What is low phosphorus dog food and why is phosphorus important? For dogs and humans alike, phosphorus is a key component in nutrition and health.
Key Points Highlighting the Essential Role of Low Phosphorus Diets in Managing Kidney Disease in Dogs
- Phosphorus is essential for dogs, as it’s vital for motor functions, energy transfer, and kidney function.
- Too much phosphorus can be harmful to dogs, leading to renal failure, but effects from low phosphorus are doubtful.
- For dogs with kidney issues, understanding the renal system and treatment with low phosphorus dog foods is beneficial.
- Low phosphorus diets help when kidneys stop functioning by reducing phosphorus buildup in the blood, similarly to medications but with possibly fewer side effects.
- Low phosphorus and protein diets are tailored for kidney health; the ideal diet for kidney disease is low in both, with additional supplements like omega-3 fatty acids.
- There are options for prescription, non-prescription, and homemade low phosphorus dog foods, and certain foods must be included or avoided in homemade diets.
- Kidney disease in dogs is a serious issue, with various causes such as ingestion of toxins, reduced blood flow, and blockages, leading to improper kidney function.
We’ve examined different low phosphorus dog food options and narrowed them down to the best options. Prescription and best non-prescription dog food for kidney disease. You’ll find detailed reviews on each below, as well as the pros and cons. If you know what you need, here are the quick links to products:
5 Prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
- Hill’s Prescription Diet# with Kidney Care
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney Support Wet Dog Food
- Hill’s Prescription Diet – Kidney Care
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet with Renal Support
7 Non-prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet
- Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
- Zignature Limited Ingredient Dog Food
- Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Blend Diet Canned Dog Food
- Instinct Raw Freeze-dried Dog Food
- Solid Gold Green Cow Wet Dog Food
Phosphorus is a critical agent in maintaining proper bodily functions. Not only is phosphorus, along with enzymes like niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, responsible for motor functions such as walking and chewing, but it also allows for proper energy storage and transfer. Also, phosphorus helps with adequate kidney function.
Though phosphorus is a necessary nutrient, it can sometimes be damaging to dog health. Too much phosphorus can cause renal failure. While it’s possible dogs can have effects from low phosphorus, it’s doubtful.
For pet parents with dogs with kidney issues, it’s beneficial to understand the renal system, kidney disease, and treatment with low phosphorus dog foods.
Why Low Phosphorus Diets Can Help
When kidneys stop functioning, toxins can build up in the blood. This includes phosphorus. When phosphorus accumulates, it can cause a loss of appetite and energy. Some medications are used to bind phosphates to the digestive tract, so it doesn’t build up in the blood.
While medications can help, special diets are used to treat kidney failure. A low phosphorus diet can reduce the amount of phosphorus building up in the bloodstream, similarly to medications. However, with low phosphorus diets, there may be fewer side effects.
Benefits of Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
While low phosphorus diets have one primary function, there are many brands and low phosphorus dog food types. Based on the dog’s needs and the severity of their kidney disease, a dog might need a high protein or a low protein dog food to help ease their symptoms.
High-Quality Protein and Low Phosphorus Dog Food
High-quality protein dog foods have several benefits. For example, high protein dog foods can improve hair and coat texture, develop lean muscle, and boost the immune system, which can benefit dogs with health issues. Dog foods with high protein can keep dogs from losing muscle mass as they age especially for pitbull dogs.
Low phosphorus and high protein dog foods can be beneficial if kidney damage is minimal. As kidneys are meant to filter the blood, if a dog food has high protein, the kidneys may not filter out enough protein, which means it will build up and cause more damage.
Low Protein and Low Phosphorus Dog Food
The goal of special diets is to minimize the work the renal system has to do. Keeping phosphorus and protein levels low could mean the kidneys have fewer toxins to filter. A low protein diets and low phosphorus dog food will help balance a dog’s system. Besides, it’s believed that a low phosphorus diet can help slow the progression of kidney disease.
The ideal diet for dogs with renal failure is a diet low in phosphorus and protein. We should reduce sodium. A dog’s diet high in sodium or salt can make blood pressure higher and damage the kidneys even more. Treats like cheese and processed meat should not be given often.
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, especially from fish oil, can be beneficial as well. In general, omega-3 acids can strengthen immune systems, decrease joint pain, and support heart health.
There are many options on the market for prescription and non-prescription low phosphorus dog foods.
When your dog is still healthy you can make sure through dog training that he always lets you know when he has to go.
