(List of Brands and Prescription Dog Food Reviews)
If your vet has recommended low protein dog food for your furry friend, it's very likely that he has, very sadly, been diagnosed with one of the following dog illnesses:
Chronic Canine Kidney Failure (also known as Canine Renal Failure)
Acute Canine Kidney Failure
Canine Kidney Disease (also known as Canine Renal Disease)
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), or
Your dog may be prone to urinary stones.
Note: A low protein dog food diet is generally not recommended for healthy animals.
Unlike high protein dog food - (often referred to as allergy free dog food, hypoallergenic dog food, or grain free dog food), which has a variety of benefits - Reduced protein dog foods are usually only indicated as a treatment aid for various dog health problems.
Note for parents of senior dogs: Please do not rely simply on the theory that senior dogs are automatically better off with less protein. This theory is often quite unfounded.
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When to Feed a Low Protein Dog Food Diet
Mainstream School of Thought
The mainstream school of thought when treating canine renal failure is to attempt to slow down progression of the kidney disease with medication and dietary changes.
If your dog is in late-stage, chronic kidney failure, and has developed uremia, your vet will most likely recommend that you adjust your dog's diet to a low protein, low phosphorus, and low sodium diet.
(FYI, uremia is an accumulation in the blood of waste products that would normally be eliminated in the urine. This produces a severe toxic condition and usually occurs in severe kidney disease).
Another benefit of reducing the protein in your dog’s diet is that it helps prevent feelings of nausea and fatigue caused by these uremic toxins.
Opposing School of Thought
On the other side of the fence, there are many experts who vigorously oppose lowering a dog's protein intake for diseases such as canine kidney failure.
"Those recommendations are based on a myth. In fact, the whole theory of low-protein diets for dogs with kidney disease was blown apart in 1975 by David Kronfeld, PhD, who was at the time a veterinary researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. His concept was not to feed less protein but rather to feed higher-quality protein."
We encourage you to do your research and weigh up both arguments for yourself. Then challenge your vet, and ultimately make the decision you feel best for your beloved furry friend.
Either way, whether or not you choose to put your pooch on a low protein dog food diet, please note the following important tips:
Make sure your dog's diet consists of a very high quality protein. FYI, processed meat (as found in commercial dog food), and grains, provide the lowest quality protein.
Although the low protein dog food theory may be under strong criticism by many, most experts agree and recommend a low phosphorous dog food diet for dogs suffering from renal failure.
Dogs on reduced protein diets need to be very closely monitored, in order to avoid malnutrition.
Low protein dog foods tend to be much less flavorful than regular food, causing many dogs to refuse to eat it. This is the last thing you want to happen to your precious and already sick dog, and will be very detrimental to his condition.
In order to ensure your fur baby gets all the nutrients he needs, you may have to experiment a little to find a healthy, nutritious, all natural dog food, that he finds appetizing.
If your veterinarian has recommended a prescription dog food, we've compiled a huge list of all prescription dog foods that are low in protein; not just specific KD dog food formulas, but other premium dog food brands that offer a low protein dog food formula.
It is critical that your dog drinks plenty of fluids to keep him well hydrated, and to help flush out his kidneys.
For the above reason, many experts recommended canned dog food versus dry dog food as wet dog food has a much higher concentration of water.
All formulas are FDA registered, and developed by certified veterinarians, naturopathic doctors, and a Master Herbalist. They are produced in an organic processing facility in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The product also fights infections and is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
If possible, we highly recommend consulting a dog nutritionist, who will also be able to provide you with some healthy homemade dog food recipes specially tailored to canine renal failure. They will also assist you on your decision of whether or not to feed a low protein dog food.
*** NEW *** Released April, 2010
This long-awaited book includes all natural, holistic, homemade dog food recipes specifically formulated for canine kidney failure.
By Patricia Schenck, DVM Phd., Veterinary Nutritionist.
If your pooch is suffering from one of the above dog illnesses, please, always first consult with your veterinarian before electing to feed a low protein dog food diet.
Additionally, we highly recommend you also consult with a holistic veterinarian, a homeopathic vet, or a dog nutritionist who has experience dealing with renal failure in dogs.
A qualified professional can offer great assistance in tailoring, monitoring, and adjusting your dog’s diet as necessary.