Your vet has diagnosed kidney disease in your pet. It’s not just your pet that is suffering from the disease. 10% of all dogs will experience it, and this is especially true for older dogs.
The truth is that kidney disease can be fatal. However, the right diet can make all the difference in improving your pet’s health. With the right information and preparation, you can help your pet live a happy and healthy life with kidney disease. In some cases, you might even be able to turn around the prognosis.
This article will explain what kidney disease is and how to recognize it in your dog. It also explains the causes and benefits of special diets. Find out the best treats for dogs with kidney disease. Learn how to switch to a supportive diet. And what to do about meal preparation. Experts will explain the most common misconceptions regarding renal diets for dogs.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Kidney Disease?
- 2 What are the signs of kidney disease and failure in dogs?
- 2.1 Acute Kidney Failure: Signs and symptoms
- 2.2 Chronic Kidney Disease: What Are the Symptoms?
- 2.3 What are the nutritional requirements for dogs with CKD and their companions?
- 2.4 What can I do to make sure my dog has good nutrition?
- 3 What should a kidney dog food diet look like?
- 4 What kind of diet for kidney disease dogs?
What is Kidney Disease?
The two kidney-shaped vital organs of the bean-shaped body are responsible for making urine, balancing blood fluids, and taking out waste from your blood. Your kidneys are your body’s filter.
When kidneys are unable to filter blood properly, it is called renal disease. The damage builds up over time and can lead to further health problems and eventual kidney failure.
The kidneys in dogs use approximately 20 percent of the blood from their hearts to function. The kidneys are not able to regenerate like the liver. Other functions of the kidneys are:
- Water level balancing
- Blood pressure control
- Red blood cell regulation
- Controlling the acid level
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is a gradual decline in kidney function over time, is different from acute kidney disease (or kidney failure) where the kidneys suddenly stop functioning properly.
Your dog’s kidneys may not be able to eliminate enough waste products. CKD can also be caused by conditions that cause damage to your kidneys and reduce their ability to perform their jobs.
Kidney disease can worsen, causing blood sugar levels to rise and resulting in animal sickness. High blood pressure, low blood iron (anemia), bone weakness, nerve damage, and poor nutritional intake can all be caused by kidney problems.
Your dog’s kidneys work in the same way as human kidneys. Although a dog needs only one kidney for survival, if one is damaged or inoperable, the other can fail.
A few causes of kidney problems are simple to diagnose and treat, particularly acute kidney disease. CKD can develop more slowly, which makes it harder to diagnose and treat. Acute kidney disease in dogs can be caused by eating poisonous plants, antifreeze, or certain medicines.
Accidental ingestions of pesticides, or chemicals that we use to get rid of pests in our homes, are a leading cause of acute kidney disease. Your dog can become very sick from even natural human supplements like vitamin D. This supplement is used to compensate for the lack of sunlight.
There may be other conditions that can cause blood flow to your dog’s organs to drop, become infected, or block their urine. Dental disease is one of the most common causes of CKD. Their bloodstream is contaminated with bacteria that cause CKD. This can cause organ damage.
Dogs born with impaired kidney function may never be able to perform at their best. Another possible cause of kidney disease or failure is diabetes, amyloidosis Lyme disease, cancer, and severe dehydration.
These breeds are more susceptible to kidney disease or failure.
- Bull Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- German Shepherd
- English Cocker Spaniel
What are the signs of kidney disease and failure in dogs?
It is crucial to recognize signs of kidney disease in your pet. Acute kidney disease symptoms can be sudden and very serious. Acute kidney disease is a serious condition that can lead to death. Your pet’s ability to recover depends on how damaged the kidneys are, the cause of the damage, and the treatment.
A good treatment can often reverse acute kidney failure. Sometimes, acute kidney failure can lead to chronic kidney disease. The onset of CKD can be slow and difficult to detect. Supportive treatment can help your dog stay stable for longer periods of time. Chronic kidney disease can be irreversible.
Acute Kidney Failure: Signs and symptoms
These are the top three signs of acute kidney failure.
