What to Feed a Dog With Kidney Failure

By Heidi Wiesenfelder

Dogs with kidney failure require a diet that does not promote further kidney deterioration and that does not overtax the functioning portion of the kidneys. If your dog is suffering from this condition and you are deciding what food to use, you have many options. Prescription diets and other commercial foods are available or you can make dog food.

Learn About Your Dog's Needs

make sure your dog gets plenty of water

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Ask your veterinarian what your dog's dietary requirements are, especially if he has additional health conditions. Dogs with kidney problems typically do best with diets low in protein and phosphorus. Much of the metabolic waste that kidneys have to process comes from protein, so reducing it is beneficial. However you do not want to use a low-protein food that does not have high-quality protein, as your dog will simply end up eating more of it and negating the benefits of the low protein level. Phosphorus is not properly eliminated when the kidneys are compromised, so reducing phosphorus is necessary to keep its level in the blood balanced.

Your vet may also recommend giving your dog certain supplements either in his food or in addition. Dr. Susan Pitcairn also recommends a good source of calcium such as calcium gluconate or chelated calcium. Always provide lots of fresh pure water for your dog.

Make Your Own Dog Food

The kidney diet for dogs includes hamburger.

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Consider preparing meals for your dog yourself. While you might find it convenient to buy bags of kibble or cans of food from your vet or a store, you may prefer to offer your dog a variety of foods and to strictly control the ingredients. Dr. Pitcairn offers several recipes in her book "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats." The kidney diet for dogs features hamburger, white rice and egg, and includes vegetables and vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium.

If your vet does not object, consider feeding your dog raw food, which is closest to his natural diet. Some conventional veterinarians are not familiar with raw feeding or home-cooking meals, but a holistic vet can advise you in this area. When possible, use organic meat, or at least meat graded for human consumption. Avoid corn, wheat and soy and include quinoa, rice or millet and some vegetables. Add herbs such as cornsilk, garlic and wheat grass powder and vitamins such as B complex and C. Also include a good source of essential fatty acids such as flax or fish oil.

Use Commercial Diets

Your vet may sell a renal diet food.

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These days you have many choices in commercial dog foods and even prescription dog foods designed specifically for dogs with kidney problems. Your vet probably sells at least one brand of prescription renal diet food. Unfortunately many of the prescription and other commercial foods contain low-quality meats and harmful ingredients. Some of the ingredients to avoid include the chemical preservatives ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT, and meat by-products. Also look for foods that have no artificial colors or monosodium glutamate (MSG) and that are not based on corn as a primary ingredient. Try shopping for dog food at a feed store instead of a large pet store, as they are more likely to offer a variety of natural foods that will meet your dog's needs.

Disclaimer

The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always consult your animal health practitioner before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed.