Can someone recommend a canned dog food with low phosphorous content? My dog is 12 years old and was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. Currently he’s eating Blue (Senior) dog food mixed with Blue kibbles. But I wonder if there’s a supplement I can add to slow down the kidney failure or a dog food that will slow its progression. Any advice?
Hi Audery, what about the vet prescription diets, has your vet recommended a can food for your boy, as the vet diets have been made especially for kidney failure & other illnesses…a vet diet would be the best at this stage especially with chronic kidney failure & will probably help him the best…..its sad when they get old & sick poor boy… My 14 year old cat had an operation 2 years ago, a cyst was wrapped around 1 of his kidney & was filling up with urine & was crushing his kidney, the vet had never done this operation before as it was very rare what my cat had but the vet cut the cyst & stitched the cyst to the side wall, so the cyst can’t fill up with urine, now the urine just runs free thru his body & the body absorbs the excess urine..
Thank you for responding. I was hoping to find a tasty low-phosphorous canned food. He’s currently eating (and loving) the Blue Buffalo and I noticed it was one of the editor’s picks for quality dog food especially the Blue’s “Stew” I worry about switching him to the k/d prescription science diet which my vet does stock because I’ve heard others comment that their dogs hair fell out…
The tough thing about phosphorous is that higher protein usually comes with higher phosphorus. A lot of the premium diets these days have high protein, high fat, and lower carbohydrate levels. This brings a higher phosphorus level. Whether a low protein diet is beneficial for dogs with renal insufficiency is controversial but many of the veterinary specialists now say protein should not be severely restricted until the animal is in a more advanced stage of renal disease.
You could ask your vet to hook you up with a veterinary nutritionist– maybe a homemade diet would be an option? Another good quality food that can be custom made (but at a significant investment price) can be had from Just Food for Dogs. You can Google their web site.
If your dog starts feeling worse, getting him to eat will likely be one of your challenges. Be prepared to use bits of different foods and recipes to keep it interesting!
Thank you, Tabitha. That makes total sense, and finally I understand the phosphorous issue vis a vis protein content. I will look for a high quality canned food that has a moderately low level of protein and skip the dry kibbles. I’m also starting to supplement his food with Rehmannia 6, a Chinese herbal supplement containing powdered herbs that work to strengthen the kidneys that my vet sent me home with. I’m also going to research acupuncture! I look forward to visiting your website. In gratitude, Audrey
have you checked out http://www.dogaware.com/health/kidney.html. I find these a great place to find more info on diets, prescription and non prescription for dogs with kidney disease/failure.
My one dog is eating wellness senior food which is one of the lower commerical foods out there with low phosphorus (.74%) It’s still higher than the diet foods though. Also, keep in mind, what doesn’t seem tasty to you may be tasty to your dog. Wouldn’t hurt to try it.
One of my cats is in renal failure and she loves her can food (Hills K/D prescription)
Thank you for the great information, Sarah. Much appreciated.
I have an 8 yr old Boxer named Sage who was just diagnosed with early renal failure. Her first blood test had high BUN numbers but the second test was on “the high side of normal.” The Vet also said that dehydration can cause the BUN numbers to be high. I have to travel 50 miles 1 way to get to the Vet, and Sage hates long car rides and is pretty much in a state of high anxiety, drooling and slobbering all over the car, and constantly panting and putting her head out the window. She won’t drink water when we get to the Vet’s either. So he said she has to be on the Hills Science Diet KD formula so that her kidneys won’t get worse. She’s a very picky eater and I’ve been cooking chicken for over a year for her meals. She also gets carrots, brown rice and an occasional few spoons of canned dog food mixed into her bowl. She doesn’t mind the Science Diet but it’s only a matter of time before she refuses to eat it and I would like to find some alternative low protein/low phosphorus food for her to try. I’m still undecided about this so called kidney problem since she could have been dehydrated. I told the Vet about her anxiousness in the car but he pretty much blew that off. She also had 2 urine tests and he said that it “wasn’t concentrating enough protein.” I want to do right by my dog with her diet and this kidney issue but I’m getting more confused the more I look up dog food information. I just want to keep her as healthy as I can for as long as I can. Any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated!
No suggestions on food, but it would take more dehydration than that to show up with high BUN. If you really want to be sure, you can ask your vet to give your dog sub q fluids and then wait around a while before he takes blood, but I personally wouldn’t bother.
If you are up to the task of making homemade food, there are companies that will formulate a recipe for you. But they will want to go through your vet.
My vet prescribed a Chinese herb called Rehmannia 6. My dog was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure 5 weeks ago. In addition, I add one small squirt of fish oil to absorb the bitter taste of the herbs. He is eating only canned food, as I don’t want to stress or dehydrate his digestive system. I give him the Science Diet “Mature Adult” Savory Stew with Beef and Vegetables, which my vet said was fine. I’m holding off on the prescription kd for now. I took him to the vet last week for a follow up last week and guess what? Normal blood and urine, no renal or kidney failure detected. If I had access to an acupuncturist who would come to my home, I think it would further strengthen his kidneys.
I don’t understand how a dog’s BUN numbers can be elevated either by dehydration or a sign of kidney problems. You’d think that they wouldn’t even mention dehydration! He did tell me that she can live with it for quite some time before it worsens but didn’t say how quickly it can progress or what to watch for. She doesn’t really like the KD Science Diet and I found some dog food online that has low protein and I ordered a case hoping she’ll be happy eating it. I don’t mind making my own food for her. I’ve been boiling and crock potting chicken for her for more than a year because she decided regular dog food was beneath her “diva dignity.” I mix it with brown rice sometimes and she gets the broth and carrots too.
