Prescription Dog Foods

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

Why don’t you review prescription dog foods?

Due to their intentional therapeutic designs, we do not review prescription dog foods.

That’s because to treat certain health conditions — like kidney or liver disease — some veterinary products have been intentionally designed to reduce the meat protein content of a recipe.

Since we shamelessly favor dog foods rich in meat, it would be inappropriate for us to assign a star rating to such meat-restricted prescription food products.

What about the claims of efficacy made by the manufacturer or a prescribing veterinarian?

Our reports have nothing to do with the ability of any dog food to effectively treat or cure a specific health condition.

Should prescription dog foods be exempt from scrutiny?

Although we respect the right of every veterinary professional to prescribe what would be in the best interest of each patient, we still believe every consumer has the right to question the quality and content of these products.

Pet owners should expect at least the same level of quality and value afforded any other pet food purchase — no matter how they’re dispensed.

Can you recommend a dog food I can get from a pet food store that’s designed to treat a specific health problem?

Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, I cannot provide specific medical advice. However, please see our FAQ page for a list of some suggested products for specific condition you may wish to discuss with your vet.

  • A D

    I was feeding Natural Balance but I think currently it is only getting like 3 stars. Pretty low rating for the cost of the product

  • Helene

    My Lab has high protein in her urine. It is a progressive non curable disease and the only way to slow it down is through low protein and blood pressure pill.My vet had me call some of the well respected dog food companies to find out the dry matter protein ratio in their canned dog food to do a real comparison to try and find a low protein food for my dog. Well come to find out, they were all too high in Protein. I Called Honest Kitchen that makes Higher end Dehydrated Food. The company is great and they have all different formulas. I found one called Keen that has 21% protein. That is the dry matter ratio.My vet wanted her on a 20-22% dry matter protein. He did not want her to have to go on the prescription KD food. Her protein level dropped a point. So now I am trying to mix in half the prescription canned with the Keen to see if her level will drop further.

  • Pink dog

    Don’t give in to that science diet crap. I feed my dogs primal raw dog food. It’s grassfed no soy, corn, wheat or any antibiotics used in the meat source. A good quality protein. My dog used to get crystals too in her bladder. Hard to mKe your dog drink more water. But raw diet gives them plenty of moisture/water in their diet. It’s expensive but I think it’s worth it. Beats spending lots of money at the vets office. Think about it….dogs are descendants of wolves and wolves eat protein not soy not corn not wheat!!!

    There’s been studies out there that since commercial dog food has been around there are more dogs that die from cancer now than ever before. They put crap in the commercial dog food. You have to really research the dog food you are using. There are really good products but there are more crappy ones than good so be careful. The saying you get what you pay for is so true!!!

  • Pink dog

    I had a dog that had kidney issues. We spent thousands trying to save that dog. In the end we couldn’t save her since she had an auto immune problem. We adopted her from the shelter. So we only had her for 3 years. But that being said because of her kidney issues we informed ourselves exactly what causes all of it. We of course naturally in the beginning thought it was due to a big protein diet and was suggested by my vet to do the Hills KD DIET. hated it!!! It had no valuable nutrition for our dog or for anyone’s dog for that matter.

    With further research we found out the myth behind all the protein causing kidney disease isn’t true at all. The test when it was conducted was done on mice and rats which their diets doesn’t consist of protein to begin with. It’s no wonder their kidneys couldn’t take it.

    Do your own research don’t take my word for it. But the high protein diet isn’t the problem with dogs kidneys or crystal built up….it’s the quality of protein. Find a good quality protein source of dog food and your dog will thrive. I feed my dogs primal raw dog food. Very high quality grassfed beef no antibiotics no grain no corn or soy fillers!!! Dogs are descendants of wolves and what did wolves eat in the wild? Meat!!! Good clean meat that isn’t filled with crap!!

  • ruby estra

    The whole theory behind that protein is the cause of kidney problems is false. When that test was conducted it was done on rats which diets doesn’t consists of meat source. Good high quality protein for dogs is the best food you can give them

  • Trikerwomyn

    Your dog’s blood tests tell the story. It can take months to bring a sick dog back to an acceptable level. Go back and discuss the problems with a diet with your Vet. With your Vet, try different foods until you find one that works, producing good blood tests and a healthier appearing dog. If possible, work closely with a Vet. Internist, not a generalist when your dog develops a chronic disease.
    Remember, it is how a dog chemically processes food that matters, and the chemicals appearing on that label are an attempt to give the dog a balanced diet under difficult circumstances.

  • Jennifer Laschi Harmon

    My standard has battled crystalsince 8 weeks old. My vet knows I don’t want her on a low quality food. So what we’ve used is uroese (spelling?) a supplement. She’s been crystal free.

  • Lara

    Pick any 5 star food. Transition very slowly – over 14 days. If there is mass causing liver issues, no diet will change that.

  • Lara

    Good job being educated and switching her food! Honestly, it is sad that vets promote these terrible quality foods. It wouldn’t surprise me either if her kidneys improved on better food. Glad to hear your dog is healthy.

  • Guest

    Thanks for setting Drew straight. Neither dogs nor people need to eat corn – it’s difficult to digest and not absorbed by the body – that’s why the kernels end up in our poop! Most of it’s genetically modified and it’s used as filler in pet foods and to fatten cattle. It’s not part of their diet either and very difficult for them to digest. Food Inc for your viewing pleasure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Oq24hITFTY

  • Petnicks

    Drew, you are wearying …

  • Lara

    I have a feeling you are a veterinarian after reading all your posts. I don’t say this in a positive light at all.

    You are misinformed that “premium food” is constituted as Royal Canin and Science Diet. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that dogs so best and thrive while eating meat. However, highly sensitive dogs (like my dogs) may be unable to eat protein that comes from animals that also eat grain. Additionally, red meat tends to lack essential oils that come from kibbles with fish, resulting in a superficially dry skin that can itch. So yes, I tried a high quality red meat kibble as well as chicken based kibble that didn’t work for my dogs. This does not mean I am going to rush to the vet and buy their terrible quality food. That doesn’t prove anything. Neither does, like I said before, their “unbiased” research. Which I forgot to mention is often sponsored by, none other than the food brands themselves. My local vet med school is one of the best in North America and their research is sponsored by Royal Canin – go figure.

  • Lara

    Oh, please like the vet research industry would ever make Royal Canin look like a bad food. Their research is sadly 99% marketing/sales and 1% “research”, AKA designing a food that won’t kill a dog but leaves them needing to go to the vet 3-6+ times a year. So yes, large sums of money into research to promote sales of cheap low grade food.

    My dogs are both allergic to grains as well as grain fed chicken/poultry. They are doing awesome on a grain-free, potato free, and chicken-free food right now. I know several other dogs allergic to grain. And yes, to many, corn is considered a grain. With a farming background, I consider corn to be a grain. Its an empty nutrient starch full sugary grain.

  • Lara

    Most, if not all, of Royal Canin’s food is garbage. If you want your dog to remain a good healthy weight, pick a high quality food and a proper portion control. If your dog is too thin, add more food. If your dog is overweight, add less food and exercise more.

    You will feed a lot less of a high quality food. For example, if you feed 1 cup Royal Canin, you will only need 3/4 cup or less of Orijen. The ingredients are better and contain less fillers. They end up being cheaper and making your pet healthier.

    Foods I can suggest: Orijen, Acana, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Wellness Core, Taste of the Wild, Canidae Pure, I and Love and You, Wysong Epigen, Natural Balance.

  • Lara

    This is the major reason I chose not to be a vet tech. I refuse to sell a product that will make animals sick. The sad thing, that you stated, is that people believe so heavily in these foods. It truly is sad that vets continue to sell these foods – mainly because they make a huge profit from doing so.

    I did however work in a high quality pet store, that I LOVED. I saw people come in everyday interested in improving their dogs health by upgrading their food. I have seen anything from heart illness, frequent UTIs to severe allergies cured with the proper food.

  • LabsRawesome
  • Bobby dog

    Thanks, I am going to check it out.

  • Gin

    You are welcome. Yeah, I love reading all kinds of things too. Vets do their thing, I do mine. Like you I want to give my one with the cheeks sardines too. I love them, and he goes nuts for it. I am waiting till he’s thru with HW cuz his stools are still not firming too well. They look firm, but they are soft. After the meds he should be ok.

  • Gin

    Gaia, I would pop them and just spread on her skin. Looks kind of like motor oil/thick and green.

  • Bobby dog

    Hello:
    What brand of olive leaf extract do you use?

  • dchassett

    Thanks for adding the site to your post. Very interesting and informative but most of all I’m thrilled to have a list of the large companies and what dog foods come under their umbrella. I avoid feeding foods that have been recalled and then go so far as to avoid any foods the companies also produce. Again, thanks.

