What Is Low Phosphorus Dog Food?
Low phosphorus dog food is most often needed by dogs with renal or kidney problems. Phosphorus is an important mineral in the diet that helps bones grow and tissues develop. Mammals need it in order to maintain a healthy metabolism. However, if a dog has kidney disease, then phosphorus can interfere with the function of the kidneys and their ability to remove toxins from the dog’s bloodstream.
Kidney disease and chronic renal failure are common health problems in senior dogs. Many times the damage to the kidneys isn’t detected until the dog has already lost more than half of their kidney function. But restricting phosphorus in the diet is a meaningful way to slow further renal failure.
That’s why your dog’s vet may recommend a low phosphorus dog food. This is the same reason that dogs with kidney disease should avoid high levels of protein. Protein is high in phosphorus.
Signs of kidney disease
One of the most common signs of kidney disease in dogs is an increase in thirst and water consumption and urination. However, these symptoms often don’t appear until much of the dog’s kidney function has already been lost. One of the best ways to catch kidney disease early is to take your dog for an annual senior dog exam. The risk of kidney disease and chronic renal failure increase greatly as your dog gets older. An annual visit to your vet with a senior check-up can include blood work, urinalysis and other basic tests to catch health problems early, before they become too serious. With prompt diagnosis, acute kidney disease can be reversible and even chronic kidney disease can be managed so a dog has added months and even years of life.
Low phosphorus dog foods
You can’t eliminate phosphorus from your dog’s diet completely. Without some phosphorus in the diet a dog can become weak. But phosphorus is also linked to calcium levels in the body and too much of it can lead to a calcium deficiency which can result in problems with bone density. For this reason it’s important to talk to your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet and putting him on a low phosphorus dog food. Changing to a low phosphorus dog food can affect your dog’s blood chemistry and metabolic rate.
Low phosphorus dog foods are available as prescription dog foods and commercially. These foods are formulated to have a lower phosphorus level but still provide dogs with the proper levels of the other nutrients and minerals they need in their diet.
If your dog does have kidney disease, you can work with your veterinarian to choose the best low phosphorus dog food for your dog. You should schedule regular visits with your vet so he or she can take blood work and watch your dog’s condition. It’s important to weigh your dog regularly so you know if he’s gaining or losing weight and adjust the amount of food you are feeding accordingly.
As with any food change, if you are changing your dog’s food to a low phosphorus diet, you should make the change gradually over the course of several days so your dog can become accustomed to the food. Mix a little of the new food with his current food the first day; then add a little more the next day, and so on, until he is eating the new food at the end of a few days. Be sure to watch for any changes in his physical condition if he doesn’t handle the new food well. You can return to this old food if you need to do so.