“Chronic kidney disease.” It’s not what any pet parent wants to hear from the vet, but unfortunately there’s a lot of us out there who have; chronic kidney disease, or CKD, affects around 30% of cats and 6% of dogs. So, we thought we’d shed some light on the amazing work kidneys achieve on a daily basis, and how we can best look after our furry friend’s organ team.
The ins and outs of kidneys and CKD
The kidneys are key organs in the body – to say the least. They’re essentially the body’s filtration system, balancing substances in the blood and getting rid of waste as urine. Kidneys also maintain normal concentrations of salt and water in the body, control blood pressure and sustain phosphorous levels. They’re essentially one stop shop organs, working around the clock every day. So when kidneys can’t do their thing, toxins build up in the blood making your pet pretty ill. What’s more, symptoms often occur gradually over a long period of time, so it’s often hard to catch early.
Combating CKD with naturally better nutrition
You may have heard of the term ‘kidney diet’ – a diet to aid kidney health – however, this is often mistaken to mean simply reducing protein, and as a result, often increasing carbohydrate intake. All that will do is deprive your pup or puss of the nutrients it needs to continue to thrive. That’s why we’re placing emphasis on two key dietary components instead of omitting the good stuff all together…
1) the type of protein being fed (as all aren’t created equal) and
2) the importance of water!
We like to refer to our version of a kidney diet as more of a kidney recipe;
The magic recipe
- Reduce phosphorous and sodium intake.
- Ensure the protein you’re feeding is from an animal source, rather than plant based.
- Add omega-3 fatty acids
- Increase water – or moisture.
And voilà: a diet that will keep your pets’ kidneys healthy and able to manage their heavy workload. K9 Natural and Feline Natural diets follow such a recipe – all with a base of 100% sustainable, free range, grass fed New Zealand meat (the good protein) and negligible levels of sodium and phosphorus.
You may have noticed we underlined the last ingredient in the recipe – water! Turns out a glass of water a day also keeps the vet away! In the human world, we’re told to drink our eight glasses of water, and hydration is equally as important for our pets. Those with CKD are prone to chronic dehydration, which often means kidney health heads downhill fast. Topping up your pet’s water bowl generously and often is vital, but additional moisture content in the food you feed is an extra boost – especially for cats, who are notoriously poor drinkers. K9 Natural and Feline Natural canned diets contain upwards of 80% moisture, all generated from fresh New Zealand water. Even our freeze-dried range can have warm water added to them, providing A+ amounts of this vital ingredient. Moisture works together with the other excellent benefits of K9 Natural and Feline Natural diets, like the inclusion of the all-important omega-3 fatty acids – and also helps reduce both dehydration and the negative impact that some of the minerals from certain proteins can have on kidneys. To put it simply;
Water + Omega-3 fatty acids + appropriate protein source – phosphorus & sodium = happy kidneys
Remember, it’s vital to treat our pets as individuals – every case is different! If you suspect your pet is suffering from this disease, it’s time to pay your vet a visit and have a chat about getting them back to full health.
Written in conjunction with our in-house Nutritionist Mark Roberts.