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What is the best diet for dogs with kidney disease?

If your dog has chronic kidney disease, feeding them the right diet is going to be an essential part of their treatment. For dogs with kidney disease, our Cordova vets may recommend a therapeutic diet with increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids and restricted amounts of protein, phosphorus and sodium. Here's why... 

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.

When the kidneys are healthy they perform a number of key tasks including filtering out toxins from the blood. Chronic kidney disease is the gradual decline in the ability of your dog's kidneys to work properly. When the kidneys fail they are no longer able to fully remove toxins, leading to an accumulation of toxins in your dog's blood.

While there is no cure for chronic kidney disease in dogs, in many cases this condition can be managed with the help of a therapeutic diet. Feeding your dog a therapeutic diet prescribed by your vet could allow your canine companion to enjoy a good quality of life for a number of months.

Treatment of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Treatment for your dog's kidney disease will be based upon the severity of your dogs case, your dog's age, and your pup's overall health. In most cases, treatment for kidney disease includes a combination of dietary restrictions and medications. The therapeutic diet is designed to help slow the progression of the disease and help to reduce the workload placed on your dog's kidneys, whereas the medications are primarily aimed at reducing the symptoms of the disease. 

Therapeutic Diet for Dogs with Chronic Kidney Disease

Therapeutic diets for dogs suffering from chronic kidney disease typically contain reduced amounts of protein, phosphorus and sodium combined with increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Reduced Protein

Although reducing the amount of protein in a dog's diet remains controversial, there are two main goals behind this approach. Since the kidneys are responsible for filtering out the waste produced as the body metabolizes protein, the first goal of a reduced protein diet is to help lower the amount of waste produced, and the second goal is to  minimize the amount of protein entering the filtration system of the kidneys.

What this means is that feeding your dog a diet with reduced levels of protein may help to reduce the workload placed on your dog's kidneys, in turn helping to preserve kidney function.

Reduced Phosphorus

As your pup'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 for your dog's body to metabolize calcium. Normalizing blood phosphorus concentrations through diet may help to slow the progression of the disease in dogs with chronic kidney 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 in more progressed stages of the disease.

Reduced Sodium

Reducing sodium in the diet of dogs with chronic kidney disease can also be beneficial. Reducing sodium can help to reduce the workload on your pup's kidneys, as well as helping your dog to maintain normal blood pressure. If your dog is on a reduced sodium diet, be sure to pay extra attention to their treats as well as their food. Many of the treats dogs love, such as jerky and cheese slices, are very high in sodium.

Increased Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease by reducing the production of inflammatory compounds that create oxidative stress to the dog's kidneys. Many of the foods with increased levels of omega-3 contain salmon and other fish which many dogs enjoy, or may be supplemented with fish oil, or flaxseed oil.

The Best Food to Feed a Dog with Chronic Kidney Disease

If your dog has chronic kidney disease your vet will be sure to recommend the best food to help your pup fight the progression of this chronic disease. Every 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.

Standard dog foods often contain levels of protein and phosphorus that are too high for dogs with chronic kidney disease, however there are a number of prescription therapeutic foods available from your vet. Prescription diets have been specially formulated to meet all of your dog's dietary requirements while also offering restricted protein, phosphorus and sodium. Speak to your veterinarian about which food 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.

If your dog is showing symptoms of kidney failure, contact our vets at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital in Cordova. Our vets have experience in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney failure in pets.

Best diet for dogs with chronic kidney disease, Cordova vet

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