Dog Food Protein

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The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about dog food protein.

Can a high protein diet cause kidney problems in older dogs?

Although some may disagree, recent opinion finds high protein not to be a contributing factor to kidney disease in senior pets.

As a matter of fact, it has now been shown that a low protein diet is actually unhealthy for most older pets. For more details, be sure to read our article about “Low Protein Dog Foods“.

Is a high protein diet unhealthy for a puppy?

Although there are many who still believe high protein can be a health problem for puppies, more recent studies tend to disagree.

The rapid growth which causes skeletal disorders (like hip dysplasia) in larger breeds is now believed to be more appropriately linked to genetics1, excessive dietary calcium2 or overfeeding during the puppy phase of life3.

For more in-depth information about this controversial subject (including references and footnotes), you may wish to visit our article, “Best Puppy Foods“.

Footnotes

  1. A Hedhammar, Canine hip dysplasia as influenced by genetic and environmental factors, EJCAP, Oct 2007, 17:2 (pp 141-143)
  2. Richardson, Skeletal diseases of the growing dog: Nutritional influences and the role of diet, Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Symposium Held at Western Veterinary Conference, 1995
  3. RD Kealy et al, Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs, JAVMA, Sep 1992, 201:6 (pp 857-863)
  • Shawna

    I would really try to avoid kibble if at all possible but I do understand how finances must play a roll in the decisions we make for our pups!!!

    Whichever way you go you can use some lower cost options to keep the diet as kidney friendly as possible. Green tripe is a great option and if you have friends that hunt you can get it for free (or the cost of having the butcher remove and grind it). Cow and chicken hearts are pretty inexpensive in the states. Or deer heart from the hunter friend. A lower phosphorus premix can be added to this (I think Grandma Lucy’s makes one) to make it complete and balanced. I would also add coconut oil or another high quality fat to keep the calories up while lowering the phos (if needed at this stage) on an as fed basis. Eggs are generally very inexpensive and can be added to raw diets three times per week. If needing to lower phosphorus you can eliminate the yolk and just feed the whites lightly cooked.

    Dogaware.com, b-naturals.com and a few of the yahoo groups have additional suggestions on home prepared, lower cost diets. Sushi rice can be added to give some bulk. I’m not a fan of grains but in this case I think adding appropriate kinds is better than giving any kibble. Sushi (aka glutinous) rice is good because it is very low in phosphorus (if needed).

    I was using Renal Essentials initially but they are like horse pills and my pup is only 9 pounds. She also hated the taste of them.

    I LOVE Renafood but there is a product, made by the same company – Standard Process, that is even better. It is called Canine Renal Support. It is a combination of Renafood and Renatrophin in a powder form (so it can be added to the food).

    Renafood is nutrients needed for a healthy kidney in a therapeutic form. Renatrophin uses kidney cell specific markers, for lack of a better term, called protomorphogins that will help prevent inflammation. It’s pretty detailed and specific but I can give you more data if you want. My Audrey has been on Canine Renal Support since her diagnosis seven years ago. It is the one supplement that I WILL NOT let myself run out of. I have given her Renafood with her Canine Renal Support as an extra boost but I’d chose the Renal Support over Renafood/Renatrophin individually if I had to. If you can’t get Standard Process products in your area, I can contact them to see if there is a similar product where you are at if you want..

    Also look up nitrogen trapping. Aimee has brought up some questions as to the validity of the process but it is still something I would highly recommend. It is simply giving a high quality probiotic with a specific form of prebiotic. It helps lower the BUN from the blood. And, of course, all of the other benefits from using a probiotic.

  • aimee

    Hope she is Ok…. trust your gut if you think she is off it is better to check.

    It’s true. High Ca/P leads to tissue calcification.

    PTH has lots of adverse effects hence the drive to limit its elevation.

    Here is a recent article on the subject.

    http://www.mmh.org.tw/taitam/kid_int/Blog/Entries/2009/12/14_Dec_2009_Schedule_files/parathyroid%20hormone,%20a%20uremic%20toxin.pdf

    There are likely hundreds of uremic toxins I’m sure the gut microbiotome plays some role in this. I just don’t think it is well known to what extent and how to best manipulate it.

    This isn’t the opinion I posted about but it is similar: “However, the major concern is that unlike BUN the molecular sizes of classical uremic toxins ( middle molecules) are too large to readily cross membrane barriers and therefore the bacterial use of ammonia is unlikely to reduce these toxins.” (Elliot 2006)

    Some time back I linked to an article on renal and you were critical of the author for not recommending/knowing about nitrogen trapping. At the time I replied I’m sure she knows about it.

  • Andy Ross

    Thanks, I have Dr. Smart’s diet. My only problem with some of the raw diets is the fact that he is a big boy (80lbs) and not overweight. A muscle bound dude. A lot of the various diet listings would feed him for one day which means I would be spending more on his food than ours. It was a whole lot easier feeding him raw when he was a younger fellow.
    I am still mulling all this over but suspect I am going to have to come up with my own plan that might be a combination of raw and dry.
    I have also been reading about holistic type supplements such as Renal Essentials by Vetriscience. There is one that gets some good reviews called Renafood but I can only find it in the U.S.
    I swear I this dog food issue is harder on me than my own diet requirements. :)

  • theBCnut

    I can tell you that at the time, I was reading about anesthesia elimination and the things that interfer with it, including kidney and liver issues. I wasn’t online, it was one textbook or another or even a hematology book. That particular professor pulled in stuff from all over the place, but the WWW was very new back then and very limited, so I know it was in a textbook or reference book.

  • Shawna

    Interesting!! I’ll have to look that up. Let me know if you look/find anything on it.

  • Shawna

    Hi Andy,

    Darwin’s raw has a new prescription kidney diet that was formulated by Dr. Barbara Royal DVM. The diet is high protein, they claim lower in phosphorus and looks really good. Not sure if it would be affordable but it does have added supplements and is complete and balanced.

