I recently had routine senior blood work done on my 8 year old lab mix and some of her levels were on the high end of normal. Her veterinarian said she may be in the early stages of kidney disease and suggested switching her to Hills K/D. They aren’t sure about the kidney disease and want to retest her in several months. She has been eating a variety of mostly grain free foods her entire life with Taste of the Wild being her main food. I am not comfortable switching her to K/D for a few reasons but mainly because we aren’t even sure she has kidney disease and if she does it’s still the still early stage. The vet has said the food is well balanced and ok for a dog without kidney disease. I have switched her to First Mate Senior which I feel has higher quality ingredients. I also add a small amount of canned K/D, eggs whites, green tripe and some fresh fruits and veggies. I have been reading so many things about canine kidney disease and diet and am getting overwhelmed! I am looking for others input and opinions. Also, I am wondering what others have fed their dogs with early stage kidney disease? I have looked in to raw but am not ready to feed a completely raw diet although I have begun to do some research on it.
- This topic was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Kelsey F.
Please listen to your vet and start the prescription food right away and whatever other recommendations the vet has made. Provide plenty of fresh water and frequent bathroom breaks. I would get the kibble plus the canned version, mix and add a little water (measured amounts 2 or 3 times a day) no free feeding.
Believe me, you want to keep kidney disease at bay. It’s good that your vet caught this early. It’s not unusual for a senior dog to have labs that are a little off, but hopefully with the special diet you will see improvement when you retest in a few months.
I’ll never understand why people disregard the advise of their vets. The internet is not “research”. There is a lot of incorrect information on the internet.
I hope that you will pick up the prescription food today and ask your vet to explain the rationale for the special diet and anything else that you should be doing.
Btw: Raw is the worst thing you could feed a dog with kidney disease.
Hope this site helps.
Ps: Just a thought, does the dog need a dental? Periodontal disease/bad teeth can cause kidney issues if not taken care of. I assume your vet advised accordingly….just saying that if the dog needs a dental and /or extractions, I would do it. Good luckSusanParticipant
have you joined the “Canine Kidney Disease” on face book? these people are going thru what you & your dog is going thru, you’ll probably get a better response with foods people feed besides vet diets….. https://www.facebook.com/groups/211455130573/
@ Kelsey F
“I have been reading so many things about canine kidney disease and diet and am getting overwhelmed!”
Yes, this is what tends to happen when you do “research”. You will get homeopathic opinions versus science based veterinary medicine.
Both differ greatly and offer conflicting advice. Not the same as a vet that has actually examined your dog.
In my experience I have found it beneficial to find a veterinarian that I trust, and follow his recommendations to the T.
If you are not sure and it is within your means, consult a specialist, although that doesn’t seem to be indicated at this time.AcroyaliMember
Many people have fed a low phosphorous raw diet to dogs in early/mid stage kidney disease. Mary Strauss and Lew Olson have excellent blogs that touch on this topic. Numbers matter, so depending on what things are elevated and how high will determine the best diet possible for your dog.
Also, raw diets are NOT “homeopathic.” Not even close.pitloveParticipant
Do you remember which levels were elevated on the blood work?
Good question (above post), regarding the lab work.
Also what are your specific concerns regarding the prescription food?
I have had dogs that did very well on it, as the dog becomes stable, you can always work with your vet or a veterinary nutritionist to add to it or make changes altogether.
Thank you for the responses. I should have mentioned that my veterinarian is aware I am looking for alternatives and suggested at least watching phosphorus levels and lowering her protein somewhat which is what I have done with the senior food. The vet is also aware of the other things in her diet. My dogs creatinine was 1.4 and her BUN was not elevated at all. I have two nutritionists I have spoken to about possible raw diets but like I said I am not ready to switch yet.
Anon101, my concern about prescription is really that she is still in early stage if she has kidney disease at all.pitloveParticipant
I do understand the vets concern since creatinine was elevated. When it’s just BUN that can mean other things such as dehydration.
Sounds like you and your vet are working together to decide what the best course of action is. I was going to suggest contacting a veterinary nutritionist and/ or an internal medicine specialist, but you’ve already done one of those things!
A home cooked diet under the guidance of a boarded nutritionist could be a really good option for you.
Yes, so the prescription food is being ordered prophylactically. Makes sense.
Sure, the slightly abnormal labs may just be related to aging. Best to keep an eye on it, if the dog is asymptomatic I wouldn’t get too worried. Make sure the dog is getting plenty of water, add some to her meals, they lap it up to get to the food. It helps.
Some good info here http://www.2ndchance.info/dxme-CreatBlood.htmaimeeParticipant
In addition to the blood testing was urine tested? If not that might help in determining the best course for your dog.
