Integrating Custom Recipes into Medical Programs for Dogs with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD):
What We Know about Kidney Disease
About 10% of older dogs develop a condition where the kidneys do not eliminate urea from the blood into the urine. This elevated blood urea (BUN) causes nausea, vomiting, gastric ulcers, and open, painful oral sores.
These patients are reluctant to eat and consequently, they lose weight. Low protein diets help reduce blood urea and minimize the symptoms, so patients improve their interest in eating.
Which Ingredients Matter
Our dog food recipes for Chronic Kidney Disease have a calorie distribution of - Protein 14%; Fat 38%; Carbohydrates 48%, which is considered favorable for CKD patients. The percentages show that these recipes have less meat protein than normal diets (which range from 24%-52%). Less protein reduces dietary nitrogen which in turn reduces blood urea, helping to reduce the symptoms listed above.
Because of the restricted ingredients, low protein recipes should NOT be fed to normal adult dogs, or puppies.
More than Just Diet
Your dog’s diet is only one tool for CKD management, it is not a substitute for a comprehensive veterinary treatment plan. Treatment may also require:
· Intestinal urea trapping with fiber
· Prebiotics and probiotics
· Phosphorus binders
· Subcutaneous fluids
· Anti-nausea/ anti-vomiting medications
And later in the disease, hormone replacement therapy may be necessary to stimulate red blood cell production in the bone marrow and prevent anemia. Anemia contributes to appetite loss and finicky eating habits in CKD patients.
What to Expect
Constant veterinary lab monitoring is essential in these patients to verify changes that require more medical intervention.
It is not uncommon for CKD patients to have episodes of poor urea control and require hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy. A kidney transplant is the only cure for CKD.
Don’t Use this Recipe If
If your dog has other conditions needing conflicting dietary restrictions (inflammatory bowel disease/chronic enteropathy, short bowel syndrome, or cancer) Healthier Homemade recipes for chronic kidney disease may not be appropriate.
This is one of the things we will verify with your veterinarian, before beginning to formulate your recipe.
What You Can Do
Since low protein diets are not a favorite for dogs, “Food Fatigue” is common in patients on these diets. We recommend the generous use of condiments:
· Bacon grease
· BBQ sauce
· Teriyaki baste
These toppings along with appetite stimulants may help to keep your dog interested in eating.
Is it Balanced and Complete?
Although Healthier Homemade dog food recipes exceed AAFCO and NRC daily nutrient requirements and meet the minimum NRC requirements for protein and the sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cystine) to ensure adequate taurine production, we prefer to err on the side of caution. The Healthier Homemade CKD program includes taurine supplementation for this heart-protecting amino acid.
Each Healthier Homemade Starter Kit includes a nutrition data fact sheet, so you and your veterinarian can see that all of the 42 daily essential nutrients are in meals prepared with our recipes when used as directed.
Commercial prescription diets, especially kibble, may be unappealing. Freshly cooked meals make a difference!
Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. In addition to co-founding a national campaign to help fight dog obesity, he developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.