  • LabsRawesome

    Thanks, that’s my 8yr old son. Good info on your link. I knew about all that stuff though, I am always interested in reading about dog related news/articles. I am signed up for news/alerts through just about every site. Lol. My dogs love Merrick, but it is pricy, so that is why they only get it occasionally. Your dog is so cute!! I just wanna pinch his cheeks.

  • Gin

    I LOVE Merrick! As a matter of fact we used to sell Merrick and Wellness here 8 yrs ago when we started. I didn’t like when Wellness changed, I do use it for cats though. Merrick was too pricey for many around here. I was thinking of starting the Bully that is HW positive on Merrick. My vet said wait until he is completely done with treatment, he should start gaining.

    This is pretty interesting. See page 10 about Merrick. Those are one of the few treats we sell here, Merrick Sarge and Hooves, pizzle sticks.

    http://www.halopets.com/pdf/StateDogFoodToday.pdf

    Cute little boy!

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Gin, sounds like you’ve got a really nice boarding kennel. If I ever boarded my dogs, it would definitely be in a place like yours. Luckily my Mom lives nearby, so my dogs just go to Grandmas house when I’m not home. You are using good foods. I use Victor grain free and I mix in Kirkland (cuts in gravy) and 4health, occasionally some Merrick canned. My dogs really love the mix. I also give them eggs, sardines, mackerel, ect.

  • Gin

    We feed Natural Balance Ultra, Canidae All Life Stage, and Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potato. I have always fed my Olde English Bulldoggues & Pit Mix this and the bullies lived to be 14 & 15, Pit Mix 17 yr old.

    Adopted two English Bulldogs in September. One had yeast, missing hair under chin, infected tail, needed cherry eye surgery, and heartworms. His hair is all filled in, no more yeast smell, shiny coat.
    The female had bacterial problem, missing hair on top of back and ears that looked like elephant ears. We thought we’d have to live with the funky ears, but hair is actually growing back. Of course they had ran the gamut with Clindomycin and other meds at shelter. I started using Olive Leaf Extract and Virgen Coconut Oil on her back and ears, stopped the meds. She is now a healthy dog WITH hair, ears are looking pretty good too. I bathe them with Chlorhexadrine and the male every other week with Micanozole from Davis. I still think the food helps with many of the problems. Just like humans with exzema, and other autoimmune diseases.

    I would not feed corn food to dogs boarding with us, cheap food makes all the difference. Drew below talks about less healthy environment, we are not one of those kennels. I designed the bldg and there are 2 sections with only 6 indoor only runs, one wiith 3 (those have tvs, twin beds, music), so you get the idea. It’s home away from home. Out of thousands I have boarded, I’d say I experienced colitis only 3 times or so. It is quiet, peaceful, dogs have 20 x 25 and a yard that’s 60 x 65 for runners. They interact 5x a day with us. We personally take them out each time. So Drew might be talking about kennels back 20 yrs ago.

  • Gin

    Love this…the hubby thing

  • dchassett

    Wow! That’s a new one on me. Believe me, I have an auto immune illness and am allergic to all sorts of things and so is my Maltipoo, Katie so it’s always been a joke with my family and friends that katie’s in good hands because if I don’t know how to deal with allergic reactions who would. But allergic to human dander? I don’t know what to say. Though I do sometimes tell my hubby I think I’m allergic to him so PLEASE turn the t.v. down and go to another room. lol. He knows better and just ignores me. Gotta love a guy that knows you well after 35 years of marriage and ignores your wacky ways.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Gin, what food do you use, for the dogs you board?

  • LabsRawesome

    OMGoodness I’ve never heard that one before. A dog that is allergic to Humans? Poor guy.

  • Gin

    I totally agree with you. I just posted about one of my customers. She was paying over $40 for 8.8 lbs, switched and now paying under $40 for 15 lbs and her dog is doing wonderful on his new food.

  • Gin

    Thank you for adressing him Mike. I saw some of these remarks yesterday, after we had a conversation (that would not end) and just decided to not respond further to drew. I always liked it here just discussing situations. I am a kennel owner and have rescued many dogs with skin conditions. Some food works others don’t. I had one customer that switched and switched. After allergy testing, the vet said allergy problem is human dander.

  • Gin

    One of my customers was eating the
    Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein and paying over $40 for an 8.8 lb bag. She switched to Natural Balance Fish & Sw Potato, sometimes uses Potato & Duck, and her dog has been fine for over 6 months. The difference in cost is for under $40 she gets a 15 lb bag. No allergy problems.

  • Shawna

    “I notice each time I say “you can’t conclude x with just the information
    you’ve given, you need to know y as well” you reply with “oh we did y
    too, it was normal.” First it was diagnosed based off bloodwork”

    Yes drew, my vet did the blood work along with a urine specific gravity, urine culture etc. The vet diagnosed kd. And yes, I didn’t mention all that to the original poster. I imagine she wouldn’t have cared much. Nor do I mention all those when I discuss Audrey in other posts. I think you simply could have asked those questions rather then immediately going on the defensive though..??

    And for what it’s worth, I didn’t say renal diets don’t work. I know they do but in the early stages of the disease when uremia is not an issue and phosphorus is not elevated and proteinuria is not a concern, they are not necessary. And in the later stages of the disease when it is necessary to control phosphorus and may be necessary to limit protein, there are definitely better options than the prescription diets sold at most vet offices.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I believe Hound Dog Mom is correct and it was RC. I wasn’t saying that it was CAFH, and I can’t remember if the reaction occured 45 minutes or 2 hours later. It didn’t resolve quickly at all, as the dog never stopped itching, it just got acutely worse a set amount of time after eating the vet prescribed food.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Look at the way you just replied here to this nice person. Your condescending and arrogant tone is visible to all and serves as a lasting testimonial to the kind of professional and human being you truly are.

    I can only imagine what your clients would think of you if they only knew your real identity and were to witness the way you interacted with others here.

    If you every do decide to return, please check your superiority complex and arrogance at the door before you post any future comments. Otherwise, you will not be welcome here.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Probably so.

  • Shawna

    PS — my vet didn’t know anything about nitrogen trapping.. I learned that one on my own. Vet wanted me to feed kd kibble even though numbers indicated early stage kd. I learned on my own that protein restriction is not necessary, or even advisable, in early kd. Vet recommended KD kibble even though they sold canned which would have been a better option. Something they did not tell me but I had to learn on my own. My holistic vet recommended a home made diet with grapes in it. I had to call her to question the inclusion of grapes… I could go on… :)

  • Shawna

    You are REALLY REALLY good at those subtle insults drew!!! :) What is it specifically you want to know from that original conversation with my vet.. Yes it was on the phone and yes I was in shock from the “diagnosis” I was given but…..

    To sum up what I know — a urine specific gravity was done and abnormal (I have the results on paper at home). Her phosphorus was within normal ranges and her phos to calcium ratio was normal. I don’t recall the BUN/Creatinine ratio. A urine culture was done – came back negative. Follow up blood evals were done every three months for a year. The vet opened her up a bit wider during spay procedure to get a look at the kidneys. KD was recommended. An ultrasound was recommended but I was told it may or may not help in determining a cause and that it would not help with treatment. What else do you want to know?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Thanks for removing the discourteous language.

    In this comment you said, “I don’t see anywhere in your terms of service that we are required to disclose our personal profession prior to engaging in discussion.”

    Here’s the link to our commenting policy which states…

    “In the interest of fairness, those who publicly claim to be veterinary professionals are kindly asked to post using their real names.”

    This rule is required to prevent those who fraudulently claim to be vets from doing so without proof.

    In any case, the fact we “kindly ask” vets to identify themselves is only meant to be a desirable request and should not be construed to be a prerequisite for participating here.

    Please keep in mind that every one of your comments remains as a permanent archive and proof you have been given every opportunity to be heard.

    Feel free to post your opinion. However, all we ask is that you post your comments with respect and courtesy to others.

    By the way, if you are indeed a veterinarian, please keep in mind you are posting as an ambassador for your profession.

    And that gives you a distinct opportunity to positively impact the skeptical opinions about the veterinary profession held by so many pet owners and other visitors to website like The Dog Food Advisor.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I think you’re thinking of the Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein formula. This formula contains rice (first ingredient) and it doesn’t list the rice as being hydrolyzed. http://www.royalcanin.ca/index.php/Veterinary-Products/Canine-Nutrition/Veterinary-Therapeutic-Formulas/Hypoallergenic-HP-Dry

    The Hill’s Z/D just lists starch so it may be purified to not contain any protein(?). Doesn’t specify what the starch is though.

  • drew

    You have basically proven my point. I believe you can remember simple bits of information, my concern is with your ability to remember and interpret larger discussions with more complexity.