Ask your vet about g/d diet. The phos level is lower than commercial foods but protein is higher than K/D. I believe it is for just this type of situation. To determine if a non vet food meets your needs verify with the company what the max phos is. Non therapeutic diets are not specifically formulated for medical problems and the company may not be monitoring the the phos level in the diet as closely as the vet may want. Hill’s, because they are kidney centric likely does monitor phos in their senior products
Aimee, thanks I will look in to the G/D diet and talk to the vet about it. I have been finding so many articles about how controversial significantly lowering protein in dogs with kidney disease is. Cornell, UC Davis and OSU have information available that explains there is no definitive proof that lowering protein is beneficial so thats a big reason I’m concerned about putting her on such a low protein diet. I will be contacting a nutritionist at Cornell regarding her diet so hopefully I can get some answers. Thanks everyone for the input!Amy WMember
Just my 2 cents worth…my girl started showing symptoms of slightly elevated kidney numbers over a year ago with high BP. Vet put her on BP med and did not advise me to change her diet or even come back to have her checked until her regular dental cleaning that we do annually. (He may have assumed I knew what to do to change her diet). Fast forward a year, her blood work numbers are off the chart showing stage 3 renal disease. I changed vets as I felt that my old vet basically wrote her off now that she has kidney disease. He told me this year change her food to RX food which she will absolutely not eat. We then changed vets… I have had blood tests every month since January 2017 and her kidney function continues to decline. We then took her to a nutritionist so he could give us a recipe for a home made diet that she will actually eat and they added an additional blood pressure med to see if it will lower her BP. I hate to think that I have failed her by not taking steps to slow this disease down when it was first mentioned. My girl did not show any symptoms of anything wrong. She did not drink excessively, not peeing more than normal…nothing until the last few months as the kidneys have continued to fail. Once your pup has KD you can not make the kidneys better.
My advice is to do whatever it takes to stabilize her kidney function (changing food, doing home cooked meal with less protein, which then lowers the phosphorus level which is what actually makes them feel bad…etc.). Please make sure that your vet monitors the blood pressure as high blood pressure continues to damage the filtering part of the kidneys. I am hoping that you can take steps now to head off the progression of kidney disease. It is sad to watch your baby suffer and you can not help them feel better.HoundMusicParticipant
“She has been eating a variety of mostly grain free foods her entire life with Taste of the Wild being her main food. I am not comfortable switching her to K/D for a few reasons but mainly because we aren’t even sure she has kidney disease and if she does it’s still the still early stage.”
While it may not be, and, in all likelihood, is not full blown kidney disease, you are playing a VERY dangerous game with high protein feeds in general, even more so in continuing to feed it when the kidney values are already somewhat high. I am well aware it’s not the protein itself that does the damage, but all sources of protein are high in phosphorous – meat based protein even higher, red meats especially.
Excess phosphorous in the body has two main effects. First, it must be filtered out through the kidneys, so too much, over an extended period of time, places a strain on the organs. Secondly, excess phosphorous robs calcium from the bones, and is a major cause of osteoporosis or general lack of bone density. Personally, I have never even dared feed anything over 28% protein to a working dog, because while it does provide energy, it places a great strain on the body, and hunting dogs in particular tend to overheat while running in warm weather on too much protein. I’ve run hounds on feeds that were 21% protein, and those dogs looked great & had energy to spare. Even active dogs do not need such extreme amounts of protein, fat and kcals in their food as many of the grain free diets have, and I believe some of these companies are unethical in the extreme for selling them 🙁
If you want my advice, I would go with the k/d food temporarily, re-test kidney values in a few weeks, and if they have improved, go with something else you feel more “comfortable” with, but keep the protein levels somewhere around 21-23%.Linda HMember
I am looking for diet answers also. My black lab has been recently diagnosed with kidney disease. He has elevated Lipase. BP is WNL. Does have protein in his urine. The vet wanted to change him to Royal Canin renal support. My concern was the ingredients. The first few ingredients are: brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken by product meal, died beet pulp, wheat gluten… We have been feeding our dog Go fit Senior formula. The protein & phosphorous are much higher than the renal formula.SusanParticipant
I’m waiting on my boy test results at the moment, I went & looked up the Royal Canine & Hills vet diets for kidneys & they both have awful ingredients….I think the Hills C/d Multicare dry & C/d Multicare wet stew had the best ingredients chicken meal being 2nd ingredient in the dry kibble…..the C/d Multicare Chicken & vegetable stew looks OK..
Go & join Face Book group Canine Kidney support group there’s 2 groups, I’m still waiting to join the support group the other kidney group is a public group, A few people are recommending Dave’s low protein low phosphorus wet tin food, it has good ingredients & the dogs like it, a lot of the dogs aren’t eating these vet diets…..
I live Australia & I’m looking at feeding a premium pet food called “Meals For Mutts” MfM have just brought out a Hypoallergenic CN Vital Health formula that’s low protein low phosphorus with really good ingredients turkey meat first ingredient then broccoli, zucchini, bok choi, peas, grounded brown rice, quinoa, beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, parsley, natural fats & oils derived from turkey, omega 3,6 9 coconut oil… there has to be an American pet food company like Dave’s & has also brought out a premium dog & cat wet & dry with healthier ingredients for Kidney disease, they must know these dog aren’t wanting to eat the vet diets….aimeeParticipant
Sorry to hear about your dog. I too have a black lab.
