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Kidney Disease in Dogs



The kidney is a crucial organ in the body responsible for excreting wastes that accumulate during metabolic activities. Toxins, salt and metabolic wastes are concentrated and dissolved in water before being flushed out via urination. Urine that is highly concentrated is an indication of healthy kidneys.

diagram of a kidney


Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys become damaged and are no longer able to efficiently concentrate the urine and remove wastes. This causes an increased need for water intake to help flush out the toxins. Eventually no amount of water will be successful in flushing all of the toxins and this means there is excessive damage to the kidneys.
There are two types of kidney failure in dogs: Acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure occurs suddenly due to ingestion of a poison, a bacterial infection, or an obstruction, among other causes. This condition requires immediate care to prevent death. For the sake of our purposes we will be talking about chronic kidney failure.
Just like heart disease is common in humans, in dogs kidney failure is one of the most common ailments seen. Unfortunately, kidney damage is nearly impossible to reverse, but by taking the right measures, you can significantly decrease symptoms and make your dog more comfortable. It is also important to monitor the health of other organs such as the liver since an issue with one usually leads to an issue with the other and vise versa.


  • Chronic dehydration – can be from eating a diet of dry processed kibble
  • Eating a diet excessively high in fat
  • Numerous surgeries
  • Taking lots of medications throughout life
  • Over vaccination


  • Excessive drinking and urination.
  • High levels of toxins in the blood, and not very concentrated urine (determined by a blood panel/ urinalysis)
  • Urinating at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Decreased or loss of appetite


  • Water! – keeping your dog well hydrated gives the kidneys more fluid to flush out toxins. Feeding your dog a diet with a high moisture content can make this task a little easier. In some cases subcutaneous fluid therapy may be necessary.
  • Minimize feeding foods high in phosphorus which puts a lot of strain on the liver – for example bones
  • Feed one meal a day rather than multiple meals as this gives the organs a chance to rest, instead of consistently processing foods- we recommend one feeding in the evening **note if you find your dog is consistently producing bile on an empty stomach, feeding twice a day is a better option
  • If possible, limit the amount of medications and surgical procedures your dog goes through during their life
  • Feed a high quality, moisture rich, biologically appropriate diet rich in quality proteins to keep all organs systems healthy
  • <Adding natural supplements that support kidney health – we love “Kidney Care” by NaturPet and you can read more about it by following the link attached to the image
  • Be aware of small changes in thirst, appetite, urination and behavior to spot kidney disease early on when it is easier to halt progression
  • monitor the health of closely related organs such as the liver

Below is a list of foods low in phosphorus and in the right column there is the corresponding product that we carry in store. Use this table to help you plan meals for your dog with kidney disease!

Beef Red Dog Blue Kat, Carnivora, Club Canine
Poultry Carnivora, Bold, Club Canine
Whitefish Club Canine
Pork Carnivora, Red Dog Blue Kat
Lamb Carnivora, Red Dog Blue Kat
Sweet potato & pumpkin

(best used to treat digestive issues and not as a filler. Also be sure to boil before serving as this removes any phosphorus)

Coconut oil Olie Naturals

** The suggestions given in this blog are from the experience and knowledge of True Carnivores staff. Any of the information given does not replace the advice of a holistic veterinarian.**


The owner of True Carnivores, David, has personally dealt with his own dog battlinChiselg with kidney and liver issues. Chisel the yellow lab was 9 years old when he got into the grease trap of a BBQ and ate all the fat. He needed immediate veterinary care and was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Soon after, the damage progressed into chronic kidney disease. Chisel was fed a raw, moisture rich diet and followed the suggestions we wrote on this blog and others. Chisel’s symptoms were managed until he peacefully passed away at 13 years old, on his own terms. This is just one example of a dog diagnosed with kidney disease and pancreatitis who had years added onto his life due to some diet and lifestyle changes.

If you have a dog with kidney disease, it is never too late to start treatment. There are many ways you can extend your dog’s years and make them more comfortable. Many of our clients have found a great deal of success in merely changing to a raw diet. Call us or come by and we would be happy to guide you through the journey to a happier and healthier dog.

Dr. Karen Becker further explains more on kidney disease:

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