Kidney disease is an extremely serious diagnosis, no matter what the dog’s age or breed. Dogs with kidney disease generally have a poor prognosis; however, their lives may be prolonged if fed certain diets that reduce the strain on their failing kidneys.
Acute kidney failure occurs when a dog ingests a poison or a dietary toxin, such as antifreeze or grapes. Chronic kidney failure is primarily a hidden disease that affects aging dogs. According to Dr. Larry Siegler, chronic kidney failure is both slow and progressive, its effects hidden until the dog has lost almost 75% of its kidney function. The first signs of failing kidneys might be excessive thirst and urination.
According to Dr. Siegler, low-protein diets control the amount of nitrogenous wastes that are produced for the kidneys to filter out. However, dogs may find the flavor of low-protein foods to be less appealing and may avoid eating them, according to The Dog Food Scoop. Low-protein diets can also lead to malnutrition, so dogs on such diets must be observed for weight loss and other symptoms.
Lowering the phosphorus content in a dog’s food may reduce mineral deposits in the kidneys, thereby reducing the strain on the organ.
Dry vs. Wet Food
Dry food, known as kibble, is not appropriate for a dog with kidney disease. Sick dogs require moisture in their diets that kibble cannot provide. However, canned food typically contains more protein than dry food, so this factor should be taken into consideration when choosing foods.
High-Quality Protein Food
High-quality protein diets produce less phosphorus and waste than low quality protein diets. High-quality protein is found in fresh foods that have been prepared at home. Because meats found in commercial dog foods have been processed, the quality of the protein that they provide is low.