How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease – If you own a dog with chronic kidney disease, treating and managing it should include a proper nutritional plan that must be closely supervised by your veterinarian.

How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease

Therapeutic kidney diets can be very helpful for dogs with this condition as they can slow the progression of kidney disease and soothe some of the symptoms that your dog may be experiencing.

How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease

Understanding Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease, or renal failure/renal disease, in dogs happens when the kidneys cannot function properly. The kidneys serve an essential role in the dog’s body, filtering out waste from the bloodstream and eliminating it through urine. Additionally, they contribute to maintaining electrolyte and pH balance in the blood and generate hormones and enzymes necessary for various bodily functions.

  • Acute kidney disease usually occurs unexpectedly and is often linked to toxin exposure, infections, trauma, or other health issues in the body. Acute kidney disease is a severe condition, and death may occur even with appropriate treatment.
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the result of degenerative changes in the kidneys, hindering their ability to function properly. This ailment gradually develops over time and worsens, leading to death eventually. CKD leads to the accumulation of waste products in the blood, which worsens as the kidneys cannot filter them properly into the urine, resulting in uremia and leaving a dog feeling very sick.

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Although there is no cure for chronic kidney disease in dogs, it can be managed and slowed with a combination of therapies. Therapeutic nutrition that supports the poorly functioning kidneys is crucial in managing CKD in dogs.

How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease and Proper Nutrition

CKD dogs require proper nutrition to maintain a healthy body mass, support bodily functions, and manage their health, representing one of the essential factors in managing CKD successfully. Therapeutic kidney diets efficiently work to reduce the development of uremia, slow down the progression of kidney disease, and provide enough calories to maintain the dog’s weight.

How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease

These specialized diets differ from regular dog food, as they are primarily formulated to support dogs with CKD. They can significantly enhance a dog’s quality of life and prolong its life span.


While all dogs require protein in their diets, a high protein diet can worsen kidney disease for the kidneys need to process and break down dietary protein. A lower protein diet puts less strain on the kidneys and decreases the amount of waste entering the bloodstream. However, the diet must still contain sufficient protein to meet the dog’s daily nutritional requirements.


Phosphorus from the dog’s diet is also processed in the kidneys and is closely related to protein. As dysfunctional kidneys cannot appropriately process phosphorus, their levels in the blood become high and dangerous, causing complications in dogs. Lowering the protein content in the diet will lower the phosphorus level.

How to Feed Dogs With Kidney Disease

However, a blood test may show that the dog’s phosphorus levels are still too high, so your veterinarian may recommend adding a phosphorous binder to the oil supplement to reduce high levels of phosphorus in the bloodstream.


Dogs with chronic kidney disease often suffer from low potassium levels, leading to muscle loss or weakness, low energy levels, and low quality of life. Therapeutic kidney diets get supplemented with extra potassium to manage this condition. Your veterinarian may also recommend prescribing a separate potassium supplement for your dog to take orally.

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Dogs with chronic kidney disease commonly suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure, leading to severe cases of kidney disease or stroke. Low-sodium diets are recommended to reduce the risk of exacerbating hypertension or hypertension already high. Therapeutic kidney diets have low sodium levels for this purpose.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Kidney diets or omega 3 fatty acid supplements may be added to a dog’s food to help reduce inflammation and stress on the kidneys, slowing down the progression of CKD.


Poorly functioning kidneys cannot adequately filter waste out of the dog’s bloodstream and into the urine. The kidneys cannot also concentrate the urine, leading to more water entering the system, making dogs with CKD typically experience increased thirst and urination. Adding water to the diet can help alleviate this. Your veterinarian may recommend feeding your dog a wet kidney formula or adding water to a dry kidney diet.

Feeding Dogs with Kidney Disease

It’s important to ensure that dogs with chronic kidney disease have a sufficient and well-balanced diet. Gradual introduction of the new kidney diet is necessary while getting your dog off its usual diet. However, some dogs may have a poor appetite initially as they are getting adjusted to the new diet. In that case, your veterinarian may recommend other treatments first to help improve your dog’s appetite before starting the special diet. You must ensure that your dog eats well throughout treatment. If your dog shows reluctance to eat the special kidney diet, your veterinarian may suggest changing your dog’s food or recommending an appetite stimulant.

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Several commercial diets are available for dogs with kidney disease, designed under the supervision of veterinarians. Hill’s Prescription Diets, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets, and Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets are prevalent among other brands. Save time and money by setting up your dog’s food orders through the website that sells these foods while working closely with your veterinarian for proper supervision.

For some pet owners, preparing a homemade diet for their dog may be the preferred option, particularly if the dog has other dietary restrictions or is picky with its food. In this regard, it is essential to discuss recipes and ingredients with your veterinarian before attempting a homemade diet. The diet should be balanced and created especially for dogs suffering from CKD.

Foods to Avoid

Table scraps are generally not recommended for dogs, as certain scraps can be toxic to dogs. Though healthy dogs can safely enjoy some table scraps, such as lean meats, bland rice or pasta, and some fruits and vegetables, it is not the same for dogs with CKD. Many human foods are too high in sodium and protein, which can be unsafe for dogs with CKD. Engage your veterinarian for recommendations on safe human foods that can be fed to your dog without negative effects on the kidneys.

Dog food and treats designed for healthy dogs may not be appropriate for dogs with chronic kidney disease. Enquire from your veterinarian which foods and treats are safe for your dog to consume. Your veterinarian may also recommend dog treats made using a therapeutic kidney formula.

It’s crucial to ensure your dog does not accidentally consume foods that could cause harm. You may need to feed other pets separately to keep their food out of reach. Cat food is

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