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Dog Food For Kidney Disease

If your dog has chronic kidney disease, feeding them the right diet is going to be a key element of their treatment. For dogs with kidney disease, our Poway vets may recommend a therapeutic diet with restricted protein, phosphorus, and sodium combined with increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids. 

What is chronic kidney disease in dogs?

Chronic kidney disease, CKD, chronic kidney failure, chronic renal disease, and chronic renal failure are all names used for a condition characterized by failing kidney function in dogs.

The kidneys in a healthy dog perform a variety of important functions, including filtering toxins from the blood. Chronic kidney disease is the gradual deterioration of your dog's kidneys' ability to function properly. When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to fully remove toxins from the body, resulting in a buildup of toxins in your pet's blood.

Although there is no cure, in many cases a therapeutic diet for dogs with kidney failure can help, allowing your pet to enjoy a good quality of life for a number of months.

How can chronic kidney disease be treated in dogs?

If your dog has chronic kidney disease, your veterinarian will recommend treatment based on the severity of your dog's case, your dog's age, and your pet's overall health. Dietary restrictions and medications are frequently used to treat kidney disease. Medications are primarily intended to alleviate disease symptoms, whereas a therapeutic diet is intended to slow disease progression and reduce the workload placed on your dog's kidneys.

What is a therapeutic diet for chronic kidney disease?

A therapeutic diet for dogs with chronic kidney disease will typically contain lower levels of protein, phosphorus, and sodium, as well as higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and, in some cases, potassium.

Why reduce protein for dogs with kidney disease?

Although reducing the amount of protein in a dog's diet is still debatable, there are two main reasons for doing so. The first is to reduce the amount of waste produced during protein metabolism, and the second is to reduce the amount of protein entering the kidney filtration system.

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.

Why reduce phosphorus for dogs with kidney disease?

As your dog's kidneys begin to fail, the concentration of phosphorus in their blood becomes elevated. Elevated concentrations of phosphorus have been linked to a number of negative side effects such as vitamin D deficiency and 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.

Although reducing the amount of protein in a dog's diet is still debatable, there are two main reasons for doing so. The first is to reduce the amount of waste produced during protein metabolism, and the second is to reduce the amount of protein entering the kidney filtration system.

Why reduce sodium for dogs with kidney disease?

Sodium restriction in the diet of dogs suffering from chronic kidney disease may also be beneficial. Reducing sodium can help your dog's kidneys work less hard and help your dog maintain normal blood pressure. Aside from feeding a therapeutic diet, lowering your dog's sodium intake will require you to pay special attention to the treats you give your dog. Jerky and cheese slices contain a lot of sodium and should be avoided.

Why increase omega-3 fatty acids in my dog's diet?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease in dogs by lowering the production of inflammatory compounds that cause oxidative stress in the kidneys. Higher omega-3 foods often contain salmon and other fish that many dogs enjoy, or they may be supplemented with fish oil or flaxseed oil.

What should I feed my dog with kidney disease?

If your dog is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease your veterinarian will recommend the best food to help your pup fight the progression of the disease. Each dog is different, and the food recommended for your dog will depend on the severity of the disease, how far it has progressed, as well as your dog's age, and overall health.

Most standard dog foods are likely to contain levels of protein and phosphorus that are too high for dogs with chronic kidney disease; however, your veterinarian can recommend a number of prescription therapeutic foods. Prescription diets have been specially formulated to meet all of your dog's dietary needs while also providing protein, phosphorus, and sodium restrictions. Consult your veterinarian about the best food for your dog.

If your dog is showing symptoms of kidney failure, contact our vets at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Poway. Our compassionate vets can help you find the right diet for them.

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