Low Protein Dog Foods
Low protein dog foods can be controversial. Even though many veterinarians advise against feeding higher protein diets, recent research appears to support their safety even for senior dogs with minor kidney issues.
In one study of dogs with kidney disease, researchers concluded
Results do not support the hypothesis that feeding a high protein diet had a significant adverse effect on renal function.1
In another study, older dogs were divided into two groups.
One group was fed a low protein diet and the other a high protein diet for the next four years.
Results of this study indicated there were no adverse effects from the high protein diet and mortality was actually higher in the low protein group.2
How To Switch Your Dog To A Renal
Picky dogs can be difficult to feed. Dogs who are not feeling well, and those with renal disease, often dont want to eat. In fact, this is often one of the first symptoms of the disease. So how do you get them the nutrition they need when they do not want to eat? Whether you are switching over to something completely new, or just supplementing their regular food, you want to start by introducing the new nutrition slowly. Gradually mix the new food or supplement in with their current food. Then increase the kidney diet food and reduce the existing food each day until it is the only food they are getting. Fortunately, nutritionists design most renal diet foods to be very palatable. Other ways to help get your dog with kidney disease interested in eating again:
- Give them their medication separately from their food. This goes a long way in ensuring that they do not negatively associate feeding time with bad-tasting medicine time.
- Create a comforting environment for eating time. If this means you sit on the floor and stroke them while they eat at home, then so be it.
- Try a different renal-support recipe or a yummy additive if they still will not eat. The earlier you can get them to adapt to new food, the less damage they will have from renal breakdown.
Royal Canin Mature Adult In Gel Canned Dog Food
Our Rating: 4.5Top Ingredients: Water, Pork By-Products, Pork LiverType: Wet
This dog food is not specifically designed for kidney disease. However, it is one of the better foods for senior dogs, and it is decently low in protein.
- The formula stimulates appetite in poor eaters
- Includes fish oil and an array of B-vitamins
- Contains biotin for healthy nervous system function
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As Always The Science Supporting Dry Food Is Dangerously Out Of Whack
Dry food companies illuminate the front of their food bags clinically proven to benefit kidney disease in dogs. But unfortunately, there is no mention of the study on the bag. Were they talking about dogs in proteinuria whereby a lower protein diet might have helped? Or are they reducing the salt content of their kidney food which would instantly make the kidneys happy? Or is the food more digestible? Or less antigenic somehow? Maybe its wheat free thatd be nice. Or perhaps the manufacturer who conducted the trial in-house put the decimal point in the wrong place, and the food didnt help. What were missing is actual evidence. Its worrying our vets are not asking for this.
The fact remains that vets and dry food companies are the only people calling for low protein diets as a starting point to treat kidney disease in dogs . Now it happens that protein is expensive compared to carbohydrates. This is why most dry dog foods include so much cereal. By incriminating protein, they can consist of even more cheap carbohydrate filler. Crystals aside, all these carbs convert to sugar in the blood, which is balanced by lots of insulin. Excess insulin and soon insulin resistance contribute to the metabolic syndrome that is associated with the development of kidney disease too.
Its all so wrong.
What Is The Best Dog Food Kidney Disease
I’m sorry if I’ve confused you. My sympathies go out to you! Even yet, it is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. If youre still unsure which type of best dog food kidney disease is best for you, I recommend comparing the characteristics and functionalities of the best dog food kidney disease listed above. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
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What Foods Should A Dog With Kidney Disease Eat
Your dog can safely consume foods like carrots, green beans, white rice, and boiled chicken. Always ask your vet about any food choices before you feed your dog. Your vet will advise you of all the foods your dog can eat. Some owners choose to feed commercial dog food because it can contain hidden ingredients.
Hills Prescription Diet K/d Chicken & Vegetable Stew Kidney Care
Our Rating: 4.6Top Ingredients: Water, Chicken, CarrotsType: Wet
This canned food is specifically designed for dogs with kidney disease. It is tasty, which is important for dogs that have lost some of their appetites.
It is made with everything a dog with kidney disease needs, including low-protein and controlled phosphorus levels.
- Develop by nutritionists and veterinarians
- Includes l-carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids
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What Are Possible Diseases Or Conditions That Can Lead To Kidney Failure
There are often underlying conditions that lead to kidney failure in dogs. These conditions are usually long-term and progressive. Kidney failure is not the predominant condition but is often an after-effect of other conditions or diseases. Sometimes, if your vet treats the underlying cause, they can also reverse the kidney distress. What you need to remember is that all the organ systems in your dog are connected, and when one organ has problems it can often lead to issues with others. These conditions or diseases are:
- Congestive Heart Failure
The Best Dog Food For Dogs With Kidney Disease
The most important nutritional considerations for dog food for dogs with kidney disease to extend and improve quality of life are protein content, moisture content, phosphorus, sodium, and omega 3 fatty acids. The goal of choosing the best diet for dogs with kidney disease is alleviate symptoms, and help our dogs live comfortably with this chronic disease.
