Supporting Your Dog's Kidney Health
The healthy functioning of your dog's kidneys is essential to them living a healthy life. For some dogs however, their kidneys may begin to fail, leading to permanent damage. This damage to the kidneys can result in chronic kidney disease (CKD). It can be difficult to know the signs to look out for, however if veterinarian support and advice is sought early, you can help your dog have a good quality of life.
The role of your dog's kidneys
The kidneys act as a filtering system removing toxins and waste from blood. Nephrons within the kidney are the actual filtering units. The filtered waste and toxins are then sent to the bladder to leave the body in the form of urine. Everything that remains returns to the bloodstream.
What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic kidney disease occurs when the function of the kidneys deteriorate and can no longer properly filter toxins and waste. An impaired kidney can be caused by a reduction in the number of working filtering units, called nephrons. When there aren't enough functioning filtering units important compounds are removed and waste begins to accumulate in the bloodstream.
Difficulty Spotting the Early Signs of Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs
Chronic kidney disease is typically very difficult to spot, particularly during the early stages of the disease. Regular checkups at your veterinarian can help identify CKD earlier.
Even when the kidneys' filtering function has diminished, they're still able to filter a large volume of blood, so signs that something is not working correctly may not become apparent until there's already been a significant amount of damage to the kidneys. Typically the clinical signs of chronic kidney disease do not appear until 75% of kidney function is lost.1
Signs of kidney disease in dogs
Common signs of kidney disease are usually difficult to spot during the early stages. As the disease progresses the signs will become more noticeable, but the earlier you are able to alert your veterinarian to potential signs, the earlier CKD can be diagnosed.
Loss of body water can lead to dehydration
Increased urination - If your dog's kidneys aren't functioning properly, they'll lose more body water through frequent urination.
Dehydration - An increase in urination can lead to dehydration, so keep an eye out if your dog starts drinking more water than usual.
Increased levels of waste can cause a loss of appetite
Decrease in appetite - Your dog may begin to feel nauseous due to the increase in waste in their bloodstream which can result in them eating less food.
Weight loss - If your dog does experience a decrease in appetite, they may eat less food than usual which can result in weight loss for some dogs.
Lethargy - A lack of calories and nutrients may also lead to a noticeable decrease in energy.
Once the amount of toxins and waste in their bloodstream has significantly increased, it is likely to have a detrimental effect on other organs, such as the stomach.
Can you spot the common signs?
Knowing when to take your dog to a veterinarian is important. If a veterinarian can diagnose chronic kidney disease early, this will help ensure your dog receives treatment as soon as possible.
Nutritional adjustments veterinarians may recommend
Often as a first step, your veterinarian may recommend changes to your dog's diet. Key nutrients will often be increased or decreased in their diet depending on specific nutritional requirements.
Here are some of the key nutrients your veterinarian may consider when recommending a renal diet:
A significant phosphorus restriction is recommended in Stage 2 by IRIS.2
Veterinarians may recommend protein restriction at early stages of CKD to help reduce nitrogenous waste products which contribute to clinical signs of renal disease.3
Some studies have shown that antioxidants can be beneficial in supporting kidney function.4
How could your dog's diet change?
Although your veterinarian will recommend a suitable diet for your dog, it's worthwhile having a deeper understanding of why your dog's diet needs to change as CKD progresses.
Benefits of a renal diet for dogs
Chronic Kidney Disease is irreversible but can often be managed through appropriate management, including a change in diet, when recommended by a veterinarian. Renal diets will vary depending on your dog's diagnosis and current stage of Chronic Kidney Disease and may also change as the disease progresses.
Nausea and lack of appetite are common in dogs diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease so most tailored renal diets are made with palatable textures and aromas to encourage eating at mealtimes.
Care for your dog with Royal Canin Renal Support
Royal Canin has a selection of Renal Support diets tailored to dogs with reduced kidney function. Speak to your veterinarian to find out if any of these diets are suitable for your dog.
Renal Support Early Consult
Formulated with a precise balance of nutrients, Renal Support Early Consult can help support kidneys during the early stages of CKD. Alongside supporting the kidneys, Royal Canin Renal Support Early Consult also helps support digestive health and early signs of aging with highly digestible proteins, balanced fibers and antioxidants.
Renal Support diets
Available exclusively through veterinarians, dry and wet Renal Support diets are tailored to promote healthy kidney function with antioxidants, fatty acids from fish oil, low phosphorus, and targeted protein levels.
Renal Support diets also help compensate for a decrease in appetite with palatable energy dense formulas to help reduce the amount your dog needs to eat. There are nine different mix and match options to choose from, each with a unique aroma and texture to help your dog eat during mealtimes. Ask your veterinarian if a Royal Canin Renal Support diet is suitable for your dog.