Why Animals Need Salt and Salt Deficiency Signs In Animals

Have you ever asked yourself the question, why do animals need salt? It’s not just humans that salt is needed in order to maintain balanced levels of fluid in the body and prevent many kinds of health problems. Just likely with humans, animals also need salt in their diet.  

For animals consumption of salt is a proper necessity for a functioning body. In fact, all kinds of mammals need salt in their diet in order to survive. Salt is present in the tears, sweat, and blood which makes it one of the vital components. So, it is normal for animals to crave salt in order to meet their need for sodium along with other minerals. 

Let’s understand why animals need salt

Why salt is a great kind of essential nutrient

Does salt play one of the important roles only as a flavor? Certainly, not. Table salt or food salt is considered mostly as a seasoning and flavor, although it is also greatly necessary for the intake of minerals. On the other hand, Salt for animals is greatly essential for healthy development and wellness.  

For the purpose of growth, health, as well as the functioning of the body properly, salt is necessary for animals. It helps animals to become immune to diseases and gain great resistance.

What salt is in that makes it necessary for animals

Salt is a chemical compound. And why do animals need salt? It’s important because primarily salt consists of sodium and chloride, but it also contains other types of great essential trace minerals as well, like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. These all minerals are greatly important for the healthy development of animals. 

For instance, Sodium balances the levels of pH in the blood. On the other hand, chlorine balances the levels of acid in the body and helps the digestion system.  

Moreover, a great kind of trace mineral, called calcium is also available in salt, which is important for strong bone and teeth development in calves that are nursing and in lactating cows. It also has other kinds of functions like

       ●       Milk production,

●       Movement of muscle,

●       Keeping heartbeat regular,

●       Blood clotting,

●       Functioning the nervous system.

In nature animal salt lick

Animals of wildlife can usually be seen in springs of salt or salt deposits in nature which are also known as salt licks. They take the nutrients which they need from salts. The licking of salt exists in nature, like gathering spots of popular animals.  

Why did animals need a lick of salt? Animals such as deer, cattle,sheep, goats, and elephants make regular visits to the resources of salt in nature to get the minerals which they need like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and sodium. 

In animals signs of salt deficiency

When animals do not take the required amount of salt which they need, the deficiency can be seen in certain signs. Some of the salt deficiency signs in animals are; 

●       Appetite goes to loss

●       Consumption of manure, rock, dirt, and wood

●       Weight loss 

Apart from these mentioned signs, lactating cows may show salt deficiency and other signs. We mentioned that cows take some of the calcium which they need from salts. Cows lactating may get a fever of milk due to deficiency of calcium, and calves may go to experience rickets.

Deficiency of calcium

Fever of milk

In lactating cows, the first milk fever signs can show themselves as they become unable to stand. With milk fever, a cow may have a lowered body temperature. For this, the reason is that a cow lactating experiencing a deficiency of calcium starts to use in her body more of the calcium to produce milk than that she already has. In order to prevent this, vets usually prescribe a calcium salt in the form of a gel.


Being a disease of bone, rickets can be seen in calcium-deficient calves that are indicated with softened bone in its early stages of bone development. Of its stages later, it can lead to problems in abnormal growth and movement.

Deficiency of magnesium

Another answer of, “why do animals need salt?” is the great kind of magnesium needed. In cows, magnesium deficiency may go to cause grass tetany. Often this disease is fatal but can be prevented with the intake of magnesium through salt licks.

Animals salt vary need  

We talked about, “why do animals need salt?” So, in order to survive animals, their needs for salt are not always the same. There are different varying factors that affect the need for salt in animals.

Diet of animals

What animals eat is very important to determine their need for salt consumption. Feeds of animals also include a varying amount of salt. So, the additional salt needed may differ according to the animal diet.


Mainly, animals consume a lot of water. Although the daily intake of water may vary based on the size of the body and the environment, cattle, for example, can drink 3 to 30 gallons of water in one day. The concentration of salt in water can also make up for the need for salt for animals.


Cows are lactating as required in their diet with more salt quantity. As the cows lactating use the sodium, existing calcium, and chloride in order to produce milk for the calf, they need more than these minerals in their regular diet which can go to be consumed through salt easily.


For both humans and animals, salt provides great kinds of benefits, in many different forms. In the category of salt, salt provides a great variety of salts like black salt, table salt, iodine salt, edible Himalayan pink salt, and many others. 

But in animals lick salt no kind of big list of variety is found. If you want to make your animals always healthy, include Himalayan animals lick salt or others in their regular routine. 

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