Your dog's kidneys may be small, but they're also two of the most important organs in their body. If the kidneys aren't functioning correctly and removing waste from the blood, your pooch could be at risk of serious illness or even death. A dog's kidneys can be harmed by a wide range of problems, from poisoning to infection, and some breeds are more susceptible to kidney disease than others. If you want to make sure your dog's kidneys are as strong as possible, follow these 2 food and drink tips.
Check Their Diet
There are dozens and dozens of dog foods on the market, so it can be difficult for pet owners to figure out which one to trust. Many brands claim to be healthy but actually contain substances that could harm your pup.
One such substance is phosphorus. While phosphorus is an essential component of a dog's diet, too much of it can damage their kidneys, especially where adult dogs are concerned. The amount of phosphorus your dog should have will depend on their age. Small breed puppies, for example, can eat food containing 0.6-1.3% phosphorus, while dogs over 6 should have no more than 0.5-0.7%. Check your dog's food labels to see if there's too much phosphorus in their food. Maximum phosphorus percentage isn't always listed on packaging, so don't hesitate to contact the manufacturer directly if the levels are unclear. If your dog's food is too rich in phosphorus, consider switching to a different food. Make sure to introduce your dog to the new food gradually to avoid stomach upset.
Monitor Their Water Intake
Dehydration is another potential cause of kidney damage and failure. When the kidneys don't get enough water, they produce highly concentrated urine full of waste materials. This can lead to crystals forming in the kidneys and causing them damage or leaving them susceptible to disease.
It's essential that you always keep an eye on your dog's water intake. They should always have a supply of fresh water in a clean bowl; if you find that the bowl ever runs empty, consider investing in a larger one. Expect your dog to drink around 1 US ounce (30 mL approx.) of water per pound of body weight (0.5kg approx.) per day. For example, an adult Labrador weighing 30kg should drink around 1.8 litres of water. This amount should increase if your dog is particularly active or if it's a hot day. If your dog isn't drinking enough, make an appointment with your vet to see if there's an underlying cause. Dehydrated dogs can be treated with children's electrolyte supplements from a pharmacy. Dogs who persistently avoid drinking may prefer to drink broth made of water and a stock cube; this can be frozen in the summer to further entice them to hydrate themselves.
If you're ever worried about your dog's health, look into vet services in your area.