Food for dogs with kidney disease and high levels of phosphorus

In the diet of a dog with kidney disease (a.k.a. chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic renal insufficiency, nephropathy, kidney patient, chronic renal failure, among other names), phosphorus, along with other foods such as salt (which causes hypertension), plays a key role because it is one of the main nutritional agents that contribute to the deterioration of the dog’s kidneys.

Commercial foods are high in phosphorus, and the protein quality is typically moderate to low (not all brands). It is important to remember that in patients with chronic kidney disease, it is crucial to maintain low phosphorus levels.

It is rare to find a commercial food (kibble, dry food, pellets, or whatever you want to call it) that does not contain high levels of salt (to encourage the dog to drink water) and we should remember that salt increases hypertension, worsening the kidney function.

Additionally, during the manufacturing process of this “kibble” many nutrients are lost, so they are often coated with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients at the final stage. The result? Excessive vitamins. Vitamin D, for example, is nephrotoxic; toxic to the kidneys.

Commercial Prescription Diets

There are specific commercial products for CKD, such as Royal Canin and Hills. I recommend using them only as a SUPPLEMENT in small quantities because their protein sources are not of high quality. Do not fall for the misguided belief that high protein is detrimental to kidney function.

Phosphorus in Renal Patients

Excessive phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia) is harmful to the kidneys. Patients with CKD should be managed with low-phosphorus foods and “phosphorus binders” such as calcium carbonate (eggshell). Therefore, it is important to include it in the diet.

High-quality Homemade Diets

There are homemade diets of excellent quality, much better than commercial prescription diets (e.g. Royal Canin Urinary, Hill’s k/d, etc.), because when properly formulated, you can be sure you are providing your dog with high-quality nutrients. In contrast, commercial diets often contain mediocre nutrients (thus increasing their profit margins!).

Calcium and phosphorus are essential elements in the body and are interrelated but excess phosphorus in the blood can cause:

• Low calcium levels (leading to the body extracting calcium from the bones, which can weaken them and make them more prone to fractures).

• Itching.

Orthomolecular Diets

Currently, there is a concept called orthomolecular nutrition. I recommend high-quality orthomolecular nutrients for renal dogs, but I also emphasize that they are of little use if not accompanied by proper medical treatment (blood pressure reducers, etc.) as well as natural and appropriate high-quality nutrition for these patients.

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Best regards.

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