Too much salt is bad for dogs, even though a little salt is a necessity of life and an essential ingredient in a good and balanced canine diet.
So here's a question: If you are feeding your dogs a pure RAW diet with chickens, are you actually poisoning your dog with too much salt?
Eh? How could that be?
Simple: Most chicken processors now "plump" their birds so that 15 percent of the bird, by weight, is salt water.
So is that salt going to be toxic? I could find no quick-and-ready answer to this question, so I did a bit of research.
It turns out a dog should consume between 100 and 200 mg of salt from all sources per kilo, per day. A single human-sized 4 oz. serving of plumped chicken contains between 200 mg and 500 mg of sodium per serving.
What's that mean? It means that too much plumped chicken may mean too much salt for your dog.
The good news is that if you are mixing chicken with other ingredients, and you are not feeding your dog too much, you are probably going to be all right.
For example, my small terriers would do fine with as much as two chicken wings a day, along with a couple of raw potatoes, or a little cooked rice to fill out their calorie and food-volume needs.
In fact, however, I mostly feed my dogs bagged kibble. Why bagged kibble?
Simple: because the folks who make dog food for a living actually think about this kind of stuff, and ask the right questions, and do the real research.
Most RAW food proponents do not.
"Raw chicken is plumped with salt? What? My God, I feed my dogs chicken every day!"
Look at a package of Tyson Chicken Wing Sections, for example.
In large type you will see the words "100% All Natural".
In smaller type, you'll find the world "contains up to 12% broth."
Broth? Ha! That's salt water.
When I sat down to do the math to see how much salted chicken was too much, I found little correct information about salt, and absolutely nothing about plumped chicken in any of the the RAW dog foods books, web sites, boards, and blogs I consulted.
In fact, many RAW webs sites treated salt as if were not needed in a canine diet at all. Others did little more than babble complete nonsense in their efforts to demonize commercial dog foods that have stood the test of time for more than 80 years.
Here's the short story: Salt is an esssential nutrient in your dog's diet.
In fact, salt is such an important nutrient in the diet of all animals that it is was once portioned out as part of a Roman Soldier's rations and wages.
Every hunter knows that if you want to attract deer, elk, moose, buffalo, elephants, or bears just put out a salt lick.
So where do wild animals like fox and wolves normally get their salt from? Simple: the blood of herbivores. These herbivores, in turn, get their salt from eating vast quantities of plant material over a lifetime.
The point here is simple: animals are not just mostly bags of water -- we are mostly bags of salt water. It is salt that makes the world go round.
That said, too much salt is extremely toxic. Just three tablespoons of table salt is enough to kill a child under 40 pounds.
Now ask yourself this: Did you know any of this?
Is any part of this mentioned in all the nonsense written about canine diets?
Now you know why I feed my dogs kibbled dog food cranked out by long-established companies that have real scientists and real nutritionists on staff.
These folks at least know what questions to ask and where to get the answers. The RAW dog food people? Not so much.
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