Kidney disease dog food explained

No dog food can cure canine kidney disease (sometimes called 'renal disease') and kidney disease prescription diets cannot prevent kidney disease either. So why bother with expensive prescription dog food?


I'm not trying to lower your hopes; I'm merely trying to tell you what kidney disease compliant dog food CAN do! When your dog's kidney function has diminished it is crucial to select the right dog food that will relief the burden of his kidneys. Special dog food may not CURE your dog but it will for sure make the remainder of his life a lot better! Once your dog gets a kidney diet prescription, he will require special dog food for the rest of his life.

Kidney prescription dog food diet both extend and improve the quality of life in dogs with renal disease.

A dog with malfunctioning kidneys feels very sick. Probably you know that a human can donate one kidney to a sibling and continue living without problems. It is a well know fact that you can live a normal life with one kidney. Dogs are not really different here.

When your dog is suffering from poor kidney function this means that kidney function has dropped below 30% of normal levels. In other words, you won't notice any signs of illness before it is way too late!

Low protein levels characterize kidney disease dog food

A healthy dog has no problems with protein in dog food; in fact proteins are essential nutrients. But for a dog with kidney disease, protein can function as mere poison (though his body still needs amino acids for building and replacing tissue cells).

Kidney disease dog food therefore should have a lower protein percentage but the protein in the dog food should be of high bio-availability.

Carbohydrates and fat are 'clean fuels' for the body. When burned for energy, carbon dioxide and water are formed which leave the body by breathing out and urinating. This is not the case for proteins as urea is formed.

The high bio-availability ensures that there isn't as much amino acids going to waste and being turned into urea. In healthy animals urea is not a problem as normal kidneys filter blood and remove urea without any problem.

High protein diets do NOT cause kidney disease; this is a myth!

In sick animals with abnormal low kidney function, the urea cannot leave the body and remains in the blood. This is the compound that makes your dog feel very sick. Urea is a waste product formed in the liver during the metabolic breakdown of proteins.


Signs of canine kidney disease

There are many causes for renal disease in dogs and disease onset can either be sudden (acute) or gradually (chronic).

Whenever you recognize the following symptoms in your tail-wagger, please go and visit a veterinarian:

  • More frequent urinating and hence more water intake.
  • Lowered appetite (because the dog feels very sick, he is not in the mood to eat).
  • Poor condition.
  • Weight loss.

Dogs with canine kidney disease often don't feel like eating and because a low protein diet is not very tasty, it can be hard to get your sick dog to eat (proteins and fats are what make the food palatable to dogs). Dog food manufacturers have to pay attention to this fact when creating recipes for kidney patients. Also the food needs to be very concentrated nutrition-wise, in order for a dog with a low appetite to eat enough to support his energy and nutrient requirements.

Every regular dog treat can disturb the protein levels. You may give this to do your dog (with renal failure) a favor, but it actually makes him sicker.

But of course you want to treat your dog every now and then. Read further as there exist treats even dogs with renal disease can handle.

Summary of kidney disease dog food characteristics

Any real kidney disease dog food has the following characteristics:

  • Low protein level.
  • Protein has high bio-availability: Ensures less waste.
  • Increased vitamin D3 levels: As vitamin D2 is activated to vitamin D3 in healthy kidneys, dogs with kidney disease require a higher dose of vitamin D3 in their food.
  • Lowered phosphoros levels: The kidney patient's body retains too much potassium and phosphoros, which results in a disbalance between potassium and calcium.
  • Increased calcium levels: Vitamin D promotes resorption of calcium from the food in your dog's intestines. A lowered vitamin D level results in a lower calcium blood level. This leads to calcium mobilization in bone tissue. When this is not accounted for in an altered dog food diet, your dog risks bone fractures.

Examples of kidney disease dog food diets

Dry dog food for unfortunate canines with renal disease

Canned dog food

Suitable treats for dogs with kidney dysfunction

Remember I told you to be careful feeding your sick dog regular treats as it can complete disturb his balance? Hills and Royal Canin have manufactured low calorie, low protein, low sodium treats you can occasionally use to reward your dog. This way you will maintain the appropriate nutrient profile required to manage the renal disease.

  • Royal Canin veterinary diet canine treats
  • Hill's prescription diet canine treats

Where to find kidney disease dog food?

Although you can conveniently order kidney disease dog food online, you still need veterinarian approval in order to purchase prescription dog food. Upon checkout all necessary information will be collected and a prescription will be verified by the online webstore if required. Alternatively you buy these kinds of food at the veterinarian's.

kidney disease dog food diets

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Recommended resource about dog health issues

For a complete survival guide on stress-free dog care, including detailed information on when your dog needs to see the vet, how to respond to pet emergencies, dog first aid and all common health problems, check out Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.

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Learn how to deal with minor dog health problems before they become major ones »

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