There are many different diets on the market that may be excellent choices for your pup depending on the severity of the disease. From prescription kibbled and canned foods to premade lightly cooked diets, and even homemade diet options.
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What Human Food Can I Feed My Dog With Kidney Disease
When choosing human food to feed your dog with kidney disease, remember to avoid sodium and phosphorus and stick to lower quantities of protein. Good options include green beans, baby carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, broccoli, blueberries, watermelon, and air-popped popcorn. When in doubt about whether your dog with renal disease can eat a type of human food, check its phosphorus and sodium content to ensure they are low. Feel free to give your dog high-fat, low-phosphorus foods in moderation, such as butter and whole milk yogurt.
The Problem With Phosphorus
Phosphorus can create extra work for the kidneys. If the kidneys dont remove phosphorus, it can lead to dangerous calcium deposits in the organs. Protein is high in phosphorus and thats why vets recommend low protein diets.
But you can still feed a fresh food diet and give your dog proteins that are low in phosphorus. This chart shows the phosphorus content of several different protein sources.
You can see that sardines are high in phosphorus, so its okay to feed a sardine as a treat, or to add omega-3 fatty acids, but you wouldnt want to give a whole meal of sardines. Near the other end of the scale youll see wild duck is low in phosphorus, so that is a great meat source if you can get it.
Nitrogen Trap To Lower BUNIf your dogs lab tests show a high BUN the nitrogen trap can help lower the nitrogen and BUN levels. The nitrogen trap helps divert the waste products of protein metabolism from the bloodstream into the colon, which reduces the burden on the kidneys.
There are many ways to do this. The easiest is to add blended leafy greens to provide enzymes and whole food vitamins. Add probiotics and the prebiotics that feed them. Raw garlic, mushrooms and dandelion greens are good sources of prebiotics.
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Why Low Protein May Be Needed
Healthy animals excrete uremic toxins in the urine, but these toxins can build up when a dog has kidneys that are not functioning properly. Digesting protein produces the toxins, so you can keep the toxins at lower levels by limiting the protein in your dog’s food. This way his body will not have to work so hard.
What Is A Food Aversion
Although food manufacturers making renal diets do extremely well at making them highly palatable, as renal failure progresses, animals tend to eat less and may feel sick. This is similar to us eating something with a hangover, feeling really ill and never wanting to touch it again If the food reminds the dog of feeling very nauseous then they may stop eating it and develop a food aversion.
It is important to minimise food aversion as much as possible by avoiding renal diets when your dog is particularly nauseous, sick or stressed. This may mean that your veterinary team may NOT feed this diet if your pet is hospitalised with them so that they are more likely to eat this diet when they go home.
As a dog becomes more averse to eating as the disease progresses, it may be necessary to try different flavors or brands or to have a homemade diet formulated by a nutritionist. Remember to not attempt this on your own. It is very difficult to formulate a properly balanced diet for a healthy dog let alone one with a serious health issue. See our blog on this, Are home-prepared diets for dogs safe? for more detail.
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What Does A Dog Need To Eat If It Has Kidney Disease
There are certain ingredients that should be included in its diet, and also, those that should be excluded from its diet. You should take extra care if your dog has other issues. Some dogs have allergies, or other chronic diseases like pancreatitis.
Some dogs are already on a raw diet regiment. In that case, it is an even bigger challenge to balance protein intake. This all means that there are more ingredients you should exclude from the diet. It is best to consult with your vet about this.
Some foods contain significant amounts of possibly harmful matter. Vet approved homemade dog food recipes for kidney disease will balance these ingredients in the right amounts.
Difficulty Spotting The Early Signs Of Chronic Kidney Disease In Dogs
Chronic kidney disease is typically very difficult to spot, particularly during the early stages of the disease. Regular checkups at your veterinarian can help identify CKD earlier.Even when the kidneys’ filtering function has diminished, they’re still able to filter a large volume of blood, so signs that something is not working correctly may not become apparent until there’s already been a significant amount of damage to the kidneys. Typically the clinical signs of chronic kidney disease do not appear until 75% of kidney function is lost.1
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Causes Of Urinary Health Issues In Dogs
Various factors can influence abnormal urine and urination issues. Sometimes, seemingly unrelated health problems could also promote urinary diseases. Heres what you should look out for:
Urinary diseases can be a singular problem that you can solve with dog food for crystals in the urine. But they can also be a symptom of other health issues. Thats why its always best to monitor your dogs overall health and mood.
