Elements of a Canine Diet for Kidney Disease

When you are planning a canine diet, kidney support should be considered, particularly if your dog is older, suffers from recurrent bladder infections or has had kidney disease in the past.

Kidney Function

The kidneys, paired organs located on either side of the backbone, filter and clean the blood. They also return salts to the bloodstream and remove excess water from urine.

Canine Kidney Disease

Canine kidney disease can be caused by chronic bacterial infections or blockages in the urinary tract, antifreeze poisoning or abdominal injury. Many commercial dog foods, over-processed and filled with preservatives, fillers and allergens, do not support the overall health of your dog. Choosing a suitable diet-whether it's a high quality commercial formula, a prescription diet, a raw or homemade diet or a combination-will improve your dog's health, support the kidneys and other vital organs and provide high quality nutritional for your dog.

Canine kidney failure can be sudden or progressive. Sudden onset kidney failure is usually due to an infectious disease or poisoning. Chronic kidney failure is the result of an ongoing disease.

The kidneys can function with as much as twenty-five percent tissue damage, so often, symptoms do not appear until there is extensive loss. Symptoms of kidney disease include increased thirst and urine output. As the kidneys deteriorate, toxins will begin to build up in the blood. Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and poor appetite will occur.

Kidney Support Diet

  • There are special prescription canine renal diets available. They are low protein foods that do not stress the kidneys. Several commercial brands are available.
  • Avoid poor-quality commercial foods that contain chemical preservatives and an abundance of grains such as corn, wheat or soy.
  • For homemade meals, combine 8.5 ounces cooked white rice, 2.75 ounces cooked ground beef, one large boiled egg, 1.5 ounce white bread along with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons calcium carbonate.
  • Other acceptable ingredients include parsley, potatoes, ground chicken, chicken fat, parsnips, cooked kidney beans and cottage cheese. Do not use liver or other organ meats.

Tip: Many dogs cannot tolerate lactose. To make cottage cheese more gut-friendly, freeze and defrost it. Pour off the separated liquid to remove much of the lactose.

Feeding Hints

  • Feed smaller meals, more frequently.
  • Always provide unlimited amounts of fresh water-filtered if possible.

Supplements for Kidney Health

  • Fish oil supplements may be beneficial. Give 300 mg. per 10 pounds of body weight. Divide the dose into two servings.
  • Vitamin E: 50 IUs (5-25 lbs), 100 IUs (25-50 lbs), 200 IUs (50-75 lbs), and 400 IUs (above 75 lbs). These are daily doses.
  • Other helpful supplements include Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin C, B-complex and iron. Your veterinarian may prescribe or recommend a specific multi-vitamin as well as a salt supplement to replace lost sodium.
  • Canine kidney disease and kidney failure require ongoing care and nutritional support. Light exercise and continued activity will help your dog combat this progressive and debilitating condition.