Integrating Custom Homemade Recipes into Medical Programs for Dogs with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD):
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.
Our dog food recipes for chronic kidney disease have a calorie distribution that is considered favorable for CKD patients, meaning it has less meat protein than normal diets. Less protein reduces dietary nitrogen which in turn reduces blood urea.
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, regular, subcutaneous fluids, antinausea/anti-vomiting medications, antacids, and later in the disease, hormone replacement therapy 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.
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. Healthier Homemade recipes for chronic kidney disease may not be appropriate for patients that also have dietary restrictions for other conditions (inflammatory bowel disease/chronic enteropathy, short bowel syndrome or cancer).
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, Catsup, Honey, etc.) along with appetite stimulants to keep these patients interested in eating their diets. Low protein recipes are not appropriate for normal adult dogs, or puppies.
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 owners and their veterinarians 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!