So, you’ve found out your dog has kidney disease. After feeling the shock and sadness, you need to find ways to help your furry companion.
Luckily for you, something as simple as changing their diet can accomplish huge health improvements for your dog.
Learn more about the kidney diet for dogs and how it’ll help your pup feel better in no time.
What Does Kidney Disease Mean for Dogs?
A dog can develop kidney disease in two ways: a sudden injury, or ingesting a toxin, causing the kidneys to gradually lose their ability to work (usually due to age); these are acute kidney disease and chronic kidney disease, respectively. Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal failure, is more common.
Kidneys take toxins out of a dog’s bloodstream and get rid of them through urination, along with balancing electrolyte levels. When the kidneys’ ability to filter out these toxins decreases, they start to build up in the blood, and electrolyte levels become unbalanced.
What Is Important for a Kidney Diet for Dogs?
Kidney disease has no cure, but that doesn’t mean your dog can’t live a long, happy life. Instead, changing their diet can ensure you both spend many more years together.
Less Protein, But Higher Quality
A lot of resources will tell you to reduce protein as much as possible, but that’s not necessary. The thought is that protein is hard for the kidneys to filter, so reducing the amount of it will make the kidneys’ job easier.
While true, it also means your dog won’t be able to keep their muscle mass and will start to weaken.
Instead, you should be focusing on giving your dog sources of high-quality protein. It will do more with less, meaning you can minimize strain on the kidneys without sacrificing your dog’s body health.
Phosphorus is a mineral that gets filtered through the kidneys, so decreasing the amount in a dog’s diet is crucial to minimize the side effects of kidney disease. High levels of phosphorus can cause a vitamin D deficiency, fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to absorb calcium.
Not only will reducing the amount of sodium in your dog’s diet help with kidney disease, but it will also ensure they have normal blood pressure, which can more easily rise when dealing with kidney disease.
Omega-3s can help your dog in so many ways. To start with, they are anti-inflammatory, which reduces the oxidative stress that builds up in the kidneys. They also improve heart, brain, joint, and skin health.
Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Because the kidneys aren’t as strong as before, they need all the help they can get—which is where water comes in. Having more water to work with makes it easier for your dog’s kidneys to flush out the toxins—so more water makes work easier for the kidneys.
More Carbohydrates from Vegetables
Many dogs with kidney problems struggle with maintaining their weight. Carbohydrates, while not nutritional, help with keeping weight on your dog. Instead of empty carbs, focus on carbs from vegetables, so your dog can get the additional vitamins they need.
Changing Your Dog’s Diet Can Make Huge Changes
Although this is a lot of information to take in, if you take one thing away from all this: Whole food ingredients, not kibble, will make your dog feel better. Kibble is made with filler ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, and the few whole food ingredients within are heated so much that all nutritional value gets burned away.
There are plenty of convenient meal options for a kidney diet for your dog that is both convenient for you and healthy for them. By feeding your dog an optimal diet, he or she still can enjoy a happy, healthy life.