A kidney diet can help slow the progress of chronic kidney disease in dogs and increase survival chances. These diets typically feature lower protein levels to ease strain on kidneys.
These foods feature lower sodium and salt levels to ease kidney stress, as well as higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and soluble fiber.
To be effective, a renal diet must contain high amounts of real protein. This is because kidney disease causes your dog’s body to produce less protein; eating food rich in protein helps compensate for this loss.
Homemade renal diets offer greater control over protein quality and may be more palatable when enhanced with fish oil, homemade low sodium meat broths or human enteral nutrition products (like Ensure Vanilla Nutrition Shake). Home-cooked diets allow more control of this aspect as well.
Your vet may suggest restricting your dog’s protein intake on two occasions: If they have dangerously elevated blood urea nitrogen levels and their kidneys are no longer functioning normally (i.e. dialysis should be considered), and during periods when their kidney function decreases rapidly. Otherwise, higher protein intake will help ensure health and comfort as kidney function declines over time.
As kidney disease progresses, phosphorus levels in a dog’s blood increase due to protein breakdown into its components and its waste products including phosphorus accumulating within his/her body – this makes a renal diet so crucial.
Renal diets typically feature restricted protein intake and carefully monitored phosphorus levels. Phosphate binders may be prescribed to limit intestinal absorption of phosphorus; however, their use should only be done with medical supervision and advice.
Many pet parents prefer home preparation of renal diet food for their dog as this allows them to control its precise composition, yet sometimes saving both time and effort by purchasing preformulated prescription renal foods formulated specifically to contain all required vitamins and minerals is more efficient.
Protein levels must also be closely monitored in a renal diet as their levels tend to drop in later stages of CKD, potentially necessitating supplements in order to promote muscle mass and protect kidney function from further decline. If any protein deficit is identified, supplements may be required in order to promote muscle growth and protect kidney health from further decline.
A kidney diet must provide enough calories to meet your dog’s energy requirements, as those suffering from renal disease produce extra urine and thus require extra calories to replenish lost water and minerals.
Recently, fermentable fiber has proven an effective remedy to this issue, as it aids the digestive process in breaking down nitrogen waste products that burden kidneys and has been shown to help slow chronic renal failure progression and extend dog lives living with kidney disease.
Aiming for success when creating a renal diet in pets begins by having their vet prescribe low in both phosphorus and protein diet food, followed by adding palatability enhancers like fish oil, homemade low-sodium meat broths, pancake syrup, applesauce or human enteral nutrition shakes (which tend to be very low in phosphorus and protein content) as palatability enhancers to increase interest. Also ensure that their meals contain plenty of moisture for regular appetite stimulation and have varied content to encourage a variety of food variety in their meals to encourage regular consumption.
Salt is one of the primary causes of high blood pressure in both people and pets with kidney disease, making a renal diet essential. Avoid snacking or eating meals high in sodium to keep blood pressure under control, use low-sodium seasoning blends or fresh herbs instead of salt when seasoning foods at home and rinse canned vegetables, beans and tuna before using for maximum savings in salt content.
Many pet food manufacturers offer renal diet foods that are highly palatable, particularly during early stages of kidney disease when protein may still be absent in urine samples. As kidney disease progresses, however, pets may become pickier due to nausea; thus making it important for some pets to rotate flavors and textures to help stimulate appetite.
Prescription renal diets may be beneficial in slowing progression of kidney disease in dogs with kidney issues and relieving symptoms, while also possibly increasing life span. Although they tend to be more costly, such diets provide adequate nutrition needed to slow progression, reduce uraemic symptoms, and potentially extend lifespan.