Kidney failure happens when the kidney is not able to concentrate urine and remove toxins. Like humans, animals produce toxins daily and these circulate to their kidneys. Small amount of water should be enough to handle and flush out the waste, but this is not the case for dogs with renal disease.
In case of kidney (renal) failure, your dog should be given low phosphorus dog food. However, healthy dogs are not ideal candidates for this diet.
Why phosphorus is important for your dog? First, it is a dietary mineral that helps your dog to effectively use the calcium in his diet. He can have stronger teeth, bones and joints. Also, phosphorous helps in the uptake of carbohydrates and fats. It also aids the production of ATP or a molecule that is needed so Fido can store energy. Likewise, it is important in protein production, which is essential for your pet’s growth and repair of damage tissues and cells.
Apparently, phosphorous plays an important role in a dog’s early stage of life. However, dogs with certain medical condition as well as senior dogs do not need plenty of phosphorus as it can be harmful for their health. In this case, phosphorous should be restricted because it can negatively affect your dog, which is similar with high protein dog food problems.
Many vets would usually recommend low protein senior dog food to address these conditions. Aside from dogs with kidney problems or suffer from kidney failure, aging dogs need a low phosphorus diet, but the absolute care should be implemented when feeding your dog with a low phosphorus dog food. Before switching to this kind of diet, veterinary assessment and supervision should be done first.
What To Feed a Dog With Kidney Failure ?
A number of vets would recommend owners who have senior dogs or dogs with renal disease to give their pets with low phosphorus dog food, but this should not always be the solution.
Still, it is best if you have your dog checked by the vet before switching into a restriction diet or giving him an over-the-counter dog food. Feeding your healthy furry friend a low phosphorous diet can only harm his or her health.
This is because you are also limiting the minerals that the dog’s body will use such as calcium, fats and carbohydrates. Likewise, this could result to starvation and reducing your dog’s essential amino acids that promote health.
“Because by-products of protein digestion are the main toxins that need to be excreted by the kidneys, an obvious assumption might be that all one needs to do is to cut out the protein and the kidneys wouldn’t have any more hard work to do”.
For most animals, a high-protein diet is still better as it prevents protein malnutrition, but if the vet requires your dog to have a low-protein diet, you should look for the brand that contains high quality sources. Feeding your dog with a low-phosphorous and low-protein diet is quite challenging since you have to make sure that your dog is getting enough nutrients while restricting his protein and phosphorus needs.
Generally, low-level of phosphorous in your dog’s diet is a good idea as he gets older. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to automatically switch his diet to a low-phosphorous one once he is old enough. You still need to consult the vet. We can say that this theory is associated with the fact that aging dogs are very prone to kidney or renal diseases.
Lowering the dog’s intake of phosphorous has shown to reduce the progression of renal failure and even allows the dog to live healthier and longer.
CANINE RENAL FAILURE STAGES
Kidney failure or renal disease is becoming a usual occurrence among dogs. The early signs of kidney problem include frequent drinking and urinating of Fido. This is because affected dogs cannot control and concentrate their urine. They also tend to suffer from dehydration and extreme thirst.
Aside from the dog’s age, there are other causes of kidney disease;
- Due to bacterial, viral and fungal infection
- Complication of having cancer
- Inflammation in the internal organs and autoimmune diseases
- Congenital disorders
- There are also common human foods that can cause kidney failures in dogs such as grapes and raisins.
Certain breeds such as Dalmatian, Lhasa Apso, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers Golden Retrievers and Samoyeds are prone to kidney failure and renal diseases compared to other breeds because they inherit it.
In 2007, there was a widespread recall of pet foods that were contaminated with melamine, which contaminated ingredients produced in China. Melamine resulted to higher protein content and caused renal failure in pets.
As the kidney’s ability to function declines, your dog’s body tends to retain various chemical wastes that were supposed to be flushed out. This condition is called uremia. The phosphorous also tends to combine with calcium and builds-up in the kidneys that will cause further damage.
This is when the vets would normally recommend that you feed your dog with renal failure dog food. Reducing phosphorous intake means reducing meat protein intake. Fortunately, manufacturers were able to develop dog food for kidney health.
At first, you might ignore these early signs, but in time, you will notice that your dog is losing weight and becomes a picky eater. Soon he will play less and will sleep most of the time. As their condition gets severe, dogs with renal failure will stop eating. At many instances, the affected dog will also suffer from vomiting, nausea and fatigue.
Prevention and Management of the Disease
As your dog ages, he should have annual urine and blood tests to find out his overall health condition. You can also reduce his risk of having a kidney disease by giving him a balanced diet and free access to clean water all the time. Likewise, make sure to keep your household chemicals, human medicines, fertilizers, cleaning agent, batteries and other harmful toxins out of reach of your pets.
One common reason why renal and kidney diseases are deadly to canines is because clinical signs are not obviously present not until the kidneys are extremely damaged. If only we are like dogs that can smell sickness.
YES! Dogs CAN smell and detect if their owner or the person around them is sick even before that person was diagnosed.
Unfortunately, in case of dogs with kidney failure, the symptoms tend to be only visible when already 75% of its kidney tissue has been damaged. The early signs are non-specific that you can even think that your dog is doing well.
Chronic renal disease has no cure, but owners can help their dogs to manage the symptoms and ease their discomfort. And of course, prevention is better than cure so make it a habit to give your dog only high-quality dog food with balanced nutrition.
Pay attention to your dog’s urine and drinking habits as well. Take him to the vet immediately if he is urinating more frequently than the usual and if he appears to be thirsty all the time. You can also check your dog’s tongue. Most canines have pink tongues which also indicate good health. This is because you their tongue, show sign of good supply of blood vessels and nerves.
Another problem is that some owners are into raw-diets for dogs which are really a health hazard. Although raw meat is a rich source of protein, you can never tell if it is contaminated or is safe to eat. If you notice the signs mentioned above, or you suspect your dog has intake a poisonous ingredient, immediately call the vet or pay a visit to the nearest animal emergency clinic.
Aging is a normal process and we can expect that as our pets get old, their kidney’s health and function gradually declines, but with proper care and management, we can help our canine companion by easing the symptoms of this condition. Early veterinary care is highly advised.
A kidney disease is usually progressive and non-curable, but we can do something to improve our pet’s quality of life. Proper medications and dietary changes are the most effective ways to lessen the hormonal deficiencies, prevent possible complications, control their vomiting and nausea and maintain their high blood pressure at a normal level. Giving them with a low phosphorous dog food also helps in improving their condition.