- Appetite loss
- Excessive lethargy and sleeping disorders
Acute kidney failure can also be manifested by the following symptoms:
- Urinating problems or straining
- A decreased or increased thirst
- Trembling or shaking
Chronic Kidney Disease: What Are the Symptoms?
The most common kidney-related disease in dogs is chronic kidney disease (CKD). Normally, waste products are filtered out from the blood by the kidneys. However, dogs suffering from CKD will have an accumulation of these products in their bloodstream due to the breakdown of the filtering process. This handout will provide more information about chronic kidney disease in dogs.
Dogs with CKD must be well fed. The following are the four main goals to manage CKD in dogs
- Reduce the signs and symptoms of accumulating waste products.
- Fluid and mineral balance can help to minimize problems.
- Sustain adequate nutrition.
- You can slow down or modify the progression of CKD.
All of these goals can be addressed by nutrition. These key goals are addressed in commercial diets for dogs with CKD. A kidney support diet is less likely to contain sodium, protein, and phosphorous than normal adult dog food. It also contains more omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of protein. These diets can be obtained from your veterinarian and designed to prevent metabolic acidosis in dogs suffering from CKD.
CKD symptoms may look similar to other conditions, such as anemia or hypertension. You may not notice these symptoms until your kidney function has decreased to at least 70%.
The most obvious sign is a decrease in your dog’s overall well-being. These symptoms may not be present in all dogs, but here are some indicators to watch for:
- Increased thirst and urination
- A decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Bad breath
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Mouth ulcers or sore mouth
- Sleeping more and less energy
- Poor coat appearance
- Acute blindness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Uncoordinated gait
- Urine containing blood
- In dogs’ faces, swelling of the bone structure
Your vet will be able to diagnose kidney disease and provide a treatment plan to slow its progression if you alert them as soon as possible.
What are the nutritional requirements for dogs with CKD and their companions?
Water. A diseased kidney is less efficient at excreting waste from the body via urine. One side effect of CKD is a decrease in kidney function to concentrate urine.
The body will stimulate a greater thirst to help it rid itself of toxins. It is important that you provide unlimited water for your dog. Candies can increase your dog’s water intake. You can encourage your pet to drink more water by changing their water frequently and cleaning their water bowl every day.
Protein. A decrease in dietary protein may slow down the progression of CKD. This is because it reduces the burden on the kidneys to eliminate protein waste products.
A lower intake of protein means that the kidneys have less to excrete protein waste products. This helps maintain kidney function. For dogs suffering from CKD, the recommended protein range is between 14 and 20% on a dry matter basis.
Phosphorus. Limiting dietary phosphorus intake in dogs with CKD seems to slow down the development of CKD. However, the exact mechanism remains a mystery.
For dogs suffering from CKD, the recommended phosphorus level is 0.2-0.5% on a dry matter basis. Because phosphorus content is linked to protein content, it’s impossible to attain lower levels without limiting your protein intake.
Sodium. The sodium intake is moderately limited to decrease the burden on the kidneys. This helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty oils. Dietary Omega-3 fatty acid. This helps to reduce inflammation compounds that cause oxidative stress in the tissues of the diseased kidneys. It also contributes to a slower progression of CKD. This is achieved by decreasing protein ‘leaking through’ the kidneys.
What can I do to make sure my dog has good nutrition?
The following key components will make up a kidney support diet for dogs suffering from CKD:
|Phosphorus||0.2 – 0.5%|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||0.4 – 2.5%|
Your veterinarian can help you select the right formula for your dog. To maintain a healthy body, it is important to keep your dog’s calorie intake under control. Regular weigh-ins and food portion calculations are essential.
Your veterinarian will assist you in choosing the right formulation for your dog.
Because commercially available kidney support diets are so tasty, it’s important that these dogs eat in a way that slows down their CKD progression. You can increase the taste and acceptability of these diets by adding water, tuna, or low-sodium chicken broth.
The protein content of food might need to be decreased and bioavailability may be increased as CKD progresses. As CKD progresses, your veterinarian will be your best resource to help you determine the best nutrition for your dog.
What should a kidney dog food diet look like?
You might be curious about what your dog should eat and whether it is better to buy commercially prepared dog food. You have more control over what your dog eats, and you can even see what he eats in the yard.
