Whilst prescription diets specifically designed for kidney issues are often recommended for dogs with kidney disease, many owners find their dogs just aren’t that keen on them. The recipes we list here are NOT prescription diets, but they do follow along similar lines in terms of the basics you’re hoping to achieve from such a food and, as such, may be a viable alternative – particularly in the early stages
When looking for a food for a dog with kidney disease, the goal is to make the job the kidneys do as easy as possible. One of the main ways to do this is to reduce the amount of phosphorus the dog consumes by feeding a food which contains only moderate amounts of high-quality protein & lots of low phosphorus carbohydrates (to provide calories).
A food is considered low phosphorus if it’s around 0.6% on a dry matter basis. If your dog is in advanced stages however a phosphorus level of 0.3% would be preferable. These very low phosphorus levels can be achieved by feeding an appropriate prescription diet or by ‘diluting down’ a slightly higher phosphorus food - usually by replacing some biscuits with a very low phosphorus addition such as sushi rice, couscous, white rice, or tapioca. Egg whites also make a great protein-rich low-phosphorus addition but please be aware that the yolks are very high in phosphorus so they must be removed.
It is sometimes recommended that a dog with kidney disease should be on a low protein diet, but more recent research suggests that this is not necessarily beneficial unless your dog is uremic.
Some protein reduction may be helpful if your dog has significant protein in their urine, but this is best done in moderation.
None of foods listed here would be considered ‘low’ in protein, but most of them are very moderate. Again, if your vet feels it’s necessary, then the protein can be reduced further by replacing some of the biscuits with sushi rice, couscous, white rice, or tapioca.
In addition it's worth avoiding high phosphorus supplements, treats & table scraps - foods highest in phosphorus include bones, yoghurt, kefir, cheese (except cream cheese), fish (with bones), organ meats, yeast products (brewers yeast is often found in supplements) and egg yolks (egg whites however are very low in phosphorus).
Ensuring your dog’s food & treats contain little or no added salt is also important & the foods listed here only contain salt that’s naturally present in the raw ingredients – no additional salt has been added.
Water is absolutely key to controlling your dog’s kidney disease and we highly recommend adding lots of water to their dinner. Filtered or purified water is ideal but tap water is OK too.
In addition, they often do better with a few small meals throughout the day rather that one or two larger ones.
(Please note that we are not vets. The information given here is intended as a general guide & should not replace the directions received from your vet)