    If all you got from the visits was “try KD” because the kidneys are sick, then it explains why you don’t have much other information to discuss with me.

    That’s fine! I don’t expect all pet owners to understand this stuff in depth. There are some great pet owners out there who aren’t particularly bright. It’s only a problem when they start pushing their flawed ideas on other people.

    (For what it’s worth, I’m outtie! Maybe I’ll visit this page again in a couple months if it pops up and I see gratuitous amounts of misinformation [err.... well I guess I'm repeating myself], but until then, have a great spring!)

  • Shawna

    Okay, to make this easy for you drew. My vet told me to put Audrey on Science Diet KD the same day as she was spayed… Then the vet who did the second blood eval three months later told me to put her on KD. And a third vet in the clinic, two years later, asked why Audrey was not on KD. If you feel I am not capable of understanding what my vet meant by put your dog on KD then so be it.. :)

  • drew

    1) Your understanding is incorrect. All proteins, not just meat, are hydrolyzed in a hydrolyzed protein diet.

    2) The signs you mentioned do not at all match with cutaneous adverse food hypersensitivity. There would be no immediate itching reaction, and it would not immediately resolve. An itching reaction that occurred minutes after eating is absolutely not a cutaneous adverse food hypersensitivity.

  • Shawna

    I’ll consider contacting them as the diagnosis was done on the same day that I dropped off Audrey to be spayed. As mentioned it was the pre-spay blood work that showed elevated BUN and Creatinine. I believe the urine culture was done on the same day but not sure any longer on that. Urine specific gravity was done on same day. I may have a hard time as this was almost eight years ago and I gave the okay to do the spay after given the chronic kd diagnosis.. Thoughts?

    And no, you are right I did not read your whole post as I didn’t want to get the above question lost in replies to the rest of your post.

  • drew

    Nope. That’s not any part of my argument, and is not true, and I never said or implied it.

    It is clear that I am wasting my time speaking with you, so let me state it one last time then leave you alone.

    We did not know what course of disease to expect. Therefore, we do not know if what we actually saw was a result of the diet or not. That is my argument, which is completely different from your summary of my argument.

    Again, given how completely you fail to grasp even the main point of my argument, I think relying on you to reliably communicate things your veterinarian told you is a bad idea.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You said “The premium dog foods that pets are placed on for allergies have all proteins broken down to a level that is smaller than the immune system can react to. So regardless of the particular ingredients, they cannot cause allergies unless there is some contamination.”
    We were actually discussing this 2 or 3 weeks ago. One poster had a dog that was put on a hydrolyzed protein diet, but the owner felt that it was still having food allergy issues because a certain number of minutes after feeding, the dog started scratching and chewing itself every time it was fed. The meat source in the Hill’s food was hydrolyzed, yes, but the starch source was not, I believe rice in this case. Rice and other starch sources have protein in them, maybe not as much as the meat source, but they still have protein in them and can be the cause of symptoms.

  • Shawna

    It seems to me that your whole argument is that diet is varied by the type of kidney disease diagnosed?

    If so, what form of diet would be suitable for the various causes of chronic kidney disease? From the research I’ve done, those such as Kronfeld and Bovee, diet is not different for polycystic versus developmental versus another cause. Diet is only factored in based on the stage not cause.

  • drew

    So… I addressed all of those things.

    If you can find where I said “your dog doesn’t have chronic kidney failure” I’ll be really surprised, because I recall writing that your dog may well have chronic kidney failure, but that this is an insufficient diagnosis to predict outcome.

    I also stated that “developmental disorder” is not a sufficient diagnosis. I did not say it was a wrong diagnosis.

    I do think that at the time of the spay, it was unlikely your vet thought that.

    But the authorities, since you ask, would be the Veterinary Board in the state where you live. You can use the drop-down menu on this page: https://www.aavsb.org/DLR/
    to find the one in your state.

    I have seen you repeatedly misunderstand and simplify the things I say, so I have a hard time believing that you fully understand the information your vets have given you as well.

    I’m sure this comment will get me booted, and I am frankly okay with that by this point.

  • Shawna

    Chronic renal failure in a young dog, per the Merck Vet Manual, can be caused by developmental disorders. What procedure would you suggest my vet perform to diagnose developmental disorder?

    I wonder why my vet told me my dog had kidney failure if she didn’t feel she had kidney failure. AND I wonder why the additional two vets who performed the follow-up blood evals didn’t tell me my dog didn’t have kd? Why have four different vets from two different offices allowed me to continue thinking my dog has chronic kidney disease? Are you suggesting I should turn all four in to the authorities? Whom should I contact if that is the case?

  • drew

    If it were intended to directly address the original information posted by Mary Straus, I would have posted it as a reply to Mary Straus’ comment. Instead, I posted it as a reply to YOUR comment.

    You argue that the vet is relying on old data, you pointed to a source drawing a certain conclusion, but that same source, the same one who came to that conclusion, is still recommending a diet restricted in all of those things.

    So what’s going on? Is minnesota urolith center ignoring its own data (and is the vet and MUC both wrong)? Or are you misunderstanding the implications of those papers you cite– while both the vet and Minnesota Urolith Center are understanding them correctly and coming to different conclusions than you?

  • drew

    Again, you CANNOT get a good picture of what the diet did without knowing what was wrong with the kidneys, regardless of any other data you have. It’s entirely impossible without a diagnosis. You still haven’t told me what the diagnosis is; “chronic renal failure” in a young dog is secondary to something else. You can’t detect a change from expected course without knowing the expected course. “Developmental disorders” is another umbrella term that doesn’t give a meaningful indication of expected outcome.

    You seem to be treating “kidney disease” as a specific diagnosis; it’s not. It’s a description of a problem. There are many parts of the kidney, and many types of disease, and each carries different expectations. It is entirely possible that the kidney disease your dog is suffering from (assuming it is kidney disease) would have been expected to behave exactly as it did in your dog, regardless of diet. In addition, polyuria and polydipsia is and *excellent* cause of pre-renal azotemia. I wonder why that wasn’t followed up on? Any cause of PU/PD would cause azotemia, and if that disease persisted, then it may be the cause of everything else you’re seeing.

    If your vet performed the spay, then he didn’t think your pet was in kidney failure. If he gave your pet a diagnosis of one year to live due to renal failure, and then performed a spay, then he should lose his license. It looks to me like he felt the kidneys were fine, that the values were probably a mild change from normal and nothing to worry about, and you followed up on them and nothing exciting came of it. ”

    I notice each time I say “you can’t conclude x with just the information you’ve given, you need to know y as well” you reply with “oh we did y too, it was normal.” First it was diagnosed based off bloodwork, then it was diagnosed based off bloodwork and urine, then with urine culture and repeated followup bloodwork… That makes this game impossible for me to play. In addition, I have no way to determine what information you remember correctly by now, and what you don’t.

    As I said, literally hundreds of diseases can cause pre-renal azotemia– anything that decreases drive to drink, which means literally any illness could potentially cause it. You don’t diagnose renal vs pre-renal disease by ruling out 800 different pre-renal diseases, you do it by looking at USG. IF you want some ideas, pick anything on this list that might cause a dog to feel unwell: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions. In any case, the focus on whether or not it is renal disease is not that important to the argument–we still don’t know what the expectations should be without knowing the cause of disease.

    If you are occasionally feeding her kibble, and that is not her normal diet, of course she has vomiting and an upset stomach. Uremia is not the only cause of vomiting.

    It sounds like you have a complex case, that should be or should have been seen by an internal medicine specialist. I’m not a psychic, I’ve given you plenty of things to consider. Even if you give us the USG, I’m not going to try to diagnose your dog. (I will say a USG >1.020 rules out renal failure, and below that doesn’t prove renal failure, as many causes of PU/PD– including any inflammation, steroids, toxins, infections, etc– also cause isosthenuria. The bottom line is that you don’t know what was wrong/is wrong with your dog, and the anecdote from one dog does not qualify you to state that renal diets don’t work. Data always trumps anecdote.

  • Shawna

    Yes, I did read your entire post. In all truthfulness however, I only read the first two links. What I am missing is what relevance this has to the original information posted quoting Mary Straus?

  • Shawna

    1. I think we can rule out acute by a. not having acute symptoms
    b. having elevated BUN and Creatinine for multiple years consistently
    c. ruling out a urinary tract infection with a culture

    I think you CAN get a picture of what the diet did when evaluating the blood BUN after dietary modifications — which as said was done every three months for a year.