I like to squirt a bit of fish oil in her bowl but that dog can sniff it out and then she will not eat it!
I would have no problem cooking her whatever kind of food would be good for her I’m pretty much used to it now.
I read a paper written by a Vet about putting a dog on low protein food in the early stages of renal failure. His name is Kenneth Bovee, DVM, MmedSc, (Dept of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.) It reads kind of dry and technical but I did my best to understand it. It seems that there’s quite a controversy about if a low protein diet actually helps but Vets have been told it works so they’ve been recommending it for a long time.
I’ve read about herbal supplements that can help the kidneys function better, or “cure” renal failure but I don’t believe there’s a cure!
I appreciate all your feedback and I hope that I can help Sage live the rest of her time with us in a painless, quality way. I still marvel at what a dog can add to one’s life and how completely smitten we can become over them! I’ve had 4 boxers in my life and I’ve loved every one of them equally and my life was enriched by their love.
I just read the report from this Doc Bovee for about the 5th time. It sounds like the idea for reduced protein diets was developed in the 40s but it really has no basis in scientific fact. It even appears that a low protein diet is worse for renal failure. We picked up some Science Diet kd last week.
I fed my Boxer some of it trying to ease her into new food and she’s not been feeling well for the last couple of days. She won’t eat but drinks water and then goes and eats grass and throws up. She also seems to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning her
“girlie area” especially at night.
I’m calling the Vet on Mon and hoping to get her in the same day.
I know that nausea and vomiting are supposed to be signs of more advanced kidney failure but it seems to me that in the so called “early stages” these symptoms shouldn’t be occurring just yet and perhaps there’s something else going on her making her sick. Sigh….and that’s probably just me grasping at straws and trying to maintain hopefulness that my Sage hasn’t moved so quickly into the advanced stages of renal failure.
She was only diagnosed this past month.
I live in the desert and I don’t feel that the vets we’ve been to over the years have been all that great. They seem to care more about cows and horses than house pets. We’ve gone to all 4 of the vets available and their competency has alot to be desired but we’re hoping this guy is the best of the worst.
Ok, thanks again to you all who have taken the time to read my ramblings and responded. We dog folks are sniffalicious top shelf!
Dehydration can affect BUN, but mild dehydration should still be in normal range, severe dehydration not.
Vets in rural areas are in the habit of thinking of dogs and cats as just another animal. It can be difficult to deal with that mindset when your animal is family, not JUST an animal.
Yes, dehydration can affect BUN. One of the side effects for a kidney failure pet is dehydration. It’s one of the things our vet looks for in our cat every time we bring her in for a check up. Also it can lead to hypertension.
There is controvery on low/high protein diets with regards to kidney disease. The one thing that researchers agree on is keeping the pet on a low phosphorus diet. That’s across the board. You will find that more recent studies show that high protein diets may be more useful in pets with renal disease.
Although I disagree with my vet a bit, I still have to trust that she’s doing the best she can in making sure my cat has a longer quality of life. I do believe that renal prescription diets work, but I also know that I hate the ingredients thrown in there. My cat is eating the food so that’s a positive in our favor.
I’ll share some articles, but keep in mind that vets really rely on veterinary articles:
Hopefully these help a bit….if you dog does have early signs, it’s great you caught it early!
Does anybody know what phosphorous is and is it more prevalent in certain animals which are (oh, I hate to say it) raised for dog food? Is phosphorous also hard on our (human) kidneys?
Phosphorous is a mineral that is in meat. Some meats have more than others. Phosphorous is only a problem when certain diseases are already present. It is not hard on healthy kidneys, either human or canine.
Thank you so much for the clarification on phosphorous. Do you happen to know if Fish has less phosphorous than, say, beef or chicken?
These sites are geared towards humans and you may want to google more for yourself, because it really is a wonderful tool, but they should give you the info you are looking for.
I read that when you lower the protein the phosphorus is lowered also because it’s contained in the meat protein. I found a canned dog food that has a .8% of protein and according the the article I read, that’s a good low range.
She doesn’t like that KD Science Diet dog food! I don’t either! It’s rubbery and I don’t like the added ingredients. And not too long after I was feeding it to her she got really sick with throwing up and then refusing to eat. I had to fix chicken broth and crackers for her, lol like ya would for a kid! A few days later she was fine and now she’s as frisky as a pup.
I have a very picky boxer so getting her to eat something good for her is a real challenge. I boil and then fry or bake chicken for her and add yellow potatoes, carrots and celery. And it’s seasoned with some rosemary, sage, a bit of ginger and salt and it tastes good to me so I always hope she’s not in her “diva mode” and will chow down on it! lolol Dogs! How they get US trained to suit them! 🙂
The dog foods I saw that were made from fish used salmon. I’m going to see if my girl will eat tuna fish. She won’t eat food that I put fish oil in. So maybe she’ll get her omegas with tuna instead.
I had to laugh at the Vet when he asked if Sage drinks alot of water or more than usual. Fer cripes sake I said to him. We live in the DESERT and we ALL drink more water than people in the flatlands or moisture rich areas do!
But sigh…it made me paranoid so now I pay too much attention to the amount of water she drinks which is no more than she always did, lol. I’m looking for things that aren’t there because of this diagnoses.
Some protein sources are high phosphorus, but there are proteins that are low phosphorus, and it is worse for the kidneys if you restrict protein too much.
The canned food you found should have been 8%, not .8%. That’s far too low. I don’t think anyone would make one that low.
You may think you are loving your boxer, but that isn’t anything like a healthy diet. You either need to get resources that will teach you how to make a healthy balanced meal or put her on dog food.
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