I wouldn’t have any concern feeding the Royal Canin Renal support. I understand that people don’t like corn and wheat and by products if that is your concern. As for myself, after spending a lot of time reading the published literature ( search Pubmed) I don’t have any concern about them.
In regards to kidney disease using plant based protein can be advantageous as the phosphorus is bound in the form of phytate. I read some interesting reports in humans that vegetable based protein for pregnant woman with kidney disease is preferred as then they can feed more protein needed for child development but not overly increase the phosphorus burden. Vegetable proteins are incomplete and need to be balanced with each other and or a animal based source. What is important is the overall balance of the amino acids. the body doesn’t care where they came from.
Foods sold without veterinary oversite will likely be inappropriate for most kidney disease patients who need restriction. Kidney disease is one area where customizing a diet through the use of a veterinary nutritionist is valuable.Penelope SParticipant
Here’s the thing….I have a senior dog (going on 14) who was also diagnosed with early stage kidney disease. At the time, he was in major need of a teeth cleaning & that was the reason for the bloodwork. Other than the bloodwork saying something was wrong, he was (& still is) utterly asymptomatic – & as fit, energetic & active as a young dog. We did all the tests, including ultrasound & his kidneys themselves were perfect. Still, the vet didn’t want to do the teeth cleaning…despite all my arguments to the case that dental disease could be a contributing factor. So, I did the whole kidney prescription diet for nearly a year in an attempt to get his levels low enough that my vet would do the cleaning. It was a nightmare for both of us. He HATED – I mean HATED – the food. No matter what flavor or prescription brand I tried. He looked like I was punishing him every time I put a dish of it in front of him. The wet food especially – it smelled like a jar of old pennies so I can’t say I blame him. I could get him to eat it ONLY if I pretended it was a treat & fed him one kibble at a time – so that’s what I did. Guess what. After almost a year on that stuff, his kidney levels barely improved by a fraction of a fraction. His teeth got worse though. Like really a lot worse. Also, because of the super low protein content in these foods, he lost significant muscle mass. I read the ingredients…literally garbage. Wheat gluten, corn gluten, egg “product”, and chemicals…and way more fat (not from quality sources) than the high quality foods I’d been feeding him prior (are muscle wasting & pancreatitis a good tradeoff for kidney disease…?).
Last summer, he almost died. Spent a week in the emergency room after I rushed him there w a swollen face & 103 fever in late July 2020, came home a skeleton (they sent him home to die). Lost a tooth his last day at the ER – & was likely so sick thanks to a nasty abscess. IV antibiotics – heavy duty – the whole time he was there & immunosuppressant doses of prednisone. I syringe fed him high calorie dog food at home for a month, carried him downstairs for potty breaks because he was too weak. He lived though – got stronger. I weaned him off the steroids & did not go back to the prescription food. I started feeding him the food he was on prior to the whole mess – grain free, limited ingredient food, plus green tripe, egg whites…other things like boiled ground meats to vary his diet. Kept his protein high – (because it’s actually BAD to reduce protein in senior dogs & there’s no actual basis for doing so in early stages of CKD), fat moderate, looked up protein sources lower in phosphorus like lamb & beef (in comparison to poultry & salmon). He gained weight, including muscle & his energy levels came back. Most notably, he was excited about meal times again.
I switched to a new vet about 3 months after his ER visit. She said she didn’t understand why the first one wouldn’t do the teeth cleaning way back when. She also said that his bloodwork showed much greater improvement in his kidney levels since I switched back to his old diet compared to tests taken just prior to his ER stay. So we scheduled his teeth cleaning. Before all this started, the old vet had estimated he’d need about 5 or 6 teeth pulled. He ended up losing 14 because they had deteriorated so much in the time since this entire ordeal started. He flew through the cleaning w no issues & was up & running a couple days after. I’m still feeding him the same way & his kidney levels are consistently improving – almost normal levels when I had him tested a couple months after his cleaning. My new vet said I have been doing an excellent job w his diet, is happy w all his bloodwork & now he only has to get it checked at his semi annual checkups (instead of every month like the old vet at $250 a pop). He’s in excellent condition now. He’s a Shepherd/Shiba mix &, when I tell people he’s nearly 14, the reaction is complete disbelief. He keeps up no problem w my 2yr old female APBT mix who is extremely high energy. I have no doubt I will get several more years out of my good boy. Bottom line – do the research, get the 2nd opinions, & never assume your vet (or your own doctor for that matter) know a dang thing about nutrition. Basically find a vet who will work with you rather than one who can’t think “outside the box” or be bothered to keep up w more current research. They sell these foods based on what the manufacturers “sell” them. I wish there was a way to upload photos here – you would not believe the before & after.
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