    2. Please list which diseases and situations cause “abnormally” elevated creatinine. As indicated in my last post with an edit shortly after posting — a urinalysis and urine specific gravity was done. Since she did not have any symptoms of “vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased drive to drink” what then would be the causes of elevated BUN and creatinine without those symptoms or any others except polydipsia (which we both know is increased water consumption) and polyuria? Which were symptoms notices at just six weeks of age and mentioned to her holistic vet but not followed up on.

    3. PS – it was her conventional vet that did the spay after diagnosing kidney disease. Audrey was taken in to spay and it was the pre-spay, as well as one year (and first), blood eval done that showed elevated BUN and creatinine. I was in shock and allowed the spay but in my right mind I never would have. The spay went without issue but she had all kinds of monitors etc hooked up to her. However the recovery wasn’t good at all. She would not move for three days and wet herself constantly. I slept on the living room floor with her and kept piles of clean blankets and towels next to us as I would have to change them several times a night. She was very ill. I foster and have gone through lots of dogs being spayed (including older retired breed dogs) and NEVER experienced the negative reaction I did with Audrey.

    5. I completely agree with you here.. Audrey was the runt or a litter of six to a 12 pound dog and was beginning to fail to thrive at 4 weeks old. She was diagnosed with a collapsing trachea and couldn’t get enough nutrition. The breeder ended up bottle feeding her until she started eating on own. Merck lists “developmental disorders” as a cause and it has been assumed by me that that is the cause with her.

    After getting the news from my vet I started researching. I checked material safety data sheets as well as the Center for Disease Control and started eliminating items in my home that could be problematic. Audrey is exempted from the rabies vaccine for life (she has never had the shot). I use nitrogen trapping to eliminate toxins from the blood. I feed “quality protein”. She has never had a heartworm pill or given conventional flea/tick meds etc etc. She has been on Standard Process Canine Renal Support since getting the news (which I purchase from my holistic vet). For reasons I won’t get into this helps with inflammation. She gets food grade activated charcoal, reverse osmosis water (has since coming to me) etc. The only time she starts to show signs of uremia, specifically lethargy and vomiting, is if I feed her kibble for more than a few days in a row.

    Sorry, the urine was cultured and came back negative for infection. I don’t remember what the urine specific gravity was but I have all her paperwork at home and can pull it when able — I’m at work right now. If I remember correctly the vet told me that they had to syringe the urine and the protein could have been caused by that.

    Even though you are not attempting a diagnosis, I would dearly LOVE for you to tell me what it could be if not kidney disease as what I have been doing for her, for the past seven and a half years, may not be necessary and I may not be doing something that could be helping. So please DO share.

  • drew

    A couple points on this:

    1. Dogs in kennels are expected to be less healthy in general, due to close quarters with other pets, less environmental enrichment, less interaction with people, less exercise, etc., so that may throw off your observations.

    2. Certainly, an increase in the quality of diet can help. I’m not arguing that cheap diets are just as good as high-quality diets, just that the focus on corn is probably overblown.

    3. Whether or not corn is GMO has no impact on health per se. Sure, if it was modified in a harmful way, then it is harmful, but then that could happen with natural hybridization too.

    Have you ever read “Just Food”? It’s a great read, and it gets into the evidence on GMOs. (It’s written partially in response to “the Omnivore’s Dilemma” but from an evidence-based standpoint, rather than personal journey/narrative.)

  • drew

    What you’re sharing is personal observation and anecdote. I’ve shared my observation and personal anecdote, and they seem to oppose yours, so that’s where we need objective evidence. I would argue the burden of proof falls on you, since you’re making the assertion (“corn causes allergies”).

    I don’t have institutional access to journals anymore, unfortunately, making it hard to come across full-text papers. But I would be willing to bet very large sums of money that there is no veterinary dermatologist in the world who agrees with you in this claim. I know for a fact there are none at the veterinary schools at University of Illinois, UC Davis, U Penn, and U Cornell.

    The technical term for food allergies is “cutaneous adverse food hypersensitivity” if that helps you in your search for journal articles. I apologize if you already knew that, and this ends up being patronizing or something, that’s not my intention.

    In fact, only about 10-15% of dogs that have skin disease actually respond to a diet trial, so I find it hard to believe you are achieving such a high rate of success with yours.

    The premium dog foods that pets are placed on for allergies have all proteins broken down to a level that is smaller than the immune system can react to. So regardless of the particular ingredients, they cannot cause allergies unless there is some contamination. (Let me know if you have questions on why that is the case, or disagree with the premise.)

  • Gin

    The other problem today is probably more about that corn is so nutritious for dogs, because the manufacturers stretch the truth. There are certainly other proteins that are more nutritious. Corn is used because it’s cheap to produce. Most used in dog food production is GMO corn (farmers can’t even it). Give a dog a bowl of Pedigree and a bowl of food that doesn’t list corn in the top 5 ingredients and see where he goes to eat.

    When a dog comes to board with me, I can 9 out of 10 times tell you what food he lives on. The labs that eat tons of corn, will have constant bowel movements, most get runny at some point. If they stay with me for a while, and they start eating our food, they stop having gas problems, smelly soft stools. Some eat such cheap food that you can actually see the corn kernels in the stools. After a few days, they are not pooping 5x a day, the stools are firmer. There is a difference in behaviour.

  • drew

    I edited all the responses that say “stupid.” Did you go back and check them out? I’ve been fairly polite since then, unless I was responding to an attack by someone else.

    I’m surprised you’re offended by that characterization… isn’t that a fact? You believe the pet food industry killed your pet, and that motivates you to publish this site? I don’t see why that’s a bad thing, everyone gets their motivation from somewhere.

    If you are considering a boot or a ban, I hope you’ll ask the other commenters first. Some of them seem to be interested in my opinions.

    I don’t see anywhere in your terms of service that we are required to disclose our personal profession prior to engaging in discussion. Is that a rule? If so, then I won’t continue posting, as I feel your rules are an invasion of privacy, and unfair.

  • Gin

    We just see it frist hand. So many dogs on these cheap foods like Pedigree, Beneful, etc. We are not the only ones, but other groomers recommend changes in the diets, and immediately you will notice the dog not having a problem.

    Unfortunately so many of the vets recommend a certain brand that they sell at a very high price, and it still contains all the same crap, corn by products and soy ingredients. Once taken off all that, the dog’s hair starts growing back, they no longer have lesions, the change can happen within 2 months.

    Now, if they come in with yeast problems, we can smell it or see loss of hair as well. After a few months, their hair starts growing back, the funky odor dissappears. We work closely with an animal shelter that feeds Hills products. When they have a dog in serious need of care of skin, they use Fish & Sweet Potato or similar and the change is so incredible.

    We know that there are many skin problems due to plant life in our area. The hunting labs get horrible lesions on their limbs, and of course vet gives prednisone. I am not saying it is totally the corn’s fault, but with it’s low value of protein, the owner switches and problems are gone.

  • drew

    1) I didn’t argue that failing to ultrasound *changed* the outcome– I’m arguing that you never gave yourself a solid idea of what outcome should have been expected. If there was kidney failure, you don’t know if they were polycystic kidneys, acute renal failure kidneys from infection vs toxin vs inflammation, etc. You can’t really assess whether the diet changed the outcome or not if you didn’t have a solid idea of what outcome to expect.

    2) Creatinine is elevated due to all of the same things that elevates BUN, minus a few (doesn’t go up with elevated dietary protein, for example, the way BUN might.) Elevated BUN and creatinine is called azotemia, and azotemia can be renal, pre-renal, or post-renal. You CANNOT determine which it is without assessing the urine, and even after you assess the urine. There are literally hundreds of diseases that can lead to pre-renal azotemia– becuase there are literally hundreds of diseases that can cause dehydration through vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased drive to drink.

    IF you determine the disease is renal, you STILL cannot assess the cause without either an obvious history (“my dog just drank antifreeze”) or an ultrasound, and even then you might need a biopsy on top of the ultrasound to know for sure.

    3) I am assuming that your vet wasn’t TOO awfully worried about the kidneys when she agreed to perform an elective surgical procedure? What was the timing on the diagnosis of kidney failure and the anesthesia?

    4) Your vet gave you a 1-year prognosis without having a specific diagnosis? Thats shady, I don’t know whether on your memory, or the vet being sub-standard, but you can’t give a prognosis without a diagnosis.

    5) Perhaps I was being overly broad in saying a congenital disease shouldn’t worsen. But depending on the disease, there is often no ongoing insult or pathology that would cause them to keep getting worse. With older dog chronic renal failure, whatever caused the renal failure is often still ongoing, even if we don’t nail it down exactly. That, and age-related degeneration continues.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Drew,

    In the short time you’ve been here on our website, you have managed to conduct youreself with a level of arrogance and unkindness towards others only rarely witnessed by those of us who more regularly inhabit this community.

