What Is The Best Food To Feed A Dog With Kidney Failure?
Finding out that your dog has issues with kidney disease can be heartbreaking. But the best food to feed a dog with kidney failure can help. We all know how much are dear doggies mean to us. But there’s plenty of information out there about what to do when your dog has kidney failure and it might not be the end of the world.
The first thing you need to accept is that there are going to be changed in the life of your dog. Some of these changes can be seen as permanent and your dog is going to have to adapt to a new lifestyle. Most importantly, you need to know that your dog is going to eat a lot less protein and that you’ll have to adapt.
What is kidney failure in dogs?
The kidney has a special role in your dog’s health, just as in humans. Simply put, it’s a filtering organ that eliminates much of what’s not truly needed through urine. For example, the kidney eliminates the excess water in the bloodstream.
But the kidney also eliminates urea. This is the type of compound that results from protein breakdown. Phosphorous and salt are also eliminated through kidneys. This is why you’ll find out in this article why reducing the protein intake of your dog is so important when facing such issues as kidney failure. Your dog can mainly suffer from 2 types of kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease is a medical term used to describe the slow decline of proper kidney function. It’s the type of kidney condition your dog can suffer from over a long period of time.
Acute kidney disease is diagnosed by the vet in the case of a rapid decline of the kidney function, mainly due to the dog ingesting something potentially poisonous such as the wrong medication or antifreeze.
Quick methods to determine if your dog has kidney failure
You need to visit a vet to properly diagnose kidney failure. However, there are a few indications that can help you map out the possible problem.
Changes in water consumption
If your dog starts drinking less water, it might be a sign of kidney function failure. At the same time, your dog can start drinking more water out of a sudden which can also be a sign of kidney failure.
Changes in color and quantity of urine
Old-school vets simply relied on the color of the urine to determine certain problems. This hasn’t changed much today. If you notice your dog’s urine is darker in color than usual, it’s a possible sign of possible kidney failure.
A loss of appetite
Kidneys are directly involved in the digestion and excretion process. Your dog might not even eat at all just to give its intestines a break.
Not all dogs manifest physical signs of kidney problems. If your dog is showing signs of depression, it might be time to visit the vet to investigate the issue.
Weight loss is common in kidney failure issue. Directly involved in the breakdown of protein, your dog might eat less meat which surely equates to a loss on muscle mass.
Blood in urine
In its acute forms, kidney issues come with blood in the urine. You should take your pooch to the vet as soon as you see this as it can be an indication of a serious health problem that needs immediate attention.
Why changing the diet is important?
There’s research to support the idea that dogs with kidney diseases live longer when on a low protein diet. Data shows the average dog on such a diet is likely to live about 1 year more than a dog on a regular diet.
Your doggie can enjoy a longer life and you get to spend more time with your friend when you take care of the diet. Furthermore, this nutritional approach also reduces uremic symptoms and other adjacent problems.
Safe foods to feed your dog suffering from kidney failure
Now that you know what kidney failure looks like in its forms, you need to make informed decisions for your dog’s food. You don’t have to renounce dry dog food, but you will need to check its ingredients. On the other hand, you may still prepare your dog homemade dog food for the situations when you run out of dry dog food.
Dog food that is low in protein (up to 30%)
Dogs are carnivores and nutritional ‘battles’ are won and lost in food choices. You can’t cut out protein completely from your dog’s diet. What you can do instead is to choose a type of dog food that contains only up to 30% protein. Ideally, the content should be closer to 15% in the case of acute kidney disease.
The amount of protein is easy to identify as its clearly printed on the label of your preferred dog food and on safe dog supplements. We specifically find the Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support for Dogs to be a good choice for your doggie. Here’s its nutrient breakdown of this best dog food to feed a dog with kidney failure.
- Crude protein – 14%
- Fat – 18%
- Fiber – 7%
- Moisture – 10%
- Phosphorous – 0.25%
- Sodium – 0.25%
Dog food that is low in phosphorous (up to 0.8%)
Phosphorous content is directly linked to kidney failure issue. It’s mainly high in concentration in meat and it would be very difficult to know the exact phosphorous amount of meat you’re cooking at home for your dog as not many manufacturers indicate its percentage. As a result, controlled phosphorous foods such as Blue Buffalo’s mentioned above are the best bet.
Food that is easy to digest
Most controlled protein-phosphorous-salt dog foods and dog treats are safe for any type of kidney issue. But you need to consider foods that are easier to digest. Instead of spending more on complex foods with multiple types of meat, you could only spend less on foods with 1 or 2 sources of meat that are easy to digest.
Food quantities are also a topic largely overlooked. For example, you need to know that even beneficial foods can be detrimental when consumed in large quantities. You should follow strict vet indications and not overfeed your dog as this could cause further damage to the kidneys.
Foods that are low in salt
Here at DogFood.guru, we don’t like salt very much. But when it comes to kidney failure, you need to be extra-cautious for sodium content. You simply can’t afford to do more damage to your dog’s health. Salt content doesn’t need to be higher than 0.25% in the best dog food to feed a dog with kidney failure.
Can I feed my dog homemade food?
In theory, you can prepare homemade food for your dog suffering from kidney failure. The first thing you need to do is to get a small kitchen measuring scale. It will indicate the amount of protein you can serve your dog.
If you want to recreate the dry dog food listed above, you need to limit a section of 100 grams of chicken to 15 grams of chicken per portion. You then add fats and vegetables considering no salt whatsoever.
But this approach has a few major drawbacks. First, you’re always left guessing just how much protein there is in the food. 15 grams of chicken doesn’t necessarily equate to 15 grams of protein, which can be a bit troublesome in the long term.
Then, there’s the issue of meal preparation time which is simply too much for the dog owner who has to deal with daily chores. As a result, you can simply purchase dry dog food which is already measured and which has the right ingredients in it.
Together with your vet, you can decide how much to keep the dog on the same diet and which treats are fine to have as well. Most of the time, kidney failure is a long-term issue and this means your dog can be facing a different type of dry food for months and years. It will be an adjustment, especially since most dogs would not give up the protein in the favor of vegetables of fat themselves.
The best food to feed a dog with kidney failure is always the one with specific quantities of protein, salt, and phosphorous. These 3 ingredients are in key keeping the issue under control or at least slowing down the degenerative process of the kidney.
Some of the best dog food brands of the moment have specific foods for this condition, as it’s not as rare as dog owners would first think. You don’t need to look too far to find specialized food which specific measurements that you can feed your dog without regrets.
Most importantly, the nutritional process of the condition goes hand in hand with veterinary treatment. This is why you need to discuss your plan with your dog’s vet. You might need to go back for regular appointments. This is something you can’t postpone with such a serious health concern. At the same time, small changes in the diet are the least invasive methods of dealing with certain health conditions. It’s easier on some dogs that have no issue eating all types of food.