The diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in your pet can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to making changes to their diet. However, switching to a veterinary therapeutic diet can actually be easier than you might think, and it can greatly improve your pet’s quality of life. That being said, you might still want to add some creativity and flexibility to their diet through treats. But what treats are safe for dogs with kidney disease? Let’s find out.
Transitioning to a Therapeutic Diet
Before you start introducing new treat options, it’s important to ensure that your pet has successfully transitioned to the therapeutic diet recommended by your veterinarian. This will help avoid any conflicts with the transition process and ensure that your pet receives the necessary nutrients.
Choosing Treats for Kidney Disease
Therapeutic diets for kidney disease have lower amounts of certain nutrients, especially phosphorus, sodium, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. When it comes to treats, it’s crucial to choose options with similar nutrient profiles. This means selecting treats that are not too high in phosphorus, salt, and protein.
Considerations for Treats
Here are some important questions to ask yourself when deciding on treats for your pet:
Have I already transitioned over to a therapeutic diet? It’s best to wait until after your pet has successfully transitioned to the therapeutic diet before introducing new treat options.
How many treats can my pet have each day? Treats should not exceed 10% of your pet’s total daily calorie requirement. Consult with your veterinarian to determine your pet’s calorie needs.
Are there special treats made for pets with kidney disease? While specific brands or products may change, some companies that manufacture therapeutic diets also offer treats specially designed for pets with kidney disease. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
How can I check the nutritional content of a specific treat? Calorie content can usually be found on the treat’s label. However, phosphorus levels may require contacting the treat company directly. For human foods, you can refer to the USDA Food Composition Database for phosphorus and calorie content.
Safe Fresh Foods
In addition to commercial treats, there are also safe fresh-food options that your pet may enjoy. Here are some low-phosphorus treats for dogs (and some cats):
- Green beans
- Baby carrots
- Avoid foods that are high in phosphorus and protein, such as most meats, jerky treats, bully sticks, rawhides, pig ears, antlers, and real bones.
- To stimulate your dog’s appetite, you can add sweet items like maple syrup or honey, but remember to incorporate these calories into your pet’s treat allowances.
- Always avoid chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocado, garlic, and onions, as they can be harmful to pets.
- If your pet has other medical conditions, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist for additional dietary adjustments.
Remember, providing the right treats for your pet with kidney disease is crucial for their overall health and well-being. If you have any concerns, always consult with your veterinarian, who can help you create the most appropriate dietary plan for your pet.
Guest blog by veterinarian Dr. Megan Gibeley in conjunction with Dr. Deborah Linder.
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