Canine Kidney Disease Diet Tips

A canine diet for kidney problems is usually low in protein; however, a recent study conducted by Iams in conjunction with leading universities found that restricting protein in a dog's diet may do more harm than good. The dog may be at risk of protein malnutrition with such a diet. Iams found that a canine renal diet with moderate protein levels does not adversely affect dogs with canine kidney disease. In fact, it helps dogs maintain muscle mass and increase energy levels so that the dog can maintain normal activity.

Iams discovered that fermentable fiber sources can aid a dog's kidney function by using the colon to dispose of toxic compounds, rather than using the kidneys. This Nitrogen Trap TM shifts excretion of nitrogen waste products from the urine to the feces. In this way, a dog with renal problems can enjoy a higher protein diet with all of the beneficial and nutritional effects.

This is a new treatment form, since conventional wisdom stated that a diet in lower protein would tax the kidneys less, and so most dogs with kidney problems were given low protein diets. For example, Hill's s/d diet contained lower than normal protein, phosphorous and magnesium since these were the elements of kidney stones. Lower levels meant less possibility of developing stones. The urine became more acidic and the diet created more urine, the thought being that more flushing meant less toxins accumulating in the kidneys. However, this type of diet could not provide for all nutritional needs.

What is Canine Kidney Disease?

Canine kidney disease can either be acute (rapidly occurring) or chronic (as a slowly occurring process). Usually it appears during a dog's senior years. Some other causes can be due to genetics, trauma, infections, disease, inflammation, parasites or cancer.


Since some of the following symptoms can occur as indications of other disease, consultation with a veterinarian is very important.

  • Increased thirst or dehydration
  • Change in urination: increase, decrease, frequency, time
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid accumulation resulting in swollen limbs or abdomen
  • Blood in the urine
  • Decreased appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Fever
  • Changes in kidney size
  • Anemia
  • Oral ulcers
  • Poor coat quality
  • Reluctance to move with a hunched over posture

Other Dietary Supplements

Since high blood pressure deteriorates the kidneys rapidly, decreasing the blood pressure can slow down the progress of kidney disease and possibly decrease the potential for canine kidney failure. It has been found that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids found in fish oil and flax decrease high blood pressure in canine kidneys. The optimal balance was a ratio of five Omega-6s to one Omega-3.

Other helpful supplements for kidney disease include Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and iron. A veterinarian can advise on the proper doses. A dog with kidney disease should still engage in light exercise for the maintenance of health and to decrease the chance of obesity, which can create more health problems.