Prescription Low Phosphorus Wet Dog Foods
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Wet Dog Food seems to be a lifesaver for many dogs with kidney issues. The majority of pet parents are satisfied with the product, and it’s clinically designed to improve kidney function. However, it might not be suitable for all taste buds, so it could be a hit or miss depending on your dog’s preferences.
If your dog has been diagnosed with kidney problems and you’re looking for a specialized diet, this might be worth a try. Just keep an eye on how your pup reacts to the taste, and maybe consult with your vet to see if it’s the right fit. Here’s my take on it:
- Kidney-Friendly: This food is specially formulated to help manage chronic kidney disease (CKD). It’s got reduced phosphorus and sodium levels, which is a big plus for our little ones’ kidneys.
- Tasty for Most: Many dogs seem to love the bite-sized chunks in gravy, and the chicken and vegetable flavor is a hit. My neighbor’s Maltese, who’s notoriously picky, licks her plate clean!
- Improves Appetite: Some dogs that were refusing to eat started devouring this food. MikeP’s dog was one of them, and he says it brought her back to life.
- Variety of Flavors: If your pup doesn’t like this particular flavor, Chewy offers other options in the Hill’s Prescription line.
- Not for Every Palate: Some dogs just won’t eat it. Sassy1’s pooch refused to touch the stew version, so be cautious if your dog is very particular.
- Pricey: It’s on the expensive side, but hey, if it works for your dog’s health, it might be worth the investment.
Feed back from dog owners:
- 5/5 stars: “This food has been a game-changer for my senior dog’s kidney health. He’s more energetic and his bloodwork has improved.”
- 5/5 stars: “My 4lb Maltese with stage 1 kidney disease loves this food. It’s a relief to see her eating every day, and her vet is pleased with her progress.”
- 5/5 stars: “Gabby, my Golden Retriever, took to this food right away. Her mobility has improved, and she seems happier overall.”
- 1/5 star: “Unfortunately, my dog refused to eat this stew version. I tried mixing it with her regular food, but she just wouldn’t touch it. Had to donate it.”
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blue Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney + Mobility Support Dog Food is a specialized product designed to cater to dogs with kidney issues and mobility challenges. After going through real-world experiences and customer reviews, here’s a comprehensive look at this product:
- Kidney and Mobility Support: This food is specifically formulated to support kidney function and mobility. It contains controlled levels of protein, phosphorus, and sodium, which is essential for dogs with kidney issues. A user named Jenny mentioned how her senior dog’s kidney function improved significantly after switching to this diet.
- Tasty for Most Dogs: Many pet parents reported that their dogs love the flavor. Even picky eaters seem to enjoy it. Tim’s Labrador, who usually turns his nose up at specialized diets, couldn’t get enough of this one!
- Quality Ingredients: The product is made with natural ingredients and real meat, which adds to its appeal. Sarah’s poodle, who has sensitive digestion, had no issues with this food.
- Veterinarian Recommended: Many reviews mentioned that their veterinarians recommended this product, and they’ve seen positive results.
- Price: It’s a bit on the pricey side, but most users feel it’s worth the investment for their pet’s health.
- Availability: Some customers mentioned difficulty in finding this specific product in stores, so online purchasing might be the best option.
- Not Suitable for All: A few dogs didn’t take to the flavor or had digestive issues. It’s always best to consult with your vet and monitor how your dog reacts.
Feed back from dog owners:
- 5/5 stars: “My German Shepherd’s mobility has improved, and his kidney levels are stable. Couldn’t be happier!”
- 5/5 stars: “My little Chihuahua loves this food, and her vet is pleased with her kidney function.”
- 4/5 stars: “Great product, but I wish it was more readily available in my local stores.”
- 2/5 stars: “Unfortunately, my Bulldog didn’t like the taste, and we had to switch.”
Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
If your furry friend has been diagnosed with kidney problems or mobility challenges, Blue Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney + Mobility Support Dog Food might be worth considering. It’s received praise for its effectiveness in supporting kidney health and improving mobility. However, it might be wise to consult with your vet and perhaps try a smaller pack first to see if it suits your dog’s palate and digestive system. It’s a specialized product, and while it’s been a hit for many, it might not be the perfect fit for every pup out there.
Prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
Prescription low phosphorus dog foods require a veterinarian’s prescription before you’re allowed to buy the food. When purchasing online, a person will have to give veterinarian information for verification. Several prescription low phosphorus dog foods can benefit dogs with kidney issues.