There are also commercial diets that may work. It doesn’t matter if you feed your dog homemade food or commercial food. Dogs with kidney problems should be fed high-quality protein, low in sodium and phosphorus, as well as added omega-3 fatty acids, such as a good mix of meats, vegetables, flax, sardines, and anchovies.
A good selection of protein is important, and it should be eaten raw. Avoid dry food, which is also known as kibble, as it can cause dehydration. Although making your own dog food is time-consuming and labor-intensive, it can also be very rewarding.
To ensure a balanced and complete diet, you will need to add more nutrients. It can be hard to provide the nutrients in the correct quantities and in an efficient manner at home.
It is important to remember that this diet can be adjusted based on the available food, especially during the week. The subject of a “balanced diet has been the topic of much debate and speculation in the veterinary community. The following is the basic recommendation for the week:
- 12-15% Meaty Bone
- 10-30% organ meat
- 30-50% muscle meat
- 5% fish
Keep extra fats down, starch low, and give your dog variety, but not more than once a week.
For dogs with kidney disease, commercial diets are fine as long as they can be fed a healthy diet. Most pet food will not have the right amount of phosphorus to achieve the desired effect. Your dog’s kidney disease will cause them to need lower levels of phosphorus. High moisture foods are essential for your dog’s kidney health. High-quality protein is the best choice. You can buy raw dog food commercially.
Commercial dog food may include the following characteristics:
- Organic: These food do not contain any preservatives or pesticides. If the food is meat, it does not contain growth hormones or antibiotics. This distinction is crucial in kidney diets as it indicates that the food does not contain toxins. It also means that your pet’s current organ function will be less affected.
- Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio: Low levels of phosphorous should be avoided as it slows down the progression of kidney disease. However, low levels of phosphorous increase survival rates. The calcium should be greater than the phosphorus.
- Fresh Food: fresh food refers to how bioavailable the food is for your dog. This means that food should be easy to digest and provide the most nutrition.
- Raw food diet: Also known as the Biologically Appropriate Food (BARF), a raw diet consists of uncooked meats, additives like fruits, vegetables, grains, and a mixture of supplements.
- No Kibble As we have discussed, kibble can be a bad idea in dogs with kidney disease. Dogs already severely dehydrated by kibble are further dehydrated.
- Canned Food: Canned food can be a better option than kibble for dogs with kidney disease. The can would contain more moisture but also preservatives like salt to keep it fresh. These can be dangerous for dogs. Canned food must be heated, which can cause certain vitamins to lose.
- Reduced Sodium High sodium diets can increase blood pressure and cause kidney damage. Low sodium diets are the best.
- Increased Omega-3 Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and hypertension in certain parts of the kidney. They can also improve kidney function.
- Increasing B-Vitamins. Increasing B-vitamins. Adding more B-vitamins to your dog’s diet will compensate for the ones lost in their urine. B-vitamins, which are water-soluble, are more easily lost in diseased kidneys.
- Added Antioxidants: Antioxidants aid in cellular damage and improve the immune system.
- Reduced Phosphorus: As discussed previously, reduced phosphorus can improve kidney function and prolong the life expectancy in dogs with renal disease.
- Calories/Dietary Fat: Excessive amounts of fat in a dog’s diet can cause damage to the kidneys. Your dog may tolerate higher amounts of fat in their food if they have kidney disease. This is a great way to increase their calories.
- Reducing Nitrogenous Waste/By-Products: Urea and creatinine are common body wastes that can cause high blood levels of nitrogen. Uremia refers to the condition caused by improperly excreting waste products. These high levels of nitrogen can be caused by poor kidney filtration. This means that nitrogen levels can rise and be found in the blood after kidney failure. To reduce the number of nitrogenous byproducts, it is important to reduce the protein levels.
- Potassium citrate: This supplement increases the blood bicarbonate level when it is low at all stages of renal disease. Your dog’s blood levels of blood bicarbonate will drop due to impaired kidney function, making it more acidic.
The following should be provided for dogs with kidney disease:
- Animal Protein
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- Moisture Content between 80 -85%
- Easily Digestible Proteins
Your dog’s food must also conform to the requirements of The Association of American Feed Control Officials, which regulates the sale of drugs and food for animals.
