Debunking Myth: Low Protein Diet for Kidney Disease

As your Mate ages and different health issues begin to arise, it can become increasingly harder to find the right food to feed them in order to keep them strong and healthy as they start to slow down. We recently found out that pup’s who are diagnosed with kidney disease and other related health issues are recommended by Vets to be put on a “low protein diet”. Because TukkaMate is protein packed fresh-food we had to look further into it and talk to our holistic Vet.

#1 Dr. Ritcher’s Take On Recommended Diet

Dr. Ritcher is one of the best and most notable Veterinarians in America. In a recent article, This Old Pet, he discusses the benefits of a whole-food renal diet over the recommended and commercial low-protein renal support diet. By supporting your dog with a more holistic method, he adds that this “can add years to a pet’s life” and as they begin to fight dehydration with kidney disease, the best food to give them is a fresh-food meal as “whole foods contain about 70 percent water, the more we can get them to eat, the better hydrated they will be”. Lastly, in order to support your Mate’s optimal health, Dr. Ritcher states, “many veterinarians use “prescription” diets although I much prefer feeding a fresh, whole food diet designed for pets with kidney issues. The most significant advantage a fresh, whole-food renal diet has over its commercially prepared counterparts is palatability. Canned and dry prescription diets often do not taste great and as a result, pets don’t eat them well. A decrease in food intake will ultimately lead to dehydration, weight loss and worsening of kidney function”.

#2 Recommended Low Protein Diet contains Safflower Oil…

Recently we had a customer who was diagnosed with kidney related health issues and their Vet recommended a low-protein renal support diet; however, in this recommended fresh-food, we spotted an ingredient that is a BIG no-no for dogs suffering with this health issue-- safflower oil. In an interesting article we found that, ““polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and flax seed oil, are not recommended for CRF patients.” At TukkaMate, this was very alarming as it made no sense to us for pups to be given fresh-food recommended by a trusted Vet that in fact, will not benefit them at all. Another interesting point in this article discusses, “the inadequate and improper protein sources in processed foods and the low moisture content of dry foods are two major kidney stressors. When dogs are treated with prescription drugs for the problems that often accompany commercial diets, they are given non steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and other medications that are damaging to the kidneys. I also question the use of food additives and preservatives and the use of fluoride in drinking water, and don’t forget environmental toxins like lawn chemicals and other pesticides, including those that we use around ourselves and our companion animals. It’s a wonder more dogs don’t develop kidney problems.”

#3 Brookfield Animal Hospital’s Take on “Low-protein Diet” Myth

While doing research, we stumbled upon many articles discussing the myth of a low-protein diet for aging pups with kidney disease. In fact, Brookfield Animal Hospital’s article declares, “this myth was based on rodent research done in the 1940s that has since been disproven. More recent studies show that higher protein levels do not adversely affect the kidneys”. This was extremely eye opening to us since we knew there was something not quite right about supporting a low-protein diet for aging Mate's. Further debunking this myth, it turns out that the amount of protein an aging dog should increase and their calorie intake must decrease since “increased protein can help slow age-related loss of lean body mass and support a healthy immune system”.

#4: Purina Debunking Low-Protein Myth

Finally, as we continued to research, we were surprised to find that Purina had written an article centered around the myth of a low-protein diet for senior pets, stating “contrary to popular belief, a diet rich in protein may be beneficial for aging pets”. Purina goes even further to say that, “the old myth was based on rodent research done in the 1940s that has since been disproven”. While a low-protein diet is continually recommended by Veterinarians to avoid kidney damage, “there is no medical evidence indicating that a high-protein diet leads to kidney damage in dogs or cats”. If your Mate is beginning to slow down of late and experiencing kidney issues, Purina advises that “senior dogs and cats have a greater need for protein than young adult pets”.

If your Mate has recently been diagnosed with a kidney related health issue or your Vet has recommended a low-protein renal support diet for them, check out these articles for a deeper read and try to get a second opinion from a holistic Vet!


#1: Dr. Ritcher

#2: Safflower Oil

#3: Brookfield Animal Hospital

#4: Purina

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