    In just 8 hours, you have referred to your host (of this website) as “a dentist with a chip on his shoulder”, you have called a number of posters “stupid” and admonished and lectured others because of you believe they don’t “form (their) opinions” to your liking.

    Even though you may hide behind vague names like “Drew” and “Guest”, I get the distinct impression you might be a veterinarian. And if that is the case (and in the interest of fairness to all those you so rudely criticize and admonish), please identify yourself as such — or stop posting.

    I’m sure your patients would like to know how you really feel about other pet owners.

  • drew

    Can you provide any evidence that corn leads to allergy problems? Technically any protein can cause allergies, but corn allergy is extremely rare. I am sick of that particular myth.

    I am in a position to see many, many dogs and I am trained to assess their health, and I get to talk to their owners. I have certainly seen no trend in dogs with healthy coats or lack of allergies and raw or evolutionary or high-protein diets. In fact I make a point to ask every dog with a particularly shiny coat what they feed their dogs, and you may be as surprised as I have been to see how many of them answer things like Pedigree, Purina Dog Chow, and other lower-end foods foods.

    (While I already knew raw/fad/evolutionary/natural diets provide little benefit to dogs, I expected that premium diets would be better for skin and coat, but in my unscientific observations, that has not been supported.)

    Probably the only trend I’ve noticed is that the most common foods in general end up being the most commonly fed to healthy-coated dogs, and the least common foods are least. In other words (and without objective data I understand the following statement may well be subject to poor memory or memory bias), in my observation it seems that there’s little link at all, and that some dogs have healthier coats than others based on many, many more factors besides dog food.

    When I say “processed” I don’t necessarily mean ground. As long as the outer hull is removed, it can be digested.

    I agree, I’m sure corn is not the most perfect source of nutrition, but in the end if the nutrition is there, then I don’t think it matters. I guess my philosophy differs from that of most people on these boards– in the end it’s the nutrition profile that matters, not the ingredient list, and you can achieve an excellent nutrition profile (including quality of protein, presence of vitamins and minerals and fatty acids etc) with supplementation and widely available/inexpensive ingredients just as you could with all-super-premium, expensive ingredients.

  • drew

    A similar conclusion is actually reached in all 3 articles. Did you read any of my comment before posting, or just click the links and then hit “reply”?

  • Shawna

    Per her vets, ultrasound can tell you the exact cause of the disease but it doesn’t change the outcome.

    Yes, I will agree that factors other than kidney disease can cause elevated BUN — like dehydration or diabetes mellitus among other causes. But what other illnesses cause above normal increases of creatinine?

    When Audrey was spayed her vet made the incision larger than necessary and evaluated her kidneys. She said they were both there and of proper color but small.

    In addition to the one year blood evel (and I have stated this in other posts here on DFA) we took Audrey in for blood evaluations every three months for a full year to evaluate dietary and supplement changes. When I used pectins, as a prebiotic for nitrogen trapping, her BUN increased pretty drastically. When I eliminated the pectins and utilized acacia fiber the BUN was at it lowest ever (still above normal however). Of course, these additional evals over a years period of time would rule out acute disease.

    Why would congenital kidney disease be “unlikely to worsen”? Her vets gave her one year past diagnosis to live.

    I do A LOT of supportive care to keep her as healthy as possible so I’d LOVE for you to tell me why spending those extra monies and taking those extra precautions wouldn’t be necessary!!!!!!

  • Gin

    Raw, unground corn is difficult for dogs to digest. However, when corn is ground to a meal and then cooked, dogs are able to digest it and use the nutrients. Most dog food producers ground the corn and then cook it before turning it into kibble. If you buy dog food with corn in it, your dog probably has no problem digesting and using it.

    The corn in dog food replaces more expensive meat products. By using cheaper corn over expensive meat, it cuts the costs of making the dog food. As a result, the price you must pay to buy the dog food is significantly lower.

    If you notice with dogs that eat cheap kibble full of corn, many have soft stools, smelly gas problems, their coats are not as shiny. Many will have allergy problems. And lest we not forget corn is not what it used to be 30 yrs ago.

    Compared to other grains, corn meal has a higher glycemic index. This means it raises blood sugar to higher levels, and higher blood sugar levels are unhealthy. The more the corn is ground, the higher the glycemic index, but the more it is ground, the better your dog digests it, making it a double-edged sword.

    While corn does contain nutrients and vitamins, it does not contain much. That is why you can find cheap dog foods full of corn for as cheap as $15 for 30 lb bags.

    There are many better sources for protein and nutrients than corn, including wheat, oats and meats. Corn shouldn’t be classified as “empty calories,” but it does not provide much nutrition for your dog compared with other options.

  • Shawna

    The conclusion of the second link you posted says (emphasis mine)

    “CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:
    Feeding canned diets formulated to contain high amounts of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and moisture and a low amount of carbohydrate may minimize the risk of CaOx urolith formation in dogs.”

    I’m not sure how this differs greatly from what Mary writes in her article?

  • drew

    “Officially diagnosed during blood work eval” — you didn’t get her diagnosed at all. You can’t diagnose the cause of kidney disease in a 1-year-old PU/PD dog without an ultrasound. If it was diagnosed based on bloodwork, either you didn’t follow all the doctor’s recommendations, didn’t understand his discharge instructions, or there was a misdiagnosis or a “best guess,” non-definitive diagnosis.

    Yes, I’m sure the kidney values were elevated, but there are many things that can cause that besides kidney failure. Even if it was kidney failure, there are many different causes of kidney failure. A 1-year-old dog would have either congenital disease that is unlikely to worsen, or acute disease, which has a good prognosis if the pet survives the short-term disease.

    So basically, you don’t understand what was going on with your pet, and you fail to understand how research applies to your case.

  • drew

    Corn is not at all hard to digest, assuming you process it correctly to eliminate the hull. Do you have any support for your claim that corn is hard to digest?

  • drew

    Unfortunately for you, maybe. But very fortunate for pets.

    Let me ask you this: do you think you could design a diet yourself that would be appropriate for the conditions these diets are prescribed for? If you had to go to a grocery store, buy ingredients, and design a food for, say, an animal with liver disease, what would it be?

    If you don’t believe you can complete this task effectively, then what makes you think you can judge the effectiveness of therapeutic diets?

    Any time you think you can reduce a complex issue, such as nutrition, down to a simple rule, there’s a problem. When you believe your simple rule leads to better solutions than what is recommended by those with advanced training, there’s a big problem.

    If you, as a receptionist, believe you know more than nutrition and its impact on disease than your veterinarian knows, then you probably shouldn’t be at that clinic. You obviously don’t have much faith in your veterinarian’s knowledge, and I imagine that it must be hard to recommend that people see him or her.

  • drew

    Interesting. YOUR author cites a study from the Urolith Center at Minnesota, and uses that claim to argue against calcium restriction.

    And yet, a more recent publication, citing more recent studies (as recent as 2009), also from the Urolith Center at U Minn specifically mentions U/D by name and recommends it in certain cases…

    http://www.cvm.umn.edu/depts/minnesotaurolithcenter/prod/groups/cvm/@pub/@cvm/@urolith/documents/asset/cvm_asset_107726.pdf

    Note that the studies mentioned, and those with similar conclusions (eg: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11843112 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11911566 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697365 )

    are not saying that adding any of those factors INDIVIDUALLY has any effect– ie, no one claimed that if you simply add calcium, or simply add protein, to a food, taht it will reduce CaOx stones. Rather, they evaluated specific diets with a certain profile of nutrients, and assessed response. It is not appropriate to conclude anything more specific than that.

    In general, it is the *balance* that is relevant, not the total amount. Calcium and phosphorus are a great example. When present in equal concentrations, these form a mineral that may not even cross into the body from the GI tract. But if they’re present at different amounts, one of them ends up not having a partner to form a mineral, and being free. If you were to restrict calcium in the diet, you may end up INCREASING absorption of phosphorus into the body because it’s not bound in a mineral. Since phosphorus is an ingredient in many stones, the resulting increase in excretion of phosphorus into the urine may lead to increased stone formation.

    We do know that high calcium can lead to calcium stones. If, after reading those studies, you feel this is odd and contradictory, it’s because you’re oversimplifying the results of those studies and failing to understand the complexity of the issue.

  • drew

    1. I’ve seen plenty of veterinarians over-react to crystals, but it depends on the TYPE of crytal. Some are perfectly normal, and vets putting you on SO for these types should be smacked. Some are ABnormal, and need SO.

    In general, there’s nothing wrong with a second opinion, but a third opinion from a general practioner is a waste of money and time– if you still have questions after 2 opinions, visit a veterinary specialist in the area of interest.