    As far as supplements for the hip inflammation — organic turmeric (must be organic as spices are often irradiated) is inexpensive and good for the kidneys as well as the joints. It has not been found to be toxic at any amount as well. Organic egg shells is another cost effective idea. Not sure how therapeutic they would be in amounts one could feed but the membrane between the shell and egg is supposed to be quite beneficial. And gelatin (as in Knox brand) was recommended in an article by a holistic vet that I recently read (not sure about gelatin and kidneys?).

    Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart has a raw kidney diet on her blog (may be for cats though — I can’t remember for sure). I can get all the info on any of this that interests you if you want.

  • theBCnut

    Many years ago, so I may not be remembering right, but I believe I read that one of the issues with high BUN was the effects on pH.

  • theBCnut

    I just want to share that joint supplements for horses are more concentrated and cheaper than joint supplements for dogs, but some of them have the exact same active ingredients.

  • Shawna

    I thought I read several places that elevated blood phosphorus caused kidney calcification. Is that not true? Or is it indirectly by elevating PTH?

    I thought they were also unclear as to PTH being a uremica toxin or not. I did a QUICK search (so nothing exhaustive :) and one paper says “may” and another said “many uremic symptoms improve with dialysis, which does not remove PTH from the plasma”. Of course it could be that enough other uremic toxins were removed with dialysis to see improvements despite remaining PTH.. This one looked interesting but CRAP can only read the first page. http://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/180876 (I didn’t think to look at the dates of those articles)

    Dr. Bovee eluded to uremia and BUN as well so I won’t argue the point without further research. BUT I DEFINITELY DO see VERY positive results when I utilize nitrogen trapping with Audrey. Almost every time I feed her kibble for more than one meal off an on I start to see symptoms (really bad breath and “neediness” and once in a while vomiting) and they go away with nitrogen trapping. Audrey is not a “needy” dog but when she isn’t feeling well she gets VERY clingy and needy.. :(

    PS — she’s at the point where I think I better start

  • aimee

    The primary danger of phos is that it triggers PTH release. PTH is an uremic toxin.

    Actually BUN is not much of a toxin, meaning it really isn’t a problem/cause symptoms. I think though at really high levels it can cause oral ulceration as the oral bacteria cleave the urea and may shorten RBC life span. BUN is simply used as a easily measured “marker” for those substances that are uremic toxins.

    I came across an interesting opinion. Since BUN isn’t what really contributes to clinical signs are we fooling ourselves into thinking the dog is better by using probiotics to trap BUN? We really don’t know if the probiotic does anyting for the real uremic toxins.

  • Andy Ross

    Thanks Shawna. I as considering going back to a raw diet. He has been on a diet for his hips because I could not provide enough supplements on my own without going bankrupt. Given his kidney issues I need to reconsider. Thanks for the tip on vaccines. I opted out of most of them a few years ago due to not wanting to cause more hip inflammation. I am planning on discussing the rabies issue when we go to the vets again.

  • Shawna

    Oops forgot because of the kidney disease, you should no longer give any vaccines (including rabies) and no more heartworm or flea tick treatments. Audrey has been legally exempted, for life, from getting the rabies shot since diagnosis.

  • Shawna

    Hi Andy,

    The dog in my avatar, Audrey, has had kidney disease since birth but she wasn’t diagnosed till shortly after her one year birthday. She will be eight years old in two months and the only time she gets ill from her disease is if I feed her kibble (any kind).

    They have known via more current research that protein restriction too early in the disease can cause more harm than good. Audrey has eaten HIGH protein raw since coming to me at nine weeks old (symptoms of kd were noticed at six weeks of age). Dr. Kronfeld has research demonstrating that protein does not cause damage to the kidneys at even 54% of the diet.

    Phosphorus does contribute to furthering kidney disease but only if there is a build up of phosphorus in the blood (which calcifies the kidneys). Generally dogs in the early stages of kd do not require a low phosphorus diet. Audrey has yet to start on low phosphorus.

    The “quality” of the protein is far more important then the overall quantity. The amino acids from better quality proteins are used, on a cellular level, better by the body leaving less to become BUN which the kidneys have to filter. BUN doesn’t damage the kidneys but it does cause the symptoms, such as vomiting, bad breath etc, seen in kd dogs when the kidneys can’t effectively clear it from the blood.

    Certain amino acids are damaged by heat (lysine) and by processing (taurine) which changes the quality of the original protein. Because of the processing and heat required to make a kibble, the quality of protein will be lower than the same ingredients in a less processed food.

    Once the kidneys are damaged, a “dry” food is harder on them as well.

    Foods without gluten grains and potato can often help with joint issues as a protein (lectin) in these foods binds with a derivative of glucosamine called n-acetyl glucosamine making it unavailable to the joint. Since glucosamine is required for a healthy joint, this can create additional stress.

  • Andy Ross

    My very active 8 year old lab has just been diagnosed with early stage kidney disease (he also has hip dysplasia). I am looking for a quality dry dog food with low phosphorous that can assist with his renal issues but may also support the joints. My vet is recommending a prescription diet but I am not overly impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the very low protein source.

  • Shawna

    Hi sue66b,

    I realize your post is from 3 months ago so this may not be an issue any longer but in case it is…..

    My Pomeranian Gizmo gets ulcerative colitis (tummy rumbling, bloody stool and EXPLOSIVE diarrhea) if she gets too much chicken. No other food causes it, but chicken in any form will (raw, canned, dehydrated or kibble). She generally eats raw. NOTHING stopped the colitis completely until I was able to figure out it was the chicken and eliminated it completely from the diet.

    To help heal her tummy I gave her a product called SeaCure (heals the gut) and an herb called slippery elm (coats the gut). It took about a year but she finally completely healed and can now get chicken (by accident of course) for a day or two without symptoms but any longer and the symptoms begin to start again.

    Gizmo was seen by my conventional vet but nothing really helped. The LIFE SAVER in trying to determine the cause was prescribed by her holistic vet. She recommended a homeopathic called phosphorus. Giving her homeopathic phosphorus as soon as I heard the tummy rumblings would completely stop the symptoms within minutes. NOTE — homeopathic phosphorus may not work for every dog with colitis. My vet said there are four different remedies and which to use is based solely on the EXACT symptoms each dog/human has… Homeopathics can be found at most health food stores and cost $6.00 or $7.00 dollars for a vial.

