What is Sodium Selenite in Dog Food?

This post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it keeps our lights on, our families fed, and our dogs spoiled. For all the juicy fine print, see our affiliate disclosure

Feeding your pets is something one must do with extreme care and caution.

Pet food companies tend to add supplements and chemicals that they believe may be best for your dog.

But dogs are vulnerable to many chemicals or supplements that may pose a threat to their health and immune system.

You can never be too sure about what they feed your dog.

That’s why this guide is going to explore everything you need to know about sodium selenite.

This is an ingredient you’ll often see on dog food labels. Read on to learn more!

Related: What is Salmon Meal in Dog Food?

What is Sodium Selenite?

Dog eating Sodium selenite

Sodium selenite is an inorganic compound. A colorless salt, this compound is soluble in water and used as a supplement.

It is a more organic form of selenium, which you can get through yeast.

Sodium selenite is far less toxic than pure selenium. That is why dog food companies prefer to use this in their products.

There is a big debate whether Natural Selenium or Sodium Selenite is better for your pet’s health.

A study[1] showed sodium selenite was three times as toxic as selenium.

While this is a reason to be cautious, it is important to note that this study used rats and not dogs, so it isn’t a huge concern.

Is Sodium Selenite Good for Dogs?

Sodium Selenite is used as a supplement in dog food because it provides certain benefits[2] in minute quantities.

Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts During the Day?

Indoor Activities for Dogs

Get Our List of 11 Awesome Indoor Activities to Keep Your Dog Busy and Out of Trouble!

Its primary role is to improve antioxidant capacity and prevent harmful ROS production in cells. It also plays a role in thyroid metabolism and DNA synthesis.

Dog foods include many supplements that fulfill your pet’s nutritional needs. These include vitamins and minerals your dog may be missing out on.

Sodium Selenite falls under the umbrella of such vitamins and minerals.

Often the processing of the meat sources removes the selenium that is naturally present in animal-based protein.

This makes it essential to supplement this vital nutrient using sodium selenite.

Related: What is Carrageenan in Dog Food? Is it a Safe Additive?

Is Sodium Selenite Bad for Dogs?

If included in excess, sodium selenite can be bad for your pet.

Direct consumption, ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption of this chemical can harm your dogs.

In fact, the inorganic version of sodium selenite is far more toxic than its naturally occurring organic version.

If consumed in large amounts, it can be toxic for your pet, causing damage to the blood, liver, kidneys, and nervous system.

The addition of such supplements is the main reason why many people avoid store-bought dog food. Overfeeding can have devastating side effects.

Sources of Sodium Selenite in Dog Food

Sodium selenite is a chemical prepared by reacting selenium dioxide with sodium hydroxide.

Organic selenium is found in fish, meat, poultry, whole grains, and dairy products.

But due to the low shelf life of all these items, artificial sodium selenite is added to dog food packets.

Sodium selenite is also cheaper than actual selenium, so dog food manufacturers can cut production costs in this area.

It is one of two types of synthetic dietary selenium used in food. For most companies, their primary focus is on maximizing animal-based protein.

Meat costs dominate pet food production[3]. Hence, synthetic supplements are used to fulfill other nutritional requirements.

Related: Copper Sulfate in Dog Food – Should You Be Worried?

How Much Sodium Selenite Do Dogs Need?

Sodium Selenite is far too toxic to be consumed in large quantities. Hence the average requirement for this chemical[2] is 0.30 to 0.35 mg/kg DM.

According to AAFCO or the Association of American Feed Control Officials, this value should not exceed 2 mg at any cost.

Keep in mind that excessive consumption of sodium selenite can cause symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver infections

So staying near the lower limit is better for your dog’s health.

This is especially true for pet owners who practice free feeding and don’t closely track their dog’s food intake.

Dog Foods Without Sodium Selenite

If you’re still suspicious of sodium selenite in your dog food, then here are a few kibble brands you can try out.

1. The Acana High Protein

Acana High Protein no sodium selenite

The Acana High Protein is perfect for your dog. This particular dog food is high in protein and has many options, including grain and grain-free.

Check out our review of Acana vs Fromm to learn more!

2. Yak Chews

Yak Chews by Native Pet, Dog Foods Without Sodium Selenite

Yak Chews by Native Pet are delicious chews containing yak milk and cow milk with salt and lime.

Dog Foods With Sodium Selenite

Here are a few dog food brands that use sodium selenite to supplement their kibble.

You’ll notice that the ingredient is towards the end of their nutrient list because of its minute quantity.

1. Rachel Ray Nutrish

Dog Foods With Sodium Selenite

Rachael Ray Nutrish contains beef, peas, and brown rice and is perfect for a healthy meal for your dog.

It is available in several sizes and contains added sodium selenite to meet your dog’s daily needs.

2. Crave High Protein

Crave High Protein

If you’re looking for high-quality dog food, try Crave’s White Fish and Salmon. The formula lists natural whitefish and salmon as the primary sources of meat protein.

They also use added sodium selenite, among other essential minerals and vitamins, to round off their ingredient list.

3. Wellness Core Grain Free

Wellness Core Grain Free

One of our top dog food options, Wellness Core Grain Free, comes with deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the primary ingredients.

It also uses suitable quantities of sodium selenite to round off its nutrient table.


At the end of the day, sodium selenite is a perfectly normal ingredient to see on your dog food labels. In minute quantities, it is perfectly harmless.

However, like all artificial additives, there is some risk involved. So it is important to keep an eye on your dog’s food consumption.

When it comes to finding the perfect dog food brand, the trick is to pick one that ranks well in most areas.

If a kibble has a solid protein source and few additives, then a little sodium selenite isn’t harming anyone. So shop smart and good luck!


  1. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/st_rpts/tox038.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7915357/
  3. https://www.petfoodinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/20200310-Pet-Food-Report-FINAL.pdf

Eliminate Bad Dog Breath Without Brushing

Fresh Breathies