    2. Remember, this site is based on the childish and foolish assumption that “the more meat, the better.” Is it really likely that such a simplistic rule of thumb can be used to determine diet quality? I wonder if the same is true in human nutrition, I wonder why it takes people so many years to get their PhD in nutrition? Silly folks… I’m glad you at least recognize that you need to limit protein to help reduce crystals.

    3. Some of the ingredients you can’t pronounce are helping to reduce stone formation by altering pH, reducing the tendency of ions/minerals in the urine to form into crystals, and by increasing solubility.

    By the way, can you pronounce docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, or alpha linoleic acid? If these Omega 3 fatty acids (read: good-for-you, natural oils) are added to a diet, you suddenly have scary sounding names. What about “Meleagris gallopavo”? That would be the scientific name for a turkey. If you lived on some remote island that had little awareness of what a turkey was, and there wasn’t a common name for it, the exotic deli meat would probably use this term instead of “turkey.” Does that make it bad for you? How about “arsenic?” I can pronounce that pretty easily, and it’s all-natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna help my pet.

    Nutrition is complex. Using simplistic rules will only get you so far. When it comes to a therapeutic diet, second-guessing what nutritionists and veterinarians have decided, through careful research and observation, is the best diet for a certain condition– that can get you in trouble.

    Remember, there are hundreds of thousands of pet owners. Medicine is an inexact science. For everyone who saw a dog get worse on an Rx food, by coincidence or otehrwise, and for everyone who saw a dog get better on some fad/boutique/evolutionary diet, there are thousands of pets who were harmed by not following the recommendation, or who were helped by the Rx diet. This site represents an extremely balanced sampling of individuals, so you’re only hearing one side of the story.

  • Sandra Boggs

    My Siberian Husky has been on Purina NF for early stage kidney disease for 3 years. In the beginning, she only had the kibble, but upon learning that canned is better for dogs with kidney disease, I started adding the canned to her kibble. She began to have chronic diarrhea, and stomach upset. She vomited occasionally, and I wasn’t happy with it. She began to lose weight, and her coat was horrific with big bald patches, and irritated spots all over her body. I took her off that food, and put her on Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dry Dog Food, mixed with Blue Buffalo Canned Foods. She has gained weight, has no more diarrhea and no more vomiting. Her coat looks better than it has ever looked in the 9 years I have had her. She has also picked up her activity level. My dog will never touch Purina NF again! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that her levels have improved on her kidneys.

  • Shawna

    Your vet is relying on old data.

    “In the past, diets restricted in both protein and phosphorus were thought to reduce the risk of calcium oxalate formation. Studies found, however, that dietary phosphorus restriction increased calcium absorption and the risk of calcium oxalate formation, while higher levels of dietary protein reduced the risk of urolithiasis. Current recommendations for dogs prone to forming CaOx stones say that diets should not be restricted in protein, calcium, or phosphorus.” http://www.dogaware.com/articles/wdjcalciumoxalates.html#protein

    The above linked site has some GREAT data..

  • Debbie

    It’s confusing because they say the cause is from too much protein which comes from the meat. Makes sense that the dry food does not have enough moisture. I also read a Holistic dog food is better. I’m really confused but I don’t want my Malte to end up having surgery. I really am considering taking her off of the prescription diet, using more of the quality canned food with kibble and adding water. Maybe another opinion from another vet would be good also.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Crystals aren’t detrimental, unwanted – definitely. And they have the potential to become stones if conditions are right. 2 of my dogs are on the alkaline side and have some crystals, but they get a normal diet (raw, canned, some kibble) and I give them Mercola bladder health in the morning and Wysong Biotic pH- in the evening. They haven’t had any UTI’s which can precipitate stones.

  • Debbie

    My Maltese get crystals in her urine. Once again she is on Royal Canin Urinary SO. I haven’t been reading very good reviews regarding that food so I will probably take her off of it again. I use Banfield, maybe I need a second opinion or can anyone give me an idea on a bit of lower protein good dog food without all of the other ingredience that I can’t pronounce? Thank you!
    Debbie O

  • Gin

    Your vet diagnosed it as IBS? Which Eukanuba is he on? The reason I ask about he Eukanuba is, they had some bags recalled. Check yours here:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall/iams-eukanuba-dog-cat-food-recall/

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Alicia, can you afford to try a raw diet for your dog? Now big is he? If not, get him on a food with a high meat content, and a low glycemic index and add fresh meat or high quality canned food as much as possible. Dogs are suppose to digest meat. Their system should be naturally acidic because meat and bone require it to be. But when you feed a carnivore a high starch food, it screws up their natural pH. Plus, as with all dry foods, they are heavily processed and contain only 10% moisture. A dog’s evolutionary diet would contain 70-80% water. So, many dogs are chronically dehydrated because they aren’t getting their water from the food like they should. This is especially true for kitties. Cats tend to develop all sorts of urinary tract problems because of dry carb based foods.

  • Alicia

    My min pin is 7 and he has had calcium oxlate stones twice now in two years and has had to have surgery to remove them both times. What kind of dry food would be recommended for him? I would also be giving wet food because he’s not drinking enough water my vet said. He talked about putting him on a science diet but I’ve read not so good things about the brand. He is on beniful now (I know shame on me) and I’m going to buy him some better quality dry food. His ph has also been 6 or 8 or even 9 so I’m not sure what would help with that also.

  • sue66b

    Gin what is a good dog kibble food that is low in fiber & low in fat?? My boy has IBS & is on Eukanuba Intestinal this product is very very crumby the bottom of the bag is full of crumbs, & he farts after eating it.. I’ve looked & looked for another kibble but I cannot find one that is low in fiber & low in fat..

  • Shawna

    Thank you and you are correct, one example is not significant. Luckily, there is FAR more examples and even research that does give credibility and significance. Dr. Kronfeld demonstrated that dogs with 75% kidney loss could eat diets with protein as high as 54% long term. Dr. Bovee discusses the myth of lowering protein here “Results of the 10 experimental studies on dogs have failed to provide evidence of the benefit of reduced dietary protein to influence the course of renal failure.” http://www.dogaware.com/files/bovee.pdf

    Hills even admits “There is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for or against the use of diet therapy in dogs with non-proteinuric stages 1 and 2 CKD.” They seem to be stretching the truth with their evidence against though as there is such evidence, especially regarding protein restriction. http://www.hillsvet.com/pdf/confPro_TheRoleOfNutritionalManagementInDogsWithChronicKidneyDisease_en.pdf

    I can also link to at least four small animal nutritionists that recommend a homemade diet for dogs with chronic kd if interested.

    I think it should be noted however that the research “guest” linked to is specifically discussing cats with hyperphosphataemia and secondary renal hyperparathyroidism. In THAT situation it may be that crf diet did extend the lives of the cats. But certainly not all cats and dogs with kd have high blood phosphorus or hyperparathyroidism. AND the research states a diet “specifically formulated” for CRF (not a “prescription diet”) — with the aid of a nutritionist, a homemade diet could easily be “specifically formulated” for a CRF client.

  • Matt

    a sample size of 1 is not statistically significant. I am glad she is doing well

  • Brianne0321

    I’ve had my dog for almost 17 years. She was recently diagnosed with chronic renal failure with poor kidney functioning. She has been switched to the prescription food. At this stage, we are more concerned with the short term since long term most likely won’t be seen. The people who are here who are against it with young dogs aren’t thinking about the elderly dogs I’m guessing. At 17, I want her to live as long as possible as long as she is happy and feeling as good as possible.

  • Gin

    Nancy, you want to stay away from corn (it doesn’t digest well and makes them have more stools). You want a quality food, Natural Balance is good, wheat, corn, soy free and has good fats in it. If not careful, many dogs gain too much weight from it. I recommend it when dogs have stomach or skin issues. There are many good foods out there, small batch foods are great too.

  • Gin

    I am reading the ingredients on their Hypoallergenic Adult HP, the first ingredient is Brewers Rice–dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer –Brewer’s rice is an inexpensive form of carbohydrate, and does not contain the full nutritional benefits of whole grain brown rice, Soy Protein-Soybean oil provides a small amount of additional low quality protein. We note, however, that soy is one of the most common causes of food allergies in dogs and in this instance is preserved with a chemical (BHA) that is believed to be carcinogenic. Robin is so right! Cheap ingredients, and customers paying exuberant pricing for this dog food.

  • Shawna

    Oh, I missed this post….
    My dog was born with kidney disease. Polydipsia and polyuria noticed at about six weeks of age. She was officially diagnosed during blood work eval at her one year birthday. She has NEVER eaten prescription diet and to date has lived seven years (as of June 30th 2013). That study was obviously flawed or my dog would already be gone… Esp considering dogs have a harder time with kd, I’ve read, then cats.

