Sodium intake does not pose any particular problems, as cats and dogs do not transpire, even in case of intense physical effort, unlike humans and horses. Only some heart diseases require a reduction in the dietary sodium intake. During severe diarrhoea, hydration powders should be used in the animal’s drinking water.These must be isotonic, to compensate for electrolyte loss, especially sodium.
A little background information
Sodium is a major mineral element, an alkaline metal, that nutritionists call a mineral macro element due to the large amounts needed by the body.
Its role in the body
This mineral element is essential for the cell’s functioning:
- it maintains the pressure balance between the inside and the outside of the cell;
- it plays major roles in the cell's energy metabolism.
Sodium is also the element that regulates water balance: sensation of thirst or urinary elimination. Its role is very closely linked to that of potassium. The simplest way to prevent the formation of urinary stones in cats is to encourage the animal to drink and so eliminate the sodium. Major urine volumes increase the frequency of urination and so help evacuate the crystals forming in the urinary tract. Slightly increasing the sodium chloride content in the food encourages the consumption of water and stimulates urine output.
The sodium needed by the animal is provided through sodium chloride (kitchen salt or NaCl), of mineral or marine origin, which contains 39% sodium and 61% chloride. Increasing the NaCl content in a food by 2.5% represents a 1% increase in the sodium content.