Understanding Diets For Dogs With Kidney Problems

Diets developed for dogs with kidney problems that combine moderately low protein, low phosphorus, moderate sodium, moderately high potassium and omega-3 have been shown to reduce uremia and prolong the life of dogs.
Understanding Diets for Dogs with Kidney Problems

While kidney disease can be a frightening diagnosis, a dog with this condition can live comfortably for years. Of course, this depends on two factors: kidney disease being detected early and diets for kidney problems being correctly applied to sick dogs.

Next, we’ll talk about which elements of the diets commonly consumed by domestic dogs are the most important to face these conditions. Don’t miss it!

Understanding Kidney Diseases

Kidney disease and general kidney failure are becoming a common condition in dogs. One of the first signs of the presence of any of these pathologies is that the dog drinks and urinates more than before and, therefore, asks to leave the house several times a day.

This is because dogs with kidney disease cannot concentrate their urine, which results in a large volume of fluid produced – and urinated – and consequent thirst and dehydration.

As kidney function declines, the dog retains ammonia, nitrogen, and other chemical wastes in the blood. This is called uremia. The degree of uremia is determined by measuring the blood urea nitrogen (BUN, blood urea nitrogen ), creatinine and electrolytes.

How are the kidneys affected?

The kidneys are vital organs, as their main function is to remove waste from the blood, balance body fluids and produce urine. In this way, the kidneys work by filtering blood from the body, regulating blood pressure and maintaining the concentration of red blood cells circulating in the blood.

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged and cannot properly filter the blood. Over time, the damage builds up and causes waste to be stored in the body. As the kidney disease worsens, the levels of toxins increase in the blood and the animal feels sick.

Kidney problems can also cause high blood pressure, low blood iron (anemia), weak bones, nerve damage, and nutritional malabsorption.

A dog with kidney problems.

The Value of Diets for Dogs with Kidney Problems

Most medications used to treat pets with kidney disease are only intended to reduce symptoms. On the other hand, the implementation of an adequate diet can have dramatic effects on patient survival, hence its importance.

The nutritional changes that must be made depend on the severity of the condition. In general, pets with kidney disease should be given diets that are reduced in phosphorus, protein and sodium. Equally important is supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, which come from fish oil.

Water, more vital than ever

If the dog has kidney disease, make sure he has easy access to water. The proper level of hydration prevents the concentration of toxic compounds in the bloodstream.

As kidney disease progresses, your dog may no longer be able to drink enough water on its own. At this point, it may be necessary to administer fluids intravenously, always in a veterinary clinic.

At home, encourage your dog to drink water. Kidney disease can make a dog so sick he won’t want to drink. To cheer him up, he offers a little flavored broth with a low sodium content. Many experts recommend, if possible, that you make sure that the water available to your pet is always fresh and free of contaminants. Therefore, filtered water is the ideal choice.

Dietary components for dogs with kidney problems

In the early stages of kidney disease, the goal is to prevent further damage and compensate for increased urination. For most dogs, the idea is to feed them approximately 2% to 3% of their body weight.

If you decide to cook at home for your pet, remember that a high level of humidity is critical in a kidney diet. Consult your veterinarian to adjust the amounts according to your dog’s weight and size. As the dog’s disease progresses – as measured by the increased level of protein in the urine meat intake should be reduced.

What to look for in the commercial offer of diets for dogs with kidney problems?

Quality commercial foods should consist of animal protein, whole fruits and vegetables, little processing and a moisture content between 80-85%. Proteins must be of the easily digestible type. In addition, it is necessary that any feed complies with the following assumptions:

  • Low phosphorus level : to keep the animal’s blood phosphorus low, believed to slow the progression of kidney disease and improve survival.
  • Low salt: Foods high in sodium can raise blood pressure and worsen kidney damage, which is why diets for pets with kidney disease are low in salt. Low-sodium snacks include fruits and vegetables, but be sure to avoid grapes, raisins, onions and garlic.
  • Low Protein Level : Protein is a large, complex molecule that can be difficult to digest. Protein breaks down into amino acids, which are essential for your dog. Chicken, turkey or egg white is recommended.

    On the other hand, nitrogenous residues also come from protein metabolism and its excess is unwanted in dogs with kidney disease. The key is to reduce – but not eliminate – the protein your dog is getting.

    In addition to feeding your pet a low-protein diet, you should also avoid giving your pet high-protein snacks. Snacks you should avoid are: meat, snacks, cheese, rawhide, pig’s ears, etc.

    What supplements are recommended in diets for dogs with kidney problems?

    Here is a list of recommended dietary supplements for these animals:

    • Omega-3 fatty acids : There is some evidence that these fatty acids contained in fish oil may be beneficial for dogs with kidney disease. Ask your veterinarian if fish oil is suitable for your pet and, if so, find out about the ideal dosage and brands that have high quality control.
    • Potassium citrate: Potassium citrate induces an increase in the concentration of bicarbonate in the blood. In kidney disease, the bicarbonate level in the blood decreases and makes the blood pH more acidic.
    • Vitamins : Due to malfunction of the kidneys, vitamins contained in food are not reabsorbed in the kidneys. Taking vitamin supplements will help make up for losses.

    Finally, whether on a commercial or homemade diet, you should choose foods that have not been exposed to preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. If you give your pet meat, it must come from animals that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones.

    This distinction is important in diets for dogs with kidney problems, as it means the food does not contain toxins. This means that the dog’s daily food will put less pressure on the current function of Organs damaged organs.

    Diets for dogs with kidney problems must be very special.

    There is still a lot to learn about the nutritional needs of dogs with kidney problems. The challenge is to maintain an adequate intake, as dogs with kidney disease tend not to have much appetite. Therefore, it is advisable to monitor weight loss, vary flavors and feed the animal several times a day.

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