My dog’s heart murmur has recently gotten worse, plus he has also suffered a ruptured chordae tendineae, so he now needs a low sodium dog food. To complicate and further limit the food options, he now will only eat canned food, and does a lot better on a lower protein and lower fat diet.
Because the AAFCO doesn’t require sodium levels to be published (and why is that?!!) I’ve been searching for canned foods that have low to moderate sodium levels, and thought I’d share these findings. I got this info by contacting the food’s manufacturers.
Merrick canned as fed:………………Protein%……..Fat%……….Sodium% Unit Basis
French Country Café……………………9.21 ………… 7.21……….. 0.21
Turducken 13.2oz ………………………9.06…………..8.02……….. 0.17
Venison Holiday Stew………………….. 8.93 ………..6.17 ………. 0.28
Wild Buffalo Grill ……………………… 8.02 …………. 6.75 ……… 0.25
Wilderness Blend ……………………… 8.47 …………. 6.81……….. 0.20
Wing A Ling ……………………………. 9.74 …………. 6.88 ………..0.17
96% Real Beef / Lamb / Buffalo ……. 8.66………….. 9.57……….. 0.19
96%-Chicken …………………………… 9.99 …………. 9.06 ………. 0.22
Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner …………….. 9.03 …………. 3.50……….. 0.17
Carver’s Delight Dinner ………………. 9.19 …………..6.33 ………. 0.18
Colossal Chicken Dinner ……………… 8.98 ………….. 6.16 ………. 0.16
EVO 95% Beef: 0.123g / 100 kcal. 0.16% sodium
- This topic was modified 5 years, 10 months ago by Patti S.
Thank you, Patti. My dog was just diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I was also looking for good information. Do you know what is considered “low” sodium from the food varieties you listed?anonymouslyMember
I would go with a prescription food recommended by your veterinarian.
http://www.hillspet.com/products/pd-canine-hd-canine-cardiac-health-canned.html (sodium 0.07% per 13 oz can)
http://www.vetstreet.com/royal-canin-veterinary-diet-canine-early-cardiac-ec-22-dry#overview (sodium 0.5% per 1000 kcal)
If you soak the kibble in water in the fridg overnight it has the consistency of wet food.
PS: Wysong also makes a cardiac prescription food you may like.
You need to consider the serving size indicated when trying to evaluate the correct sodium amounts and such. For example: On a box of crackers it will state the sodium amount per serving. In tiny print it will say a serving size is 5 crackers!
Hi Chad, and “Anonymously”,
The prescription low sodium food you can get from your vet is great, if your dog will eat it. Also, there are different degrees of sodium allowable for the canine cardio patient. Some just need reduced or moderate levels of sodium, while others need a food with drastically lower levels. Dogs need some sodium in their diets. So you should find out from your vet what kind of sodium restrictions your dog needs, especially if your dog has other health issues, such as kidney or liver disease.
These are all on a dry matter basis:
Mild Sodium restriction is 0.3 -0.4%
Moderate Sodium restriction is 0.2 -0.3%
Marked Sodium restriction is 0.15-0.2%
Extreme Sodium restriction is 0.75-0.15%
My personal problem with the Hill’s Prescription Heart Care canned food is, the fat content is at 29.0%, and the protein content is 17.3%. Dogs with a heart problem need higher and high quality protein in their diets, and lower fat. It also contains corn (not a problem unless your dog has a corn intolerance), but I know it’s a cheap filler and it’s listed as the third ingredient!
With the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac diet, the first ingredient is rice followed by chicken fat. Powdered cellulose (saw dust) is amongst the first six ingredients. I just know I can feed my dog a whole lot better than this.
It’s been determined that inadequate protein intake, or deficiencies of specific amino acids, can actually cause serious heart disease and the Cardiology Subspecialty of the ACVIM has recommended avoidance of protein restricted diets (specifically for dogs with old-age heart valve disease). Also, it’s extremely important for cardiac patients to maintain a normal body weight. Excessive weight, in the form of body fat, places additional stress on the heart and in more than one way. Besides the additional work of the heart that’s required for normal ambulation and exercise, excess fat causes an “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress disrupts normal metabolism in many ways and impairs the ability of blood vessels to expand and deliver nutrients in a normal way.
I’ve persisted and found these additional low sodium dog foods, that are very high in quality:
• Evanger’s Beef with Spinach and Kale Canned dog food – 0.1136% sodium on a dry matter basis
• Solid Gold Howling at the Stars turkey, Ocean whitefish, and Sweet Potato Recipe (canned) 0.23% sodium
• Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken With Lamb (dry) – 0.23% sodium
Here is where you can see charts in both allowable sodium in milligrams per kcal per 100, and also by percentages of dry matter. With this information you can contact dog food manufacturers and get the sodium content. If you scroll down further (at the link below) it has a list of some over the counter dog foods that are low sodium.
