Is Venison Good For Dogs With Kidney Disease? The Key Facts

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with kidney disease, you may be wondering what kind of diet is best for them.

While most veterinarians recommend a low-protein diet, recent research has shown that high-quality protein is actually beneficial for dogs with kidney disease.

So, where does venison fit into the equation?

This lean and hypoallergenic meat is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that can support your dog’s overall health, but is it safe for dogs with kidney disease?

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of venison and whether it’s a good choice for dogs with kidney disease.

Is Venison Good For Dogs With Kidney Disease?

Venison is an excellent source of protein and is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals that can benefit dogs with kidney disease. It contains high levels of iron, which is essential for the proper functioning of red blood cells. Low iron levels can lead to anemia, which can make dogs more prone to injury and illness.

Venison also contains niacin, which is known to help circulation and reduce levels of inflammation. This is especially important for dogs with arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses. Additionally, venison is rich in riboflavin, which combines with other vitamins and minerals to fight diseases by creating antibodies within the immune system.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in high concentrations in venison. These fatty acids are important for cognition and brain health, as well as eye, coat, and skin health. They can also treat arthritis and kidney disease.

While venison is a great source of protein and nutrients, it’s important to note that dogs with kidney disease should still consume a moderate amount of high-quality protein. Raw or lightly cooked meat is a great option, but it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount for your dog’s specific needs.

Understanding Kidney Disease In Dogs

Kidney disease is a common condition in dogs, affecting approximately 1 in 10 dogs. It can be caused by a variety of underlying reasons, making it difficult to spot in its early stages. Kidney disease, also known as kidney insufficiency or failure, occurs when the kidneys stop functioning properly and are unable to clean waste products from the blood. This can lead to a buildup of waste products in the blood and cause damage to the kidneys, which can be permanent.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with aging in dogs and can be considered as the wearing out of kidney tissues. The age of onset is often related to the size of the dog, with small dogs experiencing early signs of kidney disease at around ten to fourteen years of age and large dogs experiencing it as early as seven years of age.

Pets with CKD experience a gradual loss of kidney function over time, which can be caused by many different conditions affecting one or more processes of the kidney. CKD has four stages based on the magnitude of decrease in kidney function. Clinical signs are typically not observed in Stages I or II, but early diagnosis is sometimes made while doing imaging or urinalysis for other reasons, or monitoring trends in lab test results.

Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs include subtle weight loss, increased urination and thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, dehydration, and more. It’s important to visit a veterinarian if you notice these symptoms in your dog as early detection is critical for effective treatment.

Treatment options for advanced kidney disease are usually limited to supporting the kidneys and treating the signs of kidney disease as dialysis and kidney transplants are not readily available for dogs. However, new advances in the veterinary world are making it easier to find kidney disease in dogs earlier (even without signs being present).

The Importance Of Protein In A Dog’s Diet

Protein is an essential component of a dog’s diet, especially for those with kidney disease. However, there is a common misconception that high levels of protein can cause kidney failure. While it’s true that dogs with kidney disease need to manage their protein intake carefully, this doesn’t mean that they should avoid it altogether.

Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, maintaining a healthy immune system, and providing energy. Dogs with kidney disease need to consume a moderate amount of high-quality protein to prevent muscle wasting and maintain overall health. In fact, studies have shown that protein-restricted diets can reduce glomerular damage and urinary protein concentrations in dogs with hereditary nephritis.

It’s important to note that the quality of the protein matters just as much as the quantity. Protein sources with high biological value produce fewer waste products and are better choices for dogs with kidney disease. Examples of high-quality protein sources include egg protein, milk, and meats.

Commercial diets for dogs with kidney disease are formulated to prioritize key goals, including controlling clinical signs, minimizing fluid and mineral imbalances, sustaining adequate nutrition, and modifying/slowing the progression of CKD. These diets contain less protein, sodium, and phosphorus than normal maintenance adult dog food, but still provide enough high-quality protein to meet a dog’s nutritional needs.

Venison: A Nutritious And Hypoallergenic Meat Option

Venison is a hypoallergenic meat option for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Dogs can develop allergies to common protein sources like chicken or beef, leading to itchy skin, rashes, and gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Venison is considered a novel protein source that many dogs haven’t been exposed to, making it less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.

