Kidney disease stage 3

Dog Health and Nutrition
Kidney disease

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Karen Ballington
Karen Ballington
PetForums Newbie
Hi all I am new to this forum and just had the devastating news that my 13 year old dog has developed stage 3 kidney disease .I asked my vet if they could give me a diet sheet to follow but they do not have one and suggested I research the net .There is so much conflicting info out there hence this post. At the moment she is eating very little I have bought a can of Royal Canin renal for her to try but would also like to try my hand at home diets. For instance I have heard that green tripe is good for kidney disease is this true ? What other human foods can I safely give her ? She loves red fruit low fat yogurt from Asda but is this safe? She won’t go anywhere near chicken at the moment although she used to love it. She also loves cornflakes but I don’t know if that is bad for her .I am willing to try anything at the moment as she is barely eating anything apart from yoghurt cornflakes and Philadelphia cream cheese .All advice gratefully received

Hello and welcome to the forum. We have a few threads on diet for renal disease in dogs. You can find them by using the search box at the top left of the page.

Your dog’s appetite might be diminished because of the build up of toxins in her blood. I am wondering if your vet could give her some palliative treatment. Perhaps an anti emetic, given half an hour before food would help. Other drugs that might help are vitamin B12 given by injection, a small dose of steroids, Ranitidine and perhaps a course of antibiotics if there is an infection. It’s all about helping the dog to feel better. It might be worth discussing this with your vet.

First of all, if the yoghurt is flavoured be aware that it could contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Plain yoghurt can be given. Many dogs tolerate milk products but some cannot.

You want to prevent dehydration so dry food is probably best avoided unless soaked first. Usually low protein is suggested but just as import is the quality and digestibility of the protein source.

Your idea of home cooking is a good one. Dogs generally enjoy home cooked food, not least because of the aroma. Appetite is stimulated by smell. It can be difficult to get the balance of nutrients right so I am wondering if Pure Vegi Plus Mixer might help. You could then add the protein of your choice. Steamed white fish is digestible, as is cooked egg and chicken. All are excellent sources of protein. The company has a helpline so if interested, give them a call. Carbohydrates that might be useful are sweet potato and butternut squash. I usually cook the former in the microwave until it is really soft then mash it up.

We have plenty of information in our Home cooking for dogs section. One website mentioned there is American - Balance IT. They provide recipes for specific diseases but you would need to discuss with your vet first because there are different dietary requirements depending upon the nature of the renal disease. It’s helpful to ask the vet what to look for in nutrition terms eg protein/fat etc.

Regarding prescription diets, they can be useful particularly in the short term. David has written an article about them here. Royal Canin Renal Dry has low protein, 14%. They can be worth trying but best to get samples if possible because some dogs are not keen on the food. AFAIK there are no commercial foods that have protein this low. Most of the low protein foods are dry so would need to be soaked. They usually come in the weight control/light categories.


Hi Dottie thanks so much for your reply. I have already taken your advice about the sweet potato mash and she really loved it. I also gave her carrot and swede mash which she also seems to like. My sister in law found a product by Harringtons which is grain free. I asked the manufacturers if they thought it was suitable for a renal diet but they would not comment and told me to contact my vet. I did but they also could not comment but they did say that some of their clients had used the product. I have therefore attached two photos with a list of the ingredients and wondered if you or any of the other members thinks it’s ok to give my dog. I have also ordered some Pronefra which I am hoping will help. The vet has not given any medication apart from BP meds and an appetite stimulant which seems to be working although the vet also said to only give it if necessary

Couldn’t post photos as file too big so here are the ingredients. …Turkey (60%)
Potato (26% from dried potato)
Carrots (5% from dried carrots)
Peas (5% from dried peas)
Sunflower Oil
Salmon Oil
Dried Tomato (0.15%)
Dried Kelp (0.08%)
Green Lipped Mussel (0.05%)
Chicory (0.05%)
Parsley (0.05%)
Basil (0.05%)
Rosemary (0.01%)
Green Tea (0.01%)
Rosehip (0.01%)
Additives (Per Kg)
Vitamin A 3,000 iu
Vitamin D3 420 iu
Vitamin E 40 mg
Vitamin B Complex 26.3 mg
Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate 107.14 mg
Manganese Sulphate 11.72 mg
Sodium Selenite 0.89 mg
Calcium Iodate Anhydrous 0.62 mg
Analytical constituents
Protein 10.0%
Fat Content 7.0%
Inorganic Matter 3.5%
Crude Fibre 1.0%
Moisture 75%

I have written to David, the site owner about the need for an article on the dietary management of renal disease in dogs. We have spoken about this before (including liver disease) so I know he has it on his ‘to do’ list. He is very busy but will try to deal with it in the next few weeks.

Regarding the Harrington’s food, I can’t really tell you if it is suitable. Grain free foods are not necessarily better than ones containing some form of grain - we need to look at the type of grain and the percentage of the whole recipe.

