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Nutrition for Dogs with Chronic Kidney Disease

Dogs with kidney disease need special diets in order to stay healthy. A special health-formulated diet that is high in protein and low in phosphorus is best for dogs with kidney disease. There are many commercial dog foods that are specifically designed for dogs with kidney disease. You can also make your own diet for your dog by using recipes that are available online.

What special food does my dog need exactly?

A reduced protein diet with moderate fat and low carbohydrates is ideal for dogs with kidney disease. The main goal of this type of diet is to help the kidneys function properly by reducing the amount of work they have to do.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most prevalent dog kidney condition affecting about 3.74% of all dog population. The kidneys are responsible for removing pollutants from the blood and expelling them in the urine; however, in dogs with chronic kidney disease, waste products will accumulate in their circulation as the filtering process breaks down.

What causes kidney disease in dogs?

There are many possible causes of kidney disease in dogs, including:

– Congenital defects

– Infections

– Autoimmune diseases

– Cancer

– Toxins

– Trauma

How do I know if my dog has kidney disease?

The most common signs of kidney disease in dogs are increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and decreased appetite. However, these signs can be caused by other conditions as well, so it is important to take your dog to the vet for a diagnosis.

How is kidney disease treated in dogs?

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, but treatment can help to improve your dog’s quality of life and extend their life expectancy. Treatment options include:

– Diet change: As mentioned above, a special diet is essential for dogs with kidney disease. Your vet can help you to choose the right food for your dog.

– supplements: Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation in the kidneys.

– medications: There are many different medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of kidney disease. Your vet will work with you to find the right medication for your dog.

What is the prognosis for dogs with kidney disease?

The prognosis for dogs with chronic kidney disease varies depending on the severity of the condition. Some dogs may only require minor changes to their diet and lifestyle, while others may need more aggressive treatment. In general, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

If you think your dog may have kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. With early diagnosis and treatment, many dogs can live long

Managing CKD in dogs:

To manage CKD in dogs, it is important to;

  1. Reduce any fluid and mineral build-up in the body by feeding a low sodium diet
  2. Control phosphorus levels by feeding a food that is naturally low or supplemented with a phosphate binder
  3. Manage anemia through supplementation with iron
  4. Maintain hydration
  5. Provide essential fatty acids
  6. Do not forget to provide high-quality proteins
  7. Monitor calorie intake

A healthy diet is a very important part of managing chronic kidney disease in dogs. Dogs with kidney disease need to eat a special diet that is high in protein and low in phosphorus. There are many commercial dog foods that are specifically designed for dogs with kidney disease. You can also make your own diet for your dog by using recipes that are available online.

Diets are formulated to help dogs with CKD 

  • Hill’s Prescription Diet,
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Renal Support,
  • Purina® ProPlan Veterinary Diet NF Kidney Function, and
  • Rayne Clinical Nutrition Adult Health-RSS

How do nutritional requirements differ for dogs with CKD?

Water:

Impaired kidneys are not effective at excreting waste from the body through urine and so dogs with CKD often have a build-up of toxins in their blood. This can make them feel very unwell and can lead to dehydration. It is important that dogs with CKD drink plenty of water to help flush out these toxins and keep their bodies hydrated.

You can encourage your dog to drink more water by adding it to their food or putting a bowl of water in their cage. You may also want to add a little bit of salt to their diet as this will make them thirstier and encourage them to drink more.

Protein:

Dogs with CKD need a high protein diet as this helps to prevent muscle wasting and provides the amino acids that are needed for repair and maintenance of body tissues.

It is important to choose a protein source that is easy for the kidneys to process. Good sources of protein for dogs with CKD include chicken, turkey, fish, and cottage cheese.

Many reputable online publications including the VCA Blog made the case that protein slows down the progression of CKD by decreasing Inflammation. Less protein means less excretion and less work for the kidney. VCA recommends a range of 14 to 20% on dry matter basis for dogs with CKD. This other study by Orijen recommended protein amounts not exceeding 18%.

