With the right dog food kidney function can be improved. If your dog has suffered from kidney problems then its diet can make a huge impact on its quality of life. There are many different prescription diets available that are specially formulated to help improve kidney function and your vet will be able to advise you about which one will suit your dog best.
The Effect of Diet on Kidney Function
The kind of diet you give your dog has been proven to have an impact on his kidney function. Many vets think that a bad diet is one of the leading causes of renal failure in dogs. Although there are many brands of dog food out there, some will obviously be better for your dog than others. The right diet is especially important for dogs that have suffered from kidney disease and whose kidneys are functioning at a reduced capacity.
Vets usually recommend that dogs who are experiencing problems with kidney function be put on a specialized diet. These diets often fit the following criteria:
- Low in phosphorus
- Low in sodium
- Low in protein
Lowering the phosphorus levels in your dog's diet can slow the deterioration of its kidney function. Reducing the amount of phosphorus in your dog's system can reduce the level of mineral deposits that build up in its kidneys.
Reducing the amount of sodium in your dog's diet can also help kidney function. In healthy dogs, sodium helps regulate the amount of fluid in the body. However, dogs with reduced kidney functioning are not necessarily able to expel the excess sodium and fluid from their body. The build-up of fluid will cause your dog discomfort and put undue stress on its system.
Whether you choose to lower the amount of protein in your dog's diet or not will depend on your dog's individual condition and his test results. Low-protein diets produce less nitrogenous wastes. At high levels, these can cause nausea and vomiting in your dog, which could be a problem if his body isn't able to expel the waste properly. However, low-protein diets have to be controlled carefully as they can potentially cause malnutrition. If you are unsure whether a low-protein diet will help your dog, it is best to seek advice from your vet.
Different Types of Formula Available
There are many different types of dog food available that are aimed at improving kidney function. Your vet will be able to recommend a good brand to you and give you advice on how to care for your dog in the best possible way.
Some vets have stated that dogs with kidney problems should not be given dry food as this can dehydrate them. Staying well hydrated is especially important for animals with kidney problems so dry food may only exacerbate your dog's condition.
How Long to Keep a Dog on the Formula
If your dog has lost some of its kidney function, it will not be able to regain it again. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your dog on a healthy, specialized diet for the rest of its life. Nutritional supplements are available which can help ensure that dogs on diets designed for reduced kidney function stay healthy.
Although your dog will never regain the kidney function it has lost, with the right diet and management it will still be able to enjoy a long and healthy life.