Salt is an essential nutrient for humans and animals, but it is important to consume it in moderation. Too much salt can lead to serious health problems, and this is especially true for dogs. For example, suppose your dog consumed too much salt. In that case, it can lead to an electrolyte imbalance caused by high levels of sodium in the body. If your dog is not treated promptly, it can lead to more severe complications. These can include neurological symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even coma. In extreme cases, salt poisoning can be fatal.

Why is Excess Salt Poisonous to Dogs?

Dogs do need to eat additional salt, other than what’s already in their diet.  One common cause of salt poisoning in dogs is consuming too many salty foods or treats. This can happen if your dog gets into the trash and eats food with high levels of salt or if you give them too many salty treats. Some familiar sources of salt may include chips, pretzels, and salted nuts.

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of salt poisoning in dogs. For example, dogs with kidney disease are more likely to be affected by salt because the kidneys regulate electrolyte levels in the body. In addition, dogs with diabetes and other hormonal imbalances may also be at higher risk of salt poisoning. 

Symptoms of Salt Poisoning 

Dogs that have ingested an excessive amount of salt can display the following symptoms: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Treating Salt Poisoning in Dogs

To prevent salt poisoning in your dog, it is crucial to monitor their salt intake and ensure they have access to plenty of fresh water. If you suspect your dog has consumed too much salt, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7668. Salt poisoning can be treated with IV fluids and electrolyte supplements. Salt toxicity can cause the brain to swell so your dog may be kept for observation. The most important thing is to get your dog to the vet clinic as soon as possible.