Nutrients for dogs with kidney disease (renal insufficiency)

Before going into the details of the diet, it is essential to first understand some important dietary issues regarding the diet of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), or chronic renal failure.

For a dog with kidney disease, the importance of nutrition is paramount. You’ve heard about the benefits of a low protein diet, but the most important factor is the quality of the protein.

If you want to know more about protein and the kidney, I recommend these two short articles:

The myth of protein and kidney damage in dogs (1).
The myth of protein and kidney damage in dogs (2).

The kidney is the blood filter par excellence, everything passes through it. You only become aware of CKD when 75% of this organ is already failing. The functional unit is the nephron.

I’ll send you some suggestions for a low protein diet for occasional use, but as I said, the most important thing is the quality of the protein. It is essential to provide regular nutritional treatment because kidney damage is irreversible and progressive, so if adequate nutrition is not provided, more and more nephrons will be lost every day until it becomes incompatible with life.



As I mentioned, the quality of protein is more important than its quantity. Proteins of animal origin such as beef, fish, eggs and chicken are of the highest quality due to their high biological value and their ability to create tissues, such as muscle and organs.

Eggs are considered to have the highest biological value, at 100. Milk has 92; chicken and beef, 72, etc.

The renal patient loses a lot of weight and muscle mass, so it is beneficial to offer this type of protein, which does not cause much work for the kidney and is easily converted.

Proteins of animal origin are the best for patients with renal failure, because of their easy conversion into tissue and because they don’t strain the kidneys.

Feeding low quality protein requires more work on the part of the kidney. See how quality is more important than quantity?

Carbohydrates (pasta, cereals, grasses…)

It is critical for the CKD patient to meet their energy demands, and it is best to avoid using high quality protein for this purpose, as they are already “too busy” trying to generate and maintain lost tissue. So, the best way to help meet the energy (but not protein) requirements of the CKD patient is with carbohydrates. We can get some carbs into our diets in the form of potatoes or rice.


Although dogs and cats, like all carnivores, have a great capacity for the synthesis of animal fats, they should be avoided in excess due to oxidative processes. The best results have been seen with a combination of Omega−3 fatty acids and animal fats.

Avoid vegetable fats in general.

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Best wishes!

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