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Foods to Avoid for Pets on Low Sodium Diets

Dogs and cats may like salty food but it's not good for them.

A common problem is that pets, especially dogs, are often fed human food that has hidden sodium.  If your veterinarian has recommended that your pet be restricted in its consumption of sodium, you should not feed the following:

  • Cheese or peanut butter
  • Deli or luncheon meats
  • Commercially prepared or cured meats or fish (bacon, ham, sardines for example)
  • Hot dogs
  • Ketchup, pickles or olives
  • Broth or soups
  • Crackers, chips, popcorn, pretzels
  • Canned vegetables or other packaged convenience foods
  • Breads made with self-rising flour or biscuit mixes
  • Salted nuts
  • Commercial salad dressings
  • Instant cooked cereal
  • Sauces that are commercially prepared

    Consult with your veterinarian for more information and recommendations.

    Pets afflicted with heart failure or high blood pressure should not be fed salty foods, as they cause fluid to be retained in the body and make it harder for the heart to work.  They also can lead to fluid developing in the lungs (pulmonary edema).  Most commercial dog foods have a decent level of sodium, although some have high levels, such as Hill's S/D. Pets that have non-life-threatening heart problems don't necessarily need to be restricted on sodium, but you still should keep an eye on whether the food you're feeding your pet has overly-high sodium levels. Once a pet has had an episode of congestive heart failure or has hypertension, the diet should be restricted in sodium.

    Most commercial dog foods have a sodium content of 1.0 gram per 1000 KCal . This description is just a way to measure the relative sodium content without having to calculate whether it is a canned or dry food. 1.0 gram is actually ten times the amount really needed by pets. As it turns out, dogs like salty foods just like we do!!

    Often veterinarians will recommend a renal diet (one made for kidney problems) for heart patients as these diets are restricted in sodium (0.3 gram per KCal) and heart patients usually become kidney patients eventually.  There is a diet made by Hill's specifically for heart patients (H/D) that has 0.23 gram of sodium per KCal, and in some cases veterinary cardiologists may recommend this.

      You should review the label of the pet food you are feeding to see if the percentage of sodium is listed. Usually it is not on the label, as it is not required to be listed, but you can contact the manufacturer to ask for the sodium content.  Remember, to compare, the sodium content should be given in grams per KCal.

    In order to administer medications, many people use Pill PocketsTM made by GreeniesTM.  These are tasty pillowcase-shaped products used to hide pills for dogs or cats. The Canine Pill PocketsTM are high in sodium, so it is better to use the Feline Pill PocketsTM for both dogs and cats.

     With advances in veterinary medicine, many heart patients can live happily and without symptoms for years.  It is up to you to make sure their diet is a good one!! 

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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