    Edit — for what it’s worth, Gizmo has been on raw since coming to me at six months of age already showing issues with chicken. She continues to eat raw to this day and is now nine years old. It would have taken me A LOT longer to figure out the trigger food if she wasn’t on raw.

    All my dogs get apple cider vinegar off and on with their meals (diluted with water or only a few drops if undiluted). It definitely does help with digestion but, with my Gizmo at least, nothing helped except eliminating the trigger food.

  • Celeste Kelsey

    I have a three year old Chihuahua mix that I rescued who had severe IBD – most likely triggered by chicken. But at the point of discovery could not find a dog food on which she would not have diarrhea, mucous, and bleeding and obvious pain – she was very cranky and very hungry. A local pet store had a food (not readily available and you have to seek it out) that had worked for a cat that had. I started to use it and had immediate lasting results. She had been severely underweight 7.5 lbs when we got her and she is not the tea cup variety. She now weights 11.5 lbs still very trim and very fit. No diarrhea ever, no mucous, and no blood and no pain. She eats this food exclusively and does not get treats. It is ABADY, canned Beef-Based Formula for Maintenance and Stress for Adult Dogs. Go to ABADY’s web site and read their philosophy…it is exceptional. I started her on a formula they have (can’t remember the name) that is for healing the digestive tract. She remained on that for 30 days and then switched to the maintenance. Now all three of my dogs are on it and doing very well. They had digestive issues, mostly from the high fiber of other diets – which are now gone. I love this food. Suggest you give it a try. You can call the company and ask any questions you want – they are small – and very responsive. Good Luck.

  • Nancy Pyzynski

    We feed our 4 year old dog Acana Wild Praire. She is seemingly healthy, happy and active with no gastric issues. Should we be supplementing her dry food with more protein based foods such as raw meat?

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi-
    Have you tried any of the foods with the montmorillonite clay, such as Natures Logic, Victor, or Natures Variety?
    My dogs have not been diagnosed by doc, but have a sensitive digestive tract due to having a bad case of giardia and coccidia as pups. Victor has been great so far for them.
    Also have been giving them either Gastriplex by Thorne or something similar by Vetri Science that seem to be helpful also.
    The website dogaware dot com has some interesting information for digestive disorders.
    Good luck!

  • sue66b

    Does anyone have a dog with Colitis & I.B.D that was dignosed by a vet…what do you feed them & when they get their rumbling bowel what do you give them to ease their pain. I found that dry toast with thinly spread honey stops the rumbling.. The vet told me to stop letting him have grass as it can aggravate his bowel more.. We woke up this morning 5am wanting grass & his tummy was rumbling he’s been on a vet diet Eukanuba Intestinal for the last 5 months, I love to change his food, he also has trouble digesting foods… no raw diets as the vet also said that there is too much bacteria in the raw meats for him..I read that apple cider vinger helps with digestion has anyone tried this on their dog with colitis or IBD…I thought the the apples & vinger would be too acidy for his tummy…also would a higher protein kibble 34% be better the diet he’s on now is only 23%.. I looked at the Wellness Core Original yesterday but the kibble was very very hard I find kibbles with potatos are harder he cant digest them..Help

  • yo yo

    Can human protein be use for dog.

  • Crystal

    What about protein in dog medication for hips and healthy treats to assist in healthy hips? My dog gets a couple of all natural dog bones (small from Mother Nature), a Zuke’s Hip Action treat, Dasuquin meds., and another small treat each night. She is a Shitzhu with crystals in her urine. She eats Earthborne Holistic foods. Not sure what I should cut out.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If they are shedding out of season it might help, but I can tell you nothing is going to make them stop shedding when it’s time to shed.

  • todd olstad

    Just wondering about high protein food will prevent some shedding

  • Isobel

    Ok I will do that. Thanks again Patty :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you want to move towards raw, just cook it less and less each day.

  • Isobel

    Thank you so much for all your help. I am feeding Natural Instincts (from the UK) and Charlie loves it. When I tried to feed it raw as stated it made him loose as he is very sensitive, so I cooked it, which worked for him and then worried about the cooked bone. I found your site today and have gained so much information in this short time. A big thank you from Charlie and me.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, not at all. My dogs get kibble, canned, dehydrated, freeze dried, cooked, and raw. Sometimes all in the same day.

  • Isobel

    Sorry one last question! If a dog is on a raw diet is it harmful to give cooked meat treats?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Probably not, but cooking does destroy some of the nutrients. Cook as lightly as you can stand.

  • Isobel

    Thanks for the reply. The bone is ground up in the food and the whole lot looks like a fine mince. Is the bone still harmful then?

  • Pattyvaughn

    You should not cook the bone. It changes structure and can become hard, brittle, and sharp. You also need a source of organ meats in there. It should be 10% of the meat and half of it should be liver. The other half should be other secreting organs like kidney, pancreas, spleen, etc. Heart and gizzard count as muscle meats not organs.

  • Isobel

    With a balanced raw dog food of meat with bone 85%, carrot, apple, butternut squash, spinach, Scottish salmon oil and sea kelp am I able to cook this up as a feed instead of feeding raw? will the bone content be harmful?

  • Shawna

    Yep, that was it Patty!! Thank you!!

    Read a very interesting, in my opinion, research paper today. Most of us know this but it is nice to see it in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition :).. This is regarding humans but I’m quite certain it holds true for canines and felines too.

    “As addressed in earlier papers in this supplement and at the Summit, there is strong evidence emerging of a positive role for protein in promoting optimal health at intakes beyond the Recommended Dietary Allowance. There is new focus on the roles of protein related to lean body mass retention during calorie restriction and aging, weight control, insulin secretion and action, and bone and cardiovascular health.”

    Cooking may increase digestibility but decreases protein bioavailability. Again, something known but here it is in a research paper.

    “Although heat, oxidation, and other treatments are carried out for consumer protection and benefit, they can lead to formation of Maillard compounds, oxidized sulfur amino acid, D-amino acids, or cross-linked peptide chains, which limit amino acid bioavailability.