What kind of diet for kidney disease dogs?
Although kidney disease is a frightening diagnosis, many pets can live for years with it if caught early enough. Although most medications used to treat kidney disease in pets are intended to reduce symptoms, the right diet can make a big difference in survival.
Studies have shown that kidney disease-specific diets can help pets live longer than pets who eat more normal diets.
The severity of kidney disease will determine the nutritional adjustments that are needed. However, dogs and cats with kidney disease should eat diets low in phosphorus and protein and rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil.
Phosphorus is the most important nutrient for cats and dogs. To prevent kidney disease progression and prolong survival, it is essential to provide a low-phosphorus diet for your pet.
The kidneys are responsible for eliminating waste products from the protein in the diet. Therefore, pets with kidney disease should eat lower levels of protein. This will help reduce the risk of your pet feeling sick. A low-protein diet can help your pet’s survival time. You should avoid high-protein treats like meat, cheese, rawhides, and pig ears.
High salt (sodium), diets can increase blood pressure and worsen kidney damage. Therefore, diets for pets with kidney disease should be low in sodium. High salt foods such as bread, cheese, deli meats, and many commercial treats for dogs and cats should be avoided.
It is a good idea to limit the amount of sodium in food and treats to less than 1 mg per Calorie (kcal). Low sodium foods and treats include fruits, vegetables, and even garlic, but be careful not to eat grapes, raisins, and onions.
Some evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may be beneficial for dogs and cats with kidney disease. Therefore, many pet diets for kidney disease include fish oil or are supplemented with fish oil if it doesn’t already contain it. Discuss with your veterinarian whether fish oil is appropriate for your pet. If so, what should the optimal dosage be?
Kidney disease diets are non-acidifying, whereas most dog and cat food are acidifying. It is important to ensure that pets with kidney disease do not become too acidic.
These modifications are available in therapeutic diets your veterinarian can either provide or prescribe to you to buy elsewhere. The diets you buy from the pet shop are too high in protein and phosphorus for pets with mild kidney disease. They are also likely to be acidifying. This is why you should consult your veterinarian to ensure your pet has the best nutrition possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What vegetables are good for dogs with kidney disease?
What foods can my dog eat with kidney disease?
Experts recommend that you feed your dog fresh, cooked, moist, and lean protein sources. This includes chicken breast, turkey breast, or defatted beef.
What foods help repair kidneys in dogs?
Dogs with kidney problems should be fed high-quality protein with low sodium and phosphorus. They also need to be given omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish, flax, and sardines.
Can dogs with kidney disease eat fruits and vegetables?
Consistently feeding your pet a therapeutic diet for kidney disease can help him to live longer and feel better and you can still have some creativity/flexibility through treats.
Are potatoes good for dogs with kidney disease?
Sweet potatoes make a wonderful treat for dogs with kidney disease, as well as those without.
Is Salmon OK for dogs with kidney disease?
Dogs suffering from kidney disease may have higher levels of Omega-3 Fatty acids. Fish oil and flaxseed oil are two options for supplementing your dog's diet with omega-3.
What should dogs with kidney disease avoid?
High salt (sodium), diets can increase blood pressure and worsen kidney damage. Therefore, diets for pets with kidney disease should be low in sodium. High salt treats like cheese, bread, and many commercial cat and dog treats should be avoided.
Is shrimp good for dogs with kidney disease?
Shrimp should be avoided by dogs with kidney disease. The liver can also be affected by kidney disease. This is because the phosphorus levels found in shrimp can be too high for dogs suffering from this condition. Before giving your dog any new food, we recommend speaking to your vet.
Are eggs good for dogs with kidney disease?
Studies have shown that both egg- and mixed-protein-based diets had similar results in clinical and laboratory testing of dogs suffering from chronic renal failure. The egg protein diet promoted hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis.
Is cottage cheese good for dogs with kidney disease?
Cats and dogs with progressive kidney disease should not be restricted in their intake of protein. A small daily intake of high-quality animal protein such as eggs, cottage cheese, and calf liver is necessary.