If your poor pooch has dysfunctioning kidneys, perhaps because of kidney disease or kidney failure, you’ve probably been recommended they go on a renal diet. It’s not only vital that a dog with kidney conditions eats a diet that is perfectly suited to their needs, they need to want to eat it - as their illness can mean that they’re turned off from food. We know this can be worrying for pooch parents, who only want what’s best for their dog - so how do you make sure you’re feeding your dog the best food for their kidney problems?
Read on to learn the attributes of a renal diet for dogs, so you can feed the right food for your dog’s kidney dysfunction and ensure they live the happiest life possible.
Just like all dog’s vital organs, the kidneys are important for many reasons - they filter toxins from the blood, regulate levels of potassium and sodium, conserve water and produce urine. When a dog’s kidneys start to malfunction, they can get very ill. You can read all about the causes and symptoms of kidney disease in dogs right here. However, if your dog’s already been diagnosed with kidney issues, you’ve probably been instructed to put them on a renal diet.
It’s essential that you feed your dog with kidney problems a renal diet so that they can live a happy, relatively stress-free life with alleviated symptoms from their poorly kidneys. It’s actually the most important part of your dog’s treatment and could significantly improve their life expectancy.
So, what does a renal diet mean? Renal, or kidney-friendly food for dogs has special attributes, and it can be confusing for a worried dog owner to understand all the various weights and restrictions involved. Put simply, a renal diet for dogs supports the kidneys while providing a dog with all the nutrition they need to live and function happily.
Generally speaking, a renal diet has:
So now you know what constitutes a sensible renal diet for a dog, what is the best food to feed a dog with kidney disease?
Some premium quality vet-recommended foods on the market are just as effective as prescription dog foods - our Pooch & Mutt Veterinary Renal Food, for instance. It has been specifically formulated in accordance to a renal diet, containing salmon, peas and eggs for protein rather than meat, as meat has high levels of protein which is tougher to digest. It contains chicken fat, for a super delicious taste they’ll love to eat every day - and salmon oil for those essential Omega 3 fatty acids.
A lot of renal dog foods on the market contain grain, making life difficult for dogs with kidney disease and a grain allergy, or difficulty digesting grain. For this reason our vet-recommended renal food is also entirely grain-free.
If your vet has instructed that your pooch eat renal dog food, then a specialist renal food such as our Pooch & Mutt Vet food is a great choice - but chat it over with your vet first to be sure. It’s typically given to dogs with chronic kidney insufficiency, especially those in the late to end stages of the disease.
If your dog doesn’t have kidney problems, do not feed them renal dog food - it doesn’t contain the right balance of ingredients to support a dog with regular health.
You’re almost fully clued up on how to feed your precious pooch a renal diet. To finish, let’s go over some commonly asked questions about feeding a dog with kidney disease.
Foods aren’t necessarily the cause of kidney failure - there can be many causes including genetic factors, toxins, underlying health conditions etc. However there are foods that may exacerbate symptoms which tend to contain high protein, high salt or high phosphorus levels; all of which are hard for damaged kidneys to tolerate. For this reason it’s best for your dog to avoid foods such as red meat, jerky, pigs’ ears, rawhide and bones.
Even for dogs with regular health, it’s generally not a good idea to feed a dog cat food as both cat and dog food is made to different requirements. This is particularly true of dogs who are unwell or have health issues such as kidney disease. Cat food contains a very different balance of food groups that makes it suitable for a cat’s digestive system, not a dog’s. It usually contains high levels of fat and protein and therefore shouldn’t be fed to a dog with kidney dysfunction.
Tuna might be a favourite fishy snack for some dogs, but for dogs with kidney disease it’s a big no-go. Tuna contains high levels of phosphorus, which is damaging for a dog that needs to be on a renal diet.
Let’s not underestimate the wonders of vegetables on a dog’s kidney health! Plenty of veggies contain nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are kind to kidneys.
✔ Carrots, which help promote good digestion; cucumbers for their high moisture, high fibre and low salt content; peas as a tasty and digestible source of protein; and potatoes and sweet potatoes for being starchy carbohydrates and a great source of B vitamins.
Vegetables you should avoid:
X Tomatoes, as dogs with kidney issues need to avoid high levels of potassium, and tomatoes contain a lot of it. Tomatoes also contain oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Best to keep tomatoes in your salad bowl, but not your pooch’s.
Lots of dog parents feed their pooches peanut butter and see no issue, but when it comes to dysfunctional kidneys, you’ll definitely want to steer clear. Peanut butter contains harmful trans fats, which aren’t nutritious at all and tough for a dog to digest. Many peanut butters on the market also contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which, though fine for humans, is toxic for dogs and can cause or worsen kidney failure. Unsurprisingly, we recommend you avoid feeding your pooch peanut butter altogether.
Eating healthy fresh fruits is a great way for a dog to nourish their kidneys, in moderation as part of a specialist renal diet.
When your dog has been diagnosed with a serious health condition, it can be nerve-wracking deciding what to feed them, but it needn’t be. With the right choice of expertly-prepared, vet-recommended food, you’ll know you’re doing the best you can for your dog’s long and happy life. As always, if you aren’t sure about what exactly you should and shouldn’t feed your dog, ask your vet during regular check-ups.
If your dog has been instructed to eat a renal diet for kidney disease, our Pooch & Mutt Veterinary Renal Food is your dog’s dream choice. Our specialist vet range has a specialist recipe for all kinds of health conditions - browse the full collection here.
If you're worried your pooch might be suffering with kidney problems, take a look at our blog post all about kidney disease in dogs.
Never miss a treat!
Subscribe to our newsletter and get blog articles amongst other treats delivered to your inbox
Don't leave without your free gift.Select Free Gift