Hill’s Prescription Diet: Kidney Care with chicken is created explicitly by dog nutritionists and veterinarians. The goal of this food is to support dog kidney and joint health. This food is meant to support kidney function by controlling sodium and phosphorus levels, which is 0.32%. It’s formulated with omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin to help with dog joint health.
Hill’s Science Diet boasts that this food will improve a dog’s ability to jump and run in 21 days. Also, it uses an appetite stimulant that can help dogs that don’t have much of an appetite because of their kidney issues.
- Low phosphorus diet (0.32%) to aid with kidney health
- Low sodium to keep the blood pressure low
- Made with glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids to improve joint health
- Uses an appetite stimulant
- Dry food, no added hydration
- Some dogs won’t like the taste.
This food is dry, so it lacks the benefit of added moisture to support a dog’s hydration. While this food maintains a 4.6 out of 5-star rating, the biggest complaints are that specific dogs don’t like the taste rather than about the product’s benefits. Many review that their dogs love the food.
Like the Hill’s Prescription Diet, this Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet is specifically formulated by experts to improve dog kidney function and overall health. Blue Buffalo Natural controls phosphorus levels (keeping them between 0.22 and 0.55%) and sodium, specifically for kidney health. It also offers lower protein levels, which can reduce the work that the kidneys have to do. This low phosphorus dog food also features antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and l-carnitine to improve overall dog health.
This brand is also grain-free. Grain-free diets can be beneficial because they can limit allergic reactions and inflammation from those reactions. It’s also soy-free as soy can be an irritant for many dogs.
- Low phosphorus (0.22-0.55%) to improve kidney function
- Low sodium to reduce blood pressure
- Low protein to reduce the kidney workload
- Grain-free and soy-free to reduce inflammation and allergies
- Enhanced with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids for improved immune support
- Not available in different sizes of kibble
- Dry food, no added hydration
- More expensive than other brands
This food comes in one size, meaning that the kibble may not be suitable for smaller dogs. Also, it’s dry food, so there is no additional hydration. This product has a 4.4-star rating. The biggest complaints are about kibble size and price. However, many agree that their pets love the taste.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet food focuses primarily on enhancing the flavor to improve a dog’s interest in eating. This kibble uses flavor and smell enhancers and appetite stimulants to encourage dogs to eat. This brand also includes ingredients like antioxidants and fish oil to reduce inflammation and support joint health. Also featuring low phosphorus with a maximum of 0.27%, this food is low in protein, which will support kidney function.
- Low phosphorus (0.27%) to support renal health
- Low protein to reduce kidney workload
- Includes antioxidants and fish oil to reduce inflammation
- Flavor and smell enhanced with appetite stimulants.
- Hard to find
- Dry food, no added hydration
- Expensive compared to most brands
Royal Canin Renal Support A has a 4.5-star rating with very few overall and zero 1-star ratings. A big complaint is about price and availability. Other Canin products are rated similarly with more reviews than this specific product. While this low phosphorus dog food is hard to find, its added appetite stimulants and flavor enhancers might help dogs that won’t eat.
7 Non-prescription Low Phosphorus Dog Foods
While some dogs will need the specialized nutrition of prescription low phosphorus dog foods, others’ needs might be met by over-the-counter dog foods.
As with other Blue Buffalo products, this senior dog food focuses on providing high-quality protein sources, maintaining muscle. Specially formulated for older adult dogs, this dog food has chondroitin and glucosamine for mobility support and inflammation reduction. Though it is higher in protein, this food contains 0.6% phosphorus, meaning it can aid in kidney function. It also has to add omega-3 fatty acids to reduce joint pain.
- Low in phosphorus (0.6%) for kidney health
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for mobility
- Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and joint pain
- For older adult dogs
- Contains grains, which may cause inflammation and allergies
- Higher in protein
Maintaining a rating of 4.7 stars, this Blue Buffalo senior food also contains grains. Grains can cause inflammation and allergies for some dogs. Many low reviews stated that the food made their dogs sick, which could have been for allergic reactions. However, many buyers saw improvement in their older dogs.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet is a formula not marketed necessarily as a low phosphorus dog food. However, looking at the analysis, this food features a minimum of 1.0% of phosphorus, making it deficient in that nutrient. Natural Balance contains limited ingredients moderate in protein while including essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids for immune support. Protein also comes from a single source, which limits dog exposure to toxins and unwanted ingredients.
