Chloride for Dogs

Picture of a white and brown dog

The most common type of chloride present in a dog’s system is sodium chloride. But this mineral performs a lot of functions, and it can also be reformed into hydrochloric acid, which can be found in your pet’s stomach. This substance is essential for the digestion of any type of food.

In today’s article, we are looking at high or low chloride in dogs’ blood, its causes, its diagnosis, and its treatment, and we’re also discussing supplements that contain this mineral and what they can be used for.

Why Should Chloride Exist in Your Dog’s Blood?

Both potassium and sodium chloride have to be present in your dog’s blood flow as they can regulate the transmission of substances from one cell to another. Chloride ions are also essential when it comes to composing the electrolytes that can be found in your pet’s system.

On top of that, chloride ions are in charge of keeping your pet’s blood volume within stable limits. This means that your dog shouldn’t have high or low blood pressure if the amount of chloride ions they have in their blood is normal.

The kidneys are in charge of managing the quantities of sodium and potassium chloride present in your dog’s body. Therefore, pets that have renal pathologies are likely to have issues with their chloride levels.

Natural Sources of Chloride

Since the most common kind of chloride is actually sodium chloride, this means that the most common source is table salt. However, dogs and cats should not have high amounts of salt as it can wreak havoc on their bodies.

For this reason, if you have to increase your dog’s chloride intake, we suggest opting for other natural sources, such as tomatoes, lettuce, olives, or celery.

Chloride can also be found in unprocessed meat and fish, as well as several types of fruit, but the quantities in these sources are relatively low, so they are actually safer compared to supplements. Even eggs contain 4 to 7% of sodium chloride.

Hyperchloremia – Too Much Chloride in Your Pet’s Blood

Hyperchloremia can have several different causes, and that’s because it depends on the type of chloride whose level increases in your dog’s blood. For example, if your dog has had too much salt, they might experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A lack of appetite for water
  • Dehydration

Some dogs can experience somewhat similar symptoms when their potassium chloride levels are increased. This usually happens when pets receive IV fluids, and they don’t have enough time to absorb the electrolytes properly.

The two most common symptoms seen in dogs with increased levels of potassium chloride are hyperventilation and kidney health issues, so changes in the dog’s urinary habits, as well as diarrhea.

High blood chloride can also be caused by other factors, such as those listed below:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Corticosteroids
  • NSAIDs (meloxicam or carprofen)

Hypochloremia – Low Levels of Chloride in Your Dog’s Blood

Low blood chloride is somewhat less common than high blood chloride, especially in healthy adult dogs. Most pets get the nutrients they need from the commercial diets they have.

Even though some pet owners might be adamant about not giving their dogs salt in any situation whatsoever, those animals are still not going to end up developing hypochloremia.

However, this health problem can be caused by dehydration, a secondary symptom of infectious and non-infectious gastrointestinal disease, where the dog vomits and has diarrhea, therefore losing precious electrolytes.

Other causes of hypochloremia are Addison’s disease, the use of laxatives and diuretics, as well as chronic heart disease. Bicarbonate (which is toxic to dogs and should never be given to them for an upset tummy) can also cause hypochloremia, and its IV use should also be carefully analyzed.

How Are Chloride Variations Diagnosed and Treated?

Simple blood tests can reveal any changes in your dog’s blood chloride levels, but the issue is that this type of test is not exactly commonly used. What we mean by this is that the vet specifically has to suspect a condition that correlates with chloride changes.

Standard blood tests might not be enough. A blood biochemistry panel for sodium and potassium can be revealing in this sense.

As for the treatment, it depends on your dog’s health status. Generally, chloride blood level changes can be treated with IV fluids as they are the best when it comes to balancing the electrolyte blood levels that your dog has.

The pet might also have to receive symptomatic therapy for the clinical signs that they are showing, so as to stop dehydration, for example – anti-nausea medication or specific medication for diarrhea.

Chloride Supplements

Although sodium or potassium chloride can be ingredients of various vitamin and mineral complex supplements, there are specific products made for dogs that have had hyper- or hypochloremia in the past or those that have urinary health problems.

For example, ammonium chloride is a urine acidifier that can be used for urinary stones or for treating poisoning or metabolic alkalosis. It’s less commonly utilized in pets; however, it is more common in large animal veterinary medicine. Pets usually receive potassium chloride supplements, such as those specifically designed for renal health.

In any case, adding supplements to your dog’s diet should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian, so make sure you talk to your vet beforehand. They know best what conditions your dog might have and if one supplement or another might be dangerous for their health.



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