an IV with fluids and electrolytes to help your dog's body fight the poison.
Over a few days, the vet will stabilise your dog's salt levels. If you lower the salt levels too quickly, it can cause a heart attack or brain swelling.
Additional treatments might include a radiograph, EKG, MRI, CT scan and an ultrasound to check your dog's organs are all functioning correctly. It will also check for any damage to the heart, lungs or brain.
After being treated, your vet might recommend giving very bland dog food to your dog. It will be easier to digest and less likely to upset their stomach. Make sure your dog has access to a lot of water as well.