    The evidence available to date suggests that quality is
    important not only at the Recommended Daily Allowance but also at higher intakes. It is also evident that quality at higher compared with lower intakes is important for different reasons. Examination of the increasingly complex roles emerging for protein reveals these differences. The roles for IAAs in lean body mass retention, cell signaling, bone health, glucose homeostasis, and satiety induction are particularly intriguing and worthy of further study. Noting that currently accepted methods for protein quality evaluation do not capture the importance of IAAs beyond the first limiting amino acid, and given the long-standing debate regarding assessment of bioavailability, research assessing protein’s role in optimal health at higher intakes should also explore implications for protein quality assessment.”

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1576S.full

    There’s TONS more data in the paper including a little snippet on BCM-7 (casomorphins)..

    Edit — CRAP… It’s not bolding what I am telling it to bold…??? It’s NOT supposed to be bolding this… LOL

    Figured it out :) I wasn’t putting in the / before the closing b.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Adding protein helps by making more available the components needed for tissue repair and regrowth, plus the major antioxidant that the body creates needs that protien too. Additional antioxidants help with recovery from anesthesia on down to the end stages of healing.

  • Leigh

    thanks for the reply, in my head a slight increase in protein and vitamins was obvious. This is something people have been doing for years so why wouldn’t it work for our little mammals? haha

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    enzymes between feeds such as Integrative Therapeutics or Wobenzym or Wobenzym Fido and similar products might help.

    http://surgery.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21671

    From Becker article:

    http://shop.mercola.com/product/healthy-pets-digestive-enzymes-3-pack,494,90.htm

    “When used this way, after meals, the enzymes circulate throughout her body via the bloodstream, helping to:

    Support the healthy circulation of blood through arteries

    Maintaining normal immune function

    Clear cellular debris while cleansing tissue

    Stimulate healthy new cell growth

    Promote normal cell growth

    Promote a healthy immune response

    Support normal detoxification processes

    Clear away undigested proteins, cleansing the lymph and blood

  • Cindy

    Leigh, I read up on it, and they seem to recommend some extra protein for surgery, but also vitamin c as I have mentioned. Also the other things will be helpful too.

  • Cindy

    To my knowledge that would not help, but I don’t know everything. You probably need vitamin c for collagen production. What is helpful is giving Arnica C 30 (homoeopathic) for a couple of days; this will make a big difference in healing after surgery. I also believe that a product containing silica would help, for instance ‘Cell food essential Cilicia formula’. Beta Glutan may help as well. Great that you are so concerned about the dog’s healing!

  • Leigh

    could I increase the amount of protein I feed my dog after ophthalmology surgery in order to promote tissue growth?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jess –

    That is false. Feeding large breed puppies high levels of protein does not contribute to the development of developmental orthopedic disease (i.e. pano, hip dysplasia, etc.).

    From Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years by Susan D. Lauten, PhD

    “Currently no evidence exists to suggest that high protein intake contributes to the development of orthopedic disease in growing large breed puppies.”

    From “Growth and Skeletal Development in Great Dane Pups Fed Different Levels of Protein Intake” (a study which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition):

    “The differences in protein intake per se had no demonstrable consequences of calcium metabolism and skeletal development. A causative role for dietary protein in the development for osteochondrosis in dogs is unlikely.”

    From Why Overgrowing Your Large Breed Puppy is Dangerous by Karen Becker DVM:

    “Researchers have studied the diets of large breed dogs for over 30 years to understand the link between improper nutrition and skeletal problems.Studies have repeatedly concluded dietary protein levels have no effect on the development of skeletal problems in large and giant breed dogs. But still today, many breeders of large dogs, owners and even some veterinarians will tell you protein is the problem, even though there is no evidence to prove it. Protein excess is not the problem. In fact, it’s often a dietary protein deficiency that contributes to skeletal problems. The elements of nutrition that have been scientifically proven to negatively impact skeletal development in puppies are excessive calories and high or unbalanced mineral content, specifically calcium and phosphorus”.

  • Jess

    You can give a puppy too much protein. Especially large breeds. Too much protein in large breeds causes Panosteitis; it’s very common.

  • Jackie

    My dogs kidney protein levels were marked at a 1.4. The vet said that he would like to see her levels at a 1 or possible at an 0.8. She’s on a bland chicken and rice meal twice a day because of post op medications (had a benign tumor – she’s 4 years old). I want to put her on great food like Orijen or Acana but I am afraid of her kidney levels shooting sky high. She’s not a working dog or show dog. She’s semi active and goes on short walks due to a hyper extended ligament. I was feeding her Blue Buffalo fish & sweet potato but the brand gave her too much gas. I switched her to Castor & Pollux but then found out that citric acid can be a huge risk factor for bloat in deep chested dogs. I need some advice. If anyone can suggest or ease my mind on orijen or acana, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Jackie

    My dogs kidney protein levels were marked at a 1.4. The vet said that he would like to see her levels at a 1 or possible at an 0.8. She’s on a bland chicken and rice meal twice a day because of post op medications (had a benign tumor – she’s 4 years old). I want to put her on great food like Orijen or Acana but I am afraid of her kidney levels shooting sky high. She’s not a working or show dog. She’s semi active and goes on short walks due to a hyper extended ligament. I was feeding her Blue Buffalo fish & sweet potato but the brand gave her too much gas. I switched her to Castor & Pollux but then found out that citric acid can be a huge risk factor for bloat in deep Chester dogs. I need some advice. If anyone can suggest or ease my mind on orijen or acana, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Bexx

    Thank you so much :) I did email you. Aww – Audrey is a wee little girl! A chihuahua mixed with a Boston – sounds cute! :)

  • Shawna

    Morning Bexx,

    Audrey’s mom is 1/2 long haired Chihuahua and 1/2 Boston Terrier. Her dad is 1/2 short haired Chihuahua and 1/2 Poodle. There were six pups in the litter and Audrey was the tiny little runt. The breeder, a relative, almost lost her at about four weeks of age because she had a collapsing trachea and couldn’t get enough nourishment from mom. She was syringe fed til she could eat on her own.. I was there visiting her when she took her very first lick of liquid food from a spoon I was holding… Even at such a young age she was obsessed with water. She would sleep in the water bowl when it was empty.. :)

    I’d be happy to share anything I can with you. Probably best to do it offsite though. You can reach me at the following email address [email protected].