I’ll say it again…. it’s SO wrong that sodium levels aren’t published on the dog food packages, but I’m willing to jump through hoops to get my dog the food he needs!
Some more store brands that are low sodium:
You might find this helpful too. It’s low sodium recipes for dogs:
Here’s a link to some info on low sodium diets from Tuft’s you may find helpful:
and here’s a link to another forum thread about reduced sodium kibble. Even though it’s about kibble you may find some helpful info there too:
Thank you, Patti. It seems I am the beneficiary of your research efforts.
Thank you as well, Bobby. I imagine that list will come in handy as I try to find something that works for my dog.
My vet actually didn’t recommend any of the prescription stuff because it’s not very palatable (his words).Katie BMember
My dog just went into CHF. She is on Dr. Gary’s Best Breed “All Breed” dry dog food. I just talked with the rep and this is the info I got.
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Recipe / Sodium %
All Breed .38%
Large Breed Salmon & Veggie .28%
Large Breed Chicken & Veggie .28%owen sMember
It is always best if you also check every product details printed on every label so you can check any nutrients ratio that your dog needs to check.\
Owen @ http://www.digitekprinting.com/offset-printing-2
Except manufacturers don’t list their food’s sodium levels. AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) doesn’t require sodium levels be published.
I will look for Dr. Gary’s dog foods.
I recently found a wonderful dog food that’s classified as having “marked restriction” sodium levels.
The Honest Kitchen “Verve” dehydrated dog food has a sodium level of 0.18% on a dry matter basis.
All ingredients in this dog food are processed in the USA in a human grade food processing facility. They are non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives. All meat is hormone and antibiotic free…. and my dog loves it and willingly eats it!Alexis MMember
Patti, where and how did you, and I guess everyone else who shared this information get the sodium content for these dog foods when it isn’t required to be listed on dog foods??haleycookieMember
You have to email or call and the company should give u the sodium content.
For the brands of dog food that did not list their sodium levels at their respective websites, I called the manufacturer to get the sodium levels.Angela LMember
My boxer was recently diagnosed with heart disease. Looking for low sodium foods as well. Trying to find something that is not going to drag me into financial ruins as well. An 80 lb dog eats A LOT! And… I have two 80 lb dogs! Oosh.
Right now, we are feeding him Diamond Maintenance dry food and will more than likely be switching. Have also had to resort to hiding his meds in wet food ( currently takes 7 medications a day, at a total of 29 pills a day.) He also had a tumor removed from his leg at the beginning of the month, which is how we found the heart issues, so some of these meds are the antibiotics for that and will be ending soon..thankfully!) He caught on to hiding the pills in the pill pockets.
I found a new wet food from Purina called Beyond Natural. With the limited amount that was available to me on that particular shopping trip, this was our best option to get his meds into him. Although I am still looking to find the exact sodium count to it. I contacted them this morning for it.
Was about to get the Royal Canan from the vet when I read the comments above…
All the information is super helpful! I hope your pups are doing well!
Before switching to Beyond Natural (or any other dog food), you should contact the food’s manufacturer to find out what the sodium level is. That’s not info most dog food companies print on their labels.
You’ll want any food you choose to fall within these parameters:
Mild sodium restriction diet: 0.35% to 0.5% or about 100mg of sodium per 100 calories.
Moderate sodium restriction diet: 0.1% to 0.35% or about 80mg of sodium per 100 calories.
Severe sodium restriction diet: less than 0.1% or about 50mg of sodium per 100 calories.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Patti S.
Thank you Patty! Those are the numbers I was hoping to find somewhere! Very helpful!
You’re very welcome.
Good luck, and all the best for your dog!lisa FParticipant
i am lookin for some food that are low sodium for my older lab??
It can be really difficult to find the sodium content of pet foods without scouring the brand’s website or emailing them directly. Once you have a list of potential foods, you should run those foods (and the sodium content they contain) past your vet for his or her approval.
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). Ask your vet which level of sodium restriction your dog requires::
• 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)
The following websites have a lot of info on many brands of dog food, and the sodium levels they contain:
One way that you can restrict the sodium levels in your pal’s diet is by making his food at home. Whether you use homemade ingredients exclusively or add items to a commercial brand to balance out the nutrients, talk with your veterinarian about your plans.
Here is a couple of websites with low sodium dog food recipes:
Lastly, ask your vet about using an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may help to stabilize heart muscle cells. Your veterinarian can help you to choose an omega-3 fatty acids supplement with good bioavailability, meaning that it is easily absorbed by the body, and tell you the correct dose to use.
Best of luck to you and your dog!
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