- Low phosphorus levels for kidney support
- Omega-3 fatty acids for immune support and inflammation reduction
- Single animal protein source
- For older dogs
- Includes salt in ingredients, which may increase blood pressure
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet also contains salt and is made with grains. This means it may not be suitable for dog blood pressure, increasing inflammation, and allergies. This product has a 4.6-star rating, with the biggest complaint that it made dogs ill with a new formula and grains. However, many buyers saw the benefits.
This Blue Buffalo Basics dog food features high-quality protein as the first ingredient in this limited ingredient food. In addition to the high-quality protein, this food also features potatoes, peas, and pumpkin, gentle on digestion. This is a grain-free food, meaning there are limited allergens and, overall, potentially less inflammation. It’s also low in phosphorus with a percentage of 0.7, so it will help with kidney function.
- Low Phosphorus (0.7%) levels to support kidneys
- Grain-free for minimal irritation and inflammation
- Approved by holistic veterinarians
- Dry food, no added hydration benefit
- Not suitable for small breeds
Like many other Blue Buffalo foods, this Blue Buffalo Basics maintains a high rating of 4.7 stars, with low star ratings that are years old. While it is a dry food that’s not necessarily suitable for small dogs, this dog food is approved by holistic veterinarians.
Zignature limited ingredient dog food features high-quality, grain-free ingredients. While this food prioritizes meat and protein, it has the right balance of carbohydrates and fats and added omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease inflammation. It is a more moist dry dog food, so it’s gentle on stomachs and easy to chew. While phosphorus levels are on the lower side, they are close to average at 1.1%.
- Low phosphorus (1.1%) for kidney health
- Grain-free with added omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and allergies
- Moderate, high-quality protein
- Added omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation
- High range of phosphorus
Zignature Limited Ingredient dog food maintains a 4.7-star rating. Many negative reviews believe that this food made their dogs ill, but other buyers review that the food helped their dogs with allergies.
Non-prescription Low Phosphorus Wet Dog Foods
Dave’s Pet Food wet dog food contains low phosphorus as well as low protein levels. This dog food has a minimum of 0.06% phosphorus, which will aid in kidney function. With a percentage of 4.5 of crude protein, it will also keep kidneys from being overloaded. Besides, it’s grain-free, which means it’s easy to digest, and dogs will have few allergic reactions and inflammation.
- Low phosphorus levels (0.06%) to aid kidney function
- Low protein to support kidneys
- Grain-free to limit allergies and inflammation
- Added salt which could increase blood pressure
Dave’s Restricted Diet dog food maintains a rating of 4.4 stars. Low ratings came from buyers whose dogs became sick. Because it has such low protein and phosphorus levels, it can help with kidney function for dogs with kidney disease.
Instinct Raw foods can be served as is or wet down, making for easy digestion. These raw foods are primarily meat, bone, and organ-based while incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables. Though this dog food is high in protein, it is very low in phosphorus with a percentage of 0.35%, much lower than many other dog foods.
- Low in phosphorus (0.35%)
- Limited ingredients and grain-free for limited irritation and inflammation
- High protein
- No added fish oil
- More expensive than other brands
This is a relatively new brand, but it maintains a rating of 4.5 stars. One star buyer commented on the price as being too expensive. While the price is higher, it has quality ingredients and low phosphorus, which can benefit dogs with kidney issues.
Solid Gold Green Cow is specially formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs by including probiotics and healthy fats. Made with high-quality and holistic ingredients, this food is grain and gluten-free. According to the manufacturer, it’s naturally low in phosphorus, which is suitable for kidney and renal problems. It’s low in protein, so it can help ease the workload of kidneys as well.
- Naturally low in phosphorus
- Gentle on sensitive stomachs
- Low in protein
- No added fish oil
- Salt in added ingredients might increase blood pressure
While this dog food is meant to get picky dogs to eat, it does have added salt that might make blood pressure fluctuate. There are also no added fish oils, which have proven beneficial for dogs with kidney disease. This product has a 4.3-star rating, and low ratings expressed that the product made their dogs sick or their dogs didn’t like the product. Many buyers reviewed that Solid Gold Green Cow helped their dog with kidney disease gain weight.
Homemade Low Phosphorus Dog Food for Kidney Disease
While there are many good options for low phosphorus commercial dog foods, some pet parents may choose to make their food. There are foods to include in a homemade diet, while there are others to avoid
Foods low in Phosphorus
Poultry and lamb are lower in phosphorus, making them excellent choices for a homemade diet. Certain types of fish, like tuna and mahi-mahi, have low levels of phosphorus. If you choose to include grains into your dog’s diet, rice and barley are best, but they should be minimal. Also, include vegetables and some fruits as well as fish oils to help reduce inflammation.