  • bexx

    Hi again Shawna –

    I missed this post earlier! I stopped giving all of my dogs vaccinations a few years ago, as I am not a fan of vaccinations for dogs or people! It is state law to get rabies but I ignore that. :) My dogs aren’t out running around and there hasn’t been a case of rabies here since like 1900 or so. Thank you for the tip on the household items! I make all my own cleaners EXCEPT I have a Swiffer mop I use on ocassion. Not anymore.

    After talking with my husband about it, we think we are going to avoid the prescription food and try doing it ourselves with just raw meats and the extras added in (with supplements) with NO commercial dog food added in this time. There is so much information out there and it seems like so many people have had better luck doing it this way. I’m searching all over and reading so many things and just need to do what’s best for my boy.

    I would love and appreciate it if you have any time and could give me some input as to your daily feeding habits/recipes and supplements you give on a daily basis. So far I’ve written down the Standard Process renal support, ground egg shell, fish oil, and I’ve read that Vitamin E and B can be beneficial.

    Just out of curiosity (and because I just love dogs) – what kind of dog is Audrey? :)

  • bexx

    Thank you, thank you!! I cannot express how much I appreciate this. When our beagle passed away it happened so fast. Six months previous he had surgery and all blood work was great and in 6 days he went from fine to not eating (of course we though it was a stomach bug for the first couple of days) to vomiting to the vet shaking his head and telling us he was too far gone for anything to be done. The normal warning signs such as heavy drinking/urinating were always present as he had Cushing’s and was always a heavy drinker. So I will do what it takes to not have that happen again and I take all of your advice very much to heart. I’ve written a bunch of stuff down, going to research all the stuff you gave me and figure out a plan of action. :)

  • Shawna

    I completely understand!! I REALLY REALLY do.. We HAVE to do what is in the best interest of our fur kids despite our own hang ups :)..

    Honestly, I think the Hills canned food could be a good base diet that other low phos foods could be added to..

    I also found that acacia fiber and burdock root along with Garden of Life Primal Defense probiotics had the best affect on nitrogen trapping in Audrey. Acacia fiber is the only ingredient in a product made for humans called The Fiber 35 Diet Sprinkle Fiber. If Audrey begins to seem like she is feeling a bit off, I give her a probiotics and 1/8 tsp of the Sprinkle Fiber and it pulls her right out of it. Burdock root is the “blood purifier” of the herb world. It can be purchased as a supplement or in the produce section of Whole Foods (at least my Whole Foods). Looks like a long, think, beige(ish) carrot.

    I have also found with Audrey, may not work with all, that adding a small amount of diluted apple cider vinegar to her food helps with digestion when she needs it. The very few times, maybe 4 her whole life, she has had an upset tummy I dilute apple cider vinegar with water 50/50 and syringe in about a tablespoon or two. Within only a few minutes she feels better.

    The BUN is dependant on food while the creatinine is less so. Because creatinine is going up too (not just BUN) it would, in my opinion, be worth checking into the Standard Process Canine Renal Support and/or the Five Leaf Pharmacy product.

    Adding organic, extra virgin coconut oil is an excellent option as it increases the calorie content of the diet and is very medicinal. Also adding spirulina, in my opinion, is helpful. It is a very digestible, HIGH quality source of protein along with other benefits.
    I really really do know what you are going through. I lost my 18 year old Toy Poodle, Tut, to kidney disease. That was hard!! BUT, Audrey was just a baby and I was devistated with her diagnosis.. I set out to learn everything there was to learn — not sure I did it but I sure learned a lot :)…
    Again, VERY BEST OF LUCK AND GOOD HEALTH with/to your boy!!!

  • Shawna

    Sorry, I had an afterthought… It is important with kd pets to not introduce additional toxins into their systems. For this reason consider the following—-

    1. Only give filtered, preferably reverse osmosis, water.

    2. NO shots of any kind. If your state allows you should even be able to get an exemption from any further rabies shots. Audrey, because she had kd from birth, has NEVER had a rabies shot. She is legally exempted for life. She has only had one set of vaccines, while at the breeders, her entire life. She also doesn’t get flea/tick or heartworm meds.

    3. Check the cleaning products etc around your house to make sure they are kidney friendly. I looked at the Material Safety Data Sheets and/or the Center for Disease Control on all products in my home when I learned of Audrey’s kd. Swiffer mop – gone. Clorox and all clorox products like their ready mop – gone. Frangranced candles, perfume, air freshener etc – gone (there is a chemical, or family of chemicals, in these products called pthalates that is damaging to the kidneys). Particle board furniture (pressed wood) gives off formaldehyde for the life of the piece — its in the glue that holds the planks of wood together. Formaldehyde is damaging to the kidneys. It can also be in new carpeting.

    There are, of course, certain things that can’t realistically be changed but it is worth investigating and changing those that can be changed. At least in my opinion :)..

  • bexx

    Hey Shawna – Thank you for the lengthy and very detailed response. I really appreciate it. I guess I wasn’t clear, now that i go back and ready my own post – I did have him on a good kibble, but then did a raw homemade diet after the first kidney results came back. Just had him tested yesterday and the BUN and creatnine levels were higher than they were the first time. But I am going to look over the websites you gave me and see what I can do. I absolutely ABHORE the thought of putting him on Hills k/d. I am not a fan of Hill’s food in the least and think vet’s push it because they get paid to do so. That being said, if it comes down to it and nothing else is working, it will be something I turn to – to at least try. I don’t want to put him on it, but I also don’t want to see his kidney function keep getting worse if I can’t find a better/more natural recipe anywhere else. :( Thank you again.