Hydration And Moisture In Dog Food For Dogs With Kidney Disease
Often times with kidney disease dogs will loose fluids faster than the typical dog. This means that they are prone to dehydration in order to combat this switching to a higher moisture diet can be advisable if possible. This usually means switching from a kibbled diet to a canned or fresh food diet but it can also be as simple as adding in water to the kibbled diet that the pet is already eating.
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Homemade Dog Food For Renal Disease Recipe
You NEED to consult with a vet or canine nutritionist before switching your dog to a kidney-friendly diet. The professional you work with will likely recommend either a low protein homemade dog food diet or some low protein dog food brands with lower phosphorus levels and are made with high-quality proteins.
- 1 cup boiled chicken
- 1 hard boiled egg
- 2 tbsp. plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup steamed carrots
- 1/4 cup steamed green beans
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Nf Kidney Function Formula Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Whole Grain Corn, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Dried Egg Product, 4. Animal Fat Preserved, 5. Fish Oil
If your dog prefers kibbles over wet food, make sure you offer him optimal nutrition that provides excellent kidney care. Rich in whole grains, this diet does not contain any meat-based protein sources and has limited sodium and phosphorus content to make it an ideal blend for dogs with kidney problems. The special veterinary diet is a holistic diet that helps manage the symptoms while slowing the progression of the disease.
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Talk To Your Vet Before Introducing Low Protein Dog Food Into Your Dogs Diet
Weve featured some great low protein options on this list. But again, low protein dog foods are typically meant for dogs that are struggling with chronic health conditions. So while you always want to talk to your vet before you introduce a new food into your dogs diet, its especially important with low protein dog food. Your dog may need a prescription diet to manage his condition, so make sure to talk to your vet to figure out which low protein dog food is best for your pet.
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What Foods Should A Dog With Kidney Disease Avoid
To reduce the kidneys workload, you can cut back on or improve the quality of your dogs protein intake. To reduce waste products even further, be wary of commercial dog foods and treats that contain a lot of filler ingredients like meal and guar gum. You should also monitor the sodium and phosphorus content of your dogs food and keep those to a minimum. Too much sodium can raise blood pressure and hasten the progression of renal issues, while low phosphorus levels in the bloodstream are thought to positively improve a dogs kidney health. That means avoiding dry food with a high ash content , plus high-sodium foods and treats like cheese, bread products, jerky treats and rawhide.
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How Does The Vet Treat Canine Kidney Disease
Acute kidney disease is usually more easily treated than chronic. If your dog has chronic kidney disease, he is more likely to suffer severe organ damageknow that one of the key causes of death in kidney disease is organ damage.
Unfortunately, some of the types of damage done by kidney disease are irreversible. This is why preventative measures are so essential for your dog. The following types of treatment will be initiated by your vet if your dog has kidney disease:
- Medications that increase urine output
- Medication to treat anemia
- Medication to manage blood pressure
While acute kidney disease is often treated for a short time, chronic kidney disease often requires treatment for the rest of the dogs life.
Royal Canin Health Nutrition Mature 8+ Canned Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Water Sufficient for Processing, 2. Pork By-Products, 3. Chicken, 4. Chicken Liver, 5. Corn Flour
The recipe supports kidney health with reduced levels of phosphorus and limited protein. And thats why its a favorite in our top ten. Ideal for small-breed dogs, the highly palatable formula is specifically designed for appetite stimulation and has reduced phosphorus levels for improved kidney function. The adult wet food is crafted with high-quality ingredients to offer the best nutrition to your dog. You can feed this formula by Royal Canin by itself, or combine it for added nutrition.
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What Food Can I Make For My Dog With Kidney Disease
Brown rice is a popular ingredient in dog food for pups with kidney disease, thanks to its high digestibility. You can also give your pooch sources of lean protein that are moisture-rich and cooked when fresh. Some good options include beef without the fat, turkey breast, and chicken. Ideally, you want to opt for half meat and half veggies and grains.
So Why Do We Make The Swap
Dogs eating a renal diet in one study had a reduction in the risk of uraemic crises compared with dogs eating the maintenance control diet. A uraemic crisis is a condition where there are abnormally high levels of waste products in the blood due to kidney failure which can make our pets feel extremely unwell. If left untreated this can even be fatal. The delay in development of these uraemic crises and associated mortality rate in dogs fed renal food was thought to be partly associated with reduction in rate of progression of renal failure. This is a real positive as it gives our dogs a better quality of life.
At the end of the study, only 33% of dogs receiving the renal diet died from renal-related causes, compared with 65% of dogs receiving the maintenance diet.
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