We receive several emails weekly regarding kidney disease in dogs and always feel so bad because we know that the dog owner feels helpless.
Most often the emails mention that the vet wants to place the older dog on Hills K/D food and the owner is struggling with this decision.
Diet should and must be your top priority if your dog has been diagnosed with Kidney failure.
Your dog will need a highly nutritious diet made up of whole foods. The diet must include a high quality protein and remain low in phosphorus.
Since diet is critical for this disease in dogs; the dog owner is forced to make a decision on how to proceed nutritionally and this can be very overwhelming.
What is Kidney Disease?
There are two types of kidney disease:
- Acute comes on suddenly and is often caused by a bacterial infection, kidney stones, an injury, shock, heart failure or poisoning.
- Chronic kidney failure happens when kidney function simply deteriorates with time. This can be the result of the dog never fully recovering from his battle with acute kidney failure problems such as infections never fully healing, unknown heart problems, injury or shock, and/or poisoning (which can come from long term use of chemical flea and tick products, vaccinations, etc.).
How those bean shaped organs work and what they do….
Your dog’s kidneys are responsible for making sure that his body tissues receives enough water, while disposing of waste and excess water from the blood.
It does this by turning the waste and excess water into urine and moving it through the ureter tubes to the bladder, to store until your dog finally urinates.
Waste is derived from what your dog eats as well as the breakdown of active muscle tissue. After the body has taken any nutrients it needs from the food, the waste is moved to the blood and then filtered through the kidneys as urine.
But, if your dog’s kidneys can’t remove the waste for whatever reason, that waste continues to back up up into the blood at dangerous amounts.
What the Urine Sample Shows….
By providing your dog’s vet with a urine sample, he or she can determine if there is blood, protein, white blood cells or glucose in the urine. If any of these are present, this can indicate that your dog may have an infection, an injury is present, the kidneys are inflamed or your dog is a diabetic.
What To Do?
It used to be that once a dog was diagnosed with kidney failure; the dog would be placed on a low protein diet. However, that theory has changed quite a bit over the past decade, although most traditional veterinary websites still claim that this is necessary.
It is now believed that dogs in the early stages of kidney disease do better with a moderate amount of high quality protein in their diet. Once the disease progresses and renal failure is in the severe or final stages (dog becomes uremic), then protein restriction does become very important.
Relax and Take Note……
Eliminate feeding kibble, and focus on feeding a diet consisting of high quality protein in moderate amounts, either a raw or home cooked diet, or a combination of both. Provide ONLY fresh filtered or bottled water, a few supplements AND herbs, and avoid pesticides and vaccinations.
It’s also critical that you completely understand what stage of kidney disease your dog is in. Ask your dog’s vet so that you know!
Traditional vets treat kidney disease with Hills K/D diets or other prescription diets, which are not only disgusting with regards to ingredients, they completely lack nutrition.
Home Cooking for Sick Dogs is a cookbook consisting of recipes for dogs with different diseases/illnesses. It’s an option for those that want to home cook for their dog with ailing kidneys.
SOME of what you’ll find inside the cookbook:
- Four specific recipes for kidney disease.
- Non phosphorus binders that are natural to eliminate toxins in the stool vs building up in your dog’s blood.
- Best Chinese herb(s) for renal issues.
- Recommended herbal blends and supplements for kidney disease and others.
- Specific diet advice on what can help.
You can learn more about the book here.
BE SURE TO READ:
- When home cooking, it’s important that you add calcium to the diet. However, for dogs with kidney disease, you really want the calcium to bind with the phosphorus. If your dog’s calcium levels are elevated (according to his or her blood test – again ask your dog’s vet); avoid adding calcium to the meal. Instead, look to a natural phosphorus binder such as Bentonite Clay to eliminate toxins in the stool vs building up in your dog’s blood. Bentonite clay is recommended to help with the symptoms associated with the disease as well as prevention. You can read more about it here.
- You should feed QUALITY sources of protein (organic meats and high grade fish). You should feed in small quantities frequently.
- Bentonite Clay is one of the best phosphorus binders for dogs with kidney issues. The clay must be wet to be activated. This means that you should feed it with wet food (whole food and not junk dog food). You should also give it two hours away from other meds or supplements if possible, so that they don’t bind to the clay. If adding it to the food proves to be too hard, you can use a syringe to give the clay. Simply add a little water to the clay to make it into a liquid and syringe it into your dog’s cheek. DO NOT FEED FROM A METAL BOWL OR USE A METAL SPOON TO STIR THE CLAY. The clay will absorb the metal and you do not want the metal to go into your dog’s body. We use and recommend Earths Natural Clay which can be found here.
- Supplementing the Diet is Critical: Your dog needs a HIGH QUALITY form of omega 3 such as Flaxseed Oil or GUARANTEED TOXIN FREE Fish Oil. You can also include coconut oil (in addition to the omega 3 oils mentioned above. A shout out goes to Nicky for sharing with me that Vetriscience makes a great kidney support product that can be found at the link below. Typically, I would recommend some of the same ingredients individually for dogs with kidney issues, but this product includes them all. Vetriscience Kidney
- Multivitamin with Kidney Glandular is a multi wholefood nutritional supplement for dogs and cats. It also contains the necessary probiotics that kidney patients need and it’s NOT NECESSARY to include any additional probiotics with the multivitamin. It DOES NOT contain calcium. Glandulars are used a lot in holistic medicine. It is based on the theory of “like equals like”. An example would be that when an animal in the wild has a problem with his own liver, he seeks out the liver from prey. We don’t recommend buying store bought organ meat unless it is organic and grass fed. The Multivitamin with Kidney Glandular is a pure, whole food supplement that includes a number of natural whole foods, probiotics and enzymes to help with digestive issues that often accompany the disease. While the multivitamin contains kidney glandular, it doesn’t really contain enough to support failing kidneys due to disease. We recommend adding additional glandular which can be found here.
- Drinking Water: Either filtered or distilled water is recommended for dogs with kidney disease.
- Avoid chemical flea and tick products as well as vaccinations.
Different Stages of Kidney Disease
There are four stages of kidney disease that determine how advanced the disease is. Your dog’s protein, blood pressure and creatinine level in the blood are the determining factors of the stage of the disease. According to wikivet.com, the following levels of creatinine explain the stage of renal failure your pet may be in:
Stage 1: Creatinine 125
Stage 2: Creatinine 125-250
Stage 3: Creatinine 181-440
Stage 4: Creatinine 440 and above with or without symptoms of uraemia (blood toxins)
References: DogAware.com, Wikivet.com