  • Shawna

    Hi Bexx76 ~~ When it comes to kidney disease “high” quality protein actually means non-kibbled foods. When proteins (animal or plant) are cooked some of the amino acids in the protein are damaged and no longer available. They can be added back in but the body, I JUST read, uses synthetic individual amino acids differently than those found naturally in foods.

    So here’s what happens — the food is eaten and the amino acids are absorbed. The body then uses the amino acids in sets or groups. Example — glutamine and cystein (from memory) are used to make an antioxidant called glutathione. After the body uses all the amino acids it can (by pairing and grouping them) what is left over becomes BUN. Because of the damage to certain amino acids (like lysine) from cooking and processing, there is fewer for the body to use and more becomes BUN. So the best diets to prevent BUN are lightly cooked or raw.

    I would NEVER feed my kidney dog Audrey a kibble diet.. It would be her demise I am sure.. Audrey gets raw with a protein content of anywhere from 45 to 54% depending on the day and what product I am feeding. She has been on this same high protein diet for seven years.

    What supplements are you using for nitrogen trapping. I’m not fond of the ones that come from the vet…

    I’m not trying to talk you out of doing what you think is in your pups best interest because you are the one that has to live with your decision. Just giving another point of view… Also I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend feeding the canned prescription diet over the kibble. The first ingredient in the canned Science Diet KD foos is water and then egg white. The first ingredients in the kibble KD is brewers rice and port fat.

    Have you read any of the material on kidney disease on the dogaware.com website. GREAT source of info if you haven’t.. If you really want to avoid the prescription foods, she has alternatives that you could try including homemade recipes, premixes that are low phos that could be added to lower phos meats/animal proteins, topping k/d diets etc. http://www.dogaware.com/health/kidney.html

    Lew Olsen of b-naturals.com also has some great info on kd diets. Both Mary Straus (from dogaware.com) and Lew Olsen are nutritionists and both have been moderators on one of the Yahoo Kidney Disease groups. They both have also had kd dogs do wonderfully on higher protein home made diets. However, home preparing is not for everyone so again, just mentioning not trying to persuade you away from prescription canned foods.

    There are a couple supplements that I would encourage you to look into. I use a product by Standard Process called Canine Renal Support – it helps prevent inflammation to the kidneys and nutritionally supports them. I haven’t used it but I’ve spoke with several others that had excellent results with a product made by Five Leaf Pharmacy http://www.caninekidneydisease.doggreens.com/Contact_us.html

    Also, I’ve heard that the time of day the blood work is done can have an impact on the numbers. Always get the blood work done at the same time of day just to be safe.

    Good luck with your baby!!! I hope you have many many more happy and healthy years with him!!

  • bexx76

    I really think high (good) protein diets are good or bad depending on the situation and the dog. My dog had high levels on his last blood tests and he is on a good quality, high protein, grain free food. I wanted to be more natural and changed up the diet to incorporate higher quality proteins and supplements for nitrogen trapping/phosphorous binding. Just had another blood test yesterday and was very hopeful. But his levels have gotten worse. :( I had a dog die from kidney failure two years ago and it makes me ill to think of going through this again. I HATE to try the low protein/low phos/prescription diet but nothing else is working and I have to do everything I can to try to help his kidney function. So, we will try the low protein food and see what happens once we have another test run.

  • Johnandchristo

    Labs ….

    A troll is a troll is a troll.

  • LabsRawesome

     LOL. Isn’t it funny when someone can’t “win” an argument, that they then resort to posting as “someone else” and then agree with themselves, to try and give their argument some validity. lol So lame.

  • Shawna

    I just got a chance to look at the article you linked to..  It is VERY important to factor the “quality” of the protein when evaluating a diet for kidney disease.  A protein with a high biological value will create less nitrogen then the same amount of lower bioavailable protein..

    SO, it was no surprise to see that the lower protein diet (which they don’t describe the contents of) produced less BUN then Purina Dog Chow Senior, Royal Canin Mature Medium Breed and Eukanuba Senior Maintenance..  Go figure…  None of these are quality foods with “high quality” proteins..

    In my opinion, this research was poorly designed and likely intended to come to the conclusion that was found..  Lowering amounts (based around the BUN) of “high quality” proteins is the gold standard for treating kidney disease.  IF, I say once again, nitrogen trapping is implemented even higher amounts of quality protein can be fed…  However, I have found, most vets don’t know about nitrogen trapping. 

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Jester,

    According to our commenting policy:

    “…the use of multiple identities or other deceptive tactics designed to mislead readers are strictly forbidden.

    So, if we suspect you’re posting fraudulently, be prepared to verify your email address or to confirm your real name by providing your Facebook, Twitter or other established social media identity.”

    Anonymous posting is a privilege – not a right. Please be sure all your future comments obey this important rule.

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  • Shawna

    What??

  • Shawna

    I didn’t get any of that from your posts Guest.  You “implied” that protein was damaging to kidneys.  There is nothing further from the truth.  Protein keeps the kidneys (and every other cell of the body) healthy..
     
    Protein is not “bad” in kidney dogs..  As I said, higher protein diets can be fed if nitrogen trapping is utilized.  AND the more bioavailable the protein the less nitrogen is produced.  Less nitrogen means less for the kidneys to do..  It is poor quality proteins like chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal etc that cause larger amounts of nitrogen. 
     
    Phosphorus is higher in organs (aka by-products) then in muscle meats.  You would also be surprised, I think, at the amounts of phosphorus in grains.  Example — 1 ounce of 70% lean ground beef (raw which is what I feed) has 37mg of phos and 6.7mg of calcium.  While 1 ounce of medium grain cooked brown rice has 21.6mg of phos and 2.8mg of phos.  Raw egg whites, 1 ounce has 4.2mg of phos and 2mg of calcium.  I think we can all figure out which of these are better for dogs.  This comes from http://www.nutritiondata.com.  Tripe is a food that is high in protein, low in phosphorus and has other wonderful benefits.. 

    The science you are finding may say that a prescription kibble is better then a maintenance kibble but I will NEVER by the data that “quality” protein is damaging to a dogs kidneys.  As mentioned before, I have a dog that has had kidney disease for 6 and 1/2 years, is healthy, unmedicated (except vitamins and nutraceuticals) and has been eating HIGH protein raw since being weaned..  By the way, symptoms of polyuria and polydipsia were noticed when she was about 6 weeks of age.

