If your dog has been diagnosed with a heart condition or other specific medical condition, you may have found yourself searching for a low sodium diet for them. It can be difficult and confusing to navigate through dog foods to find something low in sodium, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
To help you find a starting point to discuss with your vet, we’ve put together reviews of our favorite reduced-sodium dog foods. Always discuss dietary changes with your vet before transitioning your dog to a new diet if your dog has any medical condition.
A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Dog Food||
|Best Value||Iams Adult Minichunks Dog Food||
|JustFoodForDogs Turkey Dog Food||
|Vet’s Choice||Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach||
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food||
The 7 Best Low Sodium Dog Foods
1. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Cardiocare Dog Food – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Ground oat meal|
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Cardiocare is our top pick for overall best low sodium dog food. This prescription-only dog food is formulated with dogs with early-stage heart disease in mind. It is a moderate sodium diet that contains a cardiac protection blend of amino acids and omega fatty acids to support cardiac health, as well as skin, coat, and joint health. It’s high in vitamin E, which helps reduce oxidative stress on the body.
Not only does this food help support cardiac function, but it also helps maintain the overall structure of the heart. It’s a good source of wholesome grains, like corn, rice, and oats.
2. Iams Adult Minichunks Dog Food – Best Value
The best low sodium dog food for the money is Iams Adult Minichunks, which features real chicken as the first ingredient. This food contains 0.21% sodium on a dry matt`er basis, making it a moderate sodium diet option for tight budgets. The kibble size of this food is ideal for dogs of any size, and it’s highly palatable, even for picky eaters.
It contains fiber and prebiotics to support healthy digestion, as well as antioxidants to support immune health. This food contains nutritious whole grains, like corn and sorghum, to support your dog’s overall health and to provide a good source of fiber. Although the kibbles in this food are small, they may be too crunchy for dogs with dental difficulties to eat.
3. JustFoodForDogs Turkey Dog Food
The JustFoodForDogs Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni food is low in sodium, only containing around 24 milligrams of sodium per 1,000 calories. It contains wholesome grains, thanks to the addition of whole wheat macaroni, and it contains adequate levels of fiber from nutritious ingredients like zucchini, carrots, and cranberries.
This ready-to-serve food has been formulated by veterinary nutritionists to ensure maximum health benefits for your dog. It’s shipped frozen and can be kept frozen for up to a year, but it should be consumed within 3 days of thawing. Although it retails for a premium price, this food is nutrient-dense and will help support a healthy weight when fed as directed.
4. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach – Vet’s Choice
The Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach wet food is our vet’s choice controlled sodium dog food. This food contains around 50 milligrams per 100 calories of food, making it a moderate sodium option.
It’s a good option for dogs with digestive and skin sensitivities, and it’s free of common allergens, like chicken and beef. It’s a good source of omega fatty acids for skin, coat, heart, and joint health. This is a highly palatable food option, and it contains rice as a gentle but nutrient-rich grain. If you’re feeding this as a sole food source for your dog, it’s likely to become expensive quite quickly.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food
If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, then the Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight food may be a good option. It contains around 0.35% sodium on a dry matter basis, making it a slightly low sodium option. It does contain pea fiber as the fourth ingredient, and legumes like peas have shown a potential link to heart disease in dogs, so make sure to discuss this with your vet before switching your dog to this food.
It contains cracked pearled barley and brown rice as healthy, whole grain sources of fiber. This food is formulated to help your dog maintain muscle mass while losing body weight, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals to help support your dog’s overall health. To help your dog feel satiated while losing weight, this food contains dried beet pulp and oat fiber. This food retails for a premium price.
6. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Dehydrated turkey|
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe dog food is a dehydrated, cooked dog food that can be fed as a primary food source or as a topper or additive. It contains 0.14% sodium on a dry matter basis, making this one of the lowest sodium foods we reviewed. It’s nutrient dense, but this food retails for a premium price that may put it out of the budget for many people.
The ingredients are gently and slowly dehydrated, allowing them to retain as many nutrients as possible without having to feed a raw diet. It’s made with wholesome grains, like oats, and nutritious fruits and veggies, like carrots, apples, and cabbage. Pickier eaters may not love this food, especially since its texture is so different from most other dog foods.
7. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dog Food
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream dog food contains 0.25% sodium content, making it a moderate sodium diet. This is a grain-free diet that contains lentils, so it’s important to discuss the potential risks associated with grain-free and legume-containing diets with your vet before switching your dog.
It’s a good source of probiotics and fiber, supporting digestive health, as well as omega fatty acids, supporting skin, coat, heart, and joint health. Some people report their picky eaters not finding it to be very palatable. It is a good source of nutrient-dense protein, though, thanks to ingredients like salmon and ocean fish meal. This may be a good diet for dogs with sensitivities to common proteins.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Low Sodium Dog Food
What’s the Benefit of a Low Sodium Diet?
If your dog is healthy and has no existing medical problems, then a low or reduced sodium dog food likely isn’t necessary for them. In fact, sodium is an essential nutrient that supports healthy cardiovascular function. Healthy dogs are able to efficiently process excess sodium through their body, but dogs with heart problems may not be able to.
Dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) and other forms of heart disease, like cardiomyopathy, can often benefit from reduced sodium diets. This is because without proper cardiac function, they may not be able to properly process, use, and excrete sodium. This can lead to a buildup of sodium within the body, leading to worsening heart disease symptoms, like edema (fluid buildup) and high blood pressure.
Keep in mind that there are other specific nutrients that can be of concern for a dog with heart disease, like potassium, phosphorus, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
How Can I Choose a Low Sodium Diet for My Dog?
Although there are great foods here to help you find a starting point, you should always discuss dietary changes with your dog’s vet. This is of special importance if your dog has specific nutritional needs related to heart disease. Simply switching your dog to a reduced sodium diet is likely not going to be the only change that will need to be made.
Taking a list of foods you think your dog might be interested in and that fit in your budget can be a great way to help your vet help you better select a food to meet your needs.
Here’s a table of information from the Vermont Veterinary Cardiology Services to help you understand appropriate sodium content levels based on your dog’s dietary needs.
|Category:||Allowable Sodium as a % of Dry matter|
|Mild Sodium Restriction:||0.3 – 0.4|
|Medium Sodium Restriction:||0.2 – 0.3|
|Marked Sodium Restriction:||0.15 – 0.2|
|Extreme Sodium Restriction:||0.075 – 0.15|
- Source: Vermont Veterinary Cardiology
These reduced sodium food reviews serve simply as a starting point to help you find the right food for your dog, but make sure to discuss this with your vet in detail.
The best overall low sodium food for dogs is Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Cardiocare, which is a great, veterinary-prescribed option. For tight budgets, the Iams Adult Minichunks can be a great option, especially if you’re also purchasing expensive prescriptions for your dog.
For our vet’s choice food, you’ll love the Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach wet food, which is highly palatable and can be a good option for dogs with food sensitivities.
Featured Image Credit: tanyastock, Shutterstock