It is encouraging that she is now eating a little bit better. Regarding kibble, in order to digest it the stomach draws fluid from the blood stream. This can possibly lead to a short period of dehydration until the dog starts to drink and the fluid is replaced. This is why I think it is best to soak the food should you decide to go with the Harrington’s.

Hi Dottie the Harringtons food is the wet one in a tray not dry food. In fact I won’t be giving her dry food ever again after reading an article saying that it could have contributed to her condition. All these years I thought I was doing the right thing by NOT giving her canned wet food

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Sorry about that - I should have checked. :-[
I have found the review and it is here. It seems to be a good product, attracting a score of 3.8 with no red ingredients. The dry weight protein is 40% which is well above average. Quality wet foods tend to have higher protein because they have more meat - the Harrington’s has 60%.

It isn’t low protein but I suspect that you won’t be feeding anywhere near the full RDA so it might be acceptable to you. As the priority is to get her to eat right now, how about trying just a little bit mixed up with the veg that she is currently managing to eat? If it smells good so much the better.

Hi Dottie funny you should say that. Tonight I gave her half a tray mixed with silver hake and she loved it

Hi Karen,
I can’t really give any more advice on this except to say that I know nutriment low purine food contains Green tripe and is aimed at maintaining kidney health. I am sorry that you are going through this with your dog and hope you continue to find things that will encourage her to eat.

Hi Tinyplanets thanks for your reply. Excuse my ignorance as I am new to all this but what exactly is nutriment low purine food Thanks

Here is a link to the page which tells you a little bit about the food. nutriment low purine It is a raw complete and aimed at keeping the kidneys healthy. I am not sure if it would be helpful in terms of the stage of the disease in your dog. You could always try sending nutriment an email. They are generally helpful. My dog seems particularly fond of green tripe but it doesn’t smell too great.

Thanks very much I will check it out

Hi Karen. I would advise that you take the ingredients lists of the foods to your vet and ask what they think. I think the Harrington’s is quite high protein for stage 3 Kidney Disease and you also need to check the phosphorous levels as it is important to check these are low. Your vet can help with this. Omega 3 oils are thought to be helpful. I really would expect the vet to be supporting you with food choices as it can really make a difference to your dogs ongoing health.

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Thank you Fiona. We have had previous discussions about phosphorus and the OP can check these out by using the search box. The level is not usually given so she will need to contact Harrington’s for this information.

OMG Fiona I am now worried as she has happily been eating this for 2 weeks now and although my vet did not know anything about it she did say that some of her clients had recommended it. I thought it would be ok as ingredients seemed good and there is no salt sugar or sodium. I thought I had finally found something suitable. So is 10% protein a bad thing? I thought I had to give her protein? Confused! !!

On the plus side she has just absolutely demolished a bowl of carrot and turnip mash so hoping this is ok for her?

I’m really losing the will to live now. I was under the impression that fish and chicken are good for ckd but I have just read the following on another site. …Fish is high in phosphorus which will be fatal to your dog given the damaged liver. The same applies to chicken and turkey. You should consider foods with low levels of phosphorus such as minced beef, pork, and lamb…also sweet potato has been recommended in this site but I have just read it is unsuitable as it is high in potassium? ??? I am really confused now

Please try not to worry. Your primary problem was that your dog was anorexic and you needed to get something that she would eat. You have achieved that so she must at least be feeling better in herself. IMHO it is good that she is at least eating something and enjoying her food.

The protein is 40% dry weight so is on the high side but it is derived from meat and we know that dogs digest this better than protein from other sources. Perhaps you could see your vet and if it will help, consider asking for another blood test. You could also take a urine sample in a clean bottle so that it can be tested for protein etc.

I’m sorry that I can’t give you more specific advice about the foods you mentioned. I think you might be helped by asking the vet for a referral to a specialist if he or she cannot help you. Otherwise, perhaps you could think about trying the Royal Canin Renal Diet again.

Thanks Dottie you always make me feel so much better. Just checked the ingredients of the Harringtons wet food that she has been enjoying and it is 10% she has also just finished a bowl of carrot and turnip mash and also has had about 6 small pieces of shin beef so definitely eating a lot better. There was also a mention on here of Nutriments low purine and phosphorus raw diet and I have found a local stockist so may try her with that too. She has a follow up appointment with the vet next week and I will take a urine sample in with me to see if there has been any improvement. I have also ordered some Pronefra so see how she goes with that

Karen - I think you are really going to struggle finding a commercial food that meets all these requirements. For instance, wet food is usually higher in protein. You can get lower protein food but it would need to be dry food which you don’t want. Grain free foods frequently contain some sweet potato so you would have to filter that out. Phosphorus is not usually listed so you would have to contact the manufacturer. It is a tough call.

I feel your anxiety and know that you want to do what’s right for your best pal. When I’ve been in this situation with my elderly dogs I have tried to make what is left of the their life as happy as possible. You can only do this once. Food is really important to dogs and they should get pleasure from it. These may not be the ideal products in terms of the exact nutritional requirements for organ failure but she is enjoying them so I would say well done for persevering and giving her a better quality of life.

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