  • Guest

    Thanks for clarifying my point. In stages III & IV protein restriction is advantageous and may be in stage II since phosphorous and protein often go hand in hand. I am not saying that protein is necessarily bad in unaffected senior animals, only those with CRF. That said there are papers that support reduced protein in senor pets without evidence of renal disease, although they are not as robust as those with CRF. See:
    http://jarvm.com/articles/Vol5Iss2/Frantz.pdf 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Shine a little light on the troll and they disappear, apparently.

  • Jester

    Actually Shawna protein can harm a dogs kidneys… The key to protein is where it come’s from. Protein from a “muscle” meat source is great and will never harm a dogs kidneys. But protein from “”other sources”" most defiantly CAN harm dogs, “if”, it is to high. I have been researching meals, such as chicken meal and others and am quite surprised to find how much bone is in any type of meal. Protein from bones is unfounded if it is good or bad. I fed Orijen and I am feeding less kibble and working hard on adding more meat to my dogs diet… I have located a local butcher for more meat and a local Asian store for more fish. Both are under 2 bucks a pound. 2 bucks a pound is about what Orijen cost’s in my area. I have been able to reduce the amount of kibble from 4 cups to 3 cups due to these finds. Everyone feeding any kibble with a meat meal only ingredient or ingredient’s only, really should get on the stick and do some research. Chicken meal really has very little, if any, meat in it at all. Tyson chicken meal is a joke…

  • Shawna

    Or maybe this one — Nestle Purina 2008

    “The ability of excess dietary protein to induce renal pathology was studied in both dogs with chronic kidney failure and older dogs without kidney failure. Numerous studies have confirmed that protein does not adversely affect the kidneys. However, phosphorus- and protein-restricted diets are clinically beneficial in dogs with existing chronic kidney failure. Protein restriction for healthy older dogs is not only unnecessary, it can be detrimental. Protein requirements actually increase by about 50% in older dogs, while their energy requirements tend to decrease. When insufficient protein is provided, it can aggravate the age-associated loss of lean body mass and may contribute to earlier mortality.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18656844

    PS — I didn’t link to the Merck Vet Manual because the links don’t work when copy/pasted.  But anyone can google “merck vet manual chronic kidney disease” to read the page I quoted from.

  • Shawna

    “Protein” doesn’t damage the kidneys even in late stage chronic kidney disease.  However, lowering protein does control the symptoms making the animal feel better — which happens in the later stages of the disease.. 

    Additionally, if you utilize nitrogen trapping efficiently you can prolong protein restriction even longer..

  • Shawna

    Does the Merck Vet Manual work for you?

    “In Stages I and II, animals usually have minimal clinical abnormalities…  Animals in this stage should be fed standard, commercially available maintenance diets, unless they are markedly proteinuric (see below). All affected animals should be reevaluated every 3-6 mo, or sooner if problems develop….

    In Stages II and III, the principles for management of complications are the same, except that the animal should be evaluated every 2-3 mo….   Measures that may slow this progression include dietary phosphorus restriction (dogs and cats), dietary fish oil supplementation (dogs), antihypertensive agents (hypertensive dogs and cats), and administration of ACE inhibitors. Dietary restriction of phosphate and acid load is essential in this stage, and specialized diets for management of kidney disease should be fed.

    In late Stage III and Stage IV, all of the principles of managing the preceding stages apply, except that the animal should be evaluated every 1-2 mo. Dietary restriction of protein may relieve some of the signs of uremia. High-quality protein (eg, egg protein) should be fed at a level of 2.0-2.8 g/kg/day for dogs and 2.8-3.8 g/kg/day for cats.”

    “Protein” restriction isn’t recommended until the dog is azotemic which is in the later stages of the disease..  However, phosphorus restriction should happen as early as stage II or III.

    Dogs and cats with acute kidney disease or elevated proteinuria should have protein restriction while in crisis stage.

  • Guest

    The key difference is the 99 paper is one guys ramblings. The 2000 and 2002 papers are prospective case-control studies with multiple authors and real-world cases (pets); quite a difference. Check out wikipedia for definitions of this study types versus a review paper (which was still written before the two cited papers which are considered definitive).

  • Shawna

    I will also note that they do know that “protein” (even high protein) does not contribute to kidney diesease NOR damage the kidneys once disease has set in.  However, phosphorus does. 

    Additionally, the original research that implicated protein as a cause —- it was done on rats not dogs…

  • Shawna

    So a paper from 2000 and 2002 are better then a paper from 1999??? 

    An important factor in these two you sited — the renal diet was compared to a “maintenance diet”.  Assuming the maintenance diet is kibble, possibly poor quality proteins etc.  ALSO, the cats in the one diet lived 633 days versus 264 days on the standard diet…  Neither are very good results if you ask me especially in cats..

    I’ll stick with my high protein (45 to 54%) raw diet I am feeding my pup with congenital kidney diseaes..  She’s been on the same diet for 6 and 1/2 years and still doing GREAT..  No meds, no sub-q fluids etc..  Six and one half years and still her only symptoms are polyuria and polydipsia..  I bet those eating a prescription kd diet aren’t having those same results..??

  • LabsRawesome

     Senior pets need even higher amounts of species appropriate protein, because their aged systems have a harder time processing it. And I am talking about healthy senior pets. In some RARE cases/illnesses there may be a reason to limit protein, for some sort of illness.

  • Guest

    I beg to differ with the statement:  ‘recent opinion finds high protein not to be a contributing factor to kidney disease in senior pets’. I wouldn’t call a 1999 op-ed style paper in a supplement to a 3rd tier journal recent or definitive. Review these studies for life changing data on low protein diets and life expectancy in dogs and cats:

    -Median survival times of 633 (low protein diet) versus 264 days (standard diet) in cats with chronic renal failure  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2000.tb03932.x/abstract
    -Compared with the MF [maintenance formula-high protein], the RF [renal formula-low protein] had a beneficial effect regarding uremic crises and mortality rate in dogs with mild and moderate renal failure. Dogs fed the RF had a slower decline in renal function, compared with dogs fed the MF.
    http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.2002.220.1163

  • Shawna

    I disagree..  Especially when high quality, balanced raw foods can be purchased at the same stores that the high end kibbled foods are purchased at…

    “Dry food”, even the high end ones, is simply fresh food that has had all the nutrients processed out of it.  To the point that they have to add fake nutrients back in..

