Kidney Failure – A Myth in High-Protein Dog Diets

November 30, 2008  
Filed under Dog Food Tips

Anything in excess is bad. Too much protein can effect kidney failure, one research shows. Does the same scary finding hold true on the food you’re giving your dog? Is a high-protein diet softly killing your best friend?

Before you hit the panic button, do understand that the research conclusion was not entirely accurate for carnivores and omnivores. The research subjects were rats. Rats feed on plants, and because of this predominantly herbivorous diet, their stomachs are unaccustomed to digesting great quantities of protein. What caused the kidney failure in rats was not the high-protein diet itself but the incompatibility of their system to digest and excrete protein.

That dogs will suffer the same fate as the rats when given a high-protein diet is a myth. Unlike rats, dogs are carnivores, feeding on a diet that consists of mainly meat and little amounts plants plants. A diet with 30 percent protein content is normal and can be easily digested by the canine stomach. The increase of this percentage (especially from animal sources of protein) generally poses no detrimental effect on your dog’s renal functions.

On the other hand, the reduction of this percentage does not significantly enhance the normal functions of the kidneys; it does however lessen your dog’s susceptibility to the formation of renal lesions. Before you consider reducing the protein content of your dog’s diet, get your pet tested first for blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Proceed only when the test results hit the 75 level and only upon the advise of a trusted veterinarian.

Dogs do have a huge stomach for meat. Your dog needs 22 amino acids present in protein to be adequately nourished. Of this number, 12 can be readily produced by your dog’s liver. Your dog therefore needs to get the remaining 10 from one external protein source: his dog diet.

The ideal dog diet must be high-protein. Meat should be the primary ingredient. You will see that once this dietary requirement is met, nature can easily take care of your dog’s other nutritional needs. Seeing some stray dogs grazing corn for a meal is no strange sight, for instance.

As your pet ages, do not automatically reduce his protein intake. Dogs deserve their share of quality protein. There are even some pets that require more protein in their senior years than in their younger years.

Unless your veterinarian says otherwise and unless medical conditions dictate, a lot of protein is actually good for your dog.

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5 Responses to “Kidney Failure – A Myth in High-Protein Dog Diets”
  1. Ly says:

    Any one out there can help?

    How you compare Merrick and Eagle pack. Which one more quality?
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Gary says:

    Some sources would be helpful, as would some suggestions about what you suggest does constitute a healthy diet.

  3. Darksong says:

    Rats are omnivores, actually. Other than that, excellent article.

  4. Dan Martin says:

    It is actually amazing how many vets… that think high protein diets are bad for dogs and cats. I feed Orijen to my dogs, and unless they had kidney problems I wouldn’t think of feeding anything else.

  5. Jean Marie says:

    I have often heard this in my searches on pet nutrition. I feed my dog “CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE DOG LOVER’S SOUL”.

    Is GREAT dog food, no corn in it, no carcinogenic preservatives, top FOUR ingredients are all meat, (you can’t find That in any other dog food) and my dog loves it and thrives on it.

    Just because a dog food is high priced, is NO GUARANTEE IT HAS ANY NUTRITION IN IT AT ALL. Science diet is great example of that, high price + zero nutrition.


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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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