The Raw Solution
Kidney (renal) failure occurs when a dog or cat’s kidneys are no longer able to remove waste and concentrate urine, which then exits the body. Toxins in the bodies of our pets are circulated to the kidneys, which are then dissolved with water, and filtered, and excreted as urine. Healthy kidneys make concentrated urine, and even large amounts of toxins can be excreted with a very small amount of water.
However, when the kidneys start to fail, your pet will require more and more water to filter the toxins. Pets in renal failure will drink increasing amounts of water until eventually they simply cannot drink enough to filter out the toxins. As a result, toxin levels in the bloodstream begin to rise. This cycle of over drinking and over urinating will work for a while, but eventually, no amount of water will be enough to get the job done. By the time your pet starts showing other obvious signs of illness, for example lack of appetite, weight loss or low energy level, significant irreversible kidney damage has occurred.
How is RAW the Solution?
- Dry pet food contains less than 10% moisture. Moist, raw pet food is key to maintaining proper hydration, which helps to flush toxins through the kidneys more efficiently. Chronic dehydration is a major factor that contributes to renal failure and bladder stones.
- Many vets suggest low protein diets as the key to a more digestible food. However, the solution is not lower protein content, but a better quality protein. Meat proteins are much more easily absorbed and digested by your pet, with less stress on the kidneys.
- Organ meats contain the highest percentage of phosphorus. Therefore, the first step to reduce phosphorus is to limit organ meats to less than 10% of the entire diet. However, there is no benefit in reducing phosphorus if the kidneys are still able to process phosphorus adequately. Once blood creatinine levels rise above 2.0 mg/dL (180 umol/L), the kidneys are having difficulty processing the waste, and limiting the dietary phosphorus would be beneficial.
- Fat is low in phosphorus, so choosing higher fat meats will increase caloric intake while limiting phosphorus (e.g. Pork, Lamb).
TIP: If the dog is predisposed to a pancreatic attack or has diabetes, this is NOT recommended. This is a good choice for younger dogs with genetic kidney disease.
Dairy & Eggs
- Dairy products and egg yolks are high in phosphorus. So we recommend avoiding additional dairy products as supplements to the raw diet.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Fruit and vegetables contain additional fibre and minerals and are highly recommended as supplemental additions to your dog’s diet. LUNA & me Puppy | Adult | SuperBlends contain fruit and vegetables. We recommend increasing fruit and vegetables. Adding ? of fruit and vegetables per kgs of raw pet food would be sufficient.
- Salmon Oil is a rich source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3s are proven to provide healing for kidney disease. LUNA & me Puppy | Adult | SuperBlends contain Salmon Oil.
- Many vets prescribe antacid medications to dogs with kidney disease because it is common for these dogs to suffer digestive upset (gas and indigestion). Antacids also contain calcium, which binds with phosphorus and helps to lower the phosphorus levels. Ground egg shells, another great source of calcium, can also be added to the raw diet to reduce phosphorus levels.
Understanding Blood Creatinine Levels
Kidney Disease is diagnosed in 3 stages; early renal insufficiency, moderate kidney disease, and severe kidney failure. Vets will do a creatinine blood test to provide a creatinine value. This will determine your pet’s stage of kidney disease, and will help determine which dietary modifications are necessary.
Early Renal Insufficiency: In general, creatinine values up to about 2.0 (177 μmol/L) are indicative of mild, or early stage, kidney disease. In cases like these, it may still help to make dietary modifications to reduce phosphorus, but these reductions do not need to be drastic.
Moderate Kidney Disease: Values from 2.1 up to about 5.0 (177-442 μmol/L) are more significant, but it is still likely that your dog may not be showing any symptoms (other than increased drinking and urination).
Severe Kidney Failure: Values above 5.0 (442 μmol/L) indicate more severe kidney failure, and are often accompanied by clinical signs such as vomiting and lack of appetite.
Also, measuring the specific gravity (urine concentration) can better determine the extent and severity of the disease. A combination of blood and urine test results will be the basis for providing advice and recommendations on how to best manage the condition.