We get many requests for a “healthier” version of the available prescription diets for animals with kidney problems, but unfortunately we have not found a prescription diet that meats our qualifications of healthy. Kidney diets are generally made to be lower in phosphorus, which means they must be lower in protein as well. Many holistic veterinarians, however, are of the opinion that it is the quality of protein that is important for animals with kidney problems rather than the quantity. It is the protein metabolism residue that the kidneys have to filter out that is important to limit, so high quality protein that produces little waste may be preferable to simply reducing overall protein.
We suggest you read Dr. Siegler’s article about Dealing with Kidney Problems in Dogs and Cats.
A homemade diet is always best, so we would first recommend considering a homemade raw or cooked diet. There are some good books available with recipes to insure a balanced diet. Alternatively, we do sell prepared frozen raw diets and meats, and depending on your location some pet stores and health food stores carry these as well.
If home-prepared or raw diets will not be practical, then a very good quality canned diet would be the next best choice. Generally, a good quality senior food will meet the lower protein/phosphorus requirements for kidney problems. Here are some options for dogs: Senior Dog Food and for cats: Senior Cat Food. These are not as low in protein as the prescription diets such as Hills KD, but the quality of the food and protein source are much better.
Halo’s Spot’s Stew is also lower in protein, so it might be a good option as well.
The decision about proper diet will depend on the severity of the kidney issues of your companion, so these are just general suggestions. Only you can weigh the benefits and risks of the recommended foods versus your own companion’s specific needs. You might want to visit with a holistically trained veterinarian for diet and treatment options. Here is a link to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association referral directory. If there is not a holistic veterinarian within reasonable distance of your home, many of them do phone consultations.
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