    I would also question “balance”.  Food balance is based on what science currently knows to be accurate.  New data is coming out all the time.  Ten years ago, as an example, omega 3 was not supplemented in processed foods.  They still aren’t encorporating all of the 8 known forms of vitamin E.  Some feel that calcium carbonate is an inferior source of calcium.  etc etc etc

  • BryanV21

    I use the term because I think it’s better than saying “omnivore”, because I don’t believe the word “omnivore” is correct. While dogs can digest/process some non-animal foods, they are designed to get nutrients from animal sources. 

    So I understand that you can use the two terms interchangeably, I will not use or accept the word “omnivore” for a dog.

  • aimee

    Bryanv21,

    What is/ are the metabolic differences between a facultative carnivore and an omnivore as I the term used interchangably and no clear distinction between the two.  

  • BryanV21

    You’re wrong, but don’t worry… you’re not alone on this subject. Look up “facultative carnivore”.

  • Boogiefromcur

    dear barbara I tend to agree with you but the problem with hygiene issues, the cost/time issues, obtaining fresh meat etc etc outweigh the “raw” feeding pro’s much more than feeding a quality dry food which is additionally balanced with after aftermarket supplements.

  • Boogiefromcur

    dogs are not carnivores they are omnivores my friend…get your facts right

  • Dieselle

    I have an 11 year old dachshund who just spent two weeks with undiagnoised stomach issues where she started vomiting and then she refused to eat and drink….Vet found nothing in blood work or x-rays.  With a lot of patience we managed to get enough food and liquid into her to start bringing her back… now she has returned to “normal” healthy and hearty appetite but we need to re-introduce her to dry food.  The Vet suggested we put her on a more easily digestible senior wet (canned) food.  However, she prefers dry dog food. 

    Any recommendations for either or both? 

    I know we must introduce very slowly… right now we prepare her chicken and she loves raw and cooked veggies and fruit, which we have started giving her in tiny quantities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haughpaw Barbara Haugh

    This is worth considering….I had a litter of shepherd pups that I fed raw until I placed them at 6 months. All the pups grew at a much SLOWER rate then they did when I transferred them to bagged food to assist in placing them. I agree with the statement that calcium/ph is more likely what causes bone malformations than high protein content. All the pups were lean and healthy on raw. Once on bagged food they started growing like mad. Something to think about when we are told that bagged food is the only way to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haughpaw Barbara Haugh

     No

  • http://www.facebook.com/haughpaw Barbara Haugh

     Protein is based on ALL sources not just animal protein on a per cup basis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haughpaw Barbara Haugh

     Have you tried raw?

  • Wingmaster01

    Anybody that would think that Meat Based Protein is not good for the Dog/Canine is seriously misinformed or they have been mislead by others. That said, it is my wish that these dog food producers learn to produce a meat based protein food that does not give my dogs the runs. Weems the higher the meat protein content the more loose the stool becomes.   

  • BryanV21

    Personally, I would never recommend a vegetarian diet for a dog.

    Sure, there may be instances where a dog’s got an illness in which it can’t have any meat, but dogs are carnivores and should get the majority of their protein from meat sources… not things like peas.

  • dixon_mason

    This is a myth spread by vegetarians, who think even dogs should get by on carrots and lettuce. Blah! My Scottie is happiest when he’s tearing into some fresh roast beef!

  • Marilyn

     I would recommend Orijen. Do some research on it.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Assuming the mixing process in kibble-making is complete, it will be per kibble.  If your dog eats 1 cup of food a day, he is getting 38% protein.  If he eats 2 cups a day, he will still get 38% protein.

  • Rheseyj

    Thank you but that was not what I meant . I will use orijen adult as an example it has 38 % protein . Is that per kibble , per bag , per cup . How much would my dog need to eat to achieve that 38 % protein level . Would she need to eat a kibble , a whole , bag , a cup ?

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy
  • Rheseyj

    How do they judge the protein in the food ? Is it per price of kibble , cup , bag ? How ?

  • Dward22

    I notice most high quality dog foods have fish listed as a protein source. It does not state what kind of fish, but a lot of fish contain toxins. I used to feed my lab and 2 goldens Solid Gold Wolf King with menhaden fish. I dont think they use the menhaden fish any longer and are now using a different type of fish, unspecified, so I am discontinuing Solid Gold and looking for a non fish dog food. I also had them all on Cosequin which contains glucosomine condroitin which is also a fish substance. I am now doing homemade and adding extra virgin olive oil and organic ground flaxseed and bone meal(human grade). Also, I feel that  a lot of problems which cause allergies are in dog treats. I have found some excellent dog treats recently made by blue buffalo that contain yogurt,pumpkin, apples and cinnamon( no corn syrup or other garbage.) I just started making homemade using ingredients listed on the web from a dog food @www.luckydogcuisine.com

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Joe Jackson,

    I don’t know what a Bordoodle is, but (1) if it’s still considered a puppy, it needs certain levels of certain nutrients for a growing body and (2) if it’s a large breed, they have a special calcium to phosphorus ration that they should be getting for proper bone growth.

  • Joe Jackson

    I have a 8 month old Bordoodle who is relatively finicky.  She will not usually gobble up her kibble.  I’ve tried Castor & Pollux , TOW and finally tried Wellness CORE.  She finally seems to like the core, but I see that it isn’t recommended for dogs under 1 year due to the high protein.  But after looking at protein content of other “all life stages” food, some have just as high if not higher levels of protein.  Should I not be feeding her the Wellness CORE?

  • Eileen Postings

    I have heard that too high a protein content in dog food causes itchy skin. Is this trus?