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Gen B.
Gen B., Retired Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2227
Experience:  Lhasa,Shih Tzu Breeder/ B.A.Neurophysiology & Animal Behavior/I use plain English!
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How can I increase my dogs appetite. He has kidney failure

Customer Question

How can I increase my dogs appetite. He has kidney failure and is only 3 years old. Also what should I feed him to give him his best chance to live. And what herbal supplemnts should I use for him?
Submitted: 7 years ago via PetPlace.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
Hello and thanks for researching this very important question...I am so sorry that you and your Dear Friend are having this difficult and distressing experience.

Dogs will experience kidney failure for a number of reasons...including Acute (sudden) failure due to illness or poisoning, and Chronic deterioration of the filtering tubes inside the kidneys.

Dogs with kidney disease have a lot of problems with their digestive organs...the metabolic by-products that are not being taken out of his system damage and "burn" the linings of the stomach and intestines. This can create actual sores (ulcers) and lead to nausea.

Since your dog may eat a meal and then feel pain or nausea, he may be "blaming" the meal for the discomfort. This makes it hard to feed one type of food for each meal every day. You may need to switch between bland foods, even using pasta and processed breads or syrupto get some calories into him.

You can scroll down on this page to find out a lot more information about how to feed herim at home...including how to avoid foods high in phosphorous (something that is worse for these patients than protein!):
Kidney Disease Information and Diet Advice Here.

But he might need some medicines now to help coat and protect his digestive linings. Ask your vet about using an over-the-counter acid-neutralizing medicine such as Alternagel (this can also help take phosphorous out of his meals--so you might get two benefits from it!).

Stronger prescription medicines may be needed as time passes, so do make your concerns known to your medical support staff as they arise. These pets are Managed and not Cured, so your veterinary staff should be ready and able to hear from you as new symptoms come up.

Pets with deteriorating kidney function can become anemic, and then lose the desire to eat anything at all. This is because the kidneys kind of "count" blood cells as they are passing through. When the kidneys find that red blood cells are in short supply, they secrete a hormonal signal that tells the bone marrow to "Make More Red Blood Cells". When the kidneys degrade, they lose the ability to both "count" and secrete the hormone signal. This hormone can be given as an injection when needed...the vet analyses his blood for the red cell status, and then gives a medicine called erythropoetin. Find out if his red blood cells are in good supply.

If the vomit does not stop, he should be re-admited to the hospital for more IV maintenance...continued vomit will dehydrate him more and cause his electrolytes to go seriously out of balance.

Many pet owners now consult with veterinarians who have been specially trained and licensed to use non-chemical can search for one in your area here:
Find Holistic Veterinarian here. Not all home remedies are safe for the kidneys, so you should consult with a trained pratitioner.

If you need additional support at this time, please "Reply".
Gen B. and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I would like to ask about a good diet of foods I can offer my dog that has kidney failure. What foods can we offer him that are low in phosphorus that are fresh foods we can make at home. I don't want to put him on the low protien diet for fear he could become anemic. please help me to know what is best to feed him he has lost alot of weight.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
What foods to include in such a diet depend a lot on what his kidney values actually are...the link above gives good home-cooking advice, but you should discuss feeding him in-depth with your vet, or with a qualified holistic practitioner (usually more familiar with recipes from-scratch).

For the time-being, while he is still in crisis and prone to vomit, do offer him any bland carb-based things like potato bread, over-cooked ramen noodles (WITHOUT THE SEASONING ADDED), or baby rice cereal mixed with chicken baby food (NO garlic or onion on the label). Boiled eggs are naturally low in phosphorous. The phosphorous binder you have been prescribed should perform well with these foods.

Your vet may actually have this book, or one like it, in the office and can copy recipes out for you:
Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets.

Or there are some recipes listed here (look for "failing kidneys" NOT "lower urinary tract"):
Read article here.

I do believe that whole foods are best for any ailing condition and I myself frequently consult with a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine vet when the need arises to customize the basic food recipe I make for my dogs...each pet is an individual and benefits from individualized meals.

Let me know if you have other great questions about this..."Reply".

Edited by Gen B. on 11/8/2009 at 8:52 PM EST