Do you enjoy salt on your foods? Who can keep from eating a handful of salty, buttery popcorn when it’s nearby? Or do you love to eat salty potato chips or French fries? Do you sometimes share your salty snacks with your dog? If so, then you need to be aware that salt can be bad for dogs, especially in larger quantities.
Just like us, dogs naturally need some salt for their bodies to stay healthy. However, too much salt can make them very sick, or even cause death in dogs.
And dogs aren’t only in danger from salty snacks, but also from eating anything that contains salt such as frozen water source, broken automatic waterer, homemade play dough, ocean water, paintballs, and rock salt. Ingesting soy sauce can also lead to sodium poisoning.
Just Enough Salt to Be Healthy
It’s true that as noted just above, dogs need salt to stay healthy. Salt, sodium, in small amounts works to help keep fluid balance in the body at a normal level, while also enabling nerves to properly function.
In fact, even the dog food you buy from the store has some sodium in it. This is because dogs need a certain amount of salt. However, problems quickly arise when a dog has too much salt.
Salt Poisoning in Dogs
When a dog has ingested too much salt, this can lead to salt poisoning. In fact, you may notice your fur baby heading over to drink all the water in his dish. But this won’t be enough to satisfy him. He may wander the house looking for more water to drink.
You may notice these additional symptoms of salt poisoning in your dog, too:
- Excessive thirst/urination
- Fluid retention
- Muscle spasms
- Breathing difficulty
- High fever
- Stomach pains
- Tongue swelling
- Walking around as if drunk
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, he may be suffering from salt poisoning. This may be a life-threatening medical emergency, so you’ll need to call the vet now.
Treatment of Salt Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment of salt poisoning must occur as soon as possible, so take your dog to the vet ASAP. At the vet’s treatment will start with a physical exam, which includes checking your dog’s reflexes, temperature, pulse, and more. Your dog may also require certain tests such as lab work, an EKG (electrocardiogram), x-rays, CT scan, ultrasound, and possibly an MRI. These imaging tools are used to see how much damage your dog’s brain, heart and lungs have sustained.
Treatment may include oxygen, IV therapy and electrolytes to help with rehydration. And keep in mind that treatment will have to be gradual, since bringing sodium levels down too fast can lead to a heart attack or even brain swelling. So, it may take up to three days to bring levels down again. Your canine companion will likely have to spend a few days in the hospital.
Recovery afterwards may also include a special low-salt diet and checkups to see how your dog is doing within a month.
So, if your dog has eaten a high amount of sodium in any form, be sure to call the vet right now. Your dog needs prompt treatment. Most dogs who receive prompt treatment will survive and live for years after this type of experience.