Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is Your Dog at Risk For Potential Kidney Failure? The Importance of a Quality Dog Food Diet

Your dog's potential for developing kidney failure or other serious illnesses is directly related to a quality dog food diet or the absence of one. With ongoing occurrences of dog food recalls, sick pets and unfortunately the deaths of many animals, the importance of feeding a quality dog food diet becomes clearer.

What exactly is kidney failure? The kidneys are organs that filter and clean the blood. They also return salts to the bloodstream and remove excess water from your dog's urine. When your dog's kidneys fail, they lose the ability to remove waste products from the blood. This leads to a buildup of toxins and the onset of kidney failure symptoms.

Symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually become apparent over a few months. Most incidents of of kidney failure occur over time and are the result of an ongoing disease but a sudden onset of kidney failure is more likely caused by a severe infectious disease or a poisoning.

Your dog's kidneys can continue to function even with some serious tissue damage which is why symptoms are often slow to appear or become noticeable. Failure symptoms generally begin as a need for excessive water intake, frequent need to urinate and light colored urine. As the disease becomes more severe, it's likely that you'll actually see a decrease in urination, diarrhea, vomiting, poor appetite, weakness and fatigue. All are brought on by the increase of the toxins in the bloodstream.

So how do you prevent kidney disease in your own precious pooch. The answer is simple, only feed a quality food to your dog. Although kidney infection is caused by an ongoing infection or blockage in the urinary tract it can also be brought on by an injury or poisoning. Recurring infections are also a precursor to kidney failure.

By feeding a poor quality food that is highly processed with large amounts of fillers like corn, preservatives and chemicals, you are only aggravating an already existing condition. A poor quality dog food diet does not support your dog's overall health and body functions. The inability of a poor food to support your dog's kidney health can potentially lead to kidney failure.

Most dog foods are high in protein content and this protein breaks down into amino acids. Amino acids are used by your dog's body to build and replace tissue cells. They also create urea which is a waste by-product. In a healthy dog, their kidneys and the process of urination would simply remove the urea from the blood. However, in a dog that is already suffering from kidney failure or damage, the urea will just build up in their bloodstream and literally poison your dog to death.

This is why it's so important to begin feeding a quality diet as soon as possible. Because even though you can feed specific dog foods that are designed for dog's suffering from kidney failure, they will not cure your dog once the disease has started. However, by beginning a quality dog food now, you will be giving your dog the valuable nutrition they need to fight kidney failure.

If your dog is already suffering from kidney failure, a prescription dog food that is designed with low protein content, will at least give your dog some comfort for the rest of their life. These dog foods are designed specifically to help replace missing nutritional content which is caused from the damaged kidneys. By lowering the protein content, you lower the amount of urea produced which allows for the amino acids to repair tissue cells.

The food is not only low in protein content but includes calcium, vitamin D3 and increased availability of these same nutrients. They also cut out high amounts of carbohydrates which only increase waste production in the urine. These special dog foods also show their quality by leaving out preservatives, chemicals and fillers, unlike the commercial dog foods.

Now that you understand the need for a high quality dog food diet for your dog's kidney health, what should you look for in a quality food? For a healthy dog, use your dog's individual needs and qualities to help you make a choice, including the following:

Activity Level
Energy Requirements
After evaluating each of the above factors, use the information to start narrowing down your quality food choices. Remember that commercial foods that are found in supermarkets should not be among your choices. These foods are almost always very low quality and will NOT provide your dog with the nutrition they need and are full of fillers and by-products.

It's also vital that you learn to read and understand the label ingredients. The laws regulating the pet food industry are unfortunately still lacking, the ability of these food companies to manipulate the wording on their labels could be fooling you into thinking you are getting a quality product when you are not. It's also important to consider using a dog food comparison chart once you have a few selections to make sure the foods you pick stack up.

If your dog already has kidney problems, they you definitely need to make the switch to the prescription dog foods that are made specifically for a dog with potential kidney failure and damage. The following are what some of the characteristics of a prescription kidney disease dog food:

Increased availability of nutritional ingredients.
Supplements of Vitamin D3 which your dog's body will no longer produce.
Increased Calcium for better absorption rates.
Low amounts of Phosphorus to equal out Potassium levels.
Consider adding a wet dog food mixed with the diet to increase moisture content.
Be sure to always provide plenty of fresh water for your dog. This is important so that your dog doesn't become dehydrated due to the large urine output. You should also feed your dog in limited amounts throughout the day instead of one large portion.

If your dog has a mild kidney failure and it's caught early and treated appropriately by a veterinarian, it is possible that your dog could completely recover. Unfortunately most dogs will never recovery fully and will live out their lives with some level of kidney failure that will eventually lead to their death.

Although dialysis is a possibility for a short term kidney problem, it is not a practical long term solution. Kidney transplants are slowly becoming available at a few vet medical centers but your dog would be on expensive transplant drugs to prevent rejection.

So save your precious pooch from a life ridden with health problems and find a quality dog food that is right for your them. The few extra dollars that you spend on a quality dog food will more than pay for itself in potential medical bills and medications. A quality dog food, means a happy, healthy and prolonged lifespan for your dog and that means more quality time for you to spend with your furry friend.

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