High Phosphorus Foods to Avoid
Dairy and foods high in salt should be avoided. Dairy can cause inflammation, and salt can cause high blood pressure, which can strain your dog’s kidneys.
Peanut Butter for Chronic Kidney Disease
For most dogs, peanut butter can be a tasty snack. However, particular peanut butter contains xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that’s toxic for dogs. Also, some peanut butter is high in salt. Too much sodium can cause fluctuations in blood pressure, so it’s best not to give peanut butter to dogs with kidney disease and issues.
What do kidneys do?
Kidneys are part of the renal system, including the urinary tract, bladder, and urethra. The urinary system also has many essential functions, such as removing waste material from food and producing hormones.
These hormones, renin, and erythropoietin, help maintain blood cell production, salt absorption, and balance blood pressure. This system is also responsible for processing vitamin D and regulating water and electrolytes in cells.
Dog kidneys work with the system, but they are responsible for maintaining phosphorus levels, metabolizing calcium, and filtering waste and toxins from the blood. If kidneys do not function properly, toxins can build up in the blood, causing sickness, like kidney disease or death.
What is a kidney disease in dogs?
Kidney disease, often referred to as chronic kidney disease or chronic renal failure, is the kidneys and renal system’s inability to function correctly.
A common misconception is that animals with kidney disease will be unable to produce urine. However, dogs with chronic kidney disease tend to urinate more frequently and in more massive amounts, but the kidneys do not adequately filter the urine and toxins.
How is kidney disease caused?
Kidneys may fail for several reasons, and this failure may happen over a short period of just days, or it might happen slowly and over time. Dogs can develop kidney issues because they ingest toxins like contaminated food, medications, or antifreeze. Exposure to these substances will cause immediate or quick onset of kidney failure.
Reduce blood flow to the system, urinary blockages, or infections may also cause symptoms. If treated correctly and quickly, the effects of kidney failure may not be permanent. However, kidney disease develops over time, and it is not reversible.
Kidney disease and other kidney conditions can be caused by underlying conditions or illnesses and hereditary conditions. Advanced dental disease and bacteria from it might get into a dog’s bloodstream and damage the kidneys and other major organs like the liver and the heart. For heart problems you can consider a low-sodium dog food diet.
How is dog kidney disease diagnosed?
Early symptoms for both acute and chronic renal failure are excessive thirst, which also causes increased urination. Also, dogs may again lose their appetite, vomit, develop metallic or ammonia smelling breath, and become weak and lethargic.
A veterinarian can suspect renal failure based on symptoms, but the diagnosis will be confirmed with laboratory work that evaluates urine and blood. Urine tests can show if kidneys filter waste properly and determine if there are urinary tract issues like infections or protein loss.
Blood tests will also help determine whether or not kidneys are functioning normally or not. Kidneys excrete substances like creatinine and urea as waste. If there are higher concentrations of these in the blood, that will indicate inhibited kidney function.
Other tests for anemia, calcium and phosphorus levels and electrolyte imbalances can also help determine kidney function. Ultrasounds and X-rays can be another way to identify causes for renal failure.
How is kidney disease treated in dogs?
Depending on the severity of the kidney damage, dogs will go through a process where kidneys are flushed, and toxin buildup will be removed from the blood. This process is called diuresis, and it can help restore kidney function. Diuresis cannot restore many parts to severely damaged kidneys, though. After this process, other treatments will begin to help slow the progression of kidney disease.
As kidney disease can have many causes, more often than not, the underlying causes are treated to ease renal failure. Much of the time, renal failure treatment will include at least one medication and a special diet. Anemia, stomach acid, and high blood pressure might need to be treated as well.
Dehydration is common in pets with renal failure, making kidney disease progress if it’s not treated. As dogs may be prone to vomiting or diarrhea, they might not keep enough fluids in their system. Because of this, dogs might have to go through fluid therapy. Fluid therapy may include hydration through IV or subcutaneous tissue.
Kidney Disease Can Be Eased
While kidney disease is not curable, properly treating the symptoms and keeping low phosphorus levels can allow dogs to maintain relatively everyday lives. It’s important to work closely with your vet to ensure your dog maintains a healthy diet that supports kidney function.
While kidney disease is not curable, properly treating the symptoms and keeping low phosphorus levels can allow dogs to maintain relatively everyday lives. It’s essential to work closely with your vet to ensure your dog maintains a healthy diet that supports kidney function.
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