If your dog is diagnosed with kidney failure, feeding them the right diet will be essential to their ongoing treatment. For dogs with kidney disease, our Yucaipa vets often recommend a therapeutic diet, and in today's post they share more about why.
Kidney Failure In Dogs
Failing kidneys in dogs are conditions known by many names: chronic kidney failure, chronic renal failure, chronic kidney disease, CKD and chronic renal disease.
For healthy dogs, the kidneys perform numerous key tasks, including filtering toxins from the blood. Chronic kidney disease leads to a gradual decline in the effective functioning of your dog's kidneys. When a pooch's kidneys fail, they no longer fully eliminate the toxins from the system, causing a buildup of toxins in your pet's blood.
Although there's currently no cure for chronic kidney disease in dogs, many cases of the condition can be managed with the assistance of a therapeutic diet, which may help your pet to enjoy a good quality of life for months, depending on their specific circumstances.
Treatment For Kidney Disease Or Kidney Failure
If a serious disease or illness is suspected, your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination of your dog, including nutritional consulting. If your pooch is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, the severity of your dog's case and a number of individual factors such as their health and age will be assessed before the vet recommends appropriate treatment.
Treatment for kidney disease often includes a number of dietary changes or restrictions, combined with medications. While medications are used primarily to reduce symptoms of the disease, a therapeutic diet will help slow the progression of the disease and help to reduce the work your dog's kidneys need to perform.
Best Dog Foods For Dogs With Kidney Disease
Your vet will recommend the best foods to feed your dog with kidney disease. Nonetheless, a typical diet for dogs suffering from kidney disease includes foods containing reduced amounts of sodium, protein and phosphorus, combined with increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In some cases, your vet may also recommend potassium.
Although reducing the amount of protein in a dog's diet remains contentious, this approach has two goals. The first is to help lower the amount of waste produced during protein metabolism and the second is to minimize the amount of protein entering the filtration system of the kidneys.
What this means is that feeding a diet with reduced levels of protein may help to reduce the workload placed on your dog's kidneys, in turn possibly helping to preserve kidney function.
As a dog's kidneys begin to fail, their blood has an overconcentration of phosphorus, which has been linked to a number of negative side effects such as vitamin D deficiency and the reduced ability of your dog's body to metabolize calcium. In dogs with chronic kidney disease, normalizing blood phosphorus concentrations through their diet may help to slow the progression of the disease.
One important thing to note is that the phosphorus level in dog foods is directly related to the amount of protein in the food. In order to reduce the phosphorus in your dog's diet, it will be necessary to also restrict their protein intake. It is also important to know that normalizing your dog's blood phosphorus levels through diet alone is typically only successful if the kidney disease is diagnosed and treated early, medications will also be necessary during more progressed stages of the disease.
Reducing sodium in the diet of dogs with chronic kidney disease may also be beneficial. This can ease the 'workload' on your pup's kidneys, as well as to help your dog to maintain normal blood pressure. Beyond their main meals, reducing your dog's sodium intake will also mean paying special attention to the treats you offer your dog. Jerky and cheese slices, although favorites of many pooches, are typically very high in sodium and should be avoided.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease in dogs by reducing the production of inflammatory compounds that create oxidative stress to the kidneys. Foods with higher levels of omega-3 often contain salmon and other fish which many dogs enjoy, or may be supplemented with fish oil, or flaxseed oil.
Best Food For Dogs With Kidney Failure
Your veterinarian can recommend the most ideal foods to help your dog fight the progression of kidney failure or disease. Every dog's needs are unique, so the food your vet recommends for your dog will depend on the severity and progression of the condition, in addition to your dog's general health and age.
Most regular dog foods will probably contain phosphorus and protein levels that are too high for dogs with chronic kidney disease. That said, your veterinarian may be able to offer prescription therapeutic foods. Specially formulated prescription diets are designed to meet all your dog's dietary requirements while also offering restricted sodium, phosphorus and protein. Consult your vet about which is best for your dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.