Venison is also a leaner meat than beef and other red meats, which makes it an ideal inclusion for dogs suffering from pancreatitis, obesity, heart disease, or a sensitive gut. It contains less fat and cholesterol than other protein sources, which can help maintain healthy weight levels and reduce the risk of weight-based health problems.

Venison is also packed with essential nutrients that support the overall health and well-being of your dog. It contains high levels of B vitamins, which provide energy to your dog. It also has the perfect amount of zinc and iron to support a healthy immune system and organ function.

When looking for dog food options with venison, it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that prioritizes optimum nutrition over profits. Venison meal is a rendered meat concentrate that contains substantially more protein than fresh venison, making it a quality ingredient in commercial pet foods. Zignature® Pet Food’s venison formula is a great option that is meat-first and free from common allergens like chicken or poultry by-products, wheat, potatoes, corn, soy, and gluten.

Venison And Kidney Disease: What The Research Says

Research shows that venison can be a beneficial protein source for dogs with kidney disease. It is a lean meat that is low in fat and calories, making it an ideal inclusion for dogs with sensitive guts, heart disease, or obesity. Venison is also hypoallergenic, making it a great option for dogs with food sensitivities.

There is a common misconception that excess protein causes kidney failure in dogs. However, research has shown that moderate levels of high-quality protein are necessary for maintaining a healthy canine diet. In fact, studies have shown that feeding a low-protein diet to dogs with kidney disease can actually have adverse effects on their overall health.

When it comes to feeding venison to dogs with kidney disease, it’s important to consider the quality of the protein. Venison is a high-quality protein source that produces fewer waste products than lower quality proteins. It is also rich in essential amino acids, which are necessary for maintaining muscle mass and overall health.

It’s important to note that while venison can be a great source of protein for dogs with kidney disease, it should not be the only source of protein in their diet. A balanced diet that includes a variety of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients is essential for maintaining good health in dogs with kidney disease.

How To Incorporate Venison Into Your Dog’s Diet Safely

If you’re considering incorporating venison into your dog’s diet, it’s important to do so safely, especially if your dog has kidney disease. Here are some tips to ensure that you’re feeding your dog venison in a healthy and safe way:

1. Consult with your veterinarian: Before making any changes to your dog’s diet, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can help determine if venison is a good option for your dog and how much they should consume.

2. Choose high-quality venison: Look for high-quality, lean cuts of venison that are free from added hormones and antibiotics. Venison meal is also a good option as it contains more protein than fresh venison.

3. Cook the venison thoroughly: It’s important to cook the venison thoroughly to eliminate any harmful bacteria that could make your dog sick. Avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked venison.

4. Introduce venison gradually: If your dog has never had venison before, it’s best to introduce it gradually to avoid any digestive upset. Start with small amounts and slowly increase the amount over time.

5. Monitor your dog’s health: Keep an eye on your dog’s health after introducing venison to their diet. If you notice any signs of digestive upset or other health issues, stop feeding them venison and consult with your veterinarian.

By following these tips, you can safely incorporate venison into your dog’s diet and provide them with a nutritious and delicious protein source.

Other Nutritional Considerations For Dogs With Kidney Disease

In addition to protein content, moisture content, phosphorus, sodium, and omega-3 fatty acids, there are other important nutritional considerations for dogs with kidney disease. One of these is potassium. While most prescription renal diets have moderately high levels of potassium, some dogs with CKD can become hyperkalemic and may need a potassium-restricted homemade kidney diet formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Another nutrient to consider is sodium. Sodium restriction has been recommended as a method to combat hypertension associated with CKD. However, studies demonstrating that sodium reduction improves hypertension are lacking in dogs. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of sodium for your dog’s specific needs.

Carnitine is another supplement that may be recommended for dogs with kidney disease. It is known to help combat loss in muscle quality as it increases the use of fat as an energy source, leaving the protein in the diet to be used for repairing and building muscle.

It’s also important to avoid foods that are notoriously high in phosphorus and protein, such as most meats, jerky treats, bully sticks, rawhides, pig ears, antlers, and real bones. Instead, feed your dog a fresh, whole food diet with easily digestible protein. Raw diets are more easily digestible for most dogs. Eggs are a great source of digestible protein for your dog, along with high-quality fat for energy.

While there are many different diets on the market that may be excellent choices for your pup depending on the severity of the disease, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and supplements for your dog’s specific needs. With proper nutrition and care, dogs with kidney disease can live comfortably with this chronic disease.