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Here's What to Feed a Dog With Kidney Disease

Here's What to Feed a Dog With Kidney Disease

In this article, we're going to discuss what to feed a dog with kidney disease.

Unfortunately, kidney disease is very common in dogs. In fact, in dogs, chronic kidney disease is associated with aging.

Simply speaking, chronic kidney disease is the 'wearing out' of the kidney tissues.

The age it at which kidney disease starts is often related to the dog's size.

For most small dogs, the early signs of kidney disease appear at around 10-14 years of age.

Large dogs, however, have a shorter life span.

They may experience kidney failure as early as seven years of age.

Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for kidney disease.

Luckily, there are many things you can do at home to help your dog stay happy and have a good quality of life.

What is Kidney Disease?

Chronic renal failure (CRF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are two interchangeable name for the same disease in which the kidneys no longer filter waste products out of the blood.

As mentioned earlier, chronic kidney disease is associated with aging.

There is another form of renal failure called acute kidney failure, which is treated differently than chronic kidney disease.

Acute kidney failure has a very sudden onset and usually happens because:

  • there is a lack of blood flow to your dog's kidneys
  • your dog¬†can't urinate
  • something directly damaged your dog's kidneys

As mentioned earlier, acute kidney failure is reversible with the proper medical attention.

This article is about how to help dogs suffering from chronic kidney disease.

What to Feed a Dog With Kidney Disease? Wet Food!

One of the first questions most people as is "What to feed a dog with kidney disease?"

The best thing to feed a dog with kidney disease is wet food.

Some veterinarians encourage a low-protein diet even in the early stages of kidney disease.

However, our vets recommend not restricting protein until the late stage.

Home Cook an Energetically Appropriate Diet

In addition, our vets recommend home-cooking energetically appropriate diets to help your dog's overall health.

You can view all the different energetically appropriate diets on PET | TAO's Slow-Cooker Recipe Page.

It's quite easy to home cook for your dog!

If you are going to try, make sure to check out the feeding chart to see what recipe will work best for your dog.

If you are lucky enough to have a TCVM-trained veterinarian helping you with your dog, the PET | TAO recipe page has special recipes for the different stages chronic kidney disease.

Your vet can tell you exactly where your dog is and what recipe will be the best.

You can also purchase PET | TAO recipes pre-made, online!

Give Your Dog Kidney Treats

Yes, believe it or not, you can help your dog using treats.

PET | TAO calls it "feeding treats for a reason".

In fact, feeding your dog kidney helps tonify and strengthen the kidneys.

A quick and easy way to add kidney to your dog's diet is by feeding freeze-dried kidney treats.

If you are a DIY-type person, you can even make your own kidney treats at home!

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

If your dog suffers from kidney disease, it's super important to keep him/her hydrated.

Hydration can be tough with some older dogs.

Often they just don't want to drink, especially when they are feeling bad.

However, you can encourage your dog to drink more by mixing low-sodium chicken or beef broth with your dog's water.

At certain stages of kidney disease, vets often recommend giving subcutaneous fluids.

But don't worry, it's fairly easy to do yourself at home.

And, most dogs tolerate subcutaneous fluids quite well.

Eliminate Toxins

Another thing to consider is the toxins in your dog's water, and in your dog's life. 

Any toxin your dog ingests or is exposed to must be filtered out by the kidneys. 

You can help your dog avoid excess toxins by giving distilled, reverse osmosis, or even filtered water instead of tap water.

Switching to non-toxic cleaners and air fresheners also helps.


As chronic kidney disease progresses, the kidneys won't function as well as they are supposed to, and won't filter all of the toxins from the blood.

Most pet parents find out during the yearly exam blood test. When the kidneys lose some of their filtering power, you can supplement with a special product to help do the filtering for the kidneys.

The product is called Epakitin. It is a natural supplement, and many vets recommend it to help do the filtering the kidneys are having trouble doing.

Chinese Herbs for Chronic Kidney Disease

You can also give your dog an edge on chronic kidney disease using Eastern herbals.

One of our founding vets' favorites is Rehmannia Assist Kidney by Herbsmith Rx.

Rehmannia Assist Kidney is a classic Chinese medicinal herbal blend to nourish the kidney and tonify kidney yin, helping your dog from the inside out.

Rehmannia Assist Kidney is just one example of Chinese herbs for kidney disease.

There are many other TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) herbal blends to help with chronic kidney disease.

Your best bet is to get an exam or telemedicine consultation with a TCVM-trained veterinarian to find the best herbal formula for our dog's individual health situation.

Need Extra Help for Your Special Needs Dog?

If you ever feel like you need extra help in managing kidney health challenges naturally or with TCVM herbal blends we can help.

TCVM Pet Supply co-founders Dr. Marc Smith and Dr. Casey Damron offer TCVM telemedicine consultations.

If you get a TCVM telemedicine consultation ($125), you'll get personalized TCVM recommendations specific to your pet, including:

  • TCVM Evaluation
  • Food Therapy Recommendations
  • TCVM Herb Recommendations & Veterinary Authorization
  • Supplement Recommendations
  • Alternative Medicine Recommendations

If you reside in the Middle Tennessee area or would like to commute, you may choose an in-clinic appointment instead.

You can learn more about each vet and contact the clinic you prefer to set up your consult:

We hope this information helps you, and wish you the best in helping your dog feel better.

If you have any other questions or if we can help you in any way, just let us know!


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