There are two types of kidney disease. Acute kidney disease and chronic kidney disease. One is short term, one is long term, but both can be helped with the appropriate dog food for kidney disease.
Acute kidney disease
Resulting in the appearance of sudden symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite or inability to pass urine, Acute kidney disease is typically a short-term problem.
AKD can be caused by the ingestion of poisons or toxins. The likes of antifreeze, certain antibiotics, some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or by a dog consuming raisins or grapes.
While its symptoms appear suddenly and can be quite severe, immediate veterinary treatment can result in a return to normal health.
Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease on the other hand is a progressive disease and the most common canine kidney disease. Although not curable like AKD, the symptoms of CKD can be managed with the right approach.
Causes of chronic kidney disease
There are a number of causes of chronic kidney disease. Certain breeds are more susceptible than others, the disease can have a genetic (inherited) component, and other illnesses such as cancer, kidney stones and bacterial infection can all increase the risk of a dog developing CKD.
Age too has a bearing. It’s been estimated that as many as 1 in 10 dogs will develop chronic kidney disease at some point in their lives.
Highly processed commercial foods are also considered a major contributor. They combine poor quality ingredients, harmful additives and, particularly in the case of dry foods, inadequate moisture content. All of these place considerable stress on a dog’s kidneys.
What the kidneys do
When they’re working normally, the kidneys filter toxins from the blood and process protein wastes and excrete them in the urine. They also regulate blood pressure and blood acidity levels and help maintain a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals. Kidney disease occurs when one or more of these functions is compromised.
Unfortunately, symptoms rarely show until the damage is beyond repair. That said, the disease can still be managed and its progression slowed considerably, especially with early intervention!
Because the kidneys are responsible for so many bodily functions, the symptoms of the disease can vary widely. They can include any of the following:
- Excessive urinating
- Excessive drinking
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- Weight loss
- Urinary incontinence (urine leakage)
- Pale gums or oral ulcers
- Brittle bones leading to fractures
- Sudden blindness as a result of high blood pressure
Bear in mind that these symptoms can also be caused by other, invariably less serious conditions. Seek veterinary advice if you are at all concerned.
Managing chronic kidney disease
Importantly, all is not necessarily lost if your dog develops chronic kidney disease. Studies have proven that adjusting your dog’s diet (improving its nutrition), can slow down the progression of the disease, prolong life expectancy and considerably improve your best friend’s quality of life.
Improving your dog’s diet is paramount though. Changing from one dried food to another, even if it’s said to be a renal function or kidney support diet, is not going to work. In addition to costing a lot more money, it is still likely to contain the same low-grade ingredients. And, because it’s dry, cause your dog’s already damaged kidneys to work all the harder and wear out all the sooner.
Evidence suggests there’s unlikely to be any increase in life expectancy by changing from one dried food to another, whatever the advertised benefits.
Dog food for kidney disease
The traditional wisdom followed by many vets is to reduce the amount of protein in the diet because of its high phosphorus content. But reducing protein in the diet actually reduces the effectiveness of the kidneys. Reducing protein does not slow the progression of kidney disease. It is likely to increase it!
There is however strong evidence to support the case for changing to a more species-appropriate diet such as homemade food made with fresh natural ingredients if your dog is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Dog food for kidney disease. That’s where a dog nutritionist can help.
Please contact me for a consultation if I can help you with your dog’s kidney disease.