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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Salt requirements

It seems like since all of the talk about the recalls and so many people are starting to homecook food and/or treats, there is some concern about giving your dogs too much salt, or ANY salt for that matter. Here are a few articles about Sodium and Dogs.

PLEASE don't take salt out of their diets all together! That poses a far worse danger than excess salt. Talk to your vet to make sure your dog is getting the proper amount of sodium. IT plays such a vital role in their cells and organs, especially if you are going the home-cooked route.

Sodium and Your Dog

As we all know, sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is found in the blood and in the fluid that surrounds the cells in our body. Sodium maintains the cellular environment and prevents cells from swelling or dehydrating. It is also important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle cell function.

In pet foods, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are good sources of sodium. Sodium may also be included in commercial pet foods in the form of table salt (sometimes listed on the ingredient panel as salt). Salt is an important palatant for animals, as well as people.
Sodium Needs for Pets
The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommend that dry dog foods contain at least 0.3% (and dry cat foods contain at least 0.2% sodium) for both maintenance and to support normal growth and development. These are minimum recommended levels.
While high sodium intake may cause increased thirst and water consumption, the extra sodium is excreted in the urine of dogs (and cats). Healthy dogs are able to consume diets with higher sodium levels than found in most commercial pet foods without increased blood pressure or gain in body water. Therefore, the sodium level in commercial pet foods is not a cause for concern in healthy animals.
Possible Sodium Restrictions
A veterinarian may recommend decreasing a dog's (or cat's) sodium intake if the animal has some types of kidney, liver, or heart disease, in order to help decrease high blood pressure or the accumulation of excessive body fluid. Although older dogs (and cats) may be more likely to develop these diseases, healthy older dogs (and cats) do not require a low or reduced-sodium diet.

Sodium and chloride are often thought of as a pair. Sodium chloride is basic table salt.

Function of sodium and chloride
Sodium and chloride help maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside individual cells of the body. Sodium aids in the transfer of nutrients to cells and the removal of waste products. Chloride helps maintain the proper acid/alkali balance in the body. Chloride is also necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach which helps in the digestion of protein.

Dietary sources of sodium chloride
Sodium and chloride are found in almost all foods. Salt is added to many pet foods, and as we know, can increase the flavor of foods. Sodium and chloride may also be bound to minerals or molecules such as Vitamin K or Potassium (K).

Daily sodium and chloride requirements
In general, the chloride requirement is 1.5 times the sodium requirement. This is because most of the sodium and chloride come from salt, and by weight, salt provides 1.5 times more chloride than sodium. Adult dog foods should contain at least 0.06% sodium and 0.09% chloride (on a dry matter basis). Puppy foods should contain 5 times that much. Kitten and cat foods should contain at least 0.2% sodium and 0.3% chloride (on a dry matter basis). Most pet foods contain levels much higher than these minimum daily requirements.

Sodium and chloride deficiency
A dietary deficiency of sodium and chloride would be extremely rare because most pets today are fed commercial pet foods. A sodium or chloride deficiency is more likely to occur because of an excess loss of these two minerals from the body. This can result from prolonged (or chronic) severe diarrhea and/or vomiting. This can be a very serious condition and animals with prolonged vomiting or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.

Sodium and chloride toxicity
Sodium and chloride toxicity generally does not occur in normal animals with access to good quality drinking water. Any excess intake of sodium or chloride is filtered through the kidneys and excreted into the urine. If good drinking water is not provided, however, the concentrations of sodium and chloride can become too high.
The 1985 NRC publication, Nutrient Requirements of Dogs, states the following: "One percent of sodium chloride (salt) in the total dry-type diet will supply normal needs and is not excessive for normal dogs." (142). AAFCO (289) recommends 0.3% sodium and 0.45% chloride in the diet of growing and reproducing dogs. Symptoms of a deficiency are fatigue, exhaustion, inability to maintain water balance, decreased water intake,

Last edited by Thumper; 08-27-2007 at 01:50 PM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Public service announcement.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 07:35 PM
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Thanks Kara, that must make you feel better about using the salt to cure the jerky with. I know the Jones Natural Jerky has salt in it - so maybe it is not irradiated. thanks for the info makes me feel better about the table scraps too.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-28-2007, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I would rather use salt than panic about bacteria. lol, But I've noticed "salt" is a big, scary word lately. And I, also, don't want to give TOO much salt (although, it does ease my mind that a healthy dog just excrete it, whereas humans STORE it) But I would hate to see someone cut it out all together. Especially, someone moving completely away from commercial dog foods to homemade dog foods.

I think using it on the jerky is just a personal choice, as long as their nutritional requirements are being met with meals, it probably doesn't matter with the jerky or treats. As long as people are aware that they need to freeze uncured jerkies or treats.

By the way, most commercial treats DO add salt But, I know one benefit of home cooking is to eliminate preservatives, so......its a mixed bag, I suppose.

Commercial jerky is OVER salted, but that's mainly for flavor and shelf-life. The recommended curing is 1tsp per 2bs meat in 2 cups of water soaked overnight (with whatever other flavoring/seasons, etc)

The dehydrating process only eliminates 90% of the water in foods, in unsalted meats, that number is LESS because salt aids in removing water from meat. Which could leave a piece of chicken jerky with up to 25% water still intact (which is where the bacteria would grow) Whereas, the salt is what inhibits the growth in the 10%.

Humans, like dogs, need salt to live. Depleting of electrolytes would make our hearts stop beating (which is why some bulimics just "die", even though they aren't clinically overweight).


Last edited by Thumper; 08-28-2007 at 05:49 AM. Reason: spelling/ add.
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