Protein and Kidney Failure from Your Dog’s Diet?

There are many causes of renal disease, and they may include:

  • Age
  • Viral, fungal, or bacterial infections
  • Parasites
  • Cancer
  • Amyloidosis (caused by abnormal deposits of a certain type of protein in the kidney)
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Trauma
  • Toxic reaction to poisons or medications
  • Congenital and inherited disorders

This is not a complete list but demonstrates what the veterinarian is looking at.

Pets with kidney disease can show a variety of physical signs. Some of the signs are nonspecific and may be seen in other disorders such as liver or pancreatic diseases, or urinary tract disorders not involving the kidneys. Signs may include:

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  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination volume
  •  Decreased urination
  • Lack of urination
  • Voiding urine during the night
  • Blood in urine
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Hunched over posture or reluctance to move
  • Poor or unkempt hair coat

What tests are done to determine a diagnosis?

Various blood tests can be performed to determine if kidney disease is present, how severe it may be, and what may be causing it. In addition, a urinalysis and imaging techniques may also help to determine the cause and severity.

Early research indicated that higher levels of protein in your dog’s diet would lead to kidney failure. Do you know if your dog’s diet is safe? Are you killing your furry friend by providing too much protein in your dog’s diet?

KIDNEY sTANFORD hEALTH cARE

The studies that showed a relationship to high protein levels and kidney failure that sparked concerns about protein levels in dog’s diets were not sound. The research was performed on rats, not dogs. Rats primarily eat plants as their natural diet. Naturally, rats biological makeup would indicate trouble digesting diets containing high levels of protein. The rats have difficulty excreting protein due to their specific dietary needs, not because the high protein diet causes kidney failure.

Still, where do we stand on protein and your dog’s diet? Dogs are naturally omnivorous. In the wild, dog’s would hunt or scavenge. The dog’s diet would consist of both plants and animals. Naturally speaking, dogs are meat eaters, too. For this reason, a dog can easily tolerate a diet consisting of 30% protein or more.

When protein intake is reduced in a dog’s diet, renal function does not improve. Renal lesions are not less likely to form when a dog is fed with a low-protein diet. It is not until a blood urea nitrogen, or BUN, test indicates a level of 75, that a reduction in protein intake be considered for your dog’s diet.

If you have concerns about the amount of protein in your dog’s diet, schedule an appointment to speak with a professional on the subject. Your trusted vet can advise you on the specifics in regards to your dog’s diet.

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It is a myth that dog’s cannot properly digest high levels of protein in their diet. Kidney troubles do not result from high levels of protein in your dog’s diet. Large amounts of protein can be safely digested in your dog’s diet, especially when they come primarily from animal origins.

Ten amino acids must be provided in your dog’s diet through protein. Only twelve of 22 amino acids can be manufactured in your dog’s liver. For this reason, meat such as heart, spleen, and meat by-products all have a place in your dog’s diet.

A high-quality dog food should contain meat as the first ingredient. This will provide the proper amount of protein for your dog’s diet. You know you are on the right track when you turn to nature for advice. Do you ever recall seeing a wild or stray dog happily grazing through the cornfield at mealtime?

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Senior dogs should not be automatically placed on lower protein diets exclusively based on age. In fact, some older pets require a dog’s diet higher in protein than during their younger adult stage. Unless medically indicated, provide your pet the benefit of quality protein in your dog’s diet.

Feeding your dog protein should not cause you concern. You want what is best for your dog and nature tells you that protein will help your dog to thrive. If you have questions about the myth of protein and kidney failure in your pet, speak to your vet about your dog’s diet.

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