For a dog with kidney issues, your veterinarian might recommend putting him on a special diet that's low in protein, phosphorus, and salt, all of which are hard on your dog's kidneys. While you can purchase a premade kidney diet for dogs, you can also make one yourself, but do so only under the supervision of your vet.
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Dogs can go into kidney failure for a variety of reasons, including ingesting a toxin or age-related kidney disease. No matter what the reason, treating this condition involves regular veterinary exams and feeding your dog a special diet that will be as easy on his kidneys as possible.
Kidney failure in dogs
Your dog's kidneys help filter out her body's waste products from her blood and produce urine, but when they are not functioning properly, she will go into kidney failure. This typically occurs in senior dogs over 7 years old or as a result of conditions like Cushing's or Addison's disease. Poisoning can also lead to kidney failure in dogs.
To keep your dog's kidneys as healthy as possible, it's best to ensure that she always has access to plenty of fresh water. You'll also want to ensure she stays away from canine toxins, like human medications, onions, raisins, and other potentially harmful substances.
As your dog ages, watch for signs of kidney disease, like:
- Bad breath
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
If you notice any of these signs, get her to the veterinarian right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Homemade dog food for kidney disease
As part of your dog's treatment, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for him that's low in phosphorus, salt, acid, and protein, all of which are harder for your dog's kidneys to filter than other ingredients. If you plan on making your own diet, your vet may recommend a specific recipe for you to follow and additional supplements to add to the food, like phosphorus binders.
When putting together a homemade kidney diet for dogs, it's best to avoid large amounts of red meat, cheese, peas, beans, and fish, which are all high in phosphorus. Instead, opt for lean proteins that are easy for your dog to digest, like eggs, chicken, tripe, or turkey. Within the food, you'll want to include plenty of liquid, like low-sodium beef or chicken broth. That's because liquids are beneficial for your dog's kidneys and help with toxin removal.
Low-protein dog food
To create an easy low-protein dog food, simply combine two parts cooked white rice with one part boiled chicken and some broth. The chicken is a low-fat protein that is easy for your dog to digest, and the rice is easy on the kidneys. To vary this recipe, you can add a little bit of cooked lean ground beef, cottage cheese, or tripe, especially if your dog loves the taste, and her appetite is waning. Another option is to mix in chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Add steamed carrots, celery, beets, or green beans to the food to make it even healthier for your dog if he likes the taste of these vegetables. They are low-phosphorus dog food ingredients that are also low in salt, which makes them a good choice for your dog's diet.
Kidney diet for dogs
To create another tasty homemade kidney diet for dogs, combine cooked pasta or mashed potatoes with an equal part of boiled, shredded turkey. For an added boost of tummy-calming probiotics and calcium, mix in a spoonful of plain, unsweetened yogurt. You can also add a bit of mashed sweet potatoes for some healthy fiber along with some antioxidant-rich blueberries and apples, which are low in phosphorus.
Because dogs with kidney disease usually have a reduced appetite, it's also a good idea to include something yummy with the food, like fish oil, to tempt your dog's taste buds. Unlike fish itself, fish oil does not contain high amounts of phosphorus but is rich in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Dog Ideas: Homemade Food for Dogs with Kidney Disease
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs
- The Pampered Pup: Homemade Dog Food For Kidney Disease (Canine Renal Care)
- Animal Wised: A Homemade Diet for Dogs with Kidney Failure
- Veterinarians.org: Kidney Disease in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and More
- American Kidney Fund: High Phosphorus (Hyperphosphatemia)
- Diet & Fitness Today: Amount of Phosphorus in Fish Oil
- American Kidney Fund: Phosphorus Food Guide
- The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals: Poisons and Hazards