Kidney Diets Don’t Have To Come In A Bag

Dogs young and old are affected by kidney disease and chronic renal failure.  In the last couple of years, calls inquiring about appropriate foods to feed a kidney dog, have become far too common.  Rather than think that the disease is on the rise, I personally think that people are becoming better informed and realize that they have choices that don’t necessarily need to include Science Diet K/D and that people are finally investigating and not blindly following the dietary guidelines given to them by their vets.  This is not to say that vets don’t know what they are talking about –

Dogs suffering from kidney issues often lose their appetites and are just plain sick and sad. A change of diet can do wonders

many do.  Some are stuck in the old school thought that a prescription diet from a huge conglomerate MUST be the way to go since that’s what they are used to doling out.  Doesn’t make them bad vets BUT even they should realize that there are better alternatives out there.

There are lots of places where one can find information on what to feed your kidney dog.  Tops on our list is  It gives a comprehensive overview of diet and supplements as well as offering a list of common foods and their phosphorus levels. For details we highly recommend checking this website out along with articles written on the website.

Diet is one of THE most important aspects in dealing with a dog who is either in, or going into, kidney failure.  When kidney values rise, the first thing that most vets jump to is switching the dog to a prescription diet such as Science Diet K/D or similar.  The fact is that NO protein is essentially what you get with this prescription diets.  For example, the first few ingredients of K/D read:

“Brewers Rice, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Beet Pulp…”

Where’s the actual FOOD?  Is it any wonder that most dogs who are switched to this food, or similar brands, stop eating altogether?  Rice, corn and fillers.  Not good nutrition.  Certainly, this mixture of ingredients is going to have low phosphorus levels – there isn’t any meat in it to speak of.  The fact is that dogs are carnivores, they need protein, and when they have kidney issues they simply need the RIGHT proteins with an eye to lowering phosphorus not a complete dearth of proteins.  What food like this often does is start a chain reaction.  Dogs aren’t all that interested in eating sawdust and essentially that is what we are asking them to do in feeding a product like this.  Dog stops eating or slows

EggShellent Calcium added to fatty meat is a great addition to a kidney dog’s diet – no bones, less phosphorus

down considerably, dog loses weight, loses strength, immune system suffers, dog gets weaker and can’t fight the disease even if they wanted to – who would have the energy?  You can imagine what happens next – your days with your dog are effectively numbered.

This isn’t to say that diet is a “cure”.  Generally, depending on the stage of the disease, the best we can hope for is to stop it in its tracks for as long as possible or to slow it down at the very least.  Again, this depends on how severely affected your dog is – results of diet change can be slight or they can be stunning and usually somewhere in between.  The key is, as stated above, to feed the right proteins and in the right way.

  • Bones should be avoided – they add calcium but they also add phosphorus.  Use a calcium supplement such as Eggshellent Calcium instead of bone.
  • Raw Green Tripe is one of the best foods to feed a dog with kidney issues.  The phosphorus is low, it is incredibly palatable to nearly all dogs and can entice even the pickiest sickest dogs to eat.
  • Feed fattier meats – higher the fat the lower the phosphorus.  Feed poultry sparingly, since its so lean, and concentrate on high fat beef, pork and lamb.  If feeding chicken or turkey, go for dark meat since its the fattiest part of the bird.
  • Feed organs only sparingly – they are high in phosphorus and should be monitored closely as should egg yolks though the whites are low phosphorus as are the shells
  • If you choose to feed veggies, cooking them may reduce the amount of phosphorus.  Follow the nutritional table listed at to see which veggies are lowest in phosphorus
  • Above all else, feed high quality proteins ALWAYS.  Enhance your dog’s health with good and proper nutrition and oftentimes the rest will follow.

A Place For Paws recommends several of our products for dogs with kidney issues and we offer a Kidney Package for ease of ordering as well.  Our Raw Green Tripe is perfect for your kidney dog.  99% of dogs will scarf tripe up readily and its one of the most complete and healthful foods that you can feed.  Low in phosphorus with naturally occurring digestive enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics, tripe can often put a spark of life back into a previously suffering dog.  Our Pork and Veggie mix is also formulated for use with renal failure dogs.  Pork is a relatively fatty meat and we

Raw Green Tripe is probably the most beneficial food for kidney dogs – its good for them and even some of the sickest dogs will STILL give it a try

process our pork mixture without actual bone using Eggshellent Calcium instead to further lower phosphorus and a low amount of organs to again keep phosphorus amounts down.  Fish oil can be important to kidney health and we offer the best in the form of pure wild salmon oil produced by Grizzly Salmon Oil.

A diagnosis of kidney disease or chronic renal failure is devastating to be sure but don’t give up!  Read through the above websites, get an idea of what would be beneficial for your dog regardless of what the vet tells you.  Don’t blindly feed sawdust nuggets when there may be a better way and at the very least, if your dog stops eating his prescription food, don’t give up – there are alternatives and in reality they are far better than feeding what’s in that bag.  Just don’t be afraid because these foods don’t COME in a bag – healthy food usually doesn’t.