The Natural Solution to Kidney Failure in Dogs Involves Removing the Cause, Feeding A Fresh Diet, Adding Some Bits and Getting the Teeth Clean!

If you have read the first two parts to our trio of articles on kidney failure in dogs you will now know that processed dry food has caused this problem and that low protein dog food is almost certainly not going to fix the issue. If you are unclear on any of these points please check out the links below. If it’s understood then read on for the solution!

Kidney Failure in Dogs Part 1: 9 Reasons Why Have it in the First Place

Kidney Failure in Dogs Part 2: Question Low-Protein Dog Food as a Treatment

Step 1. Remove the Most Common Causes of Kidney Failure in Dogs

Their kidneys are failing so we need to reduce the workload on them. First up is anything that causes an immune reaction as the debris from these reactions clog the kidney highways. This is the most over-looked step in dogs with kidney disease (after foul teeth). Thus you need to remove:

  • Wheat gluten (dry foods, store bought dog treats, bread, pasta, dental bone type gunk)
  • Dairy
  • Cooked meat
  • Pet store treats including dental sticks, raw hide chews etc.
  • Needless chemicals including chemical flea and worm treatments, kennel cough treatments, annual boosters for dogs already adequately vaccinated for viruses, etc

dogs want raw dog foodStep 2. Recommended Diet for Kidney Failure in Dogs

As in humans, one of the first things considered with kidney patients is an appropriate, fresh diet. There is no dry food for humans. And if there was it wouldn’t be dry. Nor would it be wheat based if there was a high chance the patient was gluten intolerant.  Nor would it be full of salt, heavily processed and full of chemicals. The majority would not be low protein either and any protein in there would be good quality and easy to digest.

When formulating a fresh diet for dogs with kidney disease it’s important that you watch the phosphorus contents of the ingredients you use. Struggling kidneys don’t want too much in there.  Below is a diet I recommend that is low in phosphorus. If you are formulating your own raw dog food diet for kidney disease then please check out this table I made showing the phosphorus contents of the most popular raw dog food ingredients. I’ve coloured them green (low), orange (medium, not too much of these) and red (avoid if possible).

With that in mind, here’s how to prepare a fresh, easy to digest, low phosphorus meal for kidney failure in dogs.

Fresh Animal Protein (50%)

Beef mince, beef tripe, lamb or pork is a really good choice for a CKF dog. Red meat is generally lower in phosphorus than white chicken, turkey or fish meat. Remember though, red meats can be a bit fattier. Moderate fat content is fine for CKF dogs but a high-fat diet isn’t. What is needed is leaner red meats not fatty “pet minces”.

beef cuts

Unfortunately, it is necessary to go very easy on the organ meats (liver, spleen etc), excellent as they are as generally they are higher in phosphorus. The organ meat they do need though is fresh kidney, so continue to include a small amount of this is in the diet at a 3-5% inclusion rate.

Cut out the Meaty Bones for the mo. Sadly they have far too much phosphorus for him at the moment. Instead, for calcium include some egg shell in their diet (crush into the food).

Cooked, Slow-to-Digest Carbs and Veg (50%)

Cooked, slow to digest, low phosphorus carbohydrates such as sweet potato (best), pumpkin or squash should comprise 30% of the diet. This further lowers the phosphorus content of their meals.

You can also use some veg in form of frozen and steamed peas, carrots and green beans, 10-20%.

Some Excellent Dietary Additions for Dogs With Kidney Woes

Fresh Eggs: Add eggs, they’re great, easy to digest protein, highly recommended. Use mainly egg whites, one yolk per 3 eggs maximum.

Vitamin A: Lubricates the kidneys and can be found in the local health shop. Recommended dose for dogs is 100–200 IU (international units)/kg body weight (BW) per day. This measurement will be displayed on the back of the bottle. Up to 90% of excess vitamin A is stored in the liver, so be aware of requirements and do not exceed the stated dose. Find plain Vitamin A powder on Amazon.

Vitamin C (acidic): As the blood becomes quite alkaline with kidney disease, it will help balance the blood’s pH levels. Vitamin C is also a natural diuretic, enhancing the flow of liquids through the kidneys. Great vitamin C additions include parsley, juniper berries and good old cranberries, get them in there). Include around 100-200 mg of Vitamin C per kg of BW per day. Find plain Vitamin C Powder on Amazon.

Herbs: There are lots of herbs that are certain to boost kidney function, many by acting as a diuretic (flushing the kidneys, equivalent to some of the meds offered by vets) but also containing a wide range of compounds unique to those plants, all backed up with copious amounts of studies. These include the mild and more easily sought, such as dandelion, parsley and couch grass, to the even more effective (though less common) such as rehamannia, bearberries. See below. Warning: some of these herbs are so powerful they may clash with conventional meds your vet may have already prescribed for your pet. Please take heed of the warnings mentioned in the article before embarking, if your dog is on kidney meds.

Water: Lots of filtered or distilled water. Check out this article to show you why tap water is absolutely not recommended in sick (or even healthy) dogs (or humans!). 

Step 3. Clean up any Gum Disease in Dogs

Vitally, you need to get those teeth nice and clean. Studies show periodontal disease and kidney disease go hand in hand. The best way to keep your dogs teeth clean is to give them some texture in their food, which in dogs comes from fresh meaty bones. However, bones are high in phosphorus and are off the menu when there is issues with the kidneys. Thus you might need to pick up a natural tooth cleaner off Amazon.


I have spent a lot of time building up my knowledge. From a doctorate in animal behaviour and nutrition to years in guide dogs and the last seven year inside and out of the pet food industry, I have always provided all my information free to the public, articles that I spend a lot of time putting together. While it’s clearly a passion of mine the fact remains, I can’t do this and a steady job at the same time. Without a salary or fancy sponsorship, I am left trying to monetise my site as much as I can without pushing on you horrible adverts for car loans and crap pet products. One way I do this is by tracking some of the links to products I recommend (as an Amazon Associate I then earn from qualifying those purchases). Now I’m going to put a donation button at the bottom of my longer articles. So, if this helped you in any way, helped you where your vet couldn’t and you feel you’d like to give me the price of a cup of coffee (€3), please free to do exactly that. If you’re strapped and can’t afford it, I can totally sympathise, you’re free to read on, no questions asked. We’re glad to have you on board spreading the word regardless.

Many thanks and continued good health to you and your pets.

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