Phosphorus:

Too much phosphorus in the diet can cause damage to the kidneys and so it is important to limit phosphorus intake in dogs with CKD. Foods that are high in phosphorus include red meat, organ meats, dairy products, and some fish.

The optimum phosphorus level on a dry matter basis for dogs with chronic kidney disease is 0.2 to 0.5 percent. Since the phosphorus content is determined by the protein content, it’s impossible to get these low amounts of phosphorus without limiting protein intake.

Fats:

Dogs with CKD need a diet that is high in healthy fats as these help to maintain energy levels and support the immune system. Good sources of healthy fats for dogs with CKD include fish oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil.

Sodium:

Sodium is a type of salt that can cause fluid retention in dogs with CKD. It is important to limit sodium intake by avoiding foods that are high in sodium such as processed meats, cheeses, and table salt.

Omega-3 fatty acids:Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. They are also known to be protective against heart disease. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs with CKD include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.

Vitamins and minerals:

Dogs with CKD may need supplements of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, Vitamin D, and calcium. Your veterinarian can advise you on which supplements your dog needs.

What research says:

Dogs with CKD have decreased dietary protein appears to slow the progression of CKD by decreasing the workload on the kidneys to excrete protein waste products. Less protein also means less need for the excretion of the protein itself through the filtration mechanism of the kidney, which helps preserve kidney function.

In separate studies by Devaux C, Polzin DJ, Brown SA, Finco DR and Bartges JW, restricting protein in the diet of dogs with CKD slowed the progression of azotemia and reduced proteinuria.

In a 1992 Study by  Finco DR, et al., scholars founds that protein restriction did have positive impacts on dogs with CKD but they found that phosphorus restriction was really the nutrient that slows ongoing renal damage.

So is it safe to restrict Protein or Phosphorus intake?

As per the studies described above, it appears that both may help, but phosphorus restriction may be more beneficial.

A study done in 2016 found that a moderately restricted phosphorus diet (0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day) improved the quality of life and survival time in dogs with CKD without negatively affecting their appetite or body weight.

Another study done in 2017 found that a diet with reduced phosphorus and sodium, as well as increased omega-3 fatty acids, improved the quality of life in dogs with CKD.

It is important to speak to your veterinarian before starting your dog on a restricted diet, as they can advise you on the best course of action for your dog.

What makes a great diet for a dog with CKD?

A great diet for a dog with CKD should be high in healthy fats, low in sodium, protein and phosphorus. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for dogs with CKD. Supplements of vitamins and minerals may also be needed. Your veterinarian can advise you on which supplements your dog needs.

Below is a breakdown of nutrients amounts you should aim for to feed your dog with CKD:

  1. Protein: 14 to 20%
  2. Phosphorus: 0.2 to 0.5%
  3. Sodium – Less than 0.3%
  4. Omega 3: 0.4% to 2.5%

FAQs

Q: What is the ideal protein and Phosphorus level for a dog with CKD?

A: The ideal protein level for a dog with CKD is 14 to 20% and the ideal phosphorus level for a dog with CKD is 0.2 to 0.5%.

Q: How can I effectively care for a dog with CKD?

A: There are a few things you can do to effectively care for a dog with CKD:

-Give them a diet that is high in healthy fats, low in sodium, protein and phosphorus.

-Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for dogs with CKD.

-Supplements of vitamins and minerals may also be needed.

-Your veterinarian can advise you on which supplements your dog needs.

Q: What are some of the best foods to feed a dog with CKD?

A: Some of the best foods to feed a dog with CKD are:

-Fish oil

-Flaxseed oil

-Chia seeds

-Vegetables

-Fruits

-Whole grains

-Low sodium dog food

-Moderately restricted phosphorus diet

-Reduced phosphorus and sodium diet

-Increased omega-3 fatty acids diet

Q: What should I avoid feeding my dog with CKD?

A: You should avoid feeding your dog with CKD:

-High protein Dog food

-Foods high in phosphorus

-Foods high in sodium

-Unhealthy fats

-Processed foods