Kidney Problems and Raw Feeding

Its never a good thing to hear that your dog is in kidney failure, Chronic Renal Failure, has high kidney values or what have you.  Its devastating because far too often these dogs go downhill and go down fast.  Usually, if you have a traditional vet, they will put your dog immediately on a prescription diet – most commonly Science Diet K/D.

The ingredients in K/D, leave much to be desired.  The first few are as follows:

“Brewers Rice, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Corn Gluten

Many pets with kidney problems won’t eat prescription diets causing their systems to weaken and rendering them unable to fight the disease

Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Beet Pulp, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt…”

Note the decided lack of meat.  Erroneously, the first decision that many jump to when faced with a pet that has kidney problems is that they no longer should have protein.  The fact is that they need to be fed less PHOSPHORUS and the RIGHT proteins.

Proteins make up the bulk of a carnivore’s diet and make no mistake, our dogs and cats ARE carnivores.  The best proteins for our little house carnivores are animal based as they contain all the essential amino acids that our pets need.  To deprive our dog, or cat, of protein, is to take away the most vital part of their diet.  Contrary to the belief of some, protein does not cause kidney problems as a pet ages nor is it necessary to erase them from the diet of an animal showing signs of distressed kidneys.

According to, one of the leading sites on dealing with kidney problems in our pets, lowering the phosphorus in our pet’s diet has been shown to “slow the progression of kidney disease.”  Further, feeding fattier meats will supply calories while reducing phosphorus levels so long as care is taken with dogs prone to pancreatitis.  Raw fats are processed far more easily by dogs and cats and always should receive preference over cooked fats.

It is also important to avoid feeding bones which are quite high in phosphorus.  Using a calcium supplement to replace bones is a must for kidney patients.  Calcium from a whole food source – such as Eggshellent Calcium – is a far better choice than using synthetic calcium supplements and are easy to add to your pet’s food.  Removing the bones reduces phosphorus level of which bones have a high amount.  Calcium acts as a phosphorus binder and in this manner helps the kidneys deal with any phosphorus that is present.  Avoiding other foods high in phosphorus is also key.  Foods like fish, cheese and organ meats should be generally avoided with the exception of organ meats which should be fed in small amounts and only very moderately due to the nutritional benefits that they provide.   Your basic dietary goals should therefore include, moderate to high amounts of fat, high quality protein, low phosphorus and plenty of water. (Whole Dog Journal, May 2005).

When pets are placed on a prescription diet, it is often noted that they begin to suffer from inappetence.  This is hardly conducive to fighting the kidney problems – in fact it often compromises the animal as he gets weaker and weaker from

Raw Green Tripe can be a lifesaver for a pet suffering from chronic renal failure

lack of nutrition.  One of the most perfect foods for kidney patients is Tripe.  Naturally low in phosphorus with a perfect amount of calcium through non-bone sources to bind what phosphorus there is, it tends to be a favorite of most all dogs (cats, not as much as they aren’t drawn nearly so much to smelly foods).  Many dogs who will not or have stopped eating their prescription kibble will begin to eat once more when faced with a pungent bowl of raw tripe.  Tripe, which is the stomach of a ruminant animal, is quite nearly a complete food and if it is all that your kidney dog will eat than you are actually in good shape.  Variety is always nice and preferable, but tripe can fulfill their nutritional needs and is rarely ignored.

At A Place For Paws we offer a Kidney Package containing both Beef Tripe and our specially formulated Pork mix that includes Eggshellent Calcium rather than actual pork bone.  A combination of the two can make the difference in your kidney dog’s eating habits.  Also great for pets with kidney problems is Grizzly Salmon Oil.  Fish body oils provide high amounts of Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have been shown to help dogs with chronic renal failure or high kidney values (WDJ, 2005).   Remember, your pet needs good food in order to have a healthy body.  A healthy body is more than necessary for fighting off their illness – poor nutrition will simply weaken your pet making the end come far more quickly than it has to.