Renal Diet Dog Treats
Making renal diet dog treats takes a bit of thought because dogs with kidney disease should avoid some food items. Read this page to find out which food items should be avoided, and which food ingredients can be used to make safe and yummy dog treats for these dogs.
There are many possible causes of canine kidney disease, and one cause of renal failure in dogs is a diet too high in phosphorus and not enough calcium. Other possible causes include diabetes, autoimmune disease, and even cancer.
As this site is all about dog treats and healthy ingredients, this article will focus on what makes a healthy renal diet for dogs, and what food items can be used to make renal diet dog treats.
Renal Diet For Dogs - An Overview
Here is a brief overview of what an appropriate renal diet for dogs should be made up of:
High-Quality Protein: Contrary to what some "old school" vets and dietitians suggest, recent studies have found that a low protein diet for dogs with kidney disease is not necessary, UNLESS the dog has uremia, which is a complication of renal failure. Uremic dogs show symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and ulcers. (To check if the dog is uremic, a blood test is necessary - if the BUN level is over 80mg/dL and creatinine is over 4.0 mg/dL, then the dog is uremic.)
If a dog has renal disease but is NOT uremic, the suggestion is that the diet should contain moderate amount of high-quality protein, such as organic meat (e.g. turkey, duck, chicken, etc.).
Reduced Phosphorus: A diet low in phosphorus can slow the progression of kidney disease.
Foods high in phosphorus and should be avoided include bones, fish, organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy products.
Moderate Fat: While fat is low in phosphorus and a good energy source, too much fat may cause pancreatitis in dogs. If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, feed moderate amount of fat.
Carbohydrates for Calories: As only moderate amounts of protein and fat are appropriate for dogs with kidney disease, carbohydrates should be added to the diet and should make up about 50% of the diet so the dog can get enough calories.
Vegetables should be cooked or pureed, and good vegetables to include in a renal diet include pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, collard greens, carrots, zucchini, and turnip.
Fruits low in phosphorus and are good for dogs include apples (be sure to remove the core and seeds), bananas, and berries.
Grains that are low in phosphorus include barley, buckwheat and white rice.
Good Ingredients for Renal Diet Dog Treats
Dogs with kidney disease should enjoy treats as well! Some people may say since treats are given to dogs in small quantities, the ingredients used should not matter too much.
It may be true but I always think that if we exercise more care, we don't run the risk of aggravating the disease, so it is still prudent to choose safe food items when making treats for dogs with health issues such as renal failure.
Ingredients that are fine to use in renal dog treats include:
Flours: Flours that are relatively low in phosphorus include barley flour and buckwheat flour.
Fruits and Veggies: Most fruits and veggies are rather low in phosphorus, so we can use basically the ones that we normally use in dog treats, such as applesauce, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkin puree, banana, sweet potatoes, and even pureed vegetables.
Others: Honey, green tripe.
No-No Ingredients for Renal Diet Dog Treats
Ingredients that are not good to use in renal dog treats include:
Flours: Oat, quinoa, millet, brown rice, amaranth, spelt, chickpea - these flours are high in phosphorus and should be avoided.
Fish: Bad news for dogs with kidney disease - fish such as salmon, cod, tuna, sardines, pollark, and mackerel are all high in phosphorus and should not be used in renal diet dog treats.
Seeds and Nuts: More bad news for dogs with renal disease - many seeds and nuts that we like to use in dog treats are unfortunately also high in phosphorus (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, almond, peanut), so they should not be used in renal dog treats.
Cheeses and Yogurt: Yogurt and most cheeses are high in phosphorus, and in particular do not use cheddar, Swiss, romano, parmesan and mozzarella. (Oh, no! This could be the last straw...)
Renal Diet Dog Treats - What To Give?
With so many food items that are not suitable for dogs with renal failure, it seems giving treats to these dogs is almost impossible, doesn't it?
Fortunately, with a bit of imagination, we can still give a variety of healthy and safe dog treats to these fur kids.
One highly palatable treat that is low in phosphorus is
green tripe. You may turn your nose away from this stinky food but for most dogs green tripe is heavenly delicious.
You can also use fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, berries, slices of apples, pumpkin, and sweet potato as renal diet dog treats. Baked banana chips or apple chips, anyone? How about baked sweet potato with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on? Freeze some pumpkin puree in ice cubes and you get frozen pumpkin treats! An occasional baby carrot is also a good treat... All is not lost yet!
You can also make renal dog biscuits using some of the safe ingredients mentioned above, like this one:
Recipe: Renal Diet Dog Treats
- 1 1/4 cups organic buckwheat flour (about 5 oz or 140 gm)
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (or better yet homemade chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup pureed veggies (e.g. carrots, zucchini, green beans, parsley)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all ingredients together until well incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured board or counter, and knead a few times.
- Put dough on baking sheet and roll it out to the corners of the sheet and lightly score it with a knife.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.
- Turn off oven and allow biscuits to cool completely before removing them from oven.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Buckwheat flour can be a bit sticky and difficult to handle, so be warned...
- Barley flour can also be used in this recipe.