Staffordshire Bull Terrier with Renal Problem

Breed of dog: Staffie
Sex: Male
Age: 12
Diet - please include current food and any products that you have tried in the past: Was feeding Skinners Field and Trial - Duck and Rice with small amount of Natures Harvest. Since vet diagnosed problem have tried Royal Canin - Renal - which seems poor quality and expensive. Nutriment - low Purine - Dog loved this, however, I can’t buy it locally and my freezer space is limited for storage.
Nature of the problem, including how long your dog has had it: We noticed he was drinking and peeing more - for a couple of months.
Known allergies/intolerances: sensitive stomach - has had problems with lots of dog foods in the past. Can cause diarrhoea, skin problems.
General health: Has had skin issues including stem cell tumour removal, has lots of warts and skin tags. Has had fungal skin infections.
Veterinary consultations - include any advice and medication that was given - Has had urine test which was normal. Blood test - raised creatinine, urea - normal, phosphorous - normal. All other levels normal.
Vet put him on Benazepril 5mg a day and told me to feed either Royal Canin or Hills renal diet for a month and then repeat blood test. We fed royal canin for about 2 weeks but it was grim so I began to research other diets we could feed that were more natural with higher quality ingredients. We then fed the Nutriment raw diet which he loved and Natures Harvest Senior when we ran out. When the vet retook his blood tests they were all within normal limits. He is drinking and peeing less frequently. The vet will only recommend Hills or Royal Canin and won’t discuss anything else. He said if I want to feed Saxon something else I will need to test his blood more often but is unable to advise me what I need to look for in a dog food apart from that it should be low protein. He is quite active and skinny so I am a bit worried about him having less protein.

Finding it hard to find information that I can easily understand about what would be the best diet to feed him? I am happy to consider a raw diet but it would need to be one that is already made up as complete! I can buy Natural Instinct locally and this looks quiet good. I just want to do the best for my dog but I am really confused and don’t want to make his problem worse, although I understand that it is an age related thing and it will progress. He does not appear unwell or unhappy at present.

Hello and welcome to the forum. It’s a dilemma when your own assessment of the situation differs from your vet’s. However, as long as you both have an understanding then you should be able to work together on this problem. From my own experience of renal failure in humans, the majority require a low protein diet simply because the kidneys excrete the waste products of it so these tend to build up in the blood stream resulting in high urea and creatinine. There are some renal diseases that require higher protein.

Normally canine renal failure it is age related (as with your dog) and the thinking is to relieve the burden on the kidneys by following a low protein diet. However, your dog is not getting on very well with the prescription diet and you have said in the past he has had problems with different foods. I therefore won’t go down the road of suggesting anything else.

As you say, your dog now has a limited life span. When my dogs have been in this situation at some point I have taken the view that it is the quality of life that matters, not the quantity. It is good that your dog likes the raw diet and that you have now sourced a local stockist of Natural Instinct. If you feel that your dog’s quality of life will be improved on raw diet then it is your choice and decision to make. Explain to your vet that you are looking at this as good palliative care, which it is in a way because his kidneys will continue to deteriorate over time. If his bloods do go downhill then at least he has had the pleasure of enjoying his food (very important for dogs). You could perhaps consider telephoning NI to ask for advice.

The only other thing that occurs to me is to try one of the air or freeze dried raw foods such as ZiwiPeak. It is high protein. I don’t have any experience of these products but there are a few listed in the Dog Food Directory of this website.

It’s difficult as the Vet implied that I was going to make the dog worse if I don’t feed the diet he recommends and the only diet he will recommend is the prescription renal diets. I have contacted natural instinct so I will see what they say on the matter.

Thank you for coming back to your post. Yes, it is difficult and I can appreciate your dilemma. Apart from trying Natural Instinct, the only other thing I can think of is to formulate a home cooked recipe. If you look at the formula for the commercial renal diets it might give you an idea of what is required.

Hi MrsC, I can empathise with your current situation. My own dog has health problems, quite similar to your own dog. I put my dog on hills k/d after tests showed some loss of kidney function last year. My dogs kidneys have since stabilised but recent blood tests have shown liver problems and he has lost weight. I have read that a good diet can help successfully manage kidney problems so I’m sure you can help your dog a lot with a good diet. My recent research into dog food suggests that low protein is not needed in early stage kidney or liver failure and can actually be harmful so I think you are right to maintain good protein levels if this is where your dog is at. I believe I placed my dog on a low protein diet too early and am now seeking a change. I have read that low levels of phosphorous is far more important in managing the disease and read on the dogaware website that 0.6% is the figure we should be aiming at. Like your vet, my surgery is quite keen for me to remain on a hills or canin food (renal or not) but similar to yourself I wanted a natural and enjoyable diet for my dog. I too feel at an impasse with the surgery over my dogs diet and I sympathise with your situation. However, a good protein low phosphrous diet seems alittle like the holy grail in dog food for me at the moment. And with regards to hills or royal canin, if the foods give the appropriate levels of protein and phosphorous for my dogs health then I have to admit that I have to consider them, even though their quality of ingredients seem poor. A good dog food is only good if it’s right for your dog and although the ingredients don’t look great it may be what my dog needs - this is how I’m seeing it at the moment. (Hope that makes sense). I do hope you soon find a diet to help keep your pooch in good health Good luck and I would be interested to hear if you find a suitable alternative.

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If you want a raw complete have a look at nutriment which is recommended for dogs with renal problems and bladder stones

I would have fed it to my dog with renal problems when he refused to eat prescription diet. It is quite high in green tripe which he never really liked when he was fed raw before his problems.

Do lots of research, articles like this suggest that low protein may not be the way ahead, that advice was based on studies on rats, not dogs, and the digestion is very different. or are good starting points

Update on Saxon - I have been feeding him on a raw diet from natural instinct after contacting them to ask what would be suitable. He loves it and on his last blood tests his kidney function was within normal limits. His liver function was a little out but he had an abcess and the vet thinks that this could be why.

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That is really good news. Thanks for the update.

That is really good news and I am so glad that your dog is doing well on his new diet. Thank you so much for updating us. :slight_smile:

The other thing I have noticed is that he smells much nicer. He had started to smell quite bad which I just thought was because he was an “old” dog. Since we have changed his diet this odour has disappeared.