  • Red

    And by “non-prescription” what do they mean? Meow Mix, Whiskas, Fancy Feast? They can do studies till they come out of a certain area, but if they are skewed then they all they do is spew false data.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I feel that while Royal Canin isn’t horrible, it’s overpriced for what you’re getting. For the price you’d pay for Royal Canin you could get a 5 star food with a lot more meat and less fillers (like corn).

  • nancy

    Why is Royal Canin not good? Is corn something to stay away from? I am using the low fat and my dog is just too thin, but i dont know how to help him gain weight.

  • Joann

    Amen brother! They are being taught evil alchemy for profit!

  • Bethsoda

    Oh, and Verus is another good one.

  • Bethsoda

    Annamaet, which is a very high quality dog food (and that I think should be rated higher on here) has never had any recalls that I know of.  It’s made by a small company who cares a lot about quality control, even locally sourcing ingredients like potatoes for their grain free line and making sure all of their poultry is cage free and antibiotic and hormone free.  The key is to look for local companis who haven’t sold out to large distributors like P&G, and Diamond, and the like.

  • Robin

    I recently started working as a receptionist for a veterinary clinic. I really enjoy what I do, except HATE that they sell prescription diets. I have checked out the ingredients on the bag and the first ingredient is always whole corn. It makes me so mad that these people HIGHLY believe in this food. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have 5-10 people coming in just to buy science diet or royal canin for their pets and think it is the best for them because of what the vet is telling them. I wish there was something I could do, but unfortunately am not a licensed doctor and no one will listen to me.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Too true! But then they might have to admit to something that they really don’t want people to know(their food is c**p).

  • Pattyvaughn

    I can’t always tell because I usually get on here on my iThingy and the mobile version is slightly different.  I finally got a new laptop and haven’t learned to find everything yet.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Really? Big pet food companies are hiring people to get on blogs now? LOL…maybe they should use some of that money to buy better ingredients.

  • Shawna

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OMGosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ROLFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had heard that the big pet food companies were hiring people to get on blogs etc.. Yeah, I guess that would be referred to as a troll wouldn’t it?? Hee hee ehee heehehehhe

    You make me laugh Pattyvaughn :)…

    And yes, all the posts are by the same person. You can tell this by looking at the activity (in the profile section) of the poster…

  • Pattyvaughn

    Do you suppose this guest is that guest and the omnivore guest too, and is really a troll in the guise of a person?  Most recent fortune cookie applies

    Don’t tell your goal to the troll

    Yes, that really was my fortune!  Too funny!

  • Shawna

    This is nonsense Guest.. 

    I quoted data from the Merck Vet Manual stating that protein should only be restricted in the later stages of kidney disease and Purina research states “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.”  http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/frequently-asked-questions/dog-food-protein-faq/#comment-684563085

    PLEASE get your facts straight.

  • BryanV21

    Well of course if a cat or dog is having major medical issues, and needs to be on a prescription diet for it, then it’s best. But I think Ruth and others like myself are speaking more in general. Personally, I think Rx diets are fine for the short-term, but in the long-run are hardly ideal.

  • Guest

    I understand your concern Ruth. But in this peer-reviewed, prospective study cats with chronic renal failure (CRF) fed a prescription diet lived for 1 year longer than cats fed non-prescription diets. This type of study design is used to evaluate human drugs and is the most robust type there is. I don’t know about you, but I’d like an extra year with my kitty if she had CRF.
    Here’s the paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2000.tb03932.x/abstract

  • George

    Sorry to hear about Lucy. I lost my Cockapoo, Bandit, to CHF a few months ago. Bandit was on the same drugs as Lucy and they gave him 3 extra years of life since his diagnosis. You may want to research an amino acid “taurine” that is deficient in dogs with CHF. Research has shown that it can reverse the effects of CHF and actually repair the heart.
    Good luck in your dogs health!

  • concernedmom

    My dog has been tested and her liver levels were elevated due to a large mass in her belly that is covering half her liver. What would be a good food to feed her? She is 13 years old. She also is with a 15 year old lab mix who has tested fine. Is there something I could feed the both of them?

  • Myrasal

    Has there ever been a dog food that has not had a recall.  It seems like everytime I feed my dogs a recommended food (now TOTW) it gets a recall.  Pretty frustrating.

  • Evilpinklolita

    I agree. I think dogs are tougher than we think, and as long as they get a decent food, good veterinary care, and love, you’re good. The subject seems overcomplicated and grain free and raw is too expensive, IMO. I’ve done great on less expensive dog food for 20 years with my Great Danes. However, I respect everyone else’s choice to do what they feel is best. 

  • Ruth Kaempf

    Forgive my bluntness, but I personally believe that the prescription food that one can only purchase from a vet is a racket.  I might add so is most people special diet too.

  • Shawna

    So you are a raw feed Louhadi!!  Cool, we don’t have enough on the site..  What do you feed?

  • http://BrothersComplete.com/ Richard Darlington

    Louhadi

    Coca Cola was originally “marketed” as a solution for headaches, nerves, stomach, etc. because it had some Cocaine in it. In about 1903 or so the FDA had them remove the cocaine and they replaced it with caffeine to keep the “buzz”. Seems to me it was all about profit right from the beginning.

    You ask, “What is in these meals to make them a 300% concentration of the “natural” protein source?” and I think the answer has more to do with what’s NOT in the meals that makes them a concentrated source of protein that is capable of being an ingredient in a dry kibble.

    The fat and moisture are removed and later the fat is mixed with natural preservatives like Vitamin E, Green Tea, and Rosemary (hopefully they use the natural preservatives and not BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, etc.) and sprayed back on the kibble.

    Since about 70 to 80% of meat is water simply removing the water creates a concentrated source of protein.

    Feeding raw is not feeding “a food with a lower fresh protein content” as you say. Actually the protein content on a dry matter basis for a raw food is likely between 60% and 80% whereas a dry kibble usually maxes out around 40%.

    Being wary of “mystery meals” as you put it is probably wise but then again if the company tells you that the meat is a named meal such as Chicken meal or Beef meal then you may be fairly certain that you are getting Chicken or Beef and the mystery is solved.

    Dehydrated food has been proven to be quite healthy so food without water content is not necessarily a negative thing. As long as water is available to the animal then the reconstituted combination of protein, fat, and water should do a good job of nourishing the animal especially if the protein is named and of high quality. 

    An added advantage is that other very healthy and productive things can be added like digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics.

    Certainly a balanced raw diet is the ideal but there are other healthy alternatives these days for those who cannot or will not for one reason or another feed an all raw diet. I personally advocate adding some raw to a high quality kibble whenever possible.

  • melissa

     Nina-

    As a kennel owner(sorry I did not see this sooner) one must be prepared for owners with different requirements. Not all feed dry kibble, and therefore, one must be prepared to make accomodations. You can not expect her to cook(without a huge fee associated with it) however, you can expect her to be able to serve prepackaged, refrigerated(or frozen) meals to your dog.

  • Louhadi

    Interesting analogy with soda.  Cola was originally medicinal invented by a pharmicist for digestive upset.  But to cut expenses, the formulas changed from sugar to high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweetners, and people drank it in excess.  And it became a problem.
    Likewise, to save money, meat meals and grain meals and gluten concentrates were added to pet foods.  What is in these meals to make them a 300% concentration of the “natural” protein source?  How are animals supposed to process such high concentrations?  Where are these pre processed meals manufactured?
    I would rather feed a food with a lower fresh protein content than have the protein “jacked up” by mystery meals. If meats come with moisture content then that is how they should be fed. 

  • Tess

    Hi Nina,
    First, I want to say how sorry I am to hear your sweet companion has CHF.  My dog, Lucy, also has CHF; diag  2/2011.  It was so touch and go for days, weeks and months.  She is on Lasix, Enalapril and Vetmedin.  I think Vetmedin is a very special medicine!  Lucy breathes easier (cough is gone!!) and she runs and plays like her pre-sick days.  We estimate she is 13+ years.

    I am blessed to be able to say that a little over a yr later, she is still with us!  It is nothing short of a MIRACLE!  And I do not hesitate to tell ppl this whenever I speak of little Lucy.  I continue to pray that God will allow me to be her companion and caregiver in the days weeks months (and even year or so) more!!  Nina, I will pray this for you and your sweet dog!

    Next, I just wanted to share with you a food that Lucy has been on since her diagnosis.  She eats Royal Canin Early Cardiac–it is a low sodium Rx food.  Petsmart used to carry it.  Now my vet orders it for us and we pick up at their hospital.  

    If I were sitting for/caring for someones beloved companion, espeically a sick one, I would not mind the extra effort of feeding/cooking his/her special diet.

    Wishing you and your doggy many more happy times and memories together!

    Tess
    Noblesville, IN

    tess6325@comcast:disqus 
    .net

  • Nina

    I need some help here.  My dog (who has congestive heart failure) was prescribed a low-sodium dry kibble (Science Diet H/D formula), to avoid fluid build-up. The reviews on it are bad, plus my dog refused to eat it.  I started cooking for him and he loves my cooking (he is the only creature on the planet who does).  My problem is: I will be going out of town for work for 5 days and I can’t expect the kennel lady to cook for him AND give him all his meds.  I thought about preparing and packing the meals in containers to be refrigerated.  However, I don’t want the kennel owner to feel that we are expecting more from her than we should.  She is absolutely wonderful and I don’t want to be overbearing by taking space in her refrigerator.  It would be easier for all involved if I could find a high quality low sodium wet food he could eat while I’m away.  Any suggestions?  Thanks a bunch for any ideas you can share with me.

  • Shawna

    Dr. Karen Becker DVM discusses a diet for liver shunt (a more serious cause of liver issues).

    “A dog with a liver shunt should be fed only excellent quality protein – human-grade meat. Feeding a smaller amount of human-grade, clean, preferably organic and raw meat is the best way to maintain the foundational health of a dog with a liver shunt.

    My frustration with many of the commercially available diets for dogs with liver conditions is that while they do contain a lower percentage of protein, the quality of that protein is terrible. It is from rendered meat, not human grade. It is difficult for your dog to digest and has minimal bioavailability because it is of such poor quality.”  http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/02/01/liver-shunts-disease-in-pet-dogs.aspx

    Animal nutritionist Mary Straus writes
    “Diet for dogs with liver disease is controversial. I have often seen low protein diets recommended, but recent studies indicate that too little protein can actually make liver problems worse….  A low-purine (not low-protein) diet is recommended for dogs with liver shunts (see below for more info).”  http://www.dogaware.com/health/liver.html

    Dog nutritionist Lew Olson
    “ProteinDogs with liver disease can lose the ability to process the ammonia in the body to urea. This causes a build of ammonia in the system which can be fatal. Past recommendations stated to feed dogs with liver disease a low protein diet, but this has since been found to be just as lethal, as the liver needs protein to regenerate. Newer recommendations are to feed proteins of high quality or of good bioavailability.”  http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/the-liver/

    Unfortunately, plant proteins (in vegetarian diets) are not considered “high quality” and do not have “good bioavailibility”. :(

  • Guest

    I could not agree more with this post.  High protein, meaty diets almost killed my dog.  She has a very MILD liver issue and is on prescription vegetarian dog food.  Her coat came in thicker, her anal gland issues stopped, her bloodwork is beautiful. 

  • aimee

    Melissa ..

     Not sure if Chloer88 is going to come back. But I wonder if you are in the ballpark when describing the problems some dogs have with fat. 

     Since many commercial “meaty” diets  are high in fat as well it may be that she was referring to weight gain and pancreatitis.

     I too can’t think of protein causing problems. If however the protein source in the food has poor digestibility it would contribute to diarrhea and stinky gas. 

  • melissa

    chloer88-

    I would like elaboration on which diseases you are speaking of? Ones that have been caused by excessive meat in the diets?

    I do not recall any off the top of my head, but I do recall lots of dogs suffering from gastroenteritis and pancreatitis-but this was typically preceded by well meaning owners throwing the dog meat scraps-and further questioning showed that the owners idea of “meat” was simply the fat/grizzle chunks they cut off. Or owners meaning well, preparing a plate of turkey at Thanksgiving time, and expecting a dog who was not used to this to not have issues.

    I for one, value Mike’s website to be able to look at foods, what they contain and then make my own judgements as to what is the right amount of whatever for my dogs. While I do not have a problem with grain in the diet, I certainly would not make a statement that high meat content causes specific issues in dogs.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Chloer88,

    Somehow, in the Disqus technical hiccup that occurred here on Wednesday, my response to you was lost during editing. So, I’ve taken care to try to recreate it here…

    Did you say, “It is insane to rate dog food based on ‘meat’ content”?

    Are you kidding me?

    What level of advanced scientific and nutritional education does a vet tech receive to be able to find fault in the rating of a dog food because that report values the use of meat in the product’s recipe?

    Disregarding pets already suffering from active disease (such as advanced renal conditions), how could anyone possibly claim “dogs and cats suffer great consequences due to a diet of ‘meaty’ foods”?

    If you truly believe a meat-based diet is detrimental to otherwise healthy dogs and cats, I invite you to back up that sweeping claim by providing our readers with a few references to some peer-reviewed studies published in recognized scientific journals.

    We’ll be waiting for that list.

  • http://BrothersComplete.com/ Richard Darlington

    Dr Mike

    I think the only peer-reviewed influence on them is that the big money wielding kibble companies who write and provide their textbooks (which should be titled “Nutrition – according to the grain pushers”) reVIEW them as susceptible to PEER pressure from rich grain pushers who are willing to share the wealth acquired by selling junk dog food worth pennies for mucho dollars under the official umbrella of “Veterinarian approved”. 

    I think the term “peer-reviewed” has acquired a more common usage that means “PEER into your bank account and REVIEW how much money you made selling junk to dog owners who trusted your opinion on the quality of dog food.”

  • http://BrothersComplete.com/ Richard Darlington

    chloer88

    “Dogs are not wolves” …is this what you are being taught in Vet Tech school? Actually the “domestic dog” (Canis Familiaris) is in the same family as the gray wolf (Canis Lupis) and has Mitochondrial DNA that is only 0.2% different from the Gray wolf of 5 million years ago. The closest wild relative of the Gray wolf (the Coyote) has a Mitochondrial DNA difference of 4.0% so the domestic dog is as similar to the Gray wolf as a black man is to a white man as far as Mitochondrial DNA is concerned. 

    “…dogs have had corn and other grain in their diet for as long as they have walked besides humans.”…is this a form of logic you are presenting from which we are supposed to deduce that because we’ve been feeding dogs grain it necessarily means that grain is good for dogs?

    Is the fact that humans have been drinking cans of soda full of caffeine and sugar for decades mean that it’s good for them?

    I’m beginning to lose faith in our Vet Tech schools if this is what you are learning there.

  • Marie

    I’ll admit to not knowing as much about dog nutrition, cause I’m a cat person – but REALLY? An OBLIGATE carnivore like a CAT ‘suffers’ from a MEAT BASED FOOD? ‘Suffers’ on a MEAT based diet?

    No offense – but have you lost your mind?

    Whatever ‘damage’ you see due to food is likely because people feed their cats dry food, something cat really have no business eating. THAT damages their kidneys because of lack of moisture. That has nothing to do with protein.

  • Addie

    Interesting info off AAFCO website: 
    It should be pointed out that while “veterinarian recommended” requires a survey of a statistically sound number of veterinarians who recommend your product, it only takes one veterinarian to support the claim “veterinarian formulated”, or “veterinarian developed”, assuming that fact can be sufficiently documented.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    chloer88,

    I’m sorry you feel pet foods should not be rated based upon their meat content.

    In your comment, you claimed, “We have seen too many dogs and cats suffer great consequences due to a diet of “meaty” foods.”

    Hm-m-m-m. Really?

    Disregarding pets already diagnosed with active disease (such as hepato-compromised animals), I’d be interested in seeing your list of canine and feline diseases proven to be caused by “meaty foods”.

    Would you be willing to post here a list of these diseases and back up your claims with a few peer-reviewed scientific studies?

  • Shawna

    Sorry, one more thing..

    What “suffering” are you seeing “due to a diet of “meaty” foods.”  Please don’t say kidney disease because I KNOW kd is not caused by protein.  I have a dog with congenital kd that has been on a high protein raw diet since weaning and will be 6 years old the end of June.  Still in EXCELLENT health with only polydipsia and polyuria as symptoms.

    A liver shunt I will give you but those aren’t really that common are they?

  • Toxed2loss

    If you run a search on when dogfood was invented you’ll find that it was invented in the mid 1800’s and went into production in 1890, before that, dogs ate table scraps, etc… They ate very little grain. Breed records show that they lived longer. In fact multiple cited discussions on other threads, on this site, document the adverse effects of grains on the canine system. Obesity, diabetese, pancreatitis, hypertension… There’s quite a list. Please take the time to check out the discussions on lectins and phytates on the Taste of the Wild and Brother’s threads.
    :-)

  • chloer88

    It is insane to rate dog food based on “meat” content. As a veterinary tech. the ratings on this site are ridiculous. We have seen too many dogs and cats suffer great consequences due to a diet of “meaty” foods. I think as a dentist you should research dogs a little more before giving such judgements. Dogs are not wolves, dogs have had corn